Spicy Garlic Dill Pickles (Refrigetator Method)

Almost Pickles

I’m way behind in my posts, and I feel horrible about it. I’ve been cooking up a storm, but haven’t had much time to assemble it all into useful blogging magic. I have a legitimate excuse, promise. I’ve been working nights in the Emergency Department of the local hospital to complete my Advanced EMT license. Saving lives is worth a little blogging delay, right???

Unfortunately, that means this pickle recipe is just a little bit out of season. A while back our CSA bag included both pickling cucumbers AND fresh dill in the same week! The obvious solution? Dill pickles! I searched far and wide for a decent recipe. I, personally, do not like sweet pickles. I won’t touch them. So many of the recipes I found suggested adding a small amount of sugar to the mix, but I don’t like even a hint of sweetness in my pickles so I was determined to avoid it. This recipe does the trick. When I finally cracked open the first jar, I ate the entire thing in about an hour. These are THAT good!

I strongly prefer to use fresh dill in my pickles, but I turn to dry dill in a pinch. This year, with the exception of the first batch, there was no fresh dill to be found at any of the grocery stores in town. It seems that lots of people around here pickle things and like their fresh dill. I made my second batch with dried dill, but that created its own unexpected problem. Dried dill floats and sticks to the pickles. I finally found the trick with the third batch…tea bags. I created my own little dried dill teabags and put them into the bottom of the jars with the rest of the spices.

Although some people boil their pickles in a water bath canner, I can survive without an apocalyptic supply of pickles so I stick to the refrigerator method. If you’d like to process yours to make them shelf stable, you can find instructions here.

Place your spices in the bottom of each jar.

Place your spices in the bottom of each jar.

Cut cucumbers and place into the jars. They should fit tightly but not be squashed.

Cut cucumbers and place into the jars. They should fit tightly but not be squashed.

After about 2 weeks, enjoy your pickles. The longer they sit, the better they taste!

After about 2 weeks, enjoy your pickles. The longer they sit, the better they taste!

2 pounds pickling cucumbers
1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons pickling salt
6 garlic cloves, peeled (2 per jar)
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper per jar (1/4 teaspoon per jar)
6-12 sprigs fresh dill (2-4 per jar), or 2-3 tsp dried dill per jar
1 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns per jar (1/2 tsp per jar)

Wash the cucumbers, remove the ends, and cut them into spears no larger than 1 inch shorter than the height of the jar.

In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, water and salt. Bring to a simmer.

Arrange the jars on the counter and divide the spices between them. Pack the cucumber slices firmly into the jars, but not so tightly that they are bruised or damaged.

Pour the brine into the jar, leaving approximately ½ inch headspace.

Tap the jars gently on a table or counter to dislodge any trapped air bubbles.

Apply the lids and rings, and allow them to return to room temperature. When cool, place them in the refrigerator. Your pickles are ready to eat in about two weeks and will last up to six months in the refrigerator (if you can leave them alone that long

Adapted from Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickles by Marisa Mcclellan.

Farm Fresh: Spicy Sesame Cabbage

Spicy Sesame Cabbage
This week, I was so excited to see cabbage on the CSA list. I’ve never been very interested in cabbage, but it has such interesting possibilities. A few nights ago, I made Ginger Garlic Green Beans for dinner, and I loved the sauce. I thought it might make a great pairing with cabbage and honey ginger marinated chicken. At first, I only sauteed half of the cabbage, and it was delicious. Despite Boyfriend’s noisy complaints that I was feeding him “healthy green crap” again, he asked for more. When I told him we didn’t have anymore but that I could make some, he asked me to fry up the other half of the cabbage! Now THAT’S an endorsement if ever I’ve heard one!

6 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp Soy sauce**
3 Tbsp Ginger, peeled and grated
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Rice vinegar (not seasoned)
4 Tbsp Canola oil, divided
1 tsp Sesame oil
1 Head of cabbage
1 Tbsp Sesame seeds, toasted

Combine the first four ingredients and 2 tablespoons of the canola oil and set aside. Cut the head of cabbage in half, remove the core, and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil and sautee the cabbage, turning every 5 minutes, until the edges of the cabbage start to brown. Toss with sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds just prior to serving.

**Soy sauce often contains gluten, so be careful when choosing one if you want this recipe to be gluten-free.

Recipe adapted from Ginger Garlic Green Beans on Epicurious.

Farm Fresh: Curried Squash Griddle Cakes

Curried Squash Griddle Cakes

Apparently it’s a great year for squash in Maine. Every week we get more squash in the CSA bag. While I’m thrilled to find zucchini and summer squash in the bag, we’re all getting rather tired of parmesan roasted squash and sauteed squash. After a brief Google search for creative ways to use squash, I decided on griddle cakes. I’ve been cooking with chickpeas a lot lately, so curry’s been on my mind. Curried squash sounded like an excellent idea!

1/2 tsp Curry
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Ground coriander
1/4 tsp Ground ginger
1/8 tsp Ground cardamom
1/8 tsp Ground cinnamon
2 yellow squash, shredded
1 egg, lightly whisked
3 Tbsp oat flour
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp oil

Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl. Set spice mixture aside.

To prepare squash for fritter mixture you must squeeze all of the water out first. Place a handful of shredded squash in the center of a clean dish towel. Pull the sides of the towel up and twist to squeeze water out of the shredded squash. Repeat a couple of times per handful. Place squash into a large mixing bowl.

Add eggs, flour, salt, and spice mix to shredded squash. Using a fork, gently stir until the mixture is combined.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to the pan. Using a fork, place about a heaping tablespoon worth of squash mixture into the skillet. Carefully spread out the squash mixture to form a small thin pancake shape. Cook griddle cakes for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Recipe makes 6 to 8.

Farm Fresh: Balsamic Glazed Beets

Yummy Beets

It’s been a hectic weekend. I know I mentioned that we were moving, and it finally happened. Last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, BF and I spent almost all of our waking hours sorting and packing. Despite our efforts at preparation, moving day was still chaotic. Luckily we had three big guys helping us. Boyfriend and Roommate are both strong guys, but between the three of us, we have a ridiculous amount of stuff! (Things with nicknames like “couchzilla,” “the horde of futons,” and “the La-z-boys,” yes…plural)

With little time to prepare for the move, we selected a small two bedroom apartment with a month-to-month term, which buys us time to look for exactly what we want…although the idea of moving again makes me want to run away from home and join a circus. Unfortunately, that left us scratching our heads while trying to figure out how to fit the contents of a three bedroom house with a full basement into a small two bedroom apartment with minimal storage. Suffice it to say that moving our belongings to the new apartment and a rented storage unit turned into two giant games of 3D Tetris.

As you can imagine, with the move less than 48 hours behind me, both my house and my life are in a state of disarray. And yet, somehow, I’ve managed to create not one, but two delicious recipes from our CSA bounty today. The first, Balsamic Glazed Beets was a show stopping side dish with dinner. I don’t have a forks rating for this one yet, but Boyfriend ate these and took seconds. Considering his relative aversion to vegetables, that is a huge endorsement! (I’m not a huge beet fan, but even I loved these!)

Beets are one of those polarizing foods. Most people either love them or hate them, with very little in between. Where do you fall? If you love them, what is your favorite way to prepare them? Let me know in the comments!

Trimmed Beets

Peeled Beets

8 Beets
Olive oil
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp Lemon zest
1 Tbsp Brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Trim the leaves of the beets, retaining about 1 inch of the stem. Scrub each beet, being careful not to break the skin. Place the beets on one half of a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Cover loosely with foil and tightly seal the edges. Bake for 1 hour and allow to cool until they can be handled, 20 to 30 minutes.

When the beets are cool, combine the butter, vinegar, lemon zest, and sugar in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat.

Remove the stems, roots, and skins. The skins should slip right off; if not, peel thinly with a sharp knife. Slice the beets. Bring the sauce to a boil for one minute. Add the beets and stir gently to coat.

Recipe adapted from Roasted Beets with Honey Balsamic Glaze by Elmotoo.

Orange Teriyaki Steamed Vegetables

I was searching for something to serve with my Orange Chicken. I had a bag of frozen snap pea stir-fry mixed vegetables and knew that I could do something special.

1 bag (16 oz) frozen stir-fry mixed vegetables
1/4-1/2 C orange juice
1/4-1/2 C teriyaki sauce*

Add orange juice and teriyaki sauce to a large pot. Add water to fill the pot to just below the bottom of the steamer basket. Bring the liquid to a boil.

When the water boils, add the frozen vegetables to the steamer basket and cover the pot with a lid or large plate. Allow the vegetables to steam for 7-15 minutes, until they are brightly colored and crisp tender.

* If you are gluten sensitive, double check your teriyaki sauce. Some brands contain traces of gluten.