Tag Archives: crunchy

garlic dill pickles

As I continue my foray into the world of food preservation, I knew that I wanted to make pickles. Previously, I have made quick pickles like pickled red onions for sandwiches or lightly pickled radish slices, but this year was the year that I would put up enough cucumber pickles, dilly beans, and other vegetables to snack on all year until next summer.

We are still growing a lot of cucumbers here in Seattle and will continue until the first frost. While there are lots of variants on cucumber pickles, I wanted to can some classic garlic dills first. Once you commit to the idea of canning, everything for this recipe/technique is super simple. For cucumbers, you can cut them into spears (shown here) or chips. Chips are easier to fit into pint jars and absorb the brine faster. To streamline thins even more, you can purchase a pickling spice mix instead of purchasing lots of spices separately. However, most of these spices I usually have on hand anyways. Feel free to play around with the spices or add some herbs or red pepper flakes for some heat.

My favorite canning blog Food in Jars has been enormously helpful as I learned to can. She shows you that you don’t need a huge amount of space or produce to start preserving and i can definitely vouch for that.

Garlic Dill Pickles

Adapted from Food In Jars

Note: If you don’t want to process any jars, you can just turn these into refrigerator pickles. If so, you can use regular sea salt or kosher salt instead of pickle salt, let them cure in the refrigerator for at least a day and eat within a month.

Makes 8 pints

2 generous quarts of pickling cucumbers, washed, trimmed, and sliced into shape of your choice.

4 cups vinegar (I used a combination of apple cider and white vinegar)

4 cups water

4-5 tbsp pickling salt

about 16 cloves of garlic, peeled maybe halved if large

dill seed, black peppercorns, pickling spice mix, red pepper flakes, or herbs or spices.

Sterilize your jars. Since I do not have a dishwasher, I usually bring them to a boil in my canning pot. When the water is boiling, I add the rings and lids and turn off the heat. Meanwhile, bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a simmer in a saucepot. Taste to see if you need more salt or not.

Pull out the jars and place two garlic cloves in each jar. Sprinkle in 1 tsp of dill seed, a good pinch of red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp of peppercorns, or about 1.5-2 tsp of pickling spice per jar. Sometimes I add a sprig of thyme or rosemary, maybe a bay leaf, or a few slices of green onion to the bottom. Fill the jars up with the cucumbers. Pack them in tightly! Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and place them back into the water bath. Process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Start the timer AFTER the water comes to a boil. After 10 minutes, remove the jars and cool on the counter. Listen for the pings! and check for seals when jars are cool.

If making refrigerator pickles, just skip the water bath and store in fridge once the jars are cool.

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fig newtons

fig newtons are my favorite store bought cookie, especially for fueling long hikes and bike rides.  when i saw this recipe for homemade fig newtons, i (almost) immediately went out and purchased dried figs.  i wanted to use mission figs, but my small hometown grocery store only had the dried green calimyrna figs.  i also did not buy enough figs in my excitement and wound up using a mixture of 1/2 figs, 1/4 dates, and 1/4 prunes.  this worked out well because the dates naturally sweetened up the fruit filling and the prunes helped smooth out the mixture.

these are even better (as expected) than store bought.  i bake some cookies a bit crispier and liked the contrast between the soft filling and crunchier exterior.  and, with whole wheat flour, most definitely fits into your new year’s resolutions.

whole wheat fig newtons

adapted from eat live run who adapted it from the healdsburg downtown creamery (where you should definitely stop by for a snack if you are there)

cookie dough:

2.5 c whole wheat flour (i used the white whole wheat flour from king arthur)

3 oz butter, soft

1/2 c packed dark brown sugar

1 tbsp cream or milk

2 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp salt

filling:

1 cup dried figs, stems removed

1/2 cup dried dates, pit removed (i used medjool dates)

1/2 cup dried prunes

enough water to cover

1 tbsp dark brown sugar

for the dough:

cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  add the cream, then eggs one by one.  in another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, salt.  add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  combine until a soft dough forms and lightly knead it together with your hands until a ball forms.  wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for a least 1.5 hours.  the whole wheat flour seems to make the dough easier to roll out.

meanwhile, make the filling.  place the dried fruit in a small saucepan and cover with just enough water and add the sugar.  bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes or when everything is soft.  pour into a blender and puree until smooth.  let cool.

preheat the oven to 350.  when the dough is chilled, divide in half, flour the board, and roll each half into a large rectangle.  spread half of the filling and fold the edges towards the middle, slightly over lapping the long edges together over the middle.  cut into individual cookies.  transfer these to the baking sheet, brush with egg wash and dust with sugar.  bake for 15 or so minutes or until golden brown.

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shaved celariac salad

after many weeks of soups, stews, and curries, i wanted some texture and crispness in my food. this celariac salad is perfect, seasonal salad that can easily be multiplied for guests and keeps well in the fridge, making for a good light lunch, especially after all of those cookiescelaraic or celery root is a big, knobby, often dirty vegetable that doesn’t get used much, except for maybe pureed into a delicious creamy soup or in celery remoulade.  after you peel it, celery root has a really light, soft celery flavor and a satisfying crunchy texture.  celariac is extremely versatile and delicious mashed, roasted, or raw, like it is here.  i combined the celariac with fennel and tart green apple to round out the flavors and garnished with some chopped toasted almonds and a supremed red grapefruit. pretty much any dressing would be suitable for this combination, but i made a yogurt grapefruit vinaigrette that pulled together all of the flavors and prevented any oxidation of the apple.  you could take this salad in a different direction by leaving out the grapefruit and tossing the salad with a mustardy vinaigrette and shaves of parmesan.  if you have a mandolin, this is definitely the time to use it.  if you don’t, simply thinly slice all of the vegetables and practice your knife skills.

celariac salad

inspired from bon appetit

2 small or 1 medium celariac, cleaned, peeled and julienned

1 medium bulb of fennel, cleaned and sliced thinly

1 unpeeled, tart apple (i used granny smith) julienned

1 large grapefruit, supremed, reserving all of the juice from the membranes

handful (big or small) almonds, roughly chopped and toasted

roughly torn parsley leaves and chopped fennel fronds

dressing:

1 small shallot, diced fine

2 tbsp sherry or a good cider vinegar

1-2 tbsp plain yogurt (or maybe use a bit of buttermilk or a splash of cream)

juice reserved from grapefruit

about 1/4 cup light tasting olive oil

salt, pepper

combine the celariac, fennel, and apple in a large bowl and season lightly with kosher salt and pepper.  combine the shallots, vinegar, yogurt, and grapefruit in a small bowl and gradually whisk in the olive oil.  taste and season.  dress the vegetables lightly with the vinaigrette.  portion into bowls and top with grapefruit segments, toasted almonds, and herbs.  crunch crunch crunch.

ps- when i ate this with my roommate, she said that it reminded her of a salad at the slanted door here in sf.  high praise!

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