Did you know that the difference between bread & butter picks and dill pickles is 1 and a half cups of sugar? Did you know that pickling cucumbers have thinner skin than regular cucumbers?
My square foot garden!
I’ve been wanting to pickle for a while as I have an abundance of cucumbers from my little garden. Although I actually ended up purchasing pickling cucumbers rather than using the home-grown ones, this was a super fun (and relatively easy) project.
Rather than risking botchalism, we decided to pickle the cucumbers that last for about a month or two rather than going through the sanitization/canning process.
What you will need:
Mason jars (you can purchase these individually at Michael’s for about 2-3 dollars each or buy a big batch of 10 at Target). Remember to run these through the dishwasher before using.
Dry spices (see below)
Vinegar (apple cider, white, white wine vinegar, get creative!)
kosher salt/pickling salt
pickling cucumbers (about 3-4 per big jar)
Step One: Veggie Prep
Cut the pickles and distribute between your jars. There are a variety of ways you can prepare the pickles, I choose slices (for sandwiches) but you can also do spheres, or whole.
Pickling cucumbers, chopped and ready
Step Two: Dry Spices
Add the dry spices to each jar:
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp dry mustard seed
1/2 tsp dill
4-5 allspice berries
1 garlic clove
a few sliced yellow onions
Step Three: Brine
Next you need to make the brine. The brine is where the pickles either go dill or go bread & butter. I did not make bread and butter pickles, but the main difference is the sugar. For bread and butter, add 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar.
For Dill: Bring to a boil for two minutes and pour over CUCUMBERS.
3 cups vinegar (Note you can mix and match)
2 cups apple cider with 1 cup white vin
1 cup white wine vinegar and 2 cups white vin
3 cups water
2 Tbs + 2 tsp of kosher salt
2 Tbs of sugar
one cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
Sealed and ready in 24 hours
Final Step: Wait
Screw on the lids and let the pickles hang out in your fridge for 24 hours before eating. Word of warning, the garlic will not pickle, do not eat!
About two weeks ago I purchased a four pound bag of quinoa from Costco. Ever since, I’ve made it my personal mission to incorporate quinoa as frequently as possible into my dinners. Last week, quinoa chili, this week — tacos.
While I forgot to take a picture of the tacos, I remembered to photograph my homegrown tomatoes!
1 cup quinoa
2 cups liquid (I used chicken broth)
12 oz fresh tomatoes
1 can of black beans
1 packet of taco seasoning
In a small pot, pour 2 cups liquid and 1 cup quinoa. Bring to a boil over medium-high until the liquid has been absorbed/evaporated (about 15 minutes).
Meanwhile, puree the tomatoes ideally making between 12-14 oz of tomatoes puree.
Once the quinoa has finished, add about 1/2 the taco seasoning packet, 1/2 cup of water (depending on the consistency of the tomatoes), the tomatoes and the black beans. Let simmer for about 5 minutes.
Serve over whole wheat tortillas and any desired toppings. This filling also made a mean quesadilla the following day.
Last summer at a BBQ some friends brought this delicious mango kale salad.
Afterwards, I used the concept and re-created the dish. A few weeks ago, this salad emerged back into my life when a different friend emailed me this recipe. Today, we had some awesome friends over for a BBQ which included this salad, and some s’mores and kabobs!
Mango Kale Salad:
Mango Kale Salad
1 bunch of kale, stems removed (or purchase the pre-cut in bag)
1/4 cut + a splash of cup extra virgen olive oil
handful of pumpkin seeds
2 tbs of honey
2 tbs of champaign citrus vinegar (TJ)
Juice half the lemon onto the kale and splash with EVOO and dash with salt. Massage for two minutes
Whisk together honey and lemon, whisk in 1/4 cup EVOO until it froths.
Add mango and pumpkin seeks to kale, then pour dressing over.
Pasta salad reminds me of summer. This dish is up there with smore’s in terms of my food association with this lovely season.
Italian Pasta Salad
1 bag of pasta (bow tie, rigatoni etc)
1 bottle of wishbone italian dressing (or make your own!)
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1/2 pack of salami
1/2 lb sharp cheddar cheese (cubed)
Cook pasta according to instructions While pasta is cooking, chop up peppers, salami and cheese. Drain pasta and toss in chopped ingredients. I used about half of the bottle of dressing. Cool overnight and serve (or eat right away…).
As we sat down to eat these delicious veggie burgers, I started laughing. I have a knack for turning all things vegetarian into some form of non-vegetarian dish. This dish can (and probably should) be made into a vegetarian dish. However, I choose to cook the quinoa in chicken broth. You know, for the sake of deliciousness.
While I was making these burgers, I was also planning my grubHub order just in case this dinner was an epic fail. It actually turned into one of the most amazing dishes I’ve cooked in a long time. The most plesant surprise, it saves well for lunch the next day too!
I found this recipe on Pintrest a while back, but I amended it based on the ingredients of my kitchen. As long as you keep the “base” ratio the same you can adjust how to spice up your burger. This recipe will make four burgers.
Quinoa Sweet Potato Burgers
1/3 cup quinoa
3/4 cup liquid (I used chicken broth)
1 cup cooked sweet potato
1/2 cup canned white kidney beans (or kind of white bean will work, I think chickpeas would be delicious)
2 cloves garlic
2 TBS of seasoning (I used my Napa Valley Rub I purchased at the most beautifully displayed spice market in Napa. It is a blended seasoning that consists of: sun dried tomatoes, rosemary, lemon peel, fennel, black pepper, chili, garlic, citric acid and sea salt).
1/2 cup bread crumbs
whole wheat hamburger buns
For the toppings, I whipped up some guacamole and fried shallots
1 ripe avocado cut into chunks
1 tbs of salsa
small handful of ripe cherry tomato cut in half
1 Tbs olive oil
Start by boiling water for the sweet potatoes
Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut into chunks
place into boiling water and cook until soft (10 minutes depending on size of the potatoes)
Start the shallots: Thinly slice up shallots and place in non-stick pan over medium heat w/ oil. Stir every so often until you notice the onions turning golden brown. As you are preparing the rest of the meal, keep an eye on shallots, stirring more frequently as they brown. Remove from heat when they are all dark golden brown (this takes about 15 minutes under low heat) — set aside
In a small sauce pan, cook quinoa for 10-5 minutes (1/3 grain + liquid, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer)
While the Quinoa, shallots and potatoes are cooking, in your food processor (or by using a potato masher by hand) roughly chop 1/2 cup white beans and garlic. You do not want this to look like baby food.
Once the potatoes are soft, gently pulse through food processor and mix into bean mixture
Add seasoning and quinoa
Shape into patties and coat with breadcrumbs
Cook patties in a little bit of oil for 4-5 minutes on each side. They should look crispy and golden brown on each side.
Start the Guacamole: While the patties are cooking, gently combine the avocado, salsa and tomatoes.
Every morning before work I walk into my favorite cafe and grab a cup of coffee. This cafe is actually a chain, but it is run by locals. They have yummy coffee and delicious pastries. One of my favorite quick-fix breakfast grabs is their mini quiches. For only four bucks, you can get a cup of coffee and a mini-quiche. With the intention of saving some for the weekdays, I set off to whip up my own mini-quiche for Sunday breakfast.
Mini Cheddar Bacon Quiche (makes 12)
What you will need:
1/3 cup milk
4 slices Cheddar cheese (I used sliced cheddar cheese and cut each slide into 12 squares)
1 small onion (roughly cut into 4 pieces)
1 small handful of shredded carrots
Preparing the ingredients:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and throughly grease the muffin tin
Using a food processer, chop onion and carrots for about 5 seconds
Whip eggs and milk for about 30-45 seconds until frothy
Use the following measurements to distribute ingredients between the muffin tins:
1 tsp of carrot/onion mix
1/4 cup egg mixture
4 squares of cheddar cheese
a large pinch of crumbled bacon
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Use a small spatula to remove the quiches.
When I am stumped about what to have for dinner, I usually result to one of the following: quinoa, grilled cheese, pasta, or tacos. A while back, I wanted to spice up my mundane tacos, into a taco salad.
Taco Bowl Salad:
Avocado (make into guacomoli quickly my mushing up with a little garlic powder, salsa and onion powder)
black beans (heat up in microwave or over stove top)
Olive oil spray
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray one side of a tortilla with olive oil or cooking spray (you can probably use butter too). Arrange tortilla inside the bowl so it takes on the shape. Bake for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Then throw the salad toppings inside!
During my domesticity bake-off a month ago I made a huge batch of vegetable corn chowder soup to freeze. This chowder was so delicious, it has turned me on to a flurry of other potato chowder based recipes.
My corn vegetable chowder pre-freezer
One thing I really appreciate about this chowder is how the ratio is just right. You can substitute veggies for what is already in the fridge and it will still turn out (as long as you include the potatoes and corn).
These are the sweet peppers I used, straight from my local produce box
3 tbs butter
1 large onion (diced)
2 medium bell peppers
1/2 tsp thyme
4 medium baking potatoes (pealed and cut)
8 ears of corn
3 cups milk
5 cups liquid (I used 4 cups chicken broth, 1/2 cup white wine and 1/2 cup water)
1) In a soup pot, melt butter of medium heat. Add onion, bell peppers, carrots and thyme. Cook until soft (about 5 min)
2) add in 1/2 cup white wine and stir into the veggies. Slowly pour in milk and liquid/broth then add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are soft
3) While the soup is simmering, cut the corn . After 10 minutes, stir in corn, salt and pepper, let simmer about 3 minutes.
4) Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture together so that it creates a creamy chowder. (optional)
Before I froze the whole batch of soup, I set aside a bowl for lunch…
Serve soup immediately or keep in freezer for about 3 months. One last comment, it is surprisingly hard to find vegetarian freezer meals. As long as you substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth, this is a great vegetarian option!
I recently returned from a family adventure to Southern California. Every-time I get together with my family, we spend the entire time eating. Thus, after our intense bonding time is over, all I want to do is eat salad.
Disneyland Southern California Adventure
I threw together this kale salad with random things I had in my kitchen. The main take away is adding the edamame to the salad takes this dish from a side to a main course.
Pear Gorgonzola Kale Salad
Slivered almonds (small handful)
1 cup edamame (cooked no shells)
Directions: Cook edamame according to directions. Sprinkle a little bit of olive oil over kale and massage with your hands for about 1-2 minutes. Toss everything on and dress. I used pear Gorgonzola dressing from Trader Joe’s.