Monday, September 8, 2008

First Homemade Pickles

My first attempt at homemade refrigerator dill pickles was fantastic. They were INCREDIBLY easy! They even tasted better than the ones I buy at the store. I love pickles on burgers, on sandwiches, or just for snacking. That vinegar and salty bite is just perfect for any meal. I used the recipe below. However, I added some sugar just to balance out the vinegar. Next time, I think I will actually use less vinegar, add a little more spice (peppercorns), and a tad bit more sugar.

I can't remember where I got the recipe...but it's not mine and, if I find it again, I'll definitely post the source.

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

1 1/2 lb pickling cucumbers
3 tbsp coarse salt, divided
1 1/4 cups white vinegar
3/4 cup water
1 package fresh baby dill (2/3 ounce or so)
6 cloves garlic, minced

1. Wash cucumbers and cut off ends. Cut lengthwise or into halves. Put cucumbers in a colander and sprinkle them with 1 1/2 tbsp of salt. Toss well Let it in sink or bowl for about 2 hours. Rinse cucumbers well and set aside.

2. In a small pot, combine water and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in remaining salt (and sugar). Remove from heat and let it cool about five minutes.

3. In a 1-qt jar with a tight fitting lid, put dill and garlic. Add cucumbers. Pour vinegar mixture over top. Add more water, if necessary to fill jar. Cover with lid. Allow to pickle in refrigerator for at least 3 days before eating. Pickles will keep for about 3 weeks.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

And It Continues...

The lack of creativity and motivation is still hovering over my kitchen, drinking tea and eating biscuits. This weekend- a long three-day weekend, in fact- I did find a wee bit of energy to look through some cookbooks and old recipes hoping that I could find something tasty to make. After searching through magazines, books, papers, I decided that I can't force myself to find something motivating. It really has to find me. I feel like I'm getting there. I did pull myself off the couch to make some homemade refrigerator dill pickles, which were very delicious. That post will come in the next few days.

For now, I give you another household favorite since it's quick and flavorful.

Orzo with Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes

1 small box of orzo
1 bunch of asparagus
2 cups grape tomatoes
1 lemon
olive oil
handful of chopped basil and Italian parsley
salt and pepper

Place asparagus and tomatoes on a roasting pan. Drizzle them with a good amount of olive oil and some hearty pinches of salt and cracked pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes (until the asparagus are soft and the tomatoes are blistered). While the asparagus and tomatoes are roasting, cook orzo according to package directions. Once the asparagus are done, let them cool for about 5 minutes and then cut into bite size pieces. Toss orzo, asparagus bits, tomatoes, and leftover olive oil from the pan with the juice and zest of one lemon, chopped basil and parsley. Add another drizzle of olive oil if it's too dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste, as well as some Parmesan cheese. This works great the next day for a pasta salad!