Wednesday, May 30, 2012
A while back, as I prepared for dinner a casserole of Country Asparagus au Gratin, I quickly decided to put away a jar of pickled asparagus with the remaining spears. Refrigerator pickles are so easy to make. Once you have the necessary spices, and most kitchens do, all it really takes is a few more ingredients, including whatever the intended pickling vegetable will be.
In less time than it takes to bake the casserole, the jar of asparagus is cooling down on the kitchen counter awaiting the rest period in the fridge. It really is that easy folks. Now I tested these after a couple of days as most cucumber pickles are ready overnight or at least after two days. To me, the spears were slightly pickled but not to the point where I thought they should be. I checked them after seven days and they were perfect, out-of-sight in fact and were exactly what I wanted. Just enough sweetness to balance out the heat and with a nice, sharp edgy taste from the brine and easily handling the delightful flavors of the spices. If you like tangy, sweet-heat pickles, this is a recipe for you.... Enjoy!
for each quart jar
1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed
1/4 sweet onion, sliced vertically
2 lemon slices
1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, julienne
2 small bay leaves (omit if your pickling spice contains bay leaf)
2 tablespoons minced prepared garlic, drained
2 tablespoons pickling spice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons canning salt
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup distilled water
1 cup white vinegar
Arrange the washed spears loosely in the quart jar so that the tips are 1-inch below the rim. Arrange the lemon sliced around the outer edge and add the onions randomly. Pack more spears as tight as you can.
In a saucepan, add remaining ingredients and heat until boiling. Stir until sugar and salt dissolves. Pour mixture into the jar leaving 1/2-inch head space. Be sure to spoon all of the spices into the jar and top off with additional vinegar if needed. Allow contents to cool to room temperature. Tighten with lid and refrigerate for4 to 7 days; the longer, the more intense the flavor.
Note: Easy to can too, just process in a water bath for 5 minutes to seal lids.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Perfect for Barbecues and Cookouts
This recipe is a side dish I made weeks ago and forgot to post. I normally keep up with recipes by way of looking at what's stored on the camera. In this case, I had not taken any pictures. Of course, I always try to jot down the recipe as I go and lucky for me, I did. And lucky too as I intend to make this one again. Maybe I'll take pictures next time. The photo today is courteous of About.com and looks kinda similar, well maybe a little thick on the dressing. Sorry about that folks, but I did want to share this recipe before this weekend as I know a lot of folks including myself will be grilling and barbecuing. Side dishes like this one are always welcomed.
Don't forget to check out more of our favorite sides that go with cookouts. Just go to Recipe Index and you will find many under Salads and Vegetables.
Enjoy and I pray all have a most Memorial Holiday!
Creamy Roasted Corn Salad
serves about 8
5 ears sweet corn on the cob, shucked
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
juice of 3 medium limes and zest
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the corn dry on the grill with no oil over medium high heat. Rotate to evenly cook the kernels. Remove when the kernels are just beginning to roast or turn brown. Let cool.
Remove the kernels from of the cob with a sharp knife into a large bowl. Add the bell pepper, onion, celery, garlic and jalapeño.
In a medium bowl make the dressing by whisking the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, lime juice and zest. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Combine the dressing with the corn mixture and toss gently.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Canning my way into Summer
I started with ten pints and now a week later as I write this, I am down to four. After I finished with delivery, I will only have two. Boo hoo hoo. Looking on the bright side, my purpose was to give a jar to my neighbors on the block.
Now this recipe is similar to my grandmother's one that I posted a while back but I changed it a bit to reflect a more us, a more southerly Alabama taste and one with Max's approval. Max as you know is our
And in case you are wondering, Prince Maxwell is part of his name and the plaid background is the official plaid of the Maxwell clan.
Enough - on to the recipe . . .
These are spicy, wonderful flavored and I can eat them right out of the jar. I cannot wait to serve them in Bloody Marys although I know I will have to make another batch. The first jar we opened, I added on our vegetable plates we enjoy during the week and these were especially good with the butter peas. As an afterthought, the leftover brine is going to make a great marinade for my next grilled chicken. Yup, that's the secret behind that major chain's chicken, ya know, the one with the 'moo cows'.
For canning info, refer to the recipe for my grandmother's pickled green beans.
Church St. Spicy Pickled Green Beans
you can make less pints using refrigerator method -see note below
makes 10 pints
4 pounds of trimmed green beans (buy 7-8 lbs for perfect 4-inch pieces)
5 cups white vinegar, 5% acidity
5 cups distilled water
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup canning salt
for each pint jar:
1 large or 2 small bay leaves
2 garlic cloves
3 or 4 strips of red bell pepper (or chopped)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or 1 small red chile pepper halved)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon dill seed
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
Sterilize jars, lids and seals for canning and prepare the bath of water in your canner.
Have beans rinsed and pre-cut into 4-inch lengths (for regular wide mouth jars) or cut to fit into your jars leaving 1/2-inch to the top of the jar. Pack jars with the green beans leaving room for the garlic. Add the bay leaf and bell pepper to the side of the jar and pack tightly with more beans.
Add the chile or crushed red pepper, mustard, dill and coriander to each jar.
In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar and water to a boil. Add the sugar, salt and stir until completely dissolved.
Pour the hot mixture into each of the jars leaving 1/4-inch head space. Attached lids and rims. Processing time is 5 minutes in water bath.
NOTE: you can also make 1 or 2 pints at a time without doing the water bath. Just place in the refrigerator after cooling and allow to mellow for at least a week.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
I grew up eating southern peas and I hope I continue eating 'em until the day I die. I love the varying taste peas have, like the earthy taste different types of field peas bring about, the nutty taste of crowder peas, the buttery flavor of the many types of cream peas and wonderful tastes of black-eye and pink-eye peas. Then there are the many butter beans, great tastes that I can eat weekly never tiring of its taste and don't forget my other favorite, speckled butter beans. Yep, I do love all legumes.
I pretty near cook green butter beans like I do the Lady peas, a cream type pea, using a little less flavoring than say other varieties of field peas that produce a darker broth or pot-liker. I think the darker the pot-liker, the more flavor it can stand. The lighter the liquid, the more delicate the broth needs to be, all in bringing out the best of taste from the legume. This one today is kinda in the middle.
Now many times I put on a pot of butter peas which to me is the happy marriage of the best of my two favorites: the flatten disk-like green butter bean and a round orb-like field pea. Together an earthy, creamy mouthfeel with a buttery taste is just about the best thing going on a plate. Well, that and a few slices of ripe tomatoes with a vinegar bath. Now that is one fine combination.
this is how we do it
4 to 6 cups shelled butter peas, washed and sorted (frozen when off season)
smoked sausage link, ham, cooked fatback or other flavoring meat
chicken stock, about 3 cups
1/2 small onion, diced
1 small bay leaf
1 garlic pod
pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
several pods of okra if desired
couple pats of butter
Slit the sausage in a few places and add into a medium saucepan along with the chicken stock, onion, bay leaf, garlic pod and sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium low. Simmer for about 30 minutes to make a nice stock which should reduce down to about 2 cups.
Add the peas. Make sure the peas are covered with about a half-inch of liquid, if not, add more stock or water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Allow to cook slowly (not a boil) until the pea is creamy on the inside but not falling apart, about 30 minutes. If cooking with okra, add it at this time, return to the simmer and cook the 30 minutes. I like to turn off the heat and let the peas rest in the hot liquid for a while as I go about finishing up other supper dishes. Reheat if needed. To serve, use a slotted spoon to ladle into a bowl, add butter, stir and get ready for fine eating.
Suggestion: Serve in bowls with the pot-liker if desired and with plenty of cornbread.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Oh Happy Day
Yup, these sweet n tangy beauties are made with southern family pride and a throwback to the 'old days' of canning. Do any of you do that? I do when I have the time. Just the other day I put up (that's canning talk) ten pints of pickled green beans (similar to these) and while I was in the mood I thought I would throw together this refrigerator style pickle recipe using squash.
Now squash pickles may be new to some of you, but not to our family. Grandmother put up jars for many years. Her recipe is in our family cookbook. The recipe today is a bit different than hers as I thought of trying a 24 hour version and folks, it turned out pretty darn good if I may say so myself. I guess I just did.
Make up a batch and enjoy something you've been missing...
~ the 24 hour method
makes about 3 pints
4 cups sliced yellow summer squash (about 8 young ones)
1 large Vidalia onion, cut into vertical slices
1 1/3 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 packed cup southern cane sugar (light brown will do)
4 crushed garlic toes
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
Slice the squash in a good quarter-inch thickness, meaning a little thicker than 1/4-inch. Double line a baking pan with paper towels and place squash single layer (I did two layers). Sprinkle with the salt and place in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Place squash in a colander and rinse under running water to remove the leaching moisture and salt. Allow to drain by placing on a clean towel.
In a medium saucepan, add vinegar, the sugars, and remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.
Combine squash and onions; divide and pack into pint size jars. Pour the hot liquid into the jars dividing evenly. Add additional vinegar or distilled water if needed to cover squash.
Allow to come to room temperture and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.
Like most refrigerator pickles, these should keep for about 2 weeks, but I know they will not last till the end of the week.
Note: If you like your brine on the 'mellow' side, use 1/3 cup of cider vinegar with 1 cup of white vinegar.
Friday, May 4, 2012
"Why, it's no trouble at all," is what I said the last time I was asked for grilled chicken on the dinner table, "just give me a day's notice."
Actually, all the steps below happened in one afternoon. I mentioned a while back in a lengthy post of barbecuing some chicken breast. Well this is the actual recipe per se and let me tell you, it was out of sight.
I did everything possible to those birds breast, everything I knew to do to make them bodaciously great, and they were folks. I soaked them in a brine to plump them up with moisture and flavor, I coated them in a rub adding a nice flavorsome crust as they cooked, kept them coddled in a haze on the grill with hickory and cherry wood smoke, I continuously mopped them with my poultry sop to keep them from drying out during the long 2 1/2 hours of cooking and I finished them off with a delightful spicy red plum barbecue sauce that was the easiest thing I did the whole afternoon. Yup, those breasts were pure pampered and tickled with every thing I knew to do.
You can refer to the article on barbecuing poultry here, but this is the shorten recipe with the plum glaze. Enjoy!
Sweet n Spicy Plum Grilled Chicken
for 2 whole or flatten chickens, 4 chicken halves or 8 quarters
Again, let me stress you do not have to do all 4 steps, but it sure does make one fine meal. Brine, rub, mop or glaze in any combination but be sure to do the mop which will keep the meat moist during cooking.
Pump in Moisture by Brining
in My All-Purpose Poultry Brine
Improve the Taste by Adhering a Rubwith My All-Purpose Poultry Rub
Moisten the Poultry with a Flavorful Mopusing My All Purpose Poultry Mop
Finish with a Tasty Glazelike this easy one:
Plum BBQ Glaze and Sauce
1/2 cup of your favorite spicy barbecue sauce
1/2 cup red plum jam
Heat in a small saucepan until blended and smooth. Mop on the chicken during the last turn during the cooking process coating all sides. Allow the glaze to cook and adhere to the poultry but be careful, the sweet glaze will burn quickly.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Fresh Vegetable Almondine is the Best!
When fresh pole or snap beans come around, I get to cooking them on a weekly basis, if not more. I love green beans.
And green beans love us back, I mean, they are so good for us. Chocked full of vitamin A, C, K and rich in manganese with considerable amounts of iron, phosphorus magnesium and potassium. Green beans are an excellent source of protein, complex carbohydrates, and a good source of fiber. Having a good source of folic acid, molybdenum and B6, green beans lowers an amino acid called homocysteine, which is known to be high in people with heart disease.
Carrots are rich in vitamins A, C, K too and rich in potassium. The most beneficial contribution from carrots is providing fiber and beta carotene. Health wise, carrots reduce cholesterol with the power of the soluble fiber calcium pectate. We all know carrots are good for vision and we are just learning the prospects of its ability in fighting cancer, nourishing the skin and improving the chances of not having a stroke. Carrots help with dental hygiene and anti-aging.
So come on folks, let's get to eating . . . Enjoy!
Fresh Green Pole Beans, Carrots, Celery
Almondine Creole style
2 pounds fresh green beans, washed and cut into 2-inch lenghts
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large carrots, cut into diagonal slices
1 large celery stalk, diagonally sliced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup slivered blanched almonds
2 tablespoons unsalted margarine
1/2 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon salt-free Creole seasoning
Steam or blanch the beans adding salt along with the carrots until beans are crisp tender. Add the celery and cook another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place in a colander to drain off any liquid.
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat and cook until foaming subsides. Add almonds and stir or flip until light brown. Add the margarine which should sizzle followed with the bell pepper. Saute for just a minute or two and remove from heat. Quickly stir in the seasoning and toss in the green bean mixture. Toss to coat beans in the warm oils and place in a warm casserole or serving dish.