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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Thursday Recipe - Ice Pickles

No, that isn't pickled ice. That would be difficult to manage. Ice tends to melt into water which makes the brine to dilute. These are called ice pickles because they are soaked in ice water to keep them crisp. It works, too. These slices stayed nice and crisp even after processing. They've got a nice mild sweet flavor, too.

This one is also from my awesome pickle cookbook.

Ice Pickles

1 quart cucumber slices
1 small onion, sliced
1 T. mustard seed
1 t. celery seed
1 c. vinegar
1 T. pickling salt
1 c. sugar
1/2 t. turmeric

Place cucumber slices and onions in a large ceramic bowl. Cover with ice and cold water. Place a plate over the slices to keep them submerged. Let them sit for 2-4 hours.

Drain the slices. Pack into pint jars, it should make two. Divide the mustard seed and celery seed between the two jars.

Heat the vinegar, sugar, salt, and turmeric to boiling, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the pickle slices until jars are full.

Seal and process according to your altitude. I processed my jars about 10 minutes, I'm at 400 ft above sea level.

Let them sit in a cool, dark place for at least a month before enjoying.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Thursday Recipe - Watermelon Pickles

No, it isn't the season for pickle making. It's the season for pickle eating. I'm finally getting around to tasting the pickles I made last summer. I'm posting the recipes here so I know the good ones to use next summer when it is pickle making time again.

These are incredible. No, I didn't use watermelon rind, although that's what the recipe calls for - the white part of the watermelon rind. I used giant cucumbers that were somehow missed for a couple of weeks. They were huge, bright yellow, but still good. They make really good watermelon pickles.

These are technically a sweet pickle, but with a different flavor from most sweet pickles. They hold their crunch beautifully. I took a jar to a family party and had many requests to please give them jars of these pickles next Christmas.

The hard part will be ignoring the cucumbers long enough to let them get huge and yellow.

The recipe came from my old pickle making cookbook.

Watermelon Pickles

2-3 very large, ripe cucumbers (they turn bright yellow when ripe)
cold water
2 T. pickling salt
5 c. sugar
2 c. vinegar
1 T. whole cloves
1 t. ground allspice
1 T. whole peppercorns
1 large stick cinnamon, broken into small pieces
1 lemon, sliced

In the afternoon or evening, peel the cucumbers. Slice lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and discard. Slice the cucumbers into 1/4" slices. You should have about 9 c. of slices.

Place the slices in a large ceramic bowl. You could use plastic or metal, but it might discolor or add a funky taste to the pickles. I use a large ceramic mixing bowl for pickles and it works great.

Sprinkle the salt over the slices. Add a layer of ice cubes. Add just enough cold water to cover the slices. Let them sit overnight on the counter.

In the morning, drain the slices. Rinse well with cold water. Set aside.

Prep five pint jars by washing if needed, then rinsing in very hot water. Divide the whole cloves, allspice, peppercorns, and cinnamon stick pieces between the jars.

In a large saucepan, mix the sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Add the cucumber slices. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Divide the slices between the jars. Push down if needed. Pour the hot syrup over the slices to fill the jars. If you need more liquid, use plain vinegar to finish filling the jars.

Wipe the rims and seal in a hot water bath according to your altitude. I processed my jars for about 10 minutes but I'm almost at sea level.

Let them sit in a cool, dark place for a month before enjoying.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Late Monday Post

This week got away from me. So Monday's post will happen now, on Wednesday.

I'm questioning whether I should keep blogging or not. Does anyone read blogs anymore? Am I offering anything of value? Is it worth my time and energy to write this weekly post?

I know I get a lot more hits on my recipes than my other posts, so I'll probably keep doing those. Especially since I found out my college sons refer to those regularly and use them as their cookbook.

But the other posts? Maybe it's time to change over to monthly posts. Or maybe it's time to say goodbye for now.

And maybe it's time for a silly video:

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thursday Recipe - Banana Cake

Just your basic, delicious banana cake for those overripe bananas sitting on your counter. This is my version of the classic from Betty Crocker.

Banana Cake

1 1/2 c. mashed banana (4-5 medium)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/3 c. yogurt or milk
3 eggs
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 1/3 c. flour (use a mix of whole wheat and white if you want)

Mix mashed bananas and sugar until the lumps are mostly gone. Add softened butter, milk and eggs. Cream for 2-3 minutes. Add baking powder, soda, and salt; stir to combine. Stir in flour. Beat on low 1-2 minutes, until everything is fully combined.

Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 325° for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting if desired.

Monday, December 11, 2017

I'm on Grandma Duty Now

I'm on vacation visiting my grandkids and delivering Christmas presents. So enjoy this video. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thursday Recipe - Noodles Romanov

Costco has enormous tubs of sour cream. Really big ones. I was running on habit when I went Thanksgiving shopping. I'm used to making food for giant crowds - minimum of ten and up to thirty or forty or more for things like Thanksgiving. We had a grand total of nine for dinner this year. And only five of us around to eat all the leftovers. I don't know how to cook or shop for only five.

So I have this giant tub of sour cream in my fridge. We're not that big on dairy at my house. One child can't eat any. Most of the rest of us can only eat small portions. We usually get our dairy allowance from cheese. Or Tillamook Vanilla Yogurt. That stuff is really tasty. Point is, we really don't eat much sour cream.

I'm getting creative at ways to use it in cooking. I made a lemon sour cream pound cake the other day that was pretty tasty. And last night, I made Noodles Romanov. The plan was Beef Stroganoff, but my daughter wouldn't have been able to eat the meat sauce if I'd done it traditional. But since she can't eat the noodles anyway, we put the sour cream in there.

Serve this stuff with a hamburger and mushroom gravy and you have a pretty close approximation of stroganoff. At least close enough for me.

Noodles Romanov

1 12 oz package pasta (I used spaghetti, traditional would call for egg noodles)
1 T. butter
1 t. garlic salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper (adjust to your taste)
1/2 c. shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 c. sour cream
1/3 c. chopped green onions

Cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente noodles. Drain, then dump back into the pot.

Add the butter and gently stir until it's melted and the noodles are coated. Stir in the garlic salt and black pepper. Add the cheese, sour cream, and green onions. Gently stir until coated.

Serve warm.