Pickles, Pickles, Pickles and More Pickles

Ever made Homemade Pickles? Know how simple it really can be? Summer and Pickles go hand in hand, but who has the time to make a huge bunch of pickles? These recipes are for quick Small Batch Pickles. You can pickle almost any vegetable. Use these recipes and try pickled onions, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots (with ginger and lemon peel), green beans and asparagus. A Summer Bloody Caesar is best enjoyed with a fresh made pickle! Pickles can be saved for at least 2 months in your refrigerator but seriously I do not think they will be in there for too long. No need to sterilize jars and lids, although I would at least boil the jars for 10 minutes on the stove top in a large pot of water or put them through the dish washer. I always use glass bowls with tight fitting plastic lids when making pickles for the fridge, but good old jam jars or any sealer jars will work just fine. These pickles are great for burgers, pulled pork, sandwiches and even on the side with a cold beer at a picnic or in your every day lunch box. The Bread and Butter Pickles you can eat right out of the jar they are so good! To quickly cut even slices of cucumbers (straight or crinkle cut), you could use a mandolin. You can also use a crinkle cut knife found at most kitchen shops for a fun looking pickle.

THE SECRET’S OUT DILL PICKLES

Our friend Jeannette has shared her Mom’s “secret recipe”. Thanks Jeannette! This recipe does not need to be refrigerated but consumed within a few months.

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup pickling vinegar
  • 1 tbsp pickling salt
  • Garlic cloves
  • Sprigs of fresh Dill or 1 tsp Dill seed

Wash and put cucumbers on ice overnight in the fridge. Next day, make a brine. Boil vinegar, water and salt. Put a garlic clove and a spring of dill in a hot sterilized jar. Cut cucumbers into 4 lengthwise if you like spears or into chunks or slices for sandwiches and place in jar. Put more dill on top. Pour brine until it covers the cucumbers in the jar. Seal immediately and put jar upside-down on a tray to cool. Repeat until all cucumbers are in jars. Ready in 3 to 4 weeks. Any left over brine can be kept and used for another batch.

SUPER SIMPLE PICKLES

This recipe is for one jar of pickles. You can alter the recipe for more jars. This one has a zing of flavour!

  • 3 pickling cucumbers 4-4 1/2″ long, but no longer or sliced 1/4″pieces
  • fresh dill a few sprigs per jar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed with the side of a knife
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp whole mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns

Wash cucumbers and cut into spears or slices. Pack into a wide-mouth pint-sized canning jar, or any clean glass jar. Since these are refrigerator pickles a canning jar is not necessary. Tuck several sprigs of dill in between the cucumbers.
In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, garlic cloves, salt, sugar, mustard seeds, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Pour liquid over cucumbers in the jar. Make sure to include all the mustard seeds, peppercorns, and garlic. If you are using a slightly larger jar and the liquid doesn’t fully cover the pickles, fill the rest of the jar up with water.
Close the jar and refrigerate for a minimum of 24 hours but preferably 48 hours. Enjoy!

These are not shelf-stable, so they will need to be kept in the refrigerator. They should keep in the refrigerator for about two months, if you don’t eat them all before that!

DAD’S FAVOURITE REFRIGERATOR PICKLES

My dad always enjoys the fresh cucumbers every summer in a bath of fresh water, vinegar, salt and pepper. Here is a slant on that simple recipe….prep time 5 minutes. Want it spicy? Add a hot pepper!

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vinegar (rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, even white wine vinegar will work)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons sugar – only if you are looking for a sweet pickle
  • 1-2 Tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cups Sliced Cucumbers
  • Sliced Green Onion

Place all in a glass bowl and let soak for at least an afternoon, but overnight is even better. At time goes on the veggies will be less crisp, but still enjoyable. As the pickles get eaten, you can keep adding fresh veggies to this mixture, just allow some time for the flavours to develop! Enjoy

REFRIGERATOR BREAD AND BUTTER PICKLES

Sweet, spicy, fresh and tangy and ready to enjoy the next day!

  • 8 medium sized cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium sized onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 3 tsp mustard seeds (peppercorns optional)

In a large bowl, combine cucumbers and onion with the salt. Chill for 1 hour. After one hour, rinse cucumbers and onions under a cold water tap several times and drain. Pack cucumbers and onions snuggly in glass jars. Put all remaining ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a rolling boil making sure all sugars are dissolved. Remove hot liquid from heat and pour into the jars just to cover the cucumbers and onions. Let jars stand 30 minutes until cool then seal and put in refrigerator. Let stand at least over night. Enjoy! YUMMMMMMM

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Peas, Sugar Snap Peas

These peas are certainly a seasonal treat.  Savour them fresh while they last!  Like sweet corn, they are at their best enjoyed immediately after harvest. Sugar Snap Peas are one of three different types of peas.  Shell peas, need to be removed from their pod before eating. Snow Peas are an edible young flat pod with immature peas inside.  Sugar Snap Peas have sweet edible pods and peas.

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Remove the stem and pull down along the spine of the pod to remove the “stringy” part on the side.

Eat young fresh snap peas raw.  Put out a heaping bowl of them for snack or meal time or cut into salads or steaming hot rice for a crunchy rice dish. OR, they can be boiled in a tiny amount of water for 2 to 4 minutes then drizzled with sesame oil and sesame seeds and a squirt of lemon juice . Sautéd in a pan with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Stir fried with onion, mushrooms, or toasted nuts and fresh herbs. Make a fresh pea soup or a Fresh Pea Pod, Broccoli and Rice Salad. So tasty.

FRESH PEA SOUP

  • 1 onion chopped, saute in 1 tablespoon olive oil until tender (10 minutes)
  • 1 potato chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups water or broth (there are some nice broths such as mushroom or pho)
  • 1 tsp salt if not using broth

Add to saucepan and cook over medium heat until soft, 15 minutes

  • Pint of Sugar Snap Peas or as many peas you have…I have used regular podded peas frozen during mid winter.

Add and cook until bright green. Puree in blender, with immersion blender or food processor. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt. Serve warm.  Optional garnish with a dollop of sour cream or plain full-fat yogurt or a sprinkle of fresh dill or parsley.

FRESH PEA POD, BROCCOLI AND RICE SALAD

Great for taking on picnic lunches or tossing in a lunch box for work. I like to make this and eat hot as a side dish with chicken or ribs.

  • 1 package or 6 oz long-grain and wild rice (or what rice you choose)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli, (I like to use stems as well)
  • 1 sweet pepper, red, orange or yellow (optional)
  • 1/3 cup sliced red or green onion
  • 1/4 cup Italian salad dressing (or your own vinegrette with olive oil, vinegar, basil and garlic)
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper (if you have it) or regular pepper
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups edible pea pods, sugar snap peas or snow peas
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds

Prepare rice according to package directions. Cool slightly. Steam broccoli until crunchy-tender. Toss with remaining ingredients and refrigerate until cold.

 

Happy Eating, L.L

 

 

 

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Maple Roasted Rhubarb

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I was just given some fresh rhubarb from the farm and tried playing with ideas on how to make a stewed rhubarb without burning it.  I usually leave it too long on the stove.

This Photo of a Recipe I played around with and created I posted on Facebook and seems to be spreading faster than ever, so I thought I had better put it up on the blog. This is the Easiest recipe you will ever find, other than the recipe for boiling water….

MAPLE ROASTED RHUBARB

  • 6 stalks of Rhubarb, cleaned and chopped into pieces as short or long as you wish
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup, or more if you have a particularly sweet tooth
  • Squeeze of fresh Lime juice

Place all in a covered dish and bake at 350 degrees in the oven and walk away for 30 to 45 minutes depending on the size of your rhubarb.  Done

I love to serve this hot from the oven.  I put it over ice cream.  You could add whipped cream if you so desire and some nuts to make it pretty.

I would serve it cold for breakfast with yogurt on top and a bit of granola.  Or, cold as a sauce over some pound cake for dessert.  I really enjoy a dish of rhubarb beside my breakfast toast or at lunch with a hearty artisan style grilled cheese sandwich.  This rhubarb roasted becomes a great partner hot from the oven poured over pork roast or chops and roasted chicken as you would a gravy.

Rhubarb, you are such a versatile Vegetable!  Thank you

 

L.L (Lady Locavore)

 

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Basil Mint Sauce

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Basil Mint Sauce is great to have on hand and so versatile.  A taste of freshness.  I have used this combination as a marinade for roast Pork, Lamb or Chicken.  I have used it fresh as a dipping sauce for barbecued Lamb Chops and oven-baked Chicken Wings. I have put it into a Pasta Salad along with fresh radish, cucumbers and spring onions. Tossed with potato wedges for oven-baked fries. Poured over chopped Tomatoes with fresh bocconcini or mozzarella cheese. Recently I have used it as a relish over gourmet burgers with a touch of horseradish.

  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 1 bunch fresh basil or lemon basil (my favourite variety of basil)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon squeezed (juice)
  • 1 small clove garlic

Blend well in food processor.  Let sauce sit for an hour at least before using.  Store in a glass jar in the fridge.

Enjoy!  L.L

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Swiss Chard Pesto

Red Swiss Chard

Red Swiss Chard

As great as traditional basil is, it’s not the only kind of pesto.  Parsley arugula, sun-dried tomatoes and even carrot tops can be used to make pesto, and are abundant most any time of the year.  The swiss chard stems are too fibrous for the pesto, so keep them for a nice saute with olive oil, salt and pepper and enjoy another tasty side dish.

SWISS CHARD PESTO

Use this fresh tasty pesto with any kind of pasta, on top of grilled chicken, grilled vegetables, pizza, tomato and mozzarella salad or on crusty bread.  It is excellent mixed into chopped hard boiled eggs for egg salad.  Spread on sandwiches, grilled cheese or corn on the cob.  It is amazing in vegetable soups and risottos.

  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard leaves torn into pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon plus the juice
  • Salt
  • 1/3 cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • Handful of fresh cilantro or basil
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a food processor, combine chard, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and 2 large pinches of salt.  Pulse a few times.  Add the sunflower seeds and cilantro and pulse again.  With machine running, add the oil in a slow stream an process until incorporated. Transfer pesto to a medium sized bowl and stir in cheese.

If you are not using the pesto right away, cover the top with a thin layer of olive oil.  The pesto will keep covered in the fridge for a week or frozen for up to a month (just omit the cheese and add it in just before serving)

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Cucumber and Watermelon Salad

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Watermelon on the Barbecue? Yes! 

Grilled watermelon has a refreshing unique smoky and sweet taste. A perfect melding of summer’s flavours, the result is simply splendid. Grilled watermelon is easy to prepare and may be used in a variety of different dishes, from sweet to savoury.

If you are grilling,  why not consider putting the watermelon on the grill on the side while cooking your main dish.  It gets a smoky edge and  tastes almost meaty.  Cut the watermelon into larger pieces so they don’t drop through the rack, brush the rack with olive oil and grill over medium heat until lightly charred about 2 minutes per side.  Cut watermelon into smaller pieces before mixing with the cucumbers.

Enjoy it as is, straight from the grill.  You can put it into a traditional fruit salad, or drizzle it with a mixture of liquid honey and lemon juice for a sweet dessert.  

I like to combine grilled watermelon with different cheeses, some nuts, a vinaigrette or balsamic vinegar combined with salad ingredients like cucumbers, greens, sweet onion, olives, mint, you name it, for an elegant twist on the summer salad.

CUCUMBER AND WATERMELON SALAD

  • 1 large shallot cut into thin rings
  • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup light tasting olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cups of bite-sized watermelon pieces, seeded (grilling is optional)
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2” pieces
  • 4 oz parmesan cheese

In a large bowl combine shallots, vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes to soften flavours.  Whisk in the oil, then season with salt and pepper.  Add the watermelon and cucumbers and gently toss to combine.  Check the seasonings and then divide the salad among plates or bowls.  With a vegetable peeler, shave a few long slivers of cheese over each portion and serve.

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