Friday, August 27, 2010

Bread-and-Butter Pickles

For all those slicers..  I've been saving mine for a couple weeks in order to pound out a batch of these.  I've got 1 jar left from the ones I did last year that I've been saving.  Now that 7 more pints are in I'll move the old ones to the fridge and start using em without fear.

6 lbs of 4- to 5-inch pickling cucumbers

8 cups thinly sliced onions (about 3 pounds)

1/2 cup canning or pickling salt

4 cups vinegar (5 percent)

4-1/2 cups sugar 2 tbsp mustard seed –or 3T ground mustard

1-1/2 tbsp celery seed

1 tbsp ground turmeric

1 cup pickling lime (optional- for use in variation below for making firmer pickles)

Yield: About 8 pints

Procedure: Wash cucumbers. Cut 1/16-inch off blossom end and discard. Cut into 3/16-inch slices.

Combine cucumbers and onions in a large bowl. Add salt.

Cover with 2 inches crushed or cubed ice. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours, adding more ice as needed.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large pot. Boil 10 minutes.

Drain and add cucumbers and onions and slowly reheat to boiling.

Fill jars with slices and cooking syrup, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

Adjust lids and process according to the recommendations (15 minutes at a boil) or use low-temperature pasteurization treatment. The following treatment results in a better product texture but must be carefully managed to avoid possible spoilage. Place jars in a canner filled half way with warm (120º to 140ºF) water.

Then, add hot water to a level 1 inch above jars. Heat the water enough to maintain 180 to 185ºF water temperature for 30 minutes. Check with a candy or jelly thermometer to be certain that the water temperature is at least 180ºF during the entire 30 minutes. Temperatures higher than 185ºF may cause unnecessary softening of pickles.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


I looooove baba ganoush.  Absolutely adore it.  I can't think of anything better to do with egg plant, seriously.  Sure, eggplant parm is great, what with it's saucy and cheezy goodness, but mmmmmmmmmm baba ganoush.

Here's how we make ours (it's crazy easy):

Take 16oz o eggplant (1 large) and roast it on the grill with some woodchips for the smoke-effect for a while (say 1 hour at about 350-400--you can do the same sans smoke in an oven).

Then, once it's fully collapsed put it in a colander for 30 minutes.  This has 2 purposes; (1) it cools, and (2) a bit of water will come out.

Mix:  2T tahinni, 3T lemon juice, 2T parsley (if you have it/want it), 2T olive oil, 1t salt, some fresh ground pepper, and 3 cloves of minced garlic in a bowl.

Open and scrape the eggplant remnants into the same bowl.  Make sure to scrape the sides down good, that's where the smokiest bits are.

Mix it all up with a fork and let it sit for 30 minutes.

Eat like a pig-hog with whatever bread-product is about.  I just cleared out 90% of a double batch for lunch with some pita.  I'd take a picture but neither the empty bag of pita nor the mostly empty container of babaganoush is terribly impressive to look at right now.