Dill Pickles

>> Monday, August 1, 2011

I am a dill pickle lover, but have never conquered the process. My oldest daughter, however, has experimented for a couple of years and come up with a pretty good procedure! From the garden to the jar, it's been fun to watch her develop her own special recipe.

About 8-10 Kirby cucumbers, washed
Soak your cucumbers for two hours in a mixture of:
2 gallons of cold water to 1 cup of pickling lime (in a non-reactive container)

Remove cucumbers and rinse multiple times to remove all lime.

Soak cucumbers again, for 3 hours, in a clean bucket of ice water.

Next, boil together 4 pints of vinegar, 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of pickling salt.

In clean quart jars drop 1/2 head of fresh dill and one peeled garlic bulb in the bottom. Fill the jar with cucumbers cut in either coins or spears. Pour boiling vinegar mixture over cucumbers to fill to the neck of the jar. Drop 1/2 head of dill in the top of the jar.

Put boiled jar lids on and screw down rings. Cool at room temperature. Can be opened in 48 hours.

Yield: 4 quarts of dill pickles


Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

>> Saturday, June 18, 2011

Picnic season is in full swing and this salad is a family favorite. Though it takes a bit of time to cut up all the vegetables, the effort is well worth the end result. A satisfying crunch wrapped in a wonderful sweet and sour sauce with just a touch of smokiness from the bacon (how can you go wrong with bacon?) makes a perfect side dish for any BBQ or potluck picnic.

1 large bunch broccoli - separate into bite-size florets
1 large head cauliflower - cut into bite-size pieces
8-10 bacon strips - fry crispy, then cool and crumble
1/4 lb sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
Small bunch chives, snipped
Optional ingredients - sunflower seeds, raisins, chopped tomatoes, 2 hard boiled eggs peeled and sliced.

Combine all ingredients in a large salad bowl. Set aside.

1/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar
1 cup mayonnaise

Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Toss until well coated and refrigerate.

I'm off to start cutting broccoli in preparation for this afternoon's picnic. Enjoy!!


Whole Wheat Banana Bread

>> Saturday, March 12, 2011

I'm not terribly fond of bananas, but I thoroughly enjoy a good banana bread or cake. My "go to" recipe book for wonderful quick breads is a title that is out of print, but apparently available used (if you search hard enough). "Easiest & Best! Coffee Cakes and Quick Breads" by Renny Darling was published in the mid '80s, but has never gone out of "style" in my opinion. This recipe is a variation on a favorite from her book.

OVEN: 350 degrees

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur White Wheat)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Beat together first 6 ingredients until blended. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until dry ingredients are just moistened. Over-stirring will produce a tough loaf of bread.

Place batter in a greased, large loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until loaf tests done. Allow to cool 15 minutes in the pan, and then remove to a cooling rack.

This bread is best served the second day, or at least 4-5 hours after cooling. Add the chocolate chips to make more of a "sweet" or dessert bread. Drizzle icing glaze over top for an extra touch of sweetness.


Apple Danish Braid

I first tasted this delicious apple bread/dessert at a Pampered Chef party. I immediately tried it at home (with a few alterations) and it has been my "go to" when I need a somewhat fancy dessert or brunch item.

OVEN: 375 degrees

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup powdered
1 egg
1/4 cup pecans, chopped (optional - I usually leave out)
2 packages (8 oz each) refrigerated crescent rolls
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon maple syrup

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar until well blended. Add egg, mixing until smooth.

Unroll 1 package of crescent dough; do not separate. Arrange longest side of the dough across the width of a 12x15" baking pan/sheet. Repeat with remaining package of dough. Press along the perforations to seal together. On the long sides of the pan, cut dough into strips 1 1/2 inches apart, approximately 3 inches deep, using a pizza cutter. You will have 6 inches uncut in the center for the filling.

Spread half of the cream cheese mixture evenly over the center of the dough. Evenly arrange apple slices over the cream cheese mixture. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the apples. Scoop the remaining cream cheese mixture over the apples. Sprinkle with chopped pecans (if desired).

To braid, lift strips of dough across mixture to meet in the center, twisting each strip one turn. Continue alternating strips to form a braid. Tuck ends under to seal at end of braid.

Bake 25-28 minutes or until deep golden brown.

Remove from oven and brush with syrup.

Makes 10 servings.



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