Overnight Pickles

I published this post last August and I’ve noticed lots of visits this week from people googling overnight pickles, so here it is again!  These are wonderful!  

I’m an aspiring canner but I haven’t got it down yet. In the meantime this is a wonderful way to make pickles. They’ll probably keep for a few weeks in the fridge if you don’t have a crew like mine who eats them all before you have a chance to test how long they’ll last!

Overnight Pickles

4 cups of water

1/2 cup of white vinegar

3 tablespoons of pickling or kosher salt

2 tablespoons of sugar

garlic cloves (3 per quart jar)

1 teaspoon of mustard seed or 1 tablespoon of pickling spice

dill seeds or fresh dill

8-10 pickling cucumbers

Wash and quarter pickling cucumbers (or slice into rounds if you prefer) and pack into quart or pint jars. As written, this recipe makes 2 quarts and one pint, I double it to make five quarts.  Make a brine by bringing the first four ingredients to a boil and then cooling. Once cool, pour into jars over cucumbers and add spices, garlic and dill. Close jars and refrigerate overnight. They’ll be ready the next day!

This is my mother-in-law’s recipe and a favorite at our house. It’s perfect for this time of year when there are lots of cucumbers to use up.

Enjoy!

Gingerbread

There’s nothing like the smell of gingerbread. Yesterday one of my friends came home to the  scent of gingerbread baking and posted a thank you note to her husband on facebook. I thought that was so cute! It really does welcome you in.  We love to make gingerbread in our house and my oldest daughter has taken our gingerbread recipe to new heights.

Here she is baking a batch last Christmas.

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These days she uses a very simple confectioners sugar and water icing and pipes designs on each cookie. If we make them this weekend I’ll try to share some photos. They are simple and delicious!

Here they are a few years ago with lots and lots of buttercream frosting…the younger the kids the more frosting and sprinkles.

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This is last weekend’s creation….

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Piping is big right now, Buddy Valestro does lots of this…
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We love this gingerbread!  Here’s the recipe:

Gingerbread Boys

4 Cups flour

1 Teaspoon ginger

1 Teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 Teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 Teaspoon allspice

1 Cup molasses (or 1/2 cup molasses and 1/2 cup honey, that’s my preference)

1 Cup sugar

1 Cup margarine, softened (we often substitute butter)

2/3 Cup boiling water

1 Teaspoon cream of tarter

1 Tablespoon baking soda

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift the flour with the spices, set aside. Blend the molasses, sugar and margarine in a large bowl. Add the boiling water, cream of tarter, baking soda, salt and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture gradually, mixing well after each addition. Add enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for 8 to 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut with a cookie cutter. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until lightly browned; do not overbake.

Remove carefully from the cookie sheet and place on a wire rack to cool.

Combine powdered (confectioners) sugar with a few drops of water to make icing. Then use a plastic bag with a pinhole to pipe decorations if you’d like to. Or eat without icing, or you can go crazy like my younger kids did in the photo above and embellish away!

Enjoy Everything!

Michele

Overnight Pickles

I’m an aspiring canner but I haven’t got it down yet. In the meantime this is a wonderful way to make pickles. They’ll probably keep for a few weeks in the fridge if you don’t have a crew like mine who eats them all before you have a chance to test how long they’ll last!

Overnight Pickles

4 cups of water

1/2 cup of white vinegar

3 tablespoons of pickling or kosher salt

2 tablespoons of sugar

garlic cloves (3 per quart jar)

1 teaspoon of mustard seed or 1 tablespoon of pickling spice

dill seeds or fresh dill

8-10 pickling cucumbers

Wash and quarter pickling cucumbers (or slice into rounds if you prefer) and pack into quart or pint jars. As written, this recipe makes 2 quarts and one pint, I double it to make five quarts.  Make a brine by bringing the first four ingredients to a boil and then cooling. Once cool, pour into jars over cucumbers and add spices, garlic and dill. Close jars and refrigerate overnight. They’ll be ready the next day!

This is my mother-in-law’s recipe and a favorite at our house. It’s perfect for this time of year when there are lots of cucumbers to use up.

Enjoy!

Basil Day!!!

Yesterday I harvested and processed basil. It’s one of those jobs that looks kind of overwhelming at first but ends up being fun, with a nice reward at the end. I freeze basil in one or two cup containers that I can pull out about once a month to use as I need it. This year I also tried drying it in the oven with great results.  Of course now I want to dry every herb that I’m growing, and I’m pretty sure that I will!  I think I’ll love reaching for my own oregano, basil, thyme, dill and sage when I’m cooking in January!

The day started with a trip out to the garden to bring in my first bunch of basil. I like to cut it as I go to avoid wilt and so that it’s as fresh as possible when it goes into the freezer. This also gives me wiggle room if I have to stop to run a kid somewhere or make lunch.

I wash it thoroughly, a handful or two at a time. Sometimes I dry with towels if I’m really flying along time-wise. Usually it can sit for a few minutes to dry off while I’m working on something else.

To take the leaves off the stem I lay it flat and slice in a straight line.  I still cut some leaves off  individually, but I find that I can get a lot done quickly if I kind of “power chop” it like this.

I fill the food processer right up and add a few tablespoons of olive oil.

I pulse a few times till it’s chopped finely and adjust the olive oil so it’s well covered but not soupy.

I put it into plastic containers to freeze and it’s done! I try to fill to the top to prevent freezer burn and make good use of space. I’ve found that it will keep for up to a year. Experts might recommend less than a year, but I was still pulling basil out in June  and it was just fine.

As I mentioned earlier I also ventured into drying some basil. When I started this cookie sheet was covered with leaves (and a few bunches of leaves).  I used the “warm” setting on my oven (a GE Profile) to dry this in about an hour and a half. I set the kitchen timer after an hour and checked it every ten minutes or so. It reached a point where it was clearly ready to crumble. There was no moisture left at all!

I simply crumbled it as soon as it came to room temperature and this was the result.  It smells great and looks just like dried basil!  I’m hoping for great flavor, we’ll see!

I also made a big pot of pesto… we’ll enjoy pasta with pesto and fresh tomatoes tonight.

Have I mentioned that I really, really love summer?

Enjoy everything!

Michele

Pineapple Zucchini Bread

I know that there are lots of zucchini recipes out there this week but you really must try this delicious bread. I got this recipe at a Bed and Breakfast called the Ferry Point House while on my honeymoon in New Hampshire  almost 23 years ago. The pineapple makes it so moist and delicious. You can add a cup of chopped walnuts if you’d like to.

Ferry Point House Pineapple Zucchini Bread

3 cups of flour

2 teaspoons of baking soda

½ teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1 ½ teaspoon of cinnamon

¼ teaspoon of nutmeg

1 cup of salad oil

3 large eggs

2 cups of sugar

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

2 cups of unpaired, shredded zucchini

1 can (8 1/4 oz) of crushed pineapple, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and put to the side. Beat eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla until thick and foamy. Stir in zucchini, pineapple and then the flour mixture. Pour into two greased loan pans. Bake at 350 for one hour or until cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in pan for ten minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to finish cooling. Enjoy!

I have to write a quick disclaimer about this photo, the “ghost” in the top left corner is not in the original. I can’t figure out how it got there but my little guy loved it and said “you have to post it like that”.. so, here it is. I think it’s kind of amusing. Let me know if it’s something that can be fixed. Maybe it’s the ghost of WordPress?

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day!

Michele

Zucchini Rotini

The zucchini is growing faster than we can eat it all ready.

Here’s a quick and simple dish that I made for dinner on Sunday. It was delicious!!

The Rotel tomatoes made it quite zippy. My family likes that but if yours is more conservative I’d suggest using fresh tomatoes, diced tomatoes or even the mild Rotel.

Michele’s Zucchini Rotini

1 Lb Rotini pasta

3 T butter

2 T Olive oil

2 T minced onion

1 pinch of sugar

1 t Garlic powder or 1 T chopped fresh garlic

1 medium zucchini, cut into thin strips. I left the skin on half and pealed the other half so as not to overwhelm anyone with too much good nutrition

1 can of Rotel Tomatoes

1 handful of chopped basil

½ cup of half and half, or light or heavy cream

grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta to al dente. While pasta is cooking melt butter and olive oil together in skillet. Add onion and sugar and sauté until onion starts to brown. The sugar helps the onion to caramelize a little bit. Add the garlic and zucchini and sauté until it starts to soften. Add the can of tomatoes and the basil. Cook for a few minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain cooked pasta.

Pour the zucchini sauce over the pasta, then stir in a little half and half (if your not worried about fat content go for the cream instead) just  to moisten the dish and add some extra dimension.  Top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!!

I’ve been making these chocolate chip cookies for many years and I have to say they really are delicious! Their also extremely easy, no mixer or sifting needed. You can make them anywhere. We often double this since there are so many of us and they go fast.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 ½ Sticks of Butter (melted)

1 Cup of Brown Sugar

½ Cup of Granulated Sugar

1 Egg + 1 Egg Yolk

2 Teaspoons Vanilla

2 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Flour

½ Teaspoon Salt

½ Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 or 2 Cups Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients and put to side.  Melt Butter in large bowl then stir in sugars, eggs and vanilla by hand.  Add dry ingredients mixing until just blended.  Do not overmix! Stir in chips.

Gently form into balls (you can make small, kid sized cookies, or the larger Dunkin Donuts size if you’d like) and place on baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Enjoy!!