Spring and Summer Harvest: Pickling

We’ve all been there. A co-worker or two or three brings in veggies from their home garden and you are stumped at what to do with their generosity. It’s harvest time and we have been and are starting the reap the benefits of our friends, family, and co-workers’ green thumbs. You could take those beans, cucumbers, peppers, and other summer veggies and roast or saute them, but you’ve been there and you’ve done that. What now? Pickles baby!

IMG_3877 (2)

I subscribe to Rachael Ray magazine and this month she gives a handful of pickling recipes. It’s amazing how easy pickling is and the crazy amount of flavor you get once they are finished. I decided to pickle string beans, bell peppers, and cucumbers. This only requires about 35-40 minutes of your time and in 4 days you will have yourself some awesome sandwich toppers, drink garnishes, and snacks on their own.

I used Rachael’s recipes, but here are some other sites with yummy pickle recipes:

Serious Eats

Food and Wine

The Kitchn

Recipes

Easy-Breezy Bread and Butters

This is a traditional sweet pickle. Great for adding to tuna or chicken salads or sandwiches

  • 1 pound small cucumbers (such as Kirby or Persian), ends trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  1. In a large bowl, toss the cucumbers and shallot; pack tightly into 2 pint-size canning jars.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the white vinegar, honey, salt and 1 cup water to a boil, stirring until the honey and salt dissolve. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cucumbers and shallots, making sure the vegetables are completely submerged. Screw on the lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Refrigerate at least 3 days before eating. (The pickles are best eaten within 3 weeks.)

IMG_3873

IMG_3874

Dilly Green Beans

Dilly green beans… green beans that are dilly… snack away with a cocktail!

  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed from stem ends into 5-inch pieces
  • 8 sprigs dill
  • 2 large cloves garlic, lightly crushed
  • 2 tablespoons dill seed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt and add the beans. Cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes, then drain and transfer to a large bowl of ice water.
  2. Divide the dill sprigs, garlic, dill seed, salt and crushed red pepper, if using, between 2 pint-size canning jars. Drain the beans and pat dry. Tilt one jar on its side and tightly layer half the green beans in the jar, cut side toward the bottom. Repeat with the second jar.
  3. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the white vinegar and 1 cup water. Pour over the beans, making sure they’re completely submerged. Screw on the lids and shake until the salt dissolves and the seasonings are evenly distributed. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Refrigerate at least 3 days before eating. (The pickles are best eaten within 1 month.)

IMG_3869

IMG_3872

Sweet Pickled Peppers

These are great on almost any sandwich or wrap. I plan to use these in the girls’ pasta salad for their lunch.

  • 1/3 cup EVOO
  • 2 pounds yellow, red and orange bell peppers cut into 1 1/2-inch squares (about 8 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 small sprigs oregano
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  1. In a large skillet, heat the EVOO over medium-high. Add the peppers, sprinkle with the salt and cook, stirring often, until the peppers are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the garlic.
  2. Divide the oregano sprigs between 2 pint-size canning jars. Pack the pepper mixture tightly into the jars.
  3. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the red wine vinegar and 1/2 cup water. Pour over the peppers, making sure they’re completely submerged. Screw on the lids and shake until the seasonings are evenly distributed. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Refrigerate at least 3 days before eating. (The pickles are best eaten within 1 month.)

IMG_3875

IMG_3876

I also thought about pickling fruit. Got any good recipes? Let me know!

 

Advertisements

Blue Apron Box: Reviews

I am always looking for ways to make my day-to-day a little easier. As a single mother who works full time, it’s imperative that I minimize the things that don’t matter but are required. The first thing I outsourced was cleaning. After a few misses, I finally found a cleaning service I am satisfied with. The next thing on the list was menu planning. Obviously I love cooking, but I must admit that coming up with meal ideas can be difficult, especially when I lack inspiration. I am often conflicted between serving the same things and finding recipes that are good for us. It also never fails, when I finally figure out what I am serving I forget one important item and have to send Shonn out to grab it for me.

I’ve known about Blue Apron, a weekly meal delivery subscription service, for quite some time. I decided to finally give it a try when they offered a Groupon deal. It took about 5 minutes to register my account and create a profile which included selecting my food preferences. You have the option to choose vegetarian meals or meals with meat. If you choose the meat option, you can choose to eliminate certain meats. I originally chose every meat to keep my options open. After I selected my food preferences I selected my first delivery week. Once my week was confirmed(I selected the following week), the menu selections were disclosed.

The day before delivery, I received an email confirming my box was on the way along with the tracking number. The box was sitting in front of my door when I arrived home after work that day. Excitement!

IMG_3793

IMG_3780

This week’s menu included salmon burgers with basil butter corn on the cob, hanger steaks with roasted potatoes and sauteed long beans and tomato, and parmesan-basil chicken patties with braised romano beans and barley. My daughter Annie wanted to try the salmon burgers first and I wasn’t going to deny my first born. Ha! This was definitely my favorite meal out of the three. The burgers came out perfect and the basil complimented both the burger and the corn very well.

Salmon Burgers with Basil Butter Corn on the Cob

Salmon Burgers with Basil Butter Corn on the Cob

Our next meal was the hanger steaks. I am not a steak eater at all. I am not even a beef eater outside of burgers but decided to give it a try. After having this meal I changed my meat preference to exclude beef. As the meal was tasty, I didn’t enjoy the steak. If steak is your thing, this was a nice spin on the a steak and potatoes dinner.

Hanger Steak with Roasted Potatoes and sauteed long beans and tomato

Hanger Steak with Roasted Potatoes and Sauteed Long Beans and Tomato

The last meal, parmesan-basil chicken patties, was a very filling meal. It was my first time cooking with barley and I think I made it a bit too al dente. Nonetheless, it was a good meal and the girls enjoyed it. The chicken patties were great compliments to the braised vegetables.

Parmesan-basil Chicken Patties with Braised Romano Beans and Barley

Parmesan-basil Chicken Patties with Braised Romano Beans and Barley

After the first week I decided to continue my subscription with Blue Apron. Even at the regular price of $59.95, it is a cost effective and convenient way to try new foods, save time at the grocery store, and spend time with the girls in the kitchen. They were very excited to help prepare each meal so I am hoping that momentum stays high for every other meal.

Thank you for making my life just a little easier, Blue Apron!