Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Pickles

My grandma made cucumbers every year. Me and my family just love them and would eat them up every time she shared with us. She gave me the recipe but I was always afraid to make them because canning just scares me. My sisters and I wanted her to teach us but life always got in the way and she passed away before we got the chance. However we were lucky she taught my cousin and she promised to teach us. Well life kept getting in the way but finally we made it happen. There were some bumps and I was afraid it wasn’t gonna happen but this last August we finally got it all together.  I’m adding this tutorial because I want my family who weren’t there to be able to go to it and feel like they were there and be able to make them every year if they want. I also want it for myself because I’m sure I will need reminders because a year is a long time.

Just to let you know my grandma cans the old school way. She did not boil cans after being sealed so if you are not comfortable with that please boil. I’m totally aware most canning recommends it but I’m posting this exactly the way my grandmother did.



Step 1: wash jars and lids.



Step 2: rinse and scrub cucumbers. We got ours straight off the farm and they were very very dirty so this took quite awhile because we were making pickles for 5 of us.



Step 3: Prepare pan for lids. fill roasting pan with enough water to cover lids and add lids in single layer. This is very important that you add both parts of the lids and only one layer to make sure they are sterile. It also makes sure the heat ensures seal. 





Step 4: Prepare brine in a large canning pot (Recipe Below)


Step 5: Prepare jars with Dill, Garlic, and jalapenos (if you like it spicy)


Step 6: Fill each jar with as many cucumbers that you can fit in


Step 7: Once the brine is ready you fill each jar carefully making sure to leave 1/4 of inch to the top.


Step 8: With your oven glove  and tongs carefully put lid on each jar and close very tightly. These will be super hot so the oven glove is very important so you don't burn your hands. You also want to do this quickly to keep all the heat in.



 Step 9: Continue doing this until they are all filled and sealed.



Now comes the hardest part....waiting. Before moving the jars you have to wait for them to suck the lid in. You will hear it snap. You don't want to press it in. You"ll have to have lots of patience. So what I did is make us cocktails and snacks.










Ingredients (Per Dozen jars) (1 hour prep)

10lbs of cucumbers
2 heads of garlic
1 bunch of dill
1 1/2 jalapeno

Brine  (10 quarts)

1 quart white vinegar
15 cups of water
1 cup of salt

(My grandmother always doubled the brine)

Recipe

Bring the brine to a boil. Place lids in boiling water. after all jars are prepared with ingredients, pour brine into each jar carefully. Leave 1/4 inch of brine from top. Seal with lids immediately and let sit. Can take 1-2 hours to seal properly. They start to change color right away.

Once they all pop you store them for 2 months. To me that was the hardest part. Not all people wait that long but I am following exactly how my grandma does it because hers are the best. Next time I may add more garlic or more dill and maybe even more jalapeno to some jars. I like pickles with kick but if they are too spicy they are ruined. So I wasn't to brave this time around because this is a lot of work for something to turn out bad.

I'm no longer afraid to can vegetables or jam. Next year I may tweak some stuff. I may even try boiling jars after they are sealed to ensure the snapping of the lids because it was very stressful. I hope you all try canning after this because it's a lot easier than I thought.

 These are the two hand printed recipes of my grandmas recipe. I put together the recipe above based off of what a dozen would make. I made 6 jars for myself but we made 33 jars in total this day. So we made two brines. It took a lot longer because we made so many but it was a lot of fun to do it together. I will never forget it and am sure my grandma was there with us that day.




Sunday, September 29, 2019

Chocolate chip caramel cookies



I love chocolate chip cookies but most of the time they turn out pretty bad so when you find a good recipe it’s super special. I found this recipe on Pinterest. The photo and the fact that it had caramel in it sold me. I wasn’t sure I was gonna like the but I was willing to try. Everyone I make these for just absolutely love them and can’t just eat one. It makes a lot of cookies so I scoop them into balls and store in fridge so we can have fresh baked cookies every day until they run out. Check out original recipe here. I adapted very little. 

When I was a kid my sister and I made chocolate chip cookies just so we could eat the dough. Now I eat a few bites because that kid in me still loves it but my stomach says no. It’s funny how you change over time. 



Ingredients 

3 cups of flour
1tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups brown sugar 
1/4 cup white sugar 
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract 
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips 
1 cup caramel bits

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside 

In stand mixer beat sugars and butter until light and creamy. Then add eggs and vanilla. Scrape sides and mix again. 

Mix on low and add flour slowly. Once combined add chips and caramel. 

Scoop with small ice cream scoop 1 1/2 tablespoons. Bake for 11-13 minutes. 

Try them and let me know what you think. 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Whipped Ricotta and Bruschetta



My sister and I love to go shopping at the Nordstrom sale and then after a few hours of trying on clothes we need a break for drinks and lunch at the Macaroni Grill. I’ve been doing that tradition for many years. I’ve had some not so good experiences at that restaurant but mostly great. We always have to order the whipped ricotta bruschetta. I love it so much that I needed to recreate it. It’s a very simple recipe with few ingredients so it’s very important to use good quality ingredients. 

Ingredients

4 ounces whole milk ricotta
1 ounce sour cream 
2 tsp basil
1 tsp parsley 
2 tomatoes seeded
1 garlic cloves chopped 
2 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 baguette sliced

Directions

Mix together ricotta, sour cream, 1tsp basil, parsley, 1 tsp olive oil, and salt and pepper. 

Dice seeded tomatoes. Place in a bowl and add garlic, julienned basil 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. 

Slice baguette or any of your favorite bread. Paint olive oil on both sides of bread. Grill until brown and slightly crisp. Smear cheese spread on bread and top with tomatoes. 

Let me know what you think. I hope you enjoy it as much as me and my friends. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Spicy Grapefruit Margarita


My sister made one of these for me last summer and I was addicted. I believe the story goes that her neighbor Susie made it for her. It is a great combination of salty, sweet, tart with a hint of spicy. I gulped it down and needed to share it with you. My friend Susie found it on pinterest from a blog called half baked harvest. She sent me the original recipe. I highly recommend you make this delicious margarita made with fresh juice especially because all this citrus fruit is in season right now. 

Ingredients (for one drink)

2 ounces of tequila
1/2 grapefruit juiced
1 lime juiced
1 tablespoon of honey
1 slice of jalapeno

Ingredients (salt mixture)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon salt
2 tsp sugar

Directions

Pour all ingredients except jalapeno, in a shaker and shake vigourlsy. Rim glass with spicy salt mixture. Fill glass with ice and pour shaken mixture into glass. garnish and serve. 

If you are going to have a group of friends over it is great to make this in a big batch so you don't have to work so hard. I did this recently and it was great and easy. 

Ingredients (Big Batch) makes about 5 drinks depending on how big your glasses are.

1 1/2 cups of tequila
2 cups grapefruit juice
3/4 lime juice
1/4 cup of honey
5 slices of jalapeno

Directions

Pour all ingredients in a pitcher except jalapenos. mix well and hold in refrigerator a few hours before serving. Rim each glass with spicy salt mixture and fill glass with ice. Pour about 5 drinks. Add jalapeno when serving. 


Let me know what you think. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade



One of my favorite things about going to the state fair is getting a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade. What I hated about it is that they would charge $5 a glass. Not such a big deal when I am buying it for just me but when your whole family wants one then it gets way too expensive. I figured out how to make my own by the glass. It just seemed to much work squeezing lemons to make it by the pitcher when not everyone wanted one when I did. 

The only problem is that I can't drink the concentrate any more. It is to sweet and thick for me. 

Ingredients

1 medium lemon
1/8 cup of simple syrup
ice
12 ounce glass

Directions

Fill glass with ice. Squeeze one medium lemon into glass. If your lemon is small squeeze 1 1/2 lemons. Then add simple syrup and fill the rest with cold water. Stir with straw and enjoy. 

Super easy and refreshing.


Friday, August 25, 2017

Passion fruit Mojito



Mojitos are one of my favorite cocktails. It took me a long time to figure out just the right measurements for each drink and now I am adding new flavors. I found this passion fruit puree at cash and carry and now I add it to many different cocktails, ice cream, and even smoothies. 

I made this drink on vacation and they were  a huge hit. I think this fruit is a good addition to a mojito because it is sweet and tart just like the original. 

I'm sorry to say this puree is not easy to find but you can order it on line I believe. 

Ingredients  (per 1 cocktail, double for 2 or triple for 3)

1 1/2 ounce White Rum
1 1/2 Lime
Club Soda
8 Mint Leaves
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
ice
1/4 ounce Passion fruit puree


Directions

In a shaker add 1/2 lime and 5 mint leaves. Muddle and squeeze lime juice out. Then add rum, squeeze 1 lime, simple syrup, and passion fruit puree. 

In a glass add 3 mint leaves torn up. then fill with ice 3/4 of the glass. Shake ingredients in shaker and pour over ice 3/4 of the way. Top with club soda. stir with straw and serve. 

Let me know what you think.


Monday, August 21, 2017

Chinese BBQ Pork






Every time we went out for Chinese food we had to start with Barbecue Pork. I'm not sure when my step mom Sue decided to find a recipe and how long ago she started making it but it has become a tradition to have it at all our holiday functions and vacation in Sun Lakes. We all look forward to it. The only bad part is that it is so good that I no longer like ordering it at restaurants. I recently made it myself and needed to share it on my blog because it is so good and easy that all of you should be able to enjoy it. 

Ingredients

1 pound pork tenderloin
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon 5 spice seasoning
1/4 pepper
1 teaspoon cooking sherry or rice wine
2 Tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoon hoisen sauce
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring

Directions 

Mix all ingredients and add to the large plastic zip lock bag. After trimming the pork tenderloin add it to bag and marinate for 2 hours or over night. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for approximately 25 minutes. I believe I baked mine for 30 minutes because I like mine a bit over done. The temperature should read at least 145 degrees but I like it a little dry because I dip it into ketchup, hot mustard and sesame seeds. I think my temp read 160 degrees. 

My step mom made it with cooking sherry I tried rice wine because I had it and it seemed to be exactly the same. It is up to you. The red food coloring is just for the coloring but doesn't change the taste so it is up to you. 

Try it and let me know what you think.