Overnight Pickles

Last night I experimented with “overnight” pickles. A recipe a good friend shared with me after enjoying the pickles in California while visiting family. If she loved them I was sure I would too. I like crisp, fresh tasting pickles and these fit the bill. No canning experience necessary. Here goes…

10-12 Kirby cucumbers scrubbed clean and sliced into approximately 1/2 inch slices

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1small Vidalia onion sliced thinner than the cucumbers

1 sweet red pepper julienned

4-5 cloves of garlic

fresh dill fronds

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Combine:

2 c white vinegar

2 c sugar

2 T kosher or canning salt

2 tsp dill seed

1 tsp red pepper flakes

Pour dressing over the vegetables and toss. Pack the vegetables and dill fronds in a large glass jar and add dressing to cover the veggies.  Refrigerate and enjoy!  I made a double batch.

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I tasted one with my coffee in the morning and they’re great!  They were even better in the afternoon.

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Granola

Granola is great with yogurt and fruit, as a topping on ice cream, adding a little crunch and texture to hot cereal, or just as a snack by itself. I’m sure there are many other ways to enjoy it!

I made a batch this morning and am looking forward to having some with my yogurt as soon as I’m done posting this recipe.

In a large mixing bowl combine:
3 cups of oats (I use old fashion oats)
1 1/2 c nuts, rough diced (I use a combination of pecans, walnuts, and almonds)
1 1/2 c coconut shavings (not the sweetened coconut you find in the baking aisle)
1/2 c wheat germ, quinoa flakes, or flax seed…I used flax seed in this batch
2 T brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

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In a smaller bowl combine wet ingredients:
1/4 c coconut oil (warmed), mild olive oil or canola oil (I like to use the coconut oil)
1/2 c agave syrup, honey, or maple syrup (I used 1/4 c each of agave and honey)

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Pour over dry ingredients and, using a wooden spoon, stir well. Pour mixture onto a large jelly roll pan (a cookie sheet with sides) and spread evenly.

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Bake at 300 for 30 minutes stirring mixture every 10 minutes. Granola should be a light golden brown when it’s done.

I spread butcher paper or parchment paper on my counter top and spread the granola out to cool.

While it is still warm stir in:
1 c dried cherries
1 c golden raisins
Or 2 cups of your favorite dried fruits (apricots, cranberries, figs, etc)

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Once the granola has cooled store in tightly sealed containers.

Enjoy!!!

White Enchiladas

Enchiladas with a little twist. Red on the inside, white on the outside. It’s what was for dinner tonight.

Chicken breast
2 cups chicken broth
2 cloves of garlic

Poach a chicken breast (mine was approx 12oz) in chicken broth along with a couple cloves of garlic. Once the chicken is done set it aside to cool and save the broth to use in the sauce.

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1 medium onion diced
1 sweet red pepper diced
1T olive oil
Sauté over medium heat in olive oil.

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1 cup fresh or frozen corn (thawed)
1 cup black beans
1 small can mild green chilies chopped
1 can or jar of stewed tomatoes
2 chipotle chilies in Adobe sauce finely diced

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Stir into onion/pepper mix and simmer over low heat.

2 T cumin
1tsp garlic powder
1 T oregano
Salt to taste
Stir into veggie mix.

Using two forks shred the chicken breast.

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Add the chicken to the veggies. Remove from the heat.

Now for the sauce.

4 T butter
4 T flour
1 1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 c half-n-half
1 T Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
1 1/2 c shredded cheese (sharp white cheddar, Monterey Jack, any combination of your choosing)

Melt butter and whisk in flour. Continue whisking for a bit over medium heat to work in the flour. Gradually stir in the broth and half-n-half and continue whisking until the sauce begins to thicken. Reduce heat and add cheeses a little at a time stirring to blend. Stir in Frank’s Red Hot Sauce.

Now it’s assembly time. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread about a third of the sauce in a 9×13 pan. I line mine with the magical non stick Reynolds foil.

10 tortillas (flour or yellow or white corn)
Warm the tortillas in the microwave or over a flame on the stove.

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Spoon a generous amount of filling in the center of the tortilla and roll. Place the filled tortilla seam side down in the prepared pan. Continue filling the warmed tortillas until you’ve used all the filling.

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Pour the remaining sauce over the tortillas and top with additional grated cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and browning on top.

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Use as many garnishes as you like:
Lettuce
Tomatoes
Lime
Avocado
Black olives
Jalapeños
Salsa

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Enjoy!!

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For those of you that would rather go meatless add additional beans, corn and other veggies such as mushrooms, summer squash, etc) and omit the chicken. Veggie broth can be substituted for chicken broth.

I’m a little shy of really spicy dishes but you could add more chipotle chilies or a T of hot chili powder.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This morning I made chocolate chip cookies. I had an admirer who, years ago, studied for the priesthood. He said my chocolate chip cookies were quintessential…apparently Latin for an A-one cookie! My daughter says they are the best…sweet and a little salty.

Here we go. You too can make the quintessential cookie!

Preheat oven to 375°F

Cream together:
1 c shortening (I use butter flavored Crisco)
1 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar (packed)
2 eggs
2 tsp good vanilla

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With a wooden spoon stir in:
2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 generous cups chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)

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Using a small scoop, place dough on un-greased cookie sheets.

Bake for 11 minutes.

Enjoy!!

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A couple notes:
I use Airbake cookie sheets exclusively. I love them!

Once you put the cookies in the oven, don’t open and close and open and close the oven door to check on their progress.

These cookies, like most, are best right out of the oven. But I’ve found the best way to store them is to package individual servings (three or four cookies) in Ziploc sandwich bags in the freezer.

Canned Stewed Tomatoes

Today was a canning day. Stewed tomatoes for lots of soup and chili days this winter. I bought a bushel of beautiful tomatoes from the farm market yesterday.

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Because I was making stewed tomatoes the first thing I did was diced one large sweet onion, two sweet peppers and three or four stalks of celery. I did red and yellow peppers but green will work too.

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Next step was to peel and core the tomatoes. I core and then put them in a pot of boiling water for a minute or so until the skins crack and slide off easily.

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I core and peel about a quarter bushel at a time. Then I did a bite size dice and put them in a large stainless steel kettle over medium heat.
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Once the tomatoes begin to simmer I stir in my diced vegetables and simmer them about 30 minutes.

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We like garlic so I stir minced garlic into the tomatoes just before I begin filling my jars.

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I use a canning funnel to ladle the hot tomatoes into jars that have been sterilized in boiling water. Once the jars are filled I add 1/2 tsp of sea salt and 1/8 tsp of citric acid.

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The last step is putting the jars into a hot water bath making sure I have a couple inches of water over the jar lids. Once the water comes back up to a boil set the timer…35 minutes for pints, 45 minutes for quarts.

Now I have awesome tomatoes to enjoy all winter long.

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Canning is a bit time consuming but not difficult at all. A half bushel of tomatoes yielded about 28 pints of stewed tomatoes. I will omit all the veggies for the second half bushel and hot pack a simple diced tomato.

Home-canned tomatoes make the best soups and chili and tomato sauce!

Pesto

A good friend gave me a beautiful bouquet of fresh basil from her garden.

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I find my salad spinner to be the best tool for washing fresh herbs.

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Once the basil is clean and dry it goes into the food processor:
2 cups of packed basil leaves
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts
and pulse until leaves are finely chopped. With food processor running on low add in a slow, steady stream:
1/2 cup good olive oil

Add salt and pepper to taste.

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If you’re going to use immediately stir in:
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

I froze mine using a silicone ice cube tray. Cover tightly before putting in the freezer. I will add my Parmesan when I’m ready to use the pesto.

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Now all we need is some pasta.

In the Beginning…a Blog is Born

I love to cook. I love to feed people. I’m not a gourmet. I have no professional training. I’d never make it on Top Chef or Chopped, but I love to experiment and to try new things. I like to take recipes and ad-lib which is sometimes a necessity because I live in a very rural area. I enjoy sharing my creations with people. Sometimes they are awesome. Sometimes, maybe not. But they are mine!

I hope my blog will entertain you and maybe even inspire you.

PS. My daughter named my blog “The Finnish Dish.” Most of my recipes are not Finnish, but the best parts of me are…so in fact I am the Finnish Dish!

I’m new to the whole concept of blogging so this will be a living, ever changing site. I’ve sectioned the blog so that it makes sense…at least to me. Curious Epicurean will have savory dishes, Chubby Hubby desserts and other sweets, Adult Beverages…well that’s self explanatory. And Crafting After Hours will showcase my knitting and other attempts at artsy things!

Pesto

A good friend gave me a beautiful bouquet of fresh basil from her garden.

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I find my salad spinner to be the best tool for washing fresh herbs.

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Once the basil is clean and dry it goes into the food processor:
2 cups of packed basil leaves
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts
and pulse until leaves are finely chopped. With food processor running on low add in a slow, steady stream:
1/2 cup good olive oil

Add salt and pepper to taste.

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If you’re going to use immediately stir in:
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

I froze mine using a silicone ice cube tray. Cover tightly before putting in the freezer. I will add my Parmesan when I’m ready to use the pesto.

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Now all we need is some pasta.

In the Beginning…

I love to cook. I love to feed people. I’m not a gourmet. I have no professional training. I’d never make it on Top Chef or on Chopped. But I love to experiment and to try new things. I love to share my creations with people. Sometimes they are awesome. Sometimes, maybe not.

I hope my blog will entertain you and maybe even inspire you.

PS. My daughter named my blog “The Finnish Dish.” Most of my recipes are not Finnish but the best parts of me are…so in fact I am the Finnish Dish!