Flashback Friday – In A Pickle

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 5/4/09 on Exit 51.

In A Pickle

Lists are a big thing with me.  I make them constantly to remind myself of anything and everything.  It becomes clearer to me with each passing day that I manage to forget more than I remember.  To steal a line from an interview Russell Brand gave to NPR, “I’m an unreliable witness to my own existence.” Fortunately, this condition has not progressed to the point where I make lists of the lists that I need to make.

Canned

Let me say that when I’m making the grocery list, I try very hard to make sure I’ve double checked the recipes I plan to make against the list.  Otherwise, I could find myself in a pickle.  Like yesterday.

After plowing through my latest food memoir, I had made a mental note that I wanted to try the pickled carrot recipe.  I knew were were going to be having people over for a dinner party and I wanted to have those carrots on the menu.  So, without consulting the recipe, I picked up what I thought I remembered as the ingredients.  And then I forgot all about it.

The weekend before the dinner, I was out and about and checking things off other lists.  Laundry, check.  Housework, check.  Yard work…lots of yard work, check, check, check.  After battling the weeds for three hours, I picked up the recipe again.  And I realized that not only did it need a week in the fridge to pickle, but I had only managed to remember about half of the ingredients.  Among the things that I forgot, canning jars.  So what do you do?

You either scrap the recipe or you get yourself to the megamart in a jiffy.  Did you know that canning jars aren’t sold individually?  They aren’t.  So I either need to LOVE this recipe and make it to give to everyone I know, or find uses for the other eleven jars.

Until next Sunday, the jury is still out on the fate of the pickled carrots.  I’m sure I will remember to tell you how it all goes…it’s already on the list.

Molly’s Spicy Pickled Carrots

From A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar, plus more for topping jars
  • 2 cups water, plus more for topping jars
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 6 (5 to 6 inch) sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, cracked
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 pounds small (finger sized) carrots, or standard sized carrots cut into sticks about 1/2 inch wide and 3 inches long

Combine 1 1/2 cups vinegar, water, sugar, thyme, garlic, black peppercorns, red pepper flakes, salt, and mustard seeds in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove pan from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.  Add remaining 1/2 cup vinegar.

Put carrots in large heatproof bowl, pour warm brine over them. Cool to room temperature.

While the carrots cool, wash two quart sized canning jars and their lids in warm soapy water.

When carrots and brine are cooled, divide carrots evenly between jars, arranging them snugly.  Using your fingers and wide mouth canning jars makes this easier.  Divide the brine evenly between the jars.  The carrots should be completely covered by the brine.  If not, add a mixture of 2 parts vinegar and 1 part water to cover.

Seal firmly and refrigerate three days to a week.  The carrots take time to absorb the brine.

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Chewy Ginger Cookies

I wish I had an interesting story to tell you about these cookies.  But look at that picture.  What could I possibly say to convince you to make these if that picture doesn’t already have you heating up your oven?

Chewy Ginger Cookies

Adapted from The Flying Biscuit Cafe Cookbook

BAH Note:  Don’t go get in a hurry and forget to refrigerate the dough before you bake the cookies.  Without the time to chill the cookies will spread too much.

  • 1 cup sugar plus 1/2 cup
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together 1 cup of sugar and the shortening until light in fluffy.  Add the molasses and then the egg, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl down.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.  With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix until just combined.  Transfer the bowl of dough to the refrigerator and chill for a few hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Place the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a small bowl.

Using a small ice cream disher, scoop the chilled dough and form into 2 inch balls.  Roll the dough balls in the sugar and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 2 inches between each cookie.

Bake for approximately 8 minutes or until the surface of the cookie crackles and the edges become firm and crisp.  Allow the cookies to cool on the sheet for 10 to 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store cookies in an airtight container.

{printable recipe}

Flashback Friday – Public Service Announcement

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 3/29/09 at Exit 51.

Public Service Announcement

This is what can happen when you remember there is an entire Sara Lee pound cake in your freezer, chocolate chips in the cupboard, and a grill press in the drawer:

Pressed

I wonder how this would be with some peanut butter thrown into the mix?

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program, already in progress.

Honey Dijon Chicken

Despite having a shelf full of cookbooks and an internet overflowing with recipes, I get into food ruts.  Does that ever happen to you?  Do you ever feel uninspired or overwhelmed when deciding what’s for dinner?  Day in and day out, the responsibility to keep mealtime fresh and interesting…it’s enough to make me want to hang up my apron and have cereal for dinner.

It almost makes me envious of the folks who have a certain number of recipes in their arsenal that they constantly cycle through.  How much easier would my meal planning be if every Wednesday was meatloaf?  Or if spaghetti was on our plate once a week without fail?

I guess the grass is always greener elsewhere.  Have only a few options to choose from and risk getting burnt out on them. Have seemingly limitless options vis a vis The Google and burn yourself out searching before you even get in the kitchen.

Where’s the middle ground?  I don’t know.  I’m still searching for it.  If you happen to run across it, would you point me in the general direction?  All I can offer you in exchange is Honey Dijon Chicken.  But believe me, that’s a fair trade.

Honey Dijon Chicken

Adapted from Our Life In The Kitchen

BAH Note: If you want your sauce a little thicker, use my buerre maine trick.  Combine 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon softened butter in a small bowl until you have a smooth paste.  Use a whisk to stir the buerre maine into the hot sauce and cook until the sauce thickens a bit.  I mix the honey and mustard together in a measuring cup so that any that I don’t add to the sauce can be put in jar and refrigerated for later use.

  • 6 to 8 bone in chicken thighs, depending on the size of your pan
  • 2 shallots
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup half and half (optional)

Melt the butter in a large frying pan or dutch oven over medium high heat.  When the foaming subsides, place the chicken skin side up in the pan.  Cook until the chicken gets well browned.

While the chicken is browning, slice the shallots and combine the honey and mustard in a measuring cup.

Once the underside of the chicken is browned, carefully turn the chicken over so it is skin side down in the pan.  Add the shallots and cook until the skin begins to brown.  Add the chicken broth and simmer approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil.  Skim the fat from the juices in the pan and cook over medium heat until the sauce is reduced by about half.  Reduce the heat and whisk half of the the honey mustard mixture into the sauce.  Taste the sauce, if you want a stronger flavor, add more of the honey mustard.  Season to taste with kosher salt and stir in either half and half or a buerre maine mixture, if using.

Return the chicken to the pan and coat the chicken with sauce before serving.

{printable recipe}

ATK Buttermilk Waffles

I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with ideas about how The Mistah and I can finance an adoption without sending ourselves to the poor house.  The economy is tight with some people unable to find jobs at all so the likelihood of me finding a second job, any second job, isn’t promising.

I thought about opening up an Etsy shop.  But after a quick check of the competition, I determined that I would have to sell something like 10,000 jars of jam in order to turn enough of a profit to make it a viable option.  Really Etsy people, how can you sell a jar of jam for $3 or $4 dollars?  By the time you add up all of your supply costs and account for your time to make the product, does that price even cover those?

I’ve got an extensive portfolio of (mainly food) photos.  It would be ideal if I could turn them into “boutique” note cards.  I’ve got to think about that one a little more.

It’s seriously too bad that I can’t do a waffle fundraiser.  Because I have what may very well be the most perfect waffle recipe.  It pains me to say that it is an America’s Test Kitchen recipe.  It pains me, but it doesn’t surprise me.  They nailed this one.  The outside of the waffle is beautifully crisp while the inside is achingly tender.  It is a perfect balance.

These are what waffles aspire to be.  These waffles are money.  I just wish there was a way for me to turn them into actual money.

ATK Buttermilk Waffles

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

BAH: Despite the temptation to dig right into these waffles, let them sit in a warm oven for 10 minutes.  Your patience will be rewarded with a perfectly crisp exterior.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups plain seltzer water (not sparkling water or club soda)

Heat your oven to 250 degrees, set a wire rack inside a sheet pan and place it in the oven. Heat your waffle iron.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, buttermilk powder, and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, and oil until thoroughly combined.  Slowly add the seltzer water to the wet mixture and gently stir to combine.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry.  Gently stir the batter until it is just combined. A few lumps and streaks of flour are ok.

Cook the waffles according to your waffle iron’s directions.  Transfer the cooked waffles to the warm oven to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

{printable recipe}

Flashback Friday – Matchmaker

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 4/27/09 at Exit 51.

Matchmaker

Did you know I can see into the future?  Sometimes, I can.  And in your future I see scallops with balsamic glaze.  This will not happen right away.  No, it will take some time.  But I do see you together.

Glazed

How can I possibly know this?  I know because this was a recipe I tested for Cook’s Illustrated.  The final recipe should appear in CI sometime later this year.   Until then, you will just have to take my word that I think the two of you will really hit it off.

I wonder whether the published version will offer suggestions about how to use leftover balsamic reduction?  Because I’ve got a small container of it sitting in my fridge.  So far, the only idea I’ve had is to spoon it over sliced pound cake.  I’m not sure which is the better idea, making more scallops or getting more pound cake.

This seeing the future is tricky business.

Sauced