Pan Fried Corn

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I’ve been digging around the junk drawer that is my draft folder.  In a concerted effort to clear out the mental clutter, I’m posting this drafts ‘as is’….

Pan Fried Corn

Adapted from Add a Pinch

BAH Note: To make this creamy, add about 1/2 cup milk to the pan along with the corn.

  • 4 strips bacon, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 4 ears of corn, kernels cut off
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Cook the bacon in a large frying pan over medium heat until browned, but not crisp.  Add the corn kernels, salt, and cumin and cook for approximately 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.  Add the butter and stir to combine before serving.

{printable recipe}

 

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Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Roast Cauli

I’ve been digging around the junk drawer that is my draft folder.  In a concerted effort to clear out the mental clutter, I’m posting this drafts ‘as is’….

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 1 head of cauliflower, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, skin on
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan

Heat your oven to 425 degrees and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.

Combine the cauliflower, garlic, onion, olive oil, and kosher salt on the sheet pan and use your hands to make sure the vegetables are coated with oil.  Roast for 45 minutes or until the cauliflower and onion are golden brown and starts to char on the edges.  Sprinkle the parmesan over the cauliflower and serve immediately.

{printable recipe}

Butter Broasted Carrots

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They aren’t exactly braised.  They aren’t exactly roasted.  They’re somewhere in between…they’re broasted.  And they are exactly how I’m cooking up six pounds of carrots this weekend.  I know that sounds like a whole hell of a lot but between a carrot loving toddler, the base for a carrot soup, and a pot luck contribution, I think it might not be enough.

Butter Broasted Carrots

Adapted from Cooking Light, Pick Fresh

BAH Note:  I’m a wimp when it comes to high heat roasting.  It always ends up badly for me.  If you are braver than I am, try using Cooking Light’s recommended temp of 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Me, I take a lower and slower approach.

  • 2 to 3 cups roughly chopped carrots
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat oven to 375 degrees and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.  Combine the carrots, butter, olive oil, and salt on the baking sheet and toss to fully coat the carrots.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the carrots reach your desired tenderness.

{printable recipe}

Breand and Butter Pickles

Bread and Butter Pickles

Allow me a Seinfeld moment….what’s the deal with Bread and Butter Pickles?  There is neither bread nor butter in the recipe.  So they’re called Bread and Butter because????

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let’s talk quick pickles.  Quick pickles are one of those things that are so simple to make that it’s embarrassing to admit I had never made them before.

They don’t require any processing…meaning no standing over a vat of boiling water in the dead of summer.  My A/C has a hard enough time keeping up with the effects of global warming outside my house.  The last thing I need is to turn the kitchen into a sauna and ask my tired Carrier to work that much harder.

In their simplest form, they don’t need any exotic ingredients…meaning you’ve probably got the most essential of the ingredients in your pantry. Got some salt, sugar, and vinegar?  Then you’ve got the makings of a quick pickle.

They are essentially a blank canvas…meaning that if you choose to, you can fancy them up.  Give them an Asian flare with soy sauce and rice vinegar.  Go bold with red pepper flakes.   Or maybe try the timeless classic combination of garlic and dill.

They make quick work of almost any vegetable you happen to have….meaning all those cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, carrots, and squash don’t have to languish on your counter or in your crisper until they start collapsing in on themselves. I can’t begin to calculate the amount of produce I have wasted that could have been pickled instead of being trashed.

So I finally got my act together.  And in the time it took to slice, salt, rinse, boil, and cool (all of maybe 90 minutes) I had a jar of pickles in the fridge at the ready.  As Ina would say, how easy is that?

Bread and Butter Pickles

BAH Note:  Be sure you use whole mustard seed and celery seed.  Without going in to the sad details of how I know, the ground versions of the spices don’t work as an even swap.  These pickles are not meant to be shelf stable.  They need to be refrigerated.

  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds cucumbers, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric

Combine the sliced cucumbers and salt in a bowl and let them sit for 30 minutes.  Transfer the cucumbers to a colander, rinse well, and then spoon into a bowl or jar along with the onions.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the brine comes to a nice simmer.

Carefully pour the hot brine over the cucumbers and onion.  Allow the mixture to cool slightly and then cover and refrigerate.  Give them a day or two and then enjoy them while they last.

 {printable recipe}

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.

Flashback Friday – Q&A

The following post appeared on BAH on 14 August 2009.

A great thing about blogging is that it allows conversation between blogger and reader.  Like when I  tried Food In Jar’s Dilly Beans.  After trying the recipe, I commented on the post about the results I got.

I said: “I wonder what I could have done wrong with the recipe.  My brine ended up being overly salty even though I only used 1/4 cup.  Other than that, these are lovely.  The texture is crispy and snappy.”

Imagine my surprise when Food In Jars said: “What kind of salt did you use? Did you make these as refrigerator pickles or did you can them? Crazy part is, this isn’t actually even my recipe, it’s one from So Easy to Preserve, so it should be tested and reliable.

I went back and looked at the post, and in your original comment, you mentioned that you wanted to make them as fridge pickles. I’m wondering is the amount of salt needs to be reduced if you don’t hot water process pickles. Now that I think about it, all the recipes I use/know for refrigerator pickles do call for less salt. It’s probable that recipes for shelf stable pickles call for more salt because it plays the part of preservative as well as seasoning.

Now that you’ve got these salty pickles, you could give them a quick rinse before eating or chop them up and make them part of a salad (omitting much of the salt).  Again, I’m so sorry that you had this problem. I admit, I didn’t notice an overabundance of salt in my batch, but I’m a notorious salt lover, so I rarely feel that there’s too much (it’s a sickness).”

See, I didn’t get some autoreply like “thank you for your comment”.  She took the time to read my question and provide a thoughtful response which actually gave me some great insight as well as a new tip to try out.

Every single blogger I’ve met, and most (but certainly not all) of the ones I’ve reached out to via comments or email, seem to geniunely want a conversation with their readers.  For me, that’s half the fun of it all.  The other half is that I get to try my hand at things like Dilly Beans, Jacques’ Scallops,  and Bittman’s Chocolate Souffle .  So send those comments and questions.  I promise not to answer with my mouth full.

Dilly Beans

Food In Jars, adapted from So Easy to Preserve

FIJ Notes: Wide mouth pints work great here.  A 12 ounce jelly jar is also nice as it’s a bit taller than a standard pint and makes for less trimming.

BAH Note: I used a wide mouth quart jar. I did not process the beans after they were in the jar since long term storage was not my goal and the beans currently live in my refrigerator.  But I’ve included the instructions on how to prep and process in case your beans can hang out longer.

  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed to fit your jars
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 teaspoons dill seeds (not dill weed)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 1/2 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt (use a bit more if you only have kosher and will be processing your jars, use a bit less if using kosher for non processed jars i.e. fridge pickles)

Prep your canning pot by inserting a rack to keep your jars off the bottom of the pot, place jars in pot and fill pot with water.  Bring to a boil to sterilize while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

Wash and trim your beans so they fit in your jar.

Combine vinegar, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  While it’s heating up, pack your beans into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace (distance between the tops of the beans and the rim of the jar).  To each jar, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic, and 1 teaspoon dill seeds.

Pour the boiling brine over the beans, making sure to leave 1/2 inch of headspace.  Use a plastic knife to remove air bubbles from the jar by running it around the interior of the jar.  Wipe the rims and apply the lids (which have been sitting in a small saucepan of water at a mere simmer for at least ten minutes in order to soften the sealing compound) and rings.

Process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath (five minutes start when the pot has come to a roiling boil).

Let beans age for at least two weeks to develop their flavor.

Sweet Potato Hash

No, no, you’re not caught in a time loop.  You did just see that chicken two days ago.  But this is the only photo that shows the sweet potato and Brussells sprout hash that went with the chicken.  So the photo gets to make an encore appearance.

Hash.  What exactly is it?  According to the all knowing google, it is a dish of cooked meat cut into small pieces and recooked, usually with potatoes.  The only problem is that the amount of meat vs. the amount of vegetables I consume is pretty frightening.  Ideally, the ratio should be reversed which shouldn’t be hard because I actually LIKE vegetables.  I just run out of ideas of how to fix them.  So as a result, they waste away in the fridge, or on the counter, until they are beyond possible consumption.  Yes, I am guilty of wasting food.  There, I’ve said it.

So how does hash address my status as a repeat offender when it comes to wasting food and get me to up my servings of veggies?  Simply by being.  Hash is a godsend when it comes to using up vegetables that have been neglected.  Don’t know what to do with that sad sweet potato that you didn’t use the other week?  Got a carrot or two left in the crisper?  What about an onion?  Did your plan of pan roasted Brussells sprouts not materialize?  You’ve got everything you need for hash.  What other vegetables are hash friendly?

According to Pam Anderson, in her book Meatless Meals, mushrooms, corn (fresh or frozen), eggplant, turnips, and butternut squash are all prime candidates.  She’s the one who introduced me to the concept of meatless hash.  So whether I want a side dish to go with one of my meaty meals, or I want a satisfying meat free option, all I have to do is open the fridge and see what vegetables need some love.

Sweet Potato Hash

Adapted from Pam Anderson’s Meatless Meals

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pound (one medium or large) sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts thinly sliced  (stems trimmed, outer layer of leaves removed)

Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Add the sweet potato, onion, and Brussels sprouts and stir to coat with the oil.

Place a lid on the frying pan and reduce the heat to medium.  Cook for approximately 10 to 15 minutes or until the vegetables have softened but your thickest vegetables are still just a bit firm.  Remove the lid, stir the vegetables in the pan, increase the heat back to medium high and cook until the liquid evaporates and the vegetables begin to caramelize.

Once the vegetables have browned on the bottom, stir them gently to try and get the browned sides up.  Continue cooking, without stirring, until the vegetables are as browned as you want them.  Taste for seasoning and add kosher salt and black pepper to taste.

{printable recipe}