Saturday, August 17, 2013

Real Dill Pickles

Real Dill Pickles

As you read in my previous post Bread & Butter PicklesI do love pickles!  Being in the food and beverage industry for most of my career, I have subscriptions for multiple food magazines updating me with the latest trends in the industry. A few weeks ago, Craig came across an article in "The Tasting Panel" magazine.  He made a note of it and set it aside for me to take a look at.  When I had a second to review the article, I noticed a review of a newer Denver company called "The Real Dill", started in 2012, they are an artisan pickles company, specializing in pickles, amongst other related products. I was very excited to try these delicious sounding items, so I went to their website to find out a little more information. When I contacted them to find out where I could locate these pickles, Justin Park, one of the owners (along with Tyler DuBois) let me know that they are carried in Pasta & Co, locally in the Seattle area. They carry 3 types, Caraway Dill, Jalapeño Honey and Habanero Horseradish.  [as well as hooking me up with a couple of samples] 

I was thrilled when the package arrived from Denver!

Inside we're 3 jars of some delicious sounding gherkin treats., including Caraway Dill, Honey Jalapeño, and Habenero pickles.  In addition to this there was a jar of........Bloody Mary Mix, based off of the brine of the Habenero Pickles, YUM!!!!

So I got together a few friends to have a pickle sampling party, or any excuse for a cocktail...but I digress. Here is the consensus:

Caraway Dill-crunchy dilliness, with something there. At first you can't put your finger on it, but then you realize its the caraway. On second taste, you totally get a rye flavor. Quite honestly a perfect pickle. Reminds me of homemade. 

Jalapeño Honey Dill-as most of you know, I'm not a lover of heat. In food, or weather. So tasting this one was a bit of a sweater for me.  At first taste, it wasn't very hot, more sweet, Hence the honey part of the jalapeño honey. This is a meaty pickle. It will hold its own at a family reunion BBQ. Yet simply crunchy sweet deliciousness. 

Habanero Horseradish Dill-now here's my deal breaker. As said before, I don't like heat.  But for the sake of research, I will try this imposing threat. Well, after my third spear, I realize that this is the side of heat someone like me can enjoy. And food is meant to enjoy, right?  Wait...ok, there's the heat. But not too bad. Rounding out the third in their line up of pickles, this one is the best yet. 
*disclaimer on heat, while I don't like heat, horseradish is a different story.  I love me some horseradish heat.

Overall, I found that these pickles are.....simply......amazing. Locate them, or buy them on line, you won't go wrong with tasty little treats.  Oh and stay tuned for a guest post of the Bloody Mary Mix.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Spicy Sausage Pasta

The other day I came across a great recipe on Pinterest.  It sounded so good, but Craig doesn't eat meat, so I had to compromise. So here is my revision to the original post, I must say it was a little spicy for me, but really really good, and REALLY easy to make!

Spicy Sausage Pasta

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb Field Roast chorizo sausage
1.5 cups diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chiles, Mild
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz penne pasta
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions
Sour cream

1. Add olive oil to an oven-safe skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Add sausage and onions and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Add broth, tomatoes, cream, pasta, salt and pepper and stir. Bring to a boil, cover skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with scallions. Broil until cheese is melted, spotty brown, and bubbly. Top each portion with sour cream and a few slices of avocado. 

Makes 4 servings. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Bread and Butter Pickles

I have always been a lover of pickles…..Sweet, Dill, Sour, Cornichons, Bread and Butter…you name it, I LOVE em!  I even marinate chicken in pickle juice, but that another post (Chic-Fil-A Sandwiches) That being said, I have always been in awe of people who have made homemade pickles, but figured they were too hard to make, so I never tried.  

A few years back Craig and I joined a CSA (Community-supported agriculture) farm.  As part of the membership, we were asked to attend a farm event (we usually went to the fall harvest festival and fund raiser for Heifer International), as well as help work at the farm for a day.  We always planned to go more than once, but out schedules never meshed out.  One of the events we attended was pickle making party.  I was so excited to go and help make pickles, I could barely contain myself!  So the day came, and we were in the kitchen, cleaning pickles, heating up vinegar stuffing cucumbers, garlic and dill weed into jars.  Then filled them with vinegar, and capped them.  I was like…..THAT’S IT?  Besides the water processing, we were done.  Believe me, I was a little let down, and mad at myself for not trying to make them earlier.

Well, that was it I decided then and there, I would make pickles ASAP!  That was about 10 years ago, and I have made pickles (with a few exceptions) every year since.  The first year I made Dill as well as Bread and Butter pickles, and have had MANY requests for the Bread and Butter Pickles, so now that’s all I make.  Although, I do have a neighbor that has been known for making Gin Pickles, and have been interesting in trying to make those……

Finished Bread and Butter Pickles
Here’s my recipe for Bread and Butter Pickles, if you not on my Christmas list to receive a jar!

Raw Cucumbers, getting ready to become pickles....
6 c. cucumbers, sliced
3 med. onions, sliced
1/2 c. canning salt
1 bag ice

2 c. vinegar
2 c. boiling water
1 tsp. mustard seed
Step 1, Cucumbers washed.....
1 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 1/2 c. sugar

Sort cucumbers, discarding any with blemishes. Wash well.

Mix cucumbers, onions, ice and salt; let stand 2 hours. Drain and rinse off excess salt.

Combine vinegar, boiling water, mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric and sugar. Bring to a boil 5 minutes.

Step 2, Sliced Pickles, Salt and Ice.....
Pack cucumbers and onions into hot sterilized jars.  Pour vinegar brine over the cucumber leaving 1/4-inch headspace.  Wipe rim of jar with a damp paper towel.  Adjust 2 piece caps.

Process in a boiling water bath canner for no more than 10 minutes.

To avoid a cloudy brine or darkened pickles, do not use common table salt (use only canning salt).

Yield: Three 1/2 pint jars, adjust accordingly.

Cucumbers packed into jars, waiting on the brine....

I used 50 pounds of pickles and made a 16 time recipe of the brine, and still ran out.