Archive | August, 2013

Garlic Dill Pickles

31 Aug

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My friend, Matt Smith, posts some great pics and recipes of yummy dishes he makes from time to time. Earlier this summer he posted a pic of a giant vat of pickles that he had just made. And all of a sudden it dawned on me – I desperately want to make pickles.

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He graciously gave me the recipe he used. As soon as I saw it, I knew this was the perfect pickle recipe. IMG_1497

It had all the ingredients I love in a pickle – jalapenos, garlic, dill, and some sugar. Cucumbers are flooding the farmers market at this time of year – everyone is practically giving them away. And I have a ton of jalapenos in my lil garden 🙂

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The hardest part to this recipe? Waiting for the pickles to marinate for a week…..It takes SO much patience. Every time I opened the fridge, those pickles were staring at me – daring me to take a taste. Look at them….mocking me.

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But I resisted. And my hard work paid off. These pickles are incredible. They might not be for everyone – so you might want to tweak the recipe. Tweak away, friends! These pickles are tart and have a definite vinegar flavor. They mellow over time.

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I highly recommend draining all of the spices/seeds/dill/peppercorns out of the liquid when the week is up. That way they don’t continue pickling while you eat them (and you don’t reach into the vat and pull out a strand of dill or random spice).

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Garlic Dill Pickles

Ingredients:

  • 3.5-4 pounds of pickling cucumbers (the lil guys)
  • ¼ cup chopped garlic
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced (seeds and all)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 tblsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup sugar (I used a lil less)
  • 5 heaping tblsp pickling spices
  • 2 tblsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tblsp black peppercorns

Directions:  

Make sure you prepare a large container – at least a 3.5 quart container – to hold your pickles.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Pull the pan off the stove and let the mixture cool down while you slice your cukes.

Prepare garlic, jalapenos, and dill. Slice your cucumbers into ½ inch-thick rounds – you can slice thinner if you like as well. Put them in your container along with the dill, garlic, and jalapenos and mix well.

Pour the mixture over your other ingredients and make sure everything is all mixed around and ingredients are distributed. Cool to room temperature and cover.

Here comes the hardest part: put them in the fridge and don’t touch them for a week unless you are going to shake them up a bit.

This recipe makes a TON of pickles and they keep for weeks!

 

Five-Herb Grilled Chicken

24 Aug

John and I wanted to get together for a potluck fun summer dinner in mid-June. I agreed to make appetizers and bring the meat. Since John doesn’t have a grill, I wanted to grill something so we can all have a summer taste.

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I saw this recipe in Food and Wine and knew it was the perfect thing right away. It had all of my requirements for a perfect recipe – simple and fresh ingredients, simple steps, and delicious, clean taste.

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This recipe is also perfect because almost all of the ingredients come from my garden! Nothing like eating REALLY local 🙂

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It couldn’t be easier than putting everything into the food processor and pressing “on”. It came together in NO time at all.

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The chicken is definitely a bit off-putting all bright green…..It looks a bit funky.

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The aioli tastes delicious accompanying the chicken. I recommend making a bit more than the recipe calls for since everyone will want lots of it.  IMG_1469

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This is really amazing. It tastes perfectly bright and fresh. It would pair great with a grain salad and some sliced red tomatoes with some balsamic on the side to make a really healthy, light summer dinner.

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Okay. Go outside to your herb garden and collect all the ingredients and make this chicken NOW for your next BBQ or get-together. This stuff is off the HOOK!!!!! Everyone will want more. Okay – just a couple more pics first……this recipe is worth it.

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After making this 3 times this summer, I can DEFINITELY say you will adore this chicken like we do.

Five-Herb Grilled Chicken

Ingredients:

  • Three 3.5-4 pound bone-in chicken parts (thighs, legs, breasts, etc)
  • ½ cup packed flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup packed basil leaves
  • ½ cup snipped chives
  • 2 tblsp minced jalapeno
  • 1 tblsp minced thyme
  • 1 tblsp minced rosemary
  • 1 tblsp minced garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1.5 tblsp fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Using a sharp knife, score each piece of chicken a couple times through the skin so that the marinade can penetrate. Put chicken in a large bowl and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the parsley, basil, chives, rosemary, jalapeno, thyme, garlic, and 1 tblsp salt. Pulse until the herbs are finely chopped. With the machine on, add the 1 cup of olive oil in a steady stream.

Pour all but ½ cup of the marinade over the chicken and turn to coat. Rub the marinade into the gashes of the chicken. Refrigerate the chicken and marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight (I prefer to marinate overnight for maximum flavor).

Add the mayonnaise and lemon juice to the remaining marinade in the processor and pulse until bright green. Scrape the green aioli into a small bowl and refrigerate.

When chicken is marinated and you are ready to make dinner, light a grill and oil the grates. Grill the chicken over medium heat, turning occasionally until lightly charred and an instant-read thermometer reads about 168 – about 35 minutes.

If you don’t have a grill or prefer not to grill, you can also preheat the broiler in your oven and set a rack in the lower third of the oven. Then arrange the chicken skin-side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil for about 40 minutes, turning occasionally.

*Note – You can use boneless and/or boneless/skinless chicken as well – but the cooking time will be much less (about 12 minutes).

Wheatberry Salad

11 Aug

Again, tasked with the “can you bring a side dish?” request early in July, I decided to try a wheatberry dish. I am always on the hunt for delicious, fresh, and HEALTHY side dishes for the summertime when the veggies are so plentiful!

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What is a wheatberry? A wheatberry is almost the whole kernel of wheat and are added to salads or served as a side dish along with corn in some countries.

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They are a great source of protein, fiber, and vitamins. I love putting them in my salad because they give a nice lil crunch.

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This recipe couldn’t be simpler: Cook your wheatberries, chop your veggies, and put together the dressing at the end and pour over top. I also threw in some more veggies than the recipe called for – I couldn’t resist putting in some red and orange pepper to give it some more color and crunch.

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This salad packs a light taste with a lot of crunch and TONS of healthiness!!! Everyone loved it! It was the perfect accompaniment to our summer dinner and would go great with burgers or any type of grilled meat.

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Wheatberry Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups hard wheat berries
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup tart dried cherries, chopped
  • 1 scallion, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

In a large pot combine the wheat berries and enough water to come 2 inches over the wheat berries. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 1 hour, or until tender. Drain and let cool.

Toast the walnuts in a medium dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

Chop all veggies and parsley.

In a large bowl, combine the wheat berries, walnuts, celery, dried cherries, scallions, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

(Calories 360; Total Fat 17 g; (Sat Fat 2 g, Mono Fat 6 g, Poly Fat 8 g) ; Protein 9 g; Carb 46 g; Fiber 8 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 15 mg. Excellent source of: Fiber, Vitamin K, Manganese. Good source of: Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Copper, Iron)

Red Quinoa and Summer Squash Salad

4 Aug

In the summer, I am almost always tasked with the dreaded “Can you bring the side dish” question when planning Family Sunday dinners. I tend to spaz out – there are so many options and directions to go. And I want to try new things – but I want to ensure it is fresh and healthy.

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I love quinoa….actually, I love MOST healthy grains – farro, quinoa, barley, wheatberry….That reminds me, I have a great wheatberry recipe to post. Stay tuned on that one.

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What is quinoa? Quinoa is not really a grain – it’s more of a seed. It is also a superfood – it has a crazy amount of protein, fiber, and it is gluten-free. And it’s pretty darn delicious and versatile. I have a favorite quinoa recipe that I posted last year that I love to make for quinoa-newbies.

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This recipe is a bit more refined than my favorite punchy southwestern recipe. And the real stars of this recipe are the squash and the parmesan.IMG_1488

The dressing is so delicate and bright. I love lemon-based dressings and marinades so I gravitated towards it.

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The real recipe says to use fresh, raw summer squash. However, I knew we would be grilling meat and I decided immediately that I would also grill the squash a smidge to get it softened and boost the flavor. I am thrilled that I did that – the taste levels soared!

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Other than grilling the squash, this recipe was a cinch to put together! I grated my own fresh parm and shaved some slices as well to put on top. It looked beautiful and tasted even better. I believe my family adored it – this recipe will be making an appearance again before the end of the summer!

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Now you know what you can bring to a get-together when you get stuck with the dreaded side dish 🙂

Red Quinoa and Summer Squash Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red (or other) quinoa, rinsed in a sieve and drained
  • 2 tsp kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 1-1.5 lb assorted summer squash
  • 4 Tblsp finely grated Parmesan, plus ¼ cup shaved with a peeler
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 4 Tblsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tblsp Sherry vinegar
  • 8-10 Tblsp olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn

 Directions:

Bring quinoa and 8 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Season with salt, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until quinoa is tender, but not mushy – 12-15 minutes. Drain. Return quinoa to hot saucepan. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork, and let cool.

Cut squash into 1/8” thick slices – some lengthwise and some crosswise. Transfer to a large bowl, season with 2 tsp salt, and toss to coat. Let sit until slightly wilted – about 15 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain well. Pat dry and set aside. (Here is where I differed – I cut them lengthwise, basted with olive oil/salt/pepper, and grilled them for just a couple minutes).

Whisk grated parmesan, zest, juice, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Combine squash, quinoa, parsley, walnuts, and basil in a large bowl. Pour dressing over, toss to coat. Garnish with shaved parmesan.

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