Sunday, July 31, 2005

Farmer's Market Pickling Cucumbers Posted by Picasa

Quick Pickles Posted by Picasa

Flavorful, crunchy pickles ready to eat in less than four hours. These pickles keep for up to two weeks.

Quick pickles are salted for 1 hour, then cooked in vinegar for just 5 minutes.

After finding Kirby cucumbers and dill at the farmer's market, I decided to tried the two quick pickle recipes in the latest issue of Cook's Country. The Dill pickles have a very strong dill flavor but are not very salty. Not nearly as good as homemade canned dill pickles; but they are fun to make with the kids that love to see cucumbers turn to pickles almost in an instant. They Bread-and-Butter pickles turned out great. I make these every year since Cade is a fan of these sweet pickles. They remind me of my Grandma Mildred, who often made Bread-and-Butter pickles. I wish I had her recipe; I found serveral different variations on the internet and from old cookbooks.


Garlic is said to make dill pickles "kosher" and the double dose of dill-fresh and dried- packs in extra flavor. Don't overcook the cucumbers; they will lose thier big crunch.

1 pound pickling (Kirby) cucumbers
each sliced into 4 spears

1 T kosher salt

1 T black peppercorns

1 T dried dill weed

6 garlic cloves smashed

1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar

1/2 cup ice

1. Toss cucumbers with salt in a colander set over a bowl. Let stand 1 hour. Discard liquid.

2. Place peppercorns, dill weed, garlic, and 1/2 cup fresh dill in paper coffee filter or several layers of cheese cloth and tie tightly with kitchen twine. Bring spice bag and vinegar to a boil in medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low and add cucumbers. Cover and cook until cucumbers turn a dull olive-brown, about 5 minutes. Discard spice bag.

3. Transfer cucumbers and liquid to glass bowl, add ice, and stir until melted. Stir in remaining 1 T fresh dill. Refrigerate, uncovered, atleast 1 hour before serving. Pickles can be refrigerated in a covered container for up to 2 weeks.


There's no consensus on how these sweet pickles got their name. Some claim the pickles are (like bread and butter) good enough to eat at every meal, or others say it's because they are often eaten on or with sandwiches. Another theory is that they took their name from the word smorgasbord which literaly translates as "bread and butter table". It's not surprising that pickles often appear as part of this Swedish buffet.

1 pound pickling (Kirby) cucumbers, sliced crosswise into 1/8 inch disks

1 med onion halved and sliced thin

1 T kosher salt

1 cup cider vinegar

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp yellow mustard seed

1/4 tsp celery seed

1/8 tsp ground tumeric

1. Toss cucumbers, onion, and salt in colander set over bowl. let stand 1 hour. Discard liquid.

2. Bring vinegar, sugar, mustard seed,celery seed, and tumeric to boil in large saucpan. Reduce heat to low, and add cucumbers and onion, and press to submerge in liquid. Cover and cook until cucumbers turn olive-brown, about 5 minutes.

3. Transfer entire pan contents to a glass bowl. Refrigerate, uncovered at least 2 hours before serving.

Quinn's Summer Bouquet Posted by Picasa

Estate Sale Find Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Another great recipe from Mollie Kratzen's Sunlight Cafe.

We enjoyed this healthy bread. It made great tuna salad sandwiches seasoned with a little curry and roasted red peppers. It was equally good for PB&J sandwiches.

Literally filled to capacity with cooked whole grains, sunflower seeds, and raisins, this bread is truly like having a bowl of cooked cereal and a big slice of toast all rolled into one.

1 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 T honey or pure maple syrup
2 T canola oil or butter
2 1/4 tsp salt
4 cups flour
3 cups cooked whole grains- I used basmati rice
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup raisins
nonstick spray
additional canola oil or melted butter
1. Gradually heat the milk in a small saucepan until it becomes very hot but not boiling. Remove pan from heat, and set aside to cool to wrist temperature.

2. When the milk has cooled to a temperature no warmer than your wrist, sprinkle in the yeast and let stand for 5 minutes.

3. Stir in the honey, oil, and salt. Add 1 cup of the flour, and beat with a whisk until it is incorporated. Switch to a wooden spoon, and stir in the cooked grains, sunflower seeds, and raisins.

4. Add remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. At some point, you will need to graduate from the wooden spoon to mixing with your hand. Keep adding flour and mixing until you have a uniform dough. The grains will appear to be bursting out of the dough, but dont worry. They'll stay in there.

5. Lightly flour a clean, dry surface. Turn dough out onto it, and knead for about 3 minutes, or until the dough starts to feel smooth and elastic.

6. Clean out the bowl, and spray it with nonstick spray. Return dough to the bowl, and spray top of the dough with the nonstick spray. Cover the bowl with a tea towel, and let it stand for 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough rises by about 50 to 75 percent.

7. Generously sprinkle a baking tray with cornmeal. Lightly flour the work surface, punch down the dough, and turn it out onto the work surface. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, adding only as much flour as you absolutely need to prevent the dough from sticking. Form the dough into a large round or oval loaf or 2 smaller ones, and transfer to the prepared baking tray. Cover loosely with a tea towel and set in a warm place to rest for 35 to 40 minutes. During this time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

8. If you prefer a softer crust, brush the top surface of the bread with a little oil or melted butter. Bake in the center of the oven for 40 minutes or for 35 minutes for the smaller loaves. Transfer the bread to a rack as soon as it comes out of the oven, and let it cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Pesto Posted by Picasa
I made a batch of Pesto yesterday. I have an abundance of basil growing right now. Every summer I make atleast a couple of batches. I usually use it immediatley after making it; but have frozen it in ice cube trays and then stored the pesto cubes in zip locks. Pesto will be good for less than a week in the fridge. We enjoyed this batch of pesto on BLT sandwiches for lunch and over Garlic mashed potatoes for dinner. Quinn enjoyed dipping zucchini slices in it for a snack. I was a little amazed at how much the boys like the pesto.

makes 2 cups
2 cups whole fresh basil leaves
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 T pine nuts ( or walnuts or almonds)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1. Toss everything but the olive oil into the bowl of the food processor ( or blender) fitted with a metal blade, and puree until the ingredients are ground together into a paste.
2. Continue running the machine, add the oil slowly through the feeding tube or the lid of the blender. Before you pour all the oil in, check the consistency of the pesto. It should resemble a thick vinaigrette or a very loose, liquidy paste. How thick you want your pesto is a matter of taste and depends on how you intend to use it. If your making it for pasta, for instance, a thinner pesto will help to coat the pasta, so you may want to add more oil.
3. The saltiness of cheese varies, so taste the pesto to make sure you have enough salt before removing it from the food processor. The pesto should be bold and vibrant for all those fresh basil leaves; if it tastes flat, it may need more salt.
Recipe from Once Apon a Tart...


1 1/4 cups milk
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and coursely chopped
5 large boiling potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 T butter
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine the milk and garlic in a med saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Simmer about 20 minutes or until garlic is very soft. Keep an eye on the pot to prevent the milk form swelling and boiling over; it should cook at just a simmer.
2. Meanwhile boil the potatoes in a large pot of water until they are tender when pierced with a knife.
3. While the potatoes are cooking puree the garlic and the milk in a blender just until smooth. ( I used my hand blender and blended it right in the pot) Return the garlic cream to the pot.
4. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then return them to the pot over low heat. Add the garlic cream, butter, salt and pepper. With an electric mixer whip the potatoes until creamy. Serve immediately or cover to keep warm over low heat.


Our New Favorite Waffle Recipe Posted by Picasa

We have made this recipe for waffles twice now for lunch and the boys have really enjoyed them slathered with peanut butter and maple syrup. The recipe comes from Mollie Kratzen's Sunlight Cafe cookook.

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup oat bran
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 T sugar
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk or water
2 large eggs
3 T. unsalted butter melted

1. Preheat waffle iron
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a med bowl
3. Measure the buttermilk and then the water in a 4-cup liquid measure. Add eggs and beat gently with a fork or a small wisk until smooth. Stir until blended scraping from the bottom and the sides of the bowl, but don't overmix. A few lumps are okay.
4. Lightly spray waffle iron on both the top and the bottom surfaces with nonstick spray, and rub on a little butter. Add just enough batter to cover the cooking surface- approx. 1/2 cup for a standard waffle iron. ( 1 cup for a Belgian waffle)
5. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, depending on your waffle iron. Dont over bake- you want it crisp and brown but not too dark. Its okay to peek.
6. Serve hot with your chosen toppings.

Kaleidoscope of Koi Color Posted by Picasa

We can now see the Koi in the pond. It has been a muddy merky mess for a long time. It is still not as clear as it could be but is much better after a major water change and cleaning and it should continue to get better if the new skimmer does its job and if the bio filter starts working.

Butterfly visiting Garden Phlox Posted by Picasa

Hardy Hibiscus Posted by Picasa

Hosta 'Treasure Island' Posted by Picasa

Daylily Posted by Picasa

Branched Coneflower Posted by Picasa

Tattered Butterfly Posted by Picasa


LIFE, believe, is not a dream,
So dark as sages say;
Oft a little morning rain
Foretells a pleasant day:
Sometimes there are clouds of gloom,
But these are transient all;
If the shower will make the roses bloom,
Oh, why lament its fall?
Rapidly, merrily,
Life's sunny hours flit by,
Gratefully, cheerily,
Enjoy them as they fly.

What though death at times steps in,
And calls our Best away?
What though Sorrow seems to win,
O'er hope a heavy sway?
Yet Hope again elastic springs,
Unconquered, though she fell,
Still buoyant are her golden wings,
Still strong to bear us well.
Manfuly, fearlessly,
The day of trial bear,
For gloriously, victoriously,
Can courage quell dispair!

Charlotte Brontë

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