Sunday, August 05, 2018

Dill Pickles

It's been a while since I canned anything for myself...since the kids have moved out, we just haven't gone through the pickles as fast as we used to do, even though they are always asking for a jar when we visit.   Andy  noticed he was taking the last jar out of the canning cupboard when he was making some tuna salad the other day, so I decided it was time.   I also need to make some thimbleberry jam and some salsa, and I have been thinking about canning some chicken breast as well in the pressure canner.

My favorite pickle recipe is one I came up with in 2010 when I was part of this canning group of bloggers called Tigress' Can Jam.   I wonder what happened to Tigress?   She was a Brooklyn based food blogger and DJ and her blog is no longer.   But I met so many other bloggers there, and clicking through the list so many are not doing it anymore.   They typical pattern is they stop posting, then get the idea to move their blog over to Word Press from Blogger, and then it dies.  I fear food blogging is a dying form, but I'm still at it.   I can remember back at the height of food blogging, I'd post about once a week.  Now, it's about once a month.   We used to have a group of food bloggers called Michigan Lady Food Bloggers that would get together for potlucks and I think I might be the only one that is still blogging.   Sad!

Here's my pickle recipe...I was trying to recreate something that tastes like McClure's Pickles. 

 McClure's Style Fresh Dill Pickles

8 lbs small pickling cucumbers, sliced in half or quarters longwise
28 cloves of garlic (about 2 heads) peeled
16 dill heads, with sprigs (or 14 t. dill seeds)
Pickle Crisp
Optional 12 small dried hot chili peppers
5 cups vinegar (white or cider)
6 c. water
1/2 c. pickling salt

Place 2 cloves garlic. , 2 dill heads and 2 hot peppers and 1/8 t. Pickle Crisp in the bottom of wide mouth pint jars.   Pack with as many pickle halves and spears as possible tightly in each jar.  Prepare a brine with vinegar, water and salt by placing in all ingredients and stirring and heating until brine boils.  Fill jars to 1/2 inch headspace, place lids and bands and hand tighten. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

I used to make these with a wild grape leaf tucked into each jar, but didn't bother with it yesterday.   Grape leaves are supposed to help keep pickles crisp.   I like to use Ball's Pickle Crisp  to help keep my pickles crisp these days when I am canning.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Red Rage BBQ Sauce

I'm in the Keweenaw this week, having just spent the 4th of July enjoying the barbecue at the Fitz, a great restaurant in Eagle River.   They have the very best named BBQ meal on the menu at the Fitz.....Douglas Houghton's Anchor.   Douglas Houghton was Michigan's first geologist, and while working in Eagle River, he and two companions drowned in Lake Superior near Eagle River, Michigan when their small boat capsized in a storm.  His remains were discovered on the shoreline the next spring.   The Douglas Houghton's Anchor menu item features brisket, pulled pork and's really enough for 2 people to eat.  I so loved their BBQ ribs that I begged the owner for the recipe, and didn't succeed.    It can never hurt to ask. 

My usual "go to" BBQ sauce recipe is one I first learned about on Bobby Flay's was from a restaurant in the Carolina's that no longer is open called Wood Chick.   Here is how I make that sauce.    I was leafing through some old clipped recipes (actually I really wasn't leafing through clipped recipes at all, I was looking at google photos of recipes I took pictures of) and I forgot that I had found a recipe I had coveted for years....Alex Young's Red Rage BBQ sauce at Zingerman's Roadhouse.   Alex is no longer at the Roadhouse, he ended up opening a French restaurant called the Standard Bistro and Larder, and so I wondered if Zingerman's still uses that appears they do, they just call it "Red Rage" now. 

I'm going to try my hand at making a version of this for dinner tonight.   Since I am in the UP, exotic ingredients like Urfa pepper and Muscovado sugar are off the list.   Here is how I will adapt:

Mother's Kitchen Red Rage  BBQ Sauce

1 1/2 c ketchup
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c finely diced onion
1/4 c  beer
1 T honey
1 T molasses
1 1/2 t minced fresh garlic
3/4 t pepper
1 1/2 t red pepper flakes
1/4 t kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Farro Salad

I've been to New York City once.   I don't feel a need to go back again.   But evidently there is a restaurant there called Charlie Bird, which I would probably like, because years ago, Melissa Clark published a recipe for their farro salad in the NYT which I totally loved.     I've made it a bunch of times and tweaked it as I see fit.   It's the only reason I buy farro.   Here's how I make it:

Farro Salad
1 cup farro
1 cup apple cider
2 teaspoons kosher salt,
2 bay leaves
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved
1/2 c chopped pistachio nuts
2 cups arugula leaves
1 cup parsley leaves, torn
1 cup mint leaves
¾ cup halved cherry tomatoes
⅓ cup thinly sliced radish

In a medium saucepan, bring farro, apple cider, salt, bay leaves and 2 cups water to a simmer. Simmer until farro is tender and liquid evaporates, about 30 minutes. If all the liquid evaporates before the farro is done, add a little more water. Let farro cool, then discard bay leaves.

In a Ball jar, add together olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Add farro, cheese and pistachio nuts and mix well. This salad base will keep for up to 4 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.   Just before serving, fold in arugula, herbs, tomatoes, radish.