My cucumbers are humongously fat so I thought it would be nice to make these dill chips layered carefully into pint jars (makes 6 pints). They are pretty. The recipe is based upon one found at CookingBride.com. She says it will take about 3 weeks before they’re ready to eat. Maybe I can wait. Maybe.

DillPickleChips1

2 Tbsp. canning salt
3 cups water
4 lbs cucumbers, sliced into 1/4" slices crosswise

In a very large non-corrosive bowl, mix together salt and water until salt has dissolved. I used my 32-cup Tupperware bowl. Add the cucumbers and stir around gently with your hands until all has been coated with salt water. Let stand 2-3 hours.

Drain cucumbers and rinse with fresh, cold water. I rinsed my big bowl, added cold water and put the cucumbers into it for a few minutes, then drained it again. Let stand until called for.

2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup white vinegar
3 cups water
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. canning salt
6 tsp. dill SEED
6 tsp. minced garlic
6 tsp. DRIED minced onion
2 tsp. dried chili flakes

In a large saucepan add vinegars, water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil. In the meantime, add 1tsp. dill seed, 1 tsp. minced garlic, 1 tsp. dried minced onion, and a pinch of dried chili flakes to each of 6 sterile pint jars.

Ladle a bit of hot brine into each jar. Start layering the cucumber slices into the jars, adding brine once in awhile so the slices do not stick together. Once all the cucumbers are used up, distribute the remaining brine. Run a knife around gently and tap the jars so as to get the bubbles out and use up as much brine as possible. Make sure to leave 1/2″ head space at the top of the jars. Screw hot lids onto the jars. I shook the jars around to get the spices distributed.

Place the jars in a boiling water bath for about 20 minutes of processing.

DillPickleChips2

 

SweetChiliSauceToo many cucumbers! This one looked good, not sure it’s going to withstand the canning process, but . . . too many cucumbers!

I started with a recipe from Many Grandmas. My cucumbers were so big it was difficult to slice them into strips as indicated in her recipe, but I went for it anyway. Here is how I did the recipe.

2 very large cucumbers
1 very large carrot
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced

Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and then lay the cut side down on the cutting board. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the cucumber down into very thin slices.

Peel the carrots and then use a lemon zester to score the length of the carrots several times. Slice the carrots cross-wise. The scoring will make them into a pretty flower shape.

Put the cucumbers and carrots into a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Mix gently, but well. Let stand for 30 minutes or so. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again. Let stand.

In a saucepan mix vinegar, water, sugar, and sweet chili sauce. Heat to boiling.

Sprinkle the minced garlic into two pint jars. Divide the vegetables into the jars and pour hot brine over all, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Screw lids onto the tops of the jars and process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Remove.

In case you don’t know what sweet chili sauce is . . .

AsianPickles1

This is a riff on a recipe I clipped back in the 1980s or 1990s, probably from Sunset Magazine. I really like it for the use of barley, which I really enjoy instead of the usual rice. The original recipe used veal or dark turkey meat and called for a layer of yeast bread over the top. I did try it that way once, but it was too doughy, just too much bread. I usually use chicken breast, but have also used pork. It’s a very forgiving recipe, so just do it that way you want to. Warning that the preparation is time consuming.

RussianCabbageRolls11

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pearl barley
1 large head cabbage
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
Flour for dredging
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and slivered
1/4 cup sour cream
2/3 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup dill pickles, slivered
Salt & pepper to taste
Smetana Sauce (recipe below)

Combine barley with 2 cups water in a 1 to 1-1/2 quart pan. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until barley is tender to bite, about 30 minutes. Drain, set aside.

RussianCabbageRolls2.1

Bring 4 to 5 quarts water to boil in a very large pot over high heat. Core cabbage and, with a spoon, submerge head in water for 20 seconds or so. Lift out cabbage; when cool enough to touch, gently pull off as many outer leaves as you can. Repeat until you have about 12 to 14 large leaves.

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Return the leaves to the boiling water, about 4 at a time, and cook until each one is pliable, 2 to 4 minutes; drain well. I lay out a tea towel for them to sit on. Cut the thick section of the stem from the back of each leaf.

Cut meat into 1/4-inch strips. Coat strips with flour. Put butter and oil into a 10 to 12 inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add half the meat at a time and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes; transfer to bowl. Add more butter and oil if necessary.

Cook the bell pepper in the same pan, until limp, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove pan from heat and mix in sour cream, broth, pickles, barley, meat, salt and pepper.

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Prepare a baking dish approximately 10 X 15 inches by spraying with non-stick spray or by greasing the dish.

Eyeball your filling to your cabbage leaves and judge how much filling to put into each leaf. Fill the leaves, folding each leaf over the filling and placing the rolls into the prepared dish, seam down.

Prepare the Smetana Sauce. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Smetana Sauce Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2-1/4 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup sour cream
Pepper to taste

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat, stir in flour until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Stir in broth and tomato paste. Stir until sauce boils. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream. Add pepper. Use the sauce while it’s still hot.

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Pour hot Smetana Sauce over the cabbage rolls. Cover the baking dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until heated through.

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Serves 6.

 

 

 

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This recipe is based upon one found at foodess.com. They are a nice, homey fall treat.

The Dough:

3/4 cup milk, warmed
2-1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 cup + 1 tsp. sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
6 cups flour
Oil, for the bowl

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment add milk, yeast, and 1 tsp. sugar. Stir it around a bit with a long spoon. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in remaining sugar, butter, eggs, and pumpkin puree. Add about 3 cups flour and run the mixer for about 5 minutes to build the gluten. Add flour in 1/2 to 1 cup increments, running the mixer in between additions, until the dough comes away from the side of the mixing bowl and forms a ball. It should spring back when touched and it should not be sticky. Don’t add too much flour or your bread will be dry and crumbly. Experience teaches you how it should feel at this stage.

Recipes always tell you to put the dough in an oiled, or greased, bowl and turn the dough over to make sure the top is also greased so that the cover will not stick to the dough while it is rising. I never do this. I just remove the dough hook and leave the dough in the mixer. I pop a cover (either plastic wrap or usually a silicone cover) on it and let rise. Prepare the filling while the dough is rising by mixing together the brown sugar and spices.

The Filling:

1 cup butter, softened
1-1/4 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Let dough rise until doubled in volume, a couple hours. Punch dough down. Turn dough onto a floured surface and roll into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick.

Prepare 2 9×13″ baking dishes by spraying with non-stick oil or greasing them.

Spread the dough with softened butter, to the edges of the dough. Sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar spice mixture.

Roll the dough from the long edge to form a log. Cut the log in half, then cut each half into 15 even-sized pieces. Place 15 pieces into each baking dish in three rows of 5. Cover each baking dish with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, another hour or so.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Gently remove covers and brush rolls with milk. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown, but still soft.

The Icing:

4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4-6 Tbsp. buttermilk, or milk

Beat all ingredients, except buttermilk, until fluffy. Add buttermilk a tablespoon at a time until you get a good consistency for spreading. Ice the rolls however you like to do it. Pictured here I daubed each roll with a bit of icing.

Of course these finished rolls are best if served while still warm and the icing just oozes. Oh my goodness!

Note that I fit a slab of nine of these rolls into a freezer bag one time, before I frosted them. They froze well and were re-warmed deliciously.

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AlmondRoca1

This one is found at chef-in-training.com. It’s super simple as long as you follow the directions exactly, and have a good candy thermometer. Use real butter. Weigh your brown sugar, or just buy a 1# package for this use.

1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped almonds
1 lb. light brown sugar
1 lb. butter
24 oz. milk chocolate chips (or semi-sweet)

Sprinkle 3/4 cup chopped almonds on a 18×13″ baking sheet. I put my silpat baking mat down first, and sprinkled the almonds on it. I’m unclear whether you would need to grease the baking sheet first, thus my use of the silpat instead. Set the baking sheet with almonds aside.

AlmondRoca2

In a 2-qt. saucepan bring the brown sugar and butter to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until it’s thick. Let cook until it reaches 290 degrees on a candy thermometer. Watch it carefully after 280 degrees because it goes fast after that and you don’t want to burn it. Remove from heat at 290 degrees. Pour evenly over the almond-prepared baking sheet. Let stand for a few minutes.*

AlmondRoca4

Melt chocolate chips in the microwave with a tsp. of oil or butter, if desired, to keep it smooth. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each go, until it is melted and smooth. Cover the candy layer with the chocolate and then sprinkle on remaining 3/4 cup almonds.

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Once completely cooled (you can put it into a refrigerator if you cannot wait) and hardened, remove the silpat and use a knife to cut and/or break up into pieces.

It makes about 2 pounds of candy and is a great gift idea for the holidays.

*Don’t wait too long to add the chocolate layer. I did that one time and the chocolate layer would not adhere to the candy layer once it all cooled. Delicious, but messy. Add the chocolate while the candy is still very warm.

SwedishMeatballs8

This recipe is found in Taste of Home magazine’s October-November 2006 issue.

Meatballs:

1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
1/4 cup butter, cubed

Combine all ingredients, except butter, and form into 1-1/2″ balls. In a large skillet, cook the meatballs in butter, in batches until they are well browned and cooked through. Remove from skillet.

Dill Cream Sauce:

2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup beef broth
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dill seed

Whisk together the flour and the heavy cream. Pour into skillet and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Let simmer a couple minutes while stirring until it thickens.

Add in the meatballs and heat through. Serves 4-6. Tastes great served over mashed potatoes or noodles. We also like it served over Twice-Baked Cauliflower. Yummy!

SwedishMeatballs11

RhubarbMousseCake24

This was quite complicated and my kitchen looked like a bomb went off in it, but the end result was beautiful and delicious. The recipe can be found at epicurious.com.

To summarize, this is a flat cake, split in half horizontally, spread with jam, and placed into a larger spring-form pan. The spring-form pan is then filled with rhubarb mousse. Lastly, a glaze is poured over the top.

Cake:

1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature 30 minutes
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup whole  milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 9-inch cake pan and line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Butter paper, then dust pan with flour, knocking out excess.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Beat butter and sugar together at medium-high speed until  pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla until  fluffy and combined well, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and milk alternately in 3 batches, beginning and ending with flour. Mix until  batter is just combined. Do not overmix.

Spread batter evenly  in pan and bake until  cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes (cake will still be pale in color, not golden brown).

Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a rack, then invert onto rack and reinvert to cool completely right side up.

 

Mousse:

2 pounds rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces (8 cups)
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water, divided
3 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (less than 2 packages)
1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone (I read cream cheese may be substituted) 
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine rhubarb, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a large heavy saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until  rhubarb releases enough juice to almost cover rhubarb, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat  and simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb falls apart and is reduced to about 4 cups,  25 to 30 minutes. Remove  from heat. Pour mixture into a large fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl and collect 1 cup syrup and set aside. Transfer rhubarb pulp to another bowl.

Soften gelatin in remaining 1/4 cup water 1 minute, then stir into hot rhubarb pulp until  dissolved. Set bowl inside a larger bowl of ice water and stir rhubarb mixture until  cooled  to room temperature (do not let set on ice) OR you can let it cool by itself, just stirring frequently while you’re doing the next part.

Beat together mascarpone, heavy cream, and vanilla with remaining 1/4 cup sugar until  it just holds  stiff peaks.

Fold cooled  rhubarb mixture into mascarpone mixture.

 

Assembly:

1/2 cup strawberry, rhubarb, or strawberry-rhubarb jam
Glaze

Prepare a 10″ springform pan by inverting the bottom piece so that the cake slides off easily when you’re ready to serve (the lip will be facing down). Spray with non-stick spray or lightly oil the inside of the pan.

Cut the cake in half horizontally. Center the bottom half into the prepared springform pan. Spread with jam. Place the other half of the cake onto the top. Spoon the mousse into the pan, covering all and smoothing the top. Chill, uncovered, until the mousse is set, at least 2 hours.

 

RhubarbMousseCake16.1

Glaze:

1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons water
1 cup rhubarb syrup, saved from above

Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small  heavy saucepan to soften, 1 minute. Heat gelatin over low heat  until  it has dissolved. Remove  from heat  then stir in reserved rhubarb syrup.

Pour glaze over chilled mousse, tilting pan slightly to cover it completely in an even layer. Chill, uncovered, until  glaze is set, at least 1 hour.

To serve:  Let cake stand at room temperature 30 minutes to soften slightly. Wrap a kitchen towel dampened in hot water around the side of the pan for about 15 seconds. Run the tip of a thin  knife around the edge of the pan, then gently unlock and remove sides of spring-form pan.

Blackberry Pork Tenderloin3

I make this dish a lot. It’s based upon the one found at carlsbadcravings.com. I don’t brine my tenderloin, and maybe I’m really missing something there, but this is super simple and very tasty. I buy pork tenderloin at Costco in a 2-pack. Each package has two strips of pork in it. This recipe is for one package, or two strips pork.

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 cup seedless blackberry jam
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Pork tenderloin
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Fresh blackberries, optional
Green onion, sliced, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a small saucepan, melt butter and saute garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes until garlic is fragrant — about a minute. Stir in blackberry jam, hoisin sauce, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer until it is all well incorporated and then keep warm over very low heat.

In the meantime, heat an oven-proof skillet over high heat. Rub pork tenderloins with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a little bit of olive oil to the hot skillet. Add the pork tenderloins. You’ll probably need a spatter guard here. Brown the pork on all sides.

Once pork is browned, dollop blackberry sauce over it. Place a meat thermometer into the thickest part of one of the pork strips. Pop into preheated 425 degree oven. Check the meat at about 20 minutes, spoon a little bit more blackberry sauce over, and then check frequently until pork reaches 170 degrees F. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove meat to cutting board and slice tenderloins into 1-1/2″ slices. Place sliced meat onto serving tray and pour over the remaining blackberry sauce. Sprinkle optional fresh blackberries and sliced green onion over all. Serve.

Blackberry Pork Tenderloin2

Pickled-Eggs-w-Beets1

I had never cooked fresh beets before last year, so I really didn’t realize what I was missing. It’s been a revelation. This recipe is sort of thrown together, so take it for what it’s worth.

Scrub beets well, try not to pierce them. I snap off the long root. Wrap tightly in foil and bake at 350 degrees for an hour for tennis-ball sized beets, maybe longer if you have extremely humongous beets like I did. I baked mine for 1-1/2 hours. Last year I put my foil-wrapped beats on one of my oven-safe dinner plates. It ruined the plate. This year I laid a piece of foil across a metal pie pan and then put the foil-wrapped beets in the pan. I was trying to protect my cookware and it worked. No problem. Let beets cool until they’re not too hot to touch. Peel the beets. It’s easy, the skins slide off. Slice one beet into about 1/2-inch slices, not thin. You probably won’t need more than one beet.

In the meantime, boil 4 eggs to hard-cooked. I put my eggs in cold water and bring to a boil, let boil 5 minutes, then let them sit in the water until it cools and I’m ready to use. I don’t think it matters how you do this. Peel the eggs.

Make a mixture of 2/3 cup vinegar (I used cider vinegar) to 1/3 cup water and a sprinkle of salt. This mixture does not have to be precise. You may need more.

In a clean quart jar, pour a little vinegar mixture. Drop in a few beet slices. Drop in a boiled egg. Add vinegar mixture to cover. Drop in more beet slices, another egg, more vinegar mix . . . layer until you reach the top of the jar. Cover the jar with a lid.

Refrigerate for three days, you can shake the jar around a little bit every day or so. These pickles are so yummy. The eggs are quite beautiful when sliced. They taste great and so do the pickled beets.

Pickled-Eggs-Sliced

This makes 24 cupcakes. I have gotten such rave reviews about these that I simply must share. The components of cupcakes, filling, and frosting are from three different recipes. The cupcake recipe is one I have made many times from browneyedbaker.com. The filling is home-made seedless raspberry jam. You could buy some at the store, probably with the same effect. The frosting is based upon sallysbakingaddiction.com.

Chocolate-Cupcakes-w-Raspberry1

Cupcakes:
1 cup Guiness stout
1 cup butter
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Prepare cupcake tins with 24 paper liners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place Guiness and butter in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool a little bit.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

In a mixer, mix together the eggs and sour cream until combined. Add the Guiness mixture and mix until combined. Slowly add the flour mixture until just mixed, then fold until it’s completely combined.

Divide the batter equally between the paper liners. Bake for 20 minutes or until a light touch and they spring back up. Let cool completely.

Once cooled, remove the centers (I used my handy cupcake corer) and dribble seedless raspberry jam into each one. Rather than throw them away, we snack on the cupcake cores. Another idea would be to use them to make small trifles. I digress. The jam should be even with the top of the cupcake.

Frosting:
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Dash of salt
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

Beat butter until softened. Add powdered sugar, cream, vanilla, and salt. Beat until smooth. Add seedless raspberry jam and beat until well incorporated. Add powdered sugar if it’s too thin or more cream if it’s too thick.

Place into a piping bag and pipe onto the tops of the cupcakes. Like I said, I got RAVE reviews for these cupcakes. I mean for reals.

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What kind?