Pickle, Pickle, Pickle.

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Our sons, like their mom, liked to talk and did so early when they were babies.  One of Sean’s favorite early words was “pickle.”  We had a little book called Pickle Juice and when we read “pickle, pickle, pickle”, he would clap his hands and laugh out loud.  I smiled thinking about the pickle book and Sean’s laughter when I made two kinds of pickles last week. The weather had been perfect for a bumper crop of dill heads, so I bought some pickling cukes at the market.   I like to make refrigerator pickles because I don’t need to do a canning bath or soak cucumbers.  I found this recipe on The Old Farmers Almanac blog,  wwww.almanac.com and adapted it for my personal preference.

No canning or special equipment required! It’s simple, easy, and surprisingly delicious!

Ingredients:
3-1/2 cups water
1-1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon canning salt (NOT table salt)
1 tablespoon sugar
cucumbers, unpeeled, sliced into disks (about 4 cups)
2 cloves garlic (whole)
2 heads fresh dill ( I love dill, so I always use more)

Instructions:
Boil the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Turn off heat and set asidel. Add cucumbers, garlic, and dill to glass jars. Cover with the hot liquid. Put in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. I doubled the recipe when I filled these jars. The pickles should be good for 6 weeks. Enjoy!

Another garden harvest led to these yummy cauliflower pickles.  I cut two heads of cauliflower, one golden yellow (Cheddar is its name) and one white, added carrots, onions, and lots of yummy spices for this delicacy which is typically used as a condiment in Israeli breakfasts!

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Lemon Upside Down Cake

We haven’t tired of using our Meyer lemon crop, so I hope that you haven’t either!  This recipe is a reminder of my Mother’s favorite cake, Piineapple Upside Down Cake, and is made the same way.  We voted it a keeper, so I am passing the recipe along, wishing there was a way to taste it online!  Very easy to make in Old Faithful iron skillet, and oh, so delicious with a cup of coffee or a glass of cold milk.

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Lemon Upside Down Cake     Adapted from LA times test kitchen recipe

4 Meyer lemons

1 1/4 sticks (6 Tablespoons) butter, divided

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 vanilla bean, split

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

Cut 3 of the lemons into very thin slices, removing seeds. You will have about 30 lemon slices .Zest 1 teaspoon lemon peel from the remaining lemon. Put zest into small container and save for batter, save the rest of the lemon to use later.

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Use the butter wrapper to wipe the sides of the skillet! Add the brown sugar, mix with the butter and spread it into an even layer. Arrange the lemon slices, slightly overlapping, to cover the bottom of the skillet. Set aside.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine  flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Cut the remaining 6 tablespoons butter into a mixing bowl. Scrape seeds from the vanilla bean with the point of a knife onto butter. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter untiil creamy. Add sugar and lemon zest and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add half the flour mixture and beat until blended. Add milk and beat until combined, then add the remaining flour mixture and beat until blended.

Spread the batter over the lemons in the skillet to cover evenly. Bake 35 minutes, or until the cake is golden and tests done. Let stand 5 minutes, then invert the skillet onto a platter. Slice into wedges with a sharp knife.  Best served warm!

Salmon Hash

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Mary Ann’s Salmon Hash

 This is a great way to use leftover baked or grilled salmon and leftover baked potatoes!

4-5 ounces baked or grilled salmon, skin removed and coarsely shredded

1 small baked potato, peeled and diced

5 green onions, chopped

¼ cup green pepper, chopped

2 Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

1 lemon, cut in half

1 Tablespoon butter

salt and pepper, to taste

Melt butter and olive oil in non-stick skillet.  Add green onion and green pepper, followed by salmon and potato.   Season with salt, pepper, dill and juice from one of the lemon halves.

Slice remaining lemon half to use as garnish at serving time.

Cheese and Sausage Puffs

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These savory goodies just may be more popular than any sweet treat my family requests. I think it may be just that – because there seems to be such an overload of sweet things showing up at family gatherings and holiday parties between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, the savories are particularly welcome.  I made these for our January 1, 2013 meal which our oldest son and his wife hosted.  This is the recipe used for our bunch for so many years.  And yes, you absolutely can make your own biscuit mix if you like.  I just happened to have Bisquick because I had used it in a different dish, but the mix you make yourself works equally well.

Cheese and Sausage Puffs   aka Sausage Balls

2 1/2 cups Bisquick

1 pound hot pork sausage

10 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese

For a spicier version, add finely diced jalapenos (2 or more) and 1 teaspoon Tabasco.  I used some homemade sauce given to us by our son and his wife.  She grew a bumper crop of Tabasco peppers this year, and he brewed them into a fine hot sauce. Please note: any time you are handling hot peppers, it is wise to cover your hands with food handler’s gloves or a sandwich bag.

Allow ingredients to come to room temperature.  Squash everything together (hands needed for this) and roll into balls about the size of a walnut. Place on baking sheet and bake at 375 -400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.  Makes about 5 dozen.

I store these in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator if there are any left!