Monday, August 30, 2010

Traditional Bread & Butter Pickles

Or in other words...sweet pickles.  I know a lot of people actually don't like sweet pickles, but Jon LOVES them.  He can eat a whole jar in one sitting.  With our new love for pickling and canning food, we made this great concoction with the help of a recipe from our canning book.  It's super easy, but I must warn you that the vinegar smell is one to burn the nostrils.  Picklers beware!

  • 6 cups sliced, trimmed pickling cucumbers (1/4" slices)
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup preserving and pickling salt (you can just use regular salt, if desired)
  • 1 3/4 cups white vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2/3 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 2/3 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Pickle granules
  1. Combine cucumbers, onions and salt in a glass or stainless steel bowl.  Mix well, cover with cold water and let stand at room temperature for two hours.  Transfer to a colander placed over a sink, rinse with cool running water and drain thoroughly.
  2. Prepare stockpot/canner and jars 
  3. Combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds and turmeric in a large stainless steel saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Stir in vegetables and bring to a boil.  
  4. Pack vegetables into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Add rounded 1/8 teaspoon pickle granules.  Ladle hot pickling liquid over vegetables, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles: re-measure headspace.  If needed, add more cucumbers to meet recommended headspace.  Wipe rim, center lid on jar.  Screw band until fingertip-tight.
  5. Process filled jars in boiling water for 10 minutes.  Remove stockpot lid.  Wait 5 minutes., then remove jars, cool and store.
  6. Allow to sit for 24 hours before eating 
We didn't have enough cucumbers, so as you can see, we have way too much room in our jar.  However, they still turned out great.  This will only affect your pickles if you plan to store them for a long time.  We ate ours in under one week, so it made no difference.

I hope you enjoy! 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Barbequed Tempeh

A while ago, I wrote about the Italian-flavored tempeh and described tempeh.  This recipe is another excellent way to prepare tempeh.  At very least, the barbequed sauce that it makes is phenomenal.  I highly recommend at least trying the BBQ sauce.  You won't be sorry you did!  We've been making this recipe since May 2009 nearly every month.  The picture doesn't look too appetizing, but I promise it's great!

  • 2 lb tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch wide strips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion (can be omitted, if needed)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 11/2 teaspoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons tamari or other soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat.  Add the tempeh and cook, turning until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total.  Remove and set aside.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to the skillet, cover, and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, molasses, mustard, soy sauce, vinegar, and cayenne and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to thicken the sauce slightly and develop flavor for 15 minutes.
  5. Return tempeh to the sauce and cook 10 minutes.

Original recipe here

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ice Cream Cake

When I was engaged, I made a lot of decisions to not do things in a traditional manner. One of those things involved a "honeymoon" shower instead of a typical wedding shower.  However, one thing that I definitely wanted to remain in tradition was the collection of recipes from friends and family!  Of course, I requested everything to be vegetarian.

Skip a few months and let's bring it to August 18 which is my friend's birthday.  Our mutual friend told me that she wanted an ice cream cake for her big day.  Instead of buying one at Friendly's like I typically would have, I decided to try one of the recipes that was given to me at my shower.  Thanks to my mom's friend, Kathy for this recipe!

  • 1 package of oreo cookies
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream (however, you could substitute this with any flavor you like)
  • 2 jars of hot fudge
  • 1 container of cool whip
  1. Crush oreos into small pieces, then remove a small amount for top of dessert
  2. Melt all of the butter and mix into the remainder of the cookies
  3. Press mixture into a 13x9 pan 
  4. Place into freezer for about 15 minutes or until frozen hard
  5. Soften ice cream until you can spread easily over crushed oreos.
  6. Place into freezer for about 35 minutes or until frozen hard
  7. Microwave hot fudge according to directions on the jar and spread over the ice cream
  8. Return everything back to the freezer until the hot fudge freezes
  9. Top with cook whip and remaining crushed cookies
Take out of freezer 15-20 minutes before serving

To continue with my story, I brought this to work for my friend's birthday.  Everyone raved about the recipe and how good it was.  My boss literally was stalking the freezer to continue eating more and more.  It's incredibly easy to do, just time consuming since you need to wait for the layers to freeze before continuing! 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pickled Daikon recipes

Daikon are essentially huge white radishes (check out the picture to the right).  I had never seen a daikon before I moved to Japan.  And of course, I'd never eaten one before them, too.  Since being back in the USA, I have only had it at Japanese restaurants.  The most popular way for Japanese people to eat them is by pickling them.  It takes away from the rather bitter taste of a radish.

We grew about 20 of them in our garden.  We were very successful and we quickly had 20 daikon to eat.  We made a stir fry out of them (See below), but that only uses one of them up.  We decided to try to pickle them.

We tried four recipes:

1.  Chinese Pickled daikon
2.  Bahn Mi (Vietnamese version) (we tried two of these kind)
3.  Sweet picked daikon

Of the three, Jon and I agree that the best is the sweet pickled daikon, followed by the bahn mi, then the chinese pickled daikon.  It's fun pickling and actually rather easy!  Now that we have more experience, we hope to pickle cucumbers.  We canned them, too so we don't have eat them quickly.  We will certainly be pickling more daikon so we don't waste it!

       me pickling to the right
Jon canning the pickles!
final products!

The recipe for sweet pickled daikon 

The recipe for the bahn mi daikon

The recipe for the chinese pickled daikon

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kale Chips

I'm back!  After nearly a month hiatus of cooking and posting, I am back!  Do I have any followers left? LOL.  I have a few recipes to get up here, but it's all going to be very unusual and international.  If you have the time, I encourage you to try.

The graduate assistant in our office has a farm share.  She pays a farmer and gets vegetables all summer long.  She is getting so much kale that she doesn't know what to do with it.  She offered some to me and I made kale chips out of them.  Super good! 

  • One bunch kale
  • One tablespoon olive oil
  • One teaspoon seasoned salt
  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a non insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  2. With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
  3. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes. 

Original recipe here