Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Easy’

 

Crunchy Refrigerator Pickles with Dill + Garlic | Relishing It

You know what’s awesome?  Handing your daughter a pickle and having her proclaim (without knowing where it was from) “This is amazin’!”.  That, my friends, is what I call winning.  She didn’t see me make the first batch of refrigerator pickles this year, but she’s been helping me make every batch since.  She is fascinated by the fact that it doesn’t take very long to transform a cucumber into a wonderful pickle.

Crunchy Refrigerator Pickles with Dill + Garlic | Relishing It

Crunchy Refrigerator Pickles with Dill + Garlic | Relishing It

I decided to wing-it this year and make up my own pickle recipe.  After waiting rather impatiently for my mom to send me her recipe (you’re in trouble, mother), I decided to conjure up my own version.  Sure, I’ve made lots of refrigerator pickles in the past, but nothing that kept me wanting to make the same batch again.  I was reaching too far, to be honest– over-complicating things.  I kept looking for something “interesting” that would blow me away.  Last year I even tried a version with mint, and while they were fine, they just were not what I was looking for.  I realized that what I was really after wasn’t complicated at all.  I wanted something that was really crunchy, fresh, garlicy, and had a clean dill taste.  Simple. Classic.  So, I stopped searching and just made them the way I wanted.  Duh.

Crunchy Refrigerator Pickles with Dill + Garlic | Relishing It

Crunchy Refrigerato Pickles with Garlic + Dill | Relishing It

The key for me to keeping them refreshing is to lessen the salt and vinegar amount a bit.  I remember this trick from my mom, which is why I probably loved her pickles so much.  Add a little filtered water to the vinegar and it creates the most refreshing brine.  Too much salt makes me want to stop eating something in a hurry, but just the right amount– and I can chomp on these babies all day long.  The dill and garlic are just what you’d expect them to be– delicious.  No surprises here.  I always add carrots to my refrigerator dills– they’re fantastic.  They take a bit longer to pickle than the cucumbers do.  Using young small cucumbers is the key to a crunchy pickle, as is not heating up the brine mixture.  Keep everything cold and you’ll have a fantastic crunch– I promise you.

Crunchy Refrigerator Pickles with Dill + Garlic | Relishing It

Crunchy Refrigerator Pickles with Dill + Garlic | Relishing It

These pickles are perfect to bring to a barbecue or neighborhood gathering.  Bring a huge bowl of them– they’ll disappear quickly.   There is nothing better than sinking your teeth into a cold, crunchy pickle on a hot summer evening.  National Night Out is next Tuesday in the US.  I plan on bringing a big bowl of these crunchy dills, and I think you should do the same.  Or just make a jar or two to keep in your refrigerator for when you need that tangy, satisfying crunch.

Crunchy Refrigerator Pickles with Dill + Garlic | Relishing It

The Recipe: Crunchy Refrigerator Pickles with Dill + Garlic

Smallish cucumbers, cut however you like– I prefer spears

carrots, cut into spears

3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt ( I use Diamond Crystal–and weirdly this matters.  Different salt.  Different results.)

fresh dill

white vinegar

Make as many jars as you want.  Fill each clean quart jar with cucumber spears, carrots, 3-4 cloves of garlic, and fresh dill. Make sure everything is packed in there tightly.  Sprinkle with kosher salt.  Pour vinegar into the jar until it is  3/4 full.  Then finish filling the jar with filtered water, leaving about 1/2-inch space at the top.  Cover with lid and gently shake to combine.  Refrigerate.  Pickles will be ready within a few hours, but it’s best to wait at least a day for optimum results.  Carrots often take a bit longer to fully become pickled, but I generally eat them before the fact.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing it!

Laurie

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Skillet Pizza on the Stovetop with Ramps, Mushrooms, and Smoked Mozzarella | Relishing It

When the weather changes, I find that my methods for cooking change, as well.  I’ve mentioned before that we live in an old Victorian house (110 years old to be exact).  We do not have central air, so we make-do with our window units.  When it’s a scorcher of a day, I generally avoid using the oven because the air conditioners just can’t keep up.  And this happens often during our Minnesota summers.  Honestly, sometimes it’s even too hot for me to stand next to a grill outside.  I’m painting quite a lovely picture of the hot mess that is me during the summer, aren’t I?  I’m not a fan of the heat, but I try to cope.

Skillet Pizza on the Stovetop with Ramps, Mushrooms, and Smoked Mozzarella | Relishing It

Skillet Pizza on the Stovetop with Ramps, Mushrooms, and Smoked Mozzarella | Relishing It

Skillet Pizza on the Stovetop with Ramps, Mushrooms, and Smoked Mozzarella | Relishing It

I love summer pizza, but since I’m unwilling to endure the added heat of firing up my pizza stone– at 500°F for thirty plus minutes– I turn to this skillet method.  A pizza loaded with fresh herbs, fresh mozzarella and all of those fresh tomatoes is my thing.   I used ramps, mushrooms, ricotta, and smoked mozzarella for this version, but you can use whatever you prefer.  If you can get your hands on some morel mushrooms, please do that and think of me when you eat it.  Please.  I’m very particular about my pizza crust.  If it’s not perfect, it’s not worth my time.  I like a nice crunch on the outside, tender on the inside (NOT doughy), and a lovely deep flavor throughout.  Over the years of making homemade pizza I learned something about myself– the longer the pizza dough hangs out it my fridge, the more I like it.  So, I never make pizza dough the day I want to eat it, and rarely even the day before.  I make it a few days prior and the flavor develops beautifully.  The texture is spot on, as well.  It’s loaded with air pockets from the yeast.

Skillet Pizza on the Stovetop with Ramps, Mushrooms, and Smoked Mozzarella | Relishing It

Skillet Pizza on the Stovetop with Ramps, Mushrooms, and Smoked Mozzarella | Relishing It

Using a cast-iron skillet works wonderfully for making pizza.  Use whatever size you have.  I have an old 10-inch.  Coat it with olive oil and let it heat up.  Then place the rolled-out dough in it.  Let it cook just a bit until it has a light golden color.  Add more olive oil, if necessary and flip it over.  Add the toppings and cover with a lid.  Cook over medium-high heat until the bottom of the crust is the color that you desire.  I like mine a little on the dark side.  When you get there, place the skillet (no lid) directly under the broiler for a few minutes to darken up the cheese (this will go quickly). Watch carefully, as broilers tend to be finicky.  You may even need to move the pan around for even browning.   Remove when pizza is a deep golden brown.  The entire process takes no time at all and you’re left with a delicious pizza that has an incredible crust.  Speaking of the crust– I jump back and forth from using two favorite recipes.  This one, which I’ve previously blogged about and the one I’m sharing today.  They are both fantastic.  Whichever one you choose,  just try to make it a few days in advance– it really does make a difference.  I like the crust recipe I’m sharing today because it fits wonderfully into a gallon-sized ice cream bucket and because it’s ridiculously easy to mix up.  Dump, stir, done.  You may not use the whole thing in one sitting, but you can either use it within two weeks, or even freeze it in plastic bags.  Enjoy the pizza!

Skillet Pizza on the Stovetop with Ramps, Mushrooms, and Smoked Mozzarella | Relishing It

The Recipe: Skillet Pizza on the Stovetop with Ramps, Mushrooms, and Smoked Mozzarella

(serves 1-2)

Pizza Dough 

(makes enough dough for 3-4 12-inch pizzas and will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator)

1 1/2 cups plus 4 teaspoons  (about 355 grams) water heated to 100°F

1/2 tablespoon granulated yeast

3/4 tablespoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 3/4 cups (540 grams) all-purpose flour

Skillet Pizza:

(using a 10-inch cast-iron skillet)

3 ounces pizza dough

2 ounces smoked mozzarella, grated

1-2 ramps (or scallions) chopped

6 crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced (or Morels!)

a few dollops of ricotta cheese

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

extra-virgin olive oil

Begin a few days in advance by preparing the pizza dough.  In a gallon-sized ice cream bucket (or anything of that size that has a non-airtight lid) add the heated water, yeast, salt, and olive oil.  Use a Danish dough hook or a wooden spoon to mix everything together.  Then add the flour and give it a really good stir using the hook to really incorporate everything.  You’ll want all of the flour to be wet.  The mixture will look shaggy.  Cover with the lid (I use a nail to poke a tiny hole in the top of mine (this lets the gases escape when it’s refrigerated).  Let it rise at room temperature for two hours.  Do not ever punch this dough down.  Technically, the dough could be used at this point.  But, this particular dough works better when cold.  And tastes a whole lot better after a night or two in the refrigerator.

When ready to make a skillet pizza, remove some dough from the refrigerator and let it warm up for a few minutes, as it is easier to work with.  Dust some flour on the counter and a bit on the dough (don’t be shy with the flour).  Form a ball.  Roll it out to the size of your skillet (if it doesn’t roll easily, just let it rest for a few minutes). Coat the skillet with a bit of olive oil and heat it over medium-high heat.  Shake off any excess flour from the pizza dough and place it in the skillet.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, then flip it, adding more olive oil if necessary.  The olive oil gives the crust a nice crunch to it.  Immediately place the sliced garlic clove, a heavy drizzle of olive oil, ramps, ricotta cheese, mushroom, and smoked mozzarella on top of the pizza.  Cover with a lid (to help it melt) and cook for about 5 more minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown.  Then remove it from the stove and place it directly under the broiler (no lid) for a few minutes until the cheese is your desired color.  Move the pan around, if necessary.  Remove from the oven, drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of good sea salt.  Enjoy!

Pizza Dough adapted from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Easy Homemade Sauerkraut | Relishing It

I grew up in a small town in western North Dakota settled way-back-when mostly by German immigrants. Not surprisingly, sauerkraut has always been a part of my family’s meals. My grandmothers, aunts, and my mom have always made their own.  I can’t tell you how many times in my childhood I had to trudge down the stairs to the cool basement to retreive another jar of kraut from the shelves packed with canned goods. It was always there– an endless supply. I loved sauerkraut as a kid, and still do. I’m that person who orders it on pizza any chance I get.  My favorite way to eat it is simply really cold, in a bowl.  I like my sauerkraut to have a lot of crunch to it.

Easy Homemade Sauerkraut | Relishing It

I don’t exactly make my sauerkraut the same way the rest of my family does.  My version tastes the same– I’ve nailed down the technique that gives that deliciously tangy and crunchy sauerkraut.  But, I don’t can my batches. There are so many good, healthy things happening when you ferment food, that I just can’t bring myself to ruin those benefits by heating it up too much. Instead, I make small batches and let it ferment for a few weeks at room temperature, and then refrigerate.  If you’re not familiar with fermentation and the health benefits, be sure to look into it.

Easy Homemade Sauerkraut | Relishing It

I’ve made saurkraut in a traditional crock in th past, which though seemingly fun, didn’t give me the results I was looking for. I loved the idea of the crock sitting out and fermenting for all to smell and see, but there was no crunch when it was all said and done. I’ll find another use for that crock, though.

Easy Homemade Sauerkraut | Relishing It

Easy Homemade Sauerkraut | Relishing It

I’ve found that my sauerkraut turns out precisely how I want it when I pack it into mason jars and let it ferment on the counter for a couple of weeks.  It becomes deliciously tangy and stays crisp and crunchy.  Every few days in the beginning of the fermentation process, I’ll open the jar to release some of the gas.  It doesn’t take long for the cabbage to take on that tell-tale sauerkraut scent.  The first time or two that you do this, there will be quite a lot of bubbles and fizzing action.  Exciting! After about 2-3 weeks of sitting out at room temperature, I test it out and when it’s the perfect tanginess– I put it in the refrigerator, ready to eat. Then I start another batch, and the process just rolls along. I always have fresh sauerkraut to use in my favorite dishes, such as this Rustic Potato, Sauerkraut, and Beef Galette.  Or mix it into this beautiful Ham, Bean, and Sauerkraut Soup by Fresh Tart.   I hope you give this a try.  It’s ridiculously easy and the rewards are fantastic.

Easy Homemade Sauerkraut | Relishing It

The Recipe:  Easy Homemade Sauerkraut

(makes about 2 quarts)

5 pounds of fresh cabbage, cored and sliced into ribbons (not too thick, not too thin).  Reserve a couple of the large outer leaves to use later.

3 tablespoons kosher or sea salt  (nothing with chemicals, please)

2 sterilized mason jars with lids  (preferably regular mouth jars– the “shoulders” on the sides will keep the cabbage pressed down and submerged in the liquid better)

I’ve  found that if I slice my cabbage too thin, it doesn’t have the crunch that I’m looking for.  Too thick, and it’s awkward to chew.  Using a chef’s knife works the best for me.  Slice it into not-too-thin, but not-too-thick ribbons (use your best judgement and refer to the photos).

Place the sliced cabbage in a huge bowl and sprinkle with salt.  Use a masher, if you have one,  to mix the salt and cabbage together.  Bruising the cabbage a bit with the masher with soften the cabbage up and release some of the water from it.  Inevitably, I turn to my hands and massage the cabbage and salt together.  Let it sit for about an hour, or so.   Keep massaging it a couple of times throughout that hour, or place a plate directly on top of the cabbage and something heavy on the plate to weigh it down.  The pressure will release the water faster.  There should be a pool of liquid that has formed.  Pack it into the mason jars and push down– the liquid should come above the cabbage.  Next, fold the extra cabbage leaf and place on top of the cabbage.  This will push your cabbage down so it remains in the liquid to ferment.  Put the cover on the jar and wait.  After a day or two, open the jar and let the gas out.  There will be a lot of bubbles and fizzing action.  This is good!  It’s beginning to ferment.  Check it again every couple of days.  Occasionally, mold may form on top of the cabbage.  This is fine and normal.   Just scoop it out and continue to ferment.  I’ve found that mold occurs more often when using the crock method, as opposed to mason jars.

 After about 2-3 weeks (depending upon how tangy you like your sauerkraut), remove the cabbage leaf and place the jar in the refrigerator to use.  I’m not exactly sure how long it will last in the refrigerator, as we always use ours before it’s even a question.  It should be fine for a few weeks, possibly a couple months.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: