Dill Pickles

I’ve been flirting with the idea of canning. My mom did a lot of canning back in the day. She made everything from homemade ketchup to dill pickles. I found a recipe for dill pickles that doesn’t require canning. If I knew it was this easy I would have done it a long time ago. Canning will have to wait for another day. I used a 1.5 gallon jar. In a bowl dissolve .5 cup kosher salt, 1/3 cup white vinegar in approximately 9 cups of water. Put a bunch of dill in the bottom of the jar. No need to chop the dill or take the stems off. Pack the jar with about 4 pounds of pickling cucumbers, 3 – 4 inches long. Sprinkle about 8 thinly sliced garlic cloves and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes over the cukes. Another bunch of dill goes on top. Pour the brine in and weight down the pickles with a plastic lid with a jar filled with water on top. The idea being you want the pickles to stay submerged in the brine. Put a clean towel over the top and keep at room temp for 4 days. After the 4 days take the weight out and put the lid on and put the whole jar in the fridge. They should last up to 3 months. I don’t think we’ll consume 4# of pickles so feel free to take some home.

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Peach Cake

I think I’m getting this baking thing down pretty well. Don’t ya think? I LOVE peaches. They just might be proof of the existence of God. That’s how much I like them. They fall into that “tastes so exceptional” category, like garlic and gravy. Know what I mean? I’m getting much better at reading recipes. It seems I can get my shit together a lot faster than I used to. The process is getting smoother and less frantic. I’m really looking forward to the day when cooking isĀ  intuitive and I don’t have to “mise en place” absolutely everything. Not that that’s a bad thing really. I’m going to hold on to summer as long as possible and this Summer Peach Cake was one way to do it. Lovely eh?

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Poached Pear and Almond Tart

This has got to be one of the prettier things I’ve made. I don’t have the most subtle hand when it comes to cooking so I’m patting myself on the back with this one. This is also very time consuming but you can make the 3 elements that make up the tart separately and put them in the frige and put them together in a couple days for the final baking. The dough is a standard tart dough that’s like a shortbread cookie. It’s very delicate though. I can never get it in the tart pan in one piece. No matter if you have to piece it together. No one will be able to tell. The pears were poached in white wine, cinnamon stick, lemon peel, peppercorns and clove and a vanilla bean. The “frangipane” is almonds, flour, sugar, an egg and cream processed to a smooth not quite paste. Didn’t it turn out beautifully? Just like the little kid that learned how to ride his bike… I am happy of myself!

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BBQ Beef Brisket

Jeebus! People are so opinionated when it comes to what proper BBQ is. I like cooking something I’ve never done before so that means going a safe route much of the time. I’m not about to experiment on a $35 slab of cow. Know what I mean? Gimme a break Texans. Yes I know I use America’s Test Kitchen recipes a lot. But it always turns out so good. I’ve never done a brisket. So brisket it is. Even with this streamlined method it’s still time consuming. I made a dry rub, applied that to the meat then let it rest in the refrigerator for a couple hours. As in all BBQ that requires lots of time the indirect heat method is used. The meat goes on the cool side of the grill at around 275 for a couple hours. A smoker box with Hickory chips was put on the active burner. After it comes off the grill then wrap tightly in foil and into the oven for 2 more hours at 300. Oy vey. At this point the Sangria is gone and I’m starving. I should have started it 2 hours earlier. Anyways, when it came out and rests, (30 minutes more. I’m almost dead at this point) it was lovely. Very flavorful and fork tender. Brad and I made a homemade BBQ sauce to go on it at the table as well. If you want me to smoke it for 10 hours then you’re more than welcome to buy me a smoker and I’ll put you on my Christmas card list. That is if I had one.

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Grilled Beef Satay

If you’re a pretty decent cook and you like to try different things often you end up with a pantry full of stuff you seldom use. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to cook more Thai food. Or feel free to borrow fish sauce or red curry paste if I don’t. I love Thai food but I live in a large urban environment and Thai food is something you order, not make yourself. That is if you’re a white mid-western boy like me. I like satay a lot. I almost always get it as an appetizer. Usually it’s chicken rather than beef however. There’s more in the peanut sauce than I would have guessed. Anyways it was delish. Thinly sliced beef with a bit of char from the grill. Brad, my buddy Danny and I ate it all. But I do have some leftover peanut dipping sauce you’re welcome to. I grilled peaches and nectarines and drizzled with a shallot/balsamic vinegarette again. Hey it’s easy.

 

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Sauteed Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, Feta, and Mint

Sometimes the simplest dishes turn out to look the tastiest. A lot of Italian food is like that. I haven’t been cooking lately so I decided to peruse some cookbooks I have. I wanted to find something easy that didn’t take much time and was good for a hot summer day. This recipe came out of Cooks Illustrated Best Skillet Recipes. Really easy, nice to look at and pretty tasty.

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Raspberry Tart

I just ate 2 pieces of this raspberry tart for breakfast. Not a bad way to start the day eh? The cookbook said that this was a “beginners recipe”. While that may be true it certainly takes some time. Okay now say the following in a sarcastic, tired, roll your eyes kind of voice. First I had to make the dough. Then it goes in the refrigerator for an hour. Then you fit it in the tart pan. Then that goes into the freezer for an hour. Then you bake the crust and let it cool completely. Now you can start making the filling. Oy vey. See what I mean? But the results? Diet be damned.

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