Refrigerator Pickles

Yes, I do own a Paul Frank Pickle Pants wallet. It’s one of my favorite Paul Frank designs ever.

Paul Frank pickle wallet

My coveted Paul Frank wallet.

I loved pickled vegetables. Okra? Yes. Green Beans? Check. Carrots? Peppers? Yes! But mostly, I love pickles in their original cucumber form. My grandma used to can pickles and beets and store them in her cellar. That was an all day process and I didn’t really want to do that right now. I wanted something that could be made quickly and easily. So, I decided to make some refrigerator pickles. I started with plain, dill pickles:

first foray into refrigerator pickles!

My very first jar of pickles, ready to go into the fridge.

They turned out really well. So, I decided to make a couple more jars: dill and then a jar of spicy garlic pickles:

Spicy garlic pickles.

Spicy garlic pickles.

You can make as little or as much as you wish. It’s only me here, so, I make one or two jars at a time. These keep in the fridge for a week. This recipe doesn’t require sterilizing jars and lids, but, please make sure you have super clean jars/lids. I used Ball 16oz mason jars.

Quick and Easy Refrigerator Pickles

  • 2-3 Kirby cucumbers, thoroughly washed
  • 1-2 TB salt
  • White distilled vinegar
  • sprig of dill, chopped

Wash the cucumbers and slice into 1/8th inch pieces, pack tightly into the jar until they reach the lip of the jar. Pack those suckers down. Add the dill and salt (you may want to start out with less salt, it’s up to you. You can also add a clove of garlic or teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes if you’re making spicy pickles). Then, pour vinegar over cucumbers, leaving a little room at the top. Screw lid on tightly and shake jar to mix up salt, dill, etc. Put in refrigerator and remember to shake the jar every few hours. You will have pickles in about 4-5 hours, or, leave overnight and enjoy the next day. Really, you can’t go wrong here.

dill & spicy garlic pickles

Sunday pickle making. Yay!

Avocado Tomatillo Salsa

Why buy salsa when you can make your own? Well, at least, that’s what I think. I haven’t really found a good enough (IMO) tomatillo salsa at the store, so, I made my own. Bring this to a BBQ and you’ll make some new friends and keep your old ones.

  • 4-5 medium size tomatillos
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • handful of cilantro
  • dash of salt (optional)

Remove the husks from the tomatillos and thoroughly rinse off the sticky residue. Place tomatillos and jalapeño in medium-sized pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let them simmer for about 5-7 minutes, or, until the skins wrinkle a bit and they are soft. Drain in a colander and let sit for a few minutes so they cool off a bit. Place tomatillos and pepper in a blender or food processor, along with a dash of salt, lime juice and cilantro. Process until blended.(It won’t take long). A word of caution: be careful and don’t stick your face over the bowl/blender after you’ve removed the lid to smell the salsa because one will be hit with the full on power of the jalapeño scent like a brick wall (my eyes were burning, lesson learned!). Put salsa in container and in the fridge to cool off even more. Once chilled, add the mashed avocado & stir. All done. Now, go grab a beer, or a glass of rosé and some chips and enjoy.

tomatillos and peppers

So pretty!

salsa, pre avocado

Browned Butter Cornbread

browned butter cornbread

Browned butter cornbread, hot out of the oven.

I’m pretty sure that my great-grandmother from Shelbyville, TN never made cornbread with browned butter, or, without bacon grease/fat for that matter. Well, I did adhere to one Southern tradition when I made my version of cornbread: no sugar. I’m not a fan of sweet cornbread, I it like more savory. But, if you like a slightly sweeter bread, by all means, add the tablespoon of sugar. Also, I think the browned butter adds a deeper, nuttier flavor to the cornbread. I think the next time I make this I’ll add some grilled corn off the cob. I only had some sad, old frozen corn, which, after heating up in the microwave tasted like, well, old corn (yuck). I suppose I should clean out my freezer….but, that’s for another day!

*Recipe slightly adapted from Paula Deen

  • 6 TB unsalted butter, browned, plus butter for baking dish
  • 1 C cornmeal
  • 3/4 C AP flour
  • 1 TB sugar (Optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Brown your butter and set aside to cool.

That extra 2 TB of butter you have from the stick you cut earlier? Use that, or most of it to grease your 8×8 baking dish.

Mix all dry ingredients into a large bowl, set aside. Once the browned butter is cooled, add the slightly beaten eggs and buttermilk, stir. Then add wet ingredients to dry and mix well, making sure you get out all the dry parts (you don’t want any pockets of batter with dry bits because nothing is more gross than biting into a baked good and getting a bite with dried bits of flour.) The batter will be slightly lumpy and that’s okay. Bake until top is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is. Mine took exactly 20 min. Let it cool and then eat. I’m going to have mine with a bowl of vegetarian chili for dinner.

Avocado Egg Toast…

oops, I ate the other half of bread.

oops, I ate the other half of bread. Yes, that is a Zabar’s coffee mug!

…it’s what’s for breakfast! I’ve been on a hardboiled egg kick that I think started with having a salad last week with egg, avocado, greens and a spicy cilantro-lime dressing. I’d forgotten how much I love the combination of egg and avocado. I even ate it one evening for dinner following a softball game. There really isn’t anything fancy or overly-complicated or cutesy about this breakfast (or, lunch or dinner). It’s quite simple:

    toast your favorite bread
    drizzle a little olive oil on bread
    spread 1/2 of a an avocado on bread
    put sliced hardboiled eggs on top
    salt and pepper to taste
    sliced tomatoes on the side (optional)

You’re done. Now go do something productive.

Roasted Chickpeas

Need a quick (and somewhat healthy) snack for yourself, or maybe your impending dinner party guests? Roast some chickpeas! This is a quick and easy recipe for the holidays, or, any time. I made mine a little garlicky and spicy, but, play around with the spices–herbs de Provence, crushed red pepper and curry, lemon pepper seasoning, or, whatever you like. There are endless flavor combinations.

  • 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp hot paprika
  • dash or two of garlic salt

Line a rimmed baking sheet (or regular sheet) with parchment paper and set oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and drain chickpeas, pat dry with paper towels. Put chickpeas in medium sized bowl and fully coat with olive oil. Don’t add spices yet as they will burn in the oven. Roast for 20-30 minutes or, until the beans are crisp and browned. (Note: some may burst open and that’s totally fine). Get that bowl you previously used and pick up parchment/beans and transfer to the bowl. Add spices and stir with spoon until fully coated. These are good warm and will be crispy. They do tend to lose some crunch once they’re cooled. Enjoy!

roastedchickpeas2

roastedchickpeas