Monthly Archives: September 2015

Refrigerator Pickles and Vegetables

This is a great recipe for those of us that don’t can fruits and vegetables. I wish I could do the canning bit but I think I’m somewhat intimidated by the whole process. Even my dad who was an accomplished Southern cook did not can. He used the freezer to preserve the vegetables he grew.

I did have a lot of older aunts who canned. In fact, I remember peeling peaches for one of my favorite aunts. My reward was always several jars of delicious canned peaches. Now these were not just any kind of peach but the famous Georgia peaches that a local Farm Stand sold during the Georgia peach season. I don’t have any photos of what she canned but they would have looked something like this.

Peaches

Photo by culinaryartscollege.org

I never would have guessed that it was Napoleon Bonaparte that inspired the idea for canning foods. Looking for ways to feed his army during his war with Europe, he offered a reward to whomever could develop a safe, reliable food preservation for his constantly traveling army. A Frenchman by the name of Nicolas Appert received the reward for preserving food by sterilization. Now that really wasn’t the beginning of home canning, because it wasn’t until the mid 1860’s that home canning came into being. This was when a tin smith by the name of John L. Mason invented the Mason Jar. For more on the interesting history of canning see this article from joepastry.com.

This recipe is a perfect substitute for home canning. It is adapted from Nancy Fuller and the original recipe can be found here. If you check out her recipe, be aware there is a mistake in the amount of salt listed for her recipe on Food Network.

Nancy has a show on the Food Network called Farmhouse Rules. I really like the show because she uses fresh and local ingredients in her recipes. In fact, she is always saying “fresh is best”. If you haven’t seen her show, check it out. She is definitely not your average Food Network host.

Refrigerator Pickles and Vegetables

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 small cucumbers, cut into spears
1 large cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup mini sweet peppers, cut into rings
1 cup cauliflower florets
1/4 red onion, cut into slices
1 cup pearl onions
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon celery seeds
1-2 sprigs fresh dill, optional

Tightly pack the cucumbers, peppers, cauliflower, red onion, pearl onions and dill in a large glass jar with a lid. A quart mason jar with lid works very well.

In a medium saucepan, heat the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, mustard and celery seeds until boiling and the sugar is dissolved. Use a funnel to pour the pickling liquid over the vegetables to cover completely. Let cool to room temperature, then cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. The pickles will keep, refrigerated, up to two weeks.

pickles1

Notes:
1. Red bell pepper sliced in 1/4 inch strips can be used in place of the mini sweet peppers.
2. This brining liquid can be used to pickle cucumbers and onions in individual jars as I did and shown here in this picture.

pickles4

Teriyaki Beef Shish Kabobs

It has been a busy summer but one that included a week at a small lake north of Grand Rapids.  It is a very pretty lake surrounded by the Pere Marquette forest, home to lots of wildlife. I was always the first one up and while having coffee was delighted to see two cute twin fawns.  They came by the cottage several times. No one else in the family ever saw them. Oh well, they should have gotten up early too. Loons and herons came around the dock everyday and a black squirrel showed up on the deck several times.

fawns1

loon 4

>black squirell

It was a fun family getaway with lots of good grilled food and one night homemade personal pan pizzas were on the menu.

kielbasa

pizza6

On a day trip we discovered Mr. Pibs Restaurant, a country restaurant that has the best fried chicken. It is actually chicken cooked using a pressure fryer and is chicken at its best. Mr. Pibs Restaurant is a family style restaurant located on the White Pine Trail in LeRoy, Michigan. It is home cooking in a down to earth family diner. This restaurant is way out in the country and the patrons are locals and farmers from the area.

fried chicken

Now it seems like the end of summer is here, especially with it being September.  But it is not too late to have a cookout before summer’s end. Grilled beef kabobs are a family favorite.  Beef kabobs consist of small pieces of meat and vegetables threaded onto skewers and grilled. I very seldom order kabobs in a restaurant because the beef is usually overcooked, dry and chewy. That is why I like grilling them myself at home.

kabobs 3

“Kebabs are thought to have originated in Turkey and eventually spread to the Balkans and the Middle East. The name is a shortened form of the Turkish sis kebab, sis meaning skewer and kebab meaning roast meat.” Source

If you are looking for something different to grill for the upcoming Labor Day holiday, these kabobs are easy to prepare and perfect for a cookout. True shish kabobs are often made with pieces of marinated lamb but I believe that beef is the meat of choice in the USA and that is what we prefer.

kabobs

Teriyaki Beef Shish Kabobs

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 lb beef tenderloin, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 medium green pepper, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 medium red pepper, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 medium  onion, cut into wedges
1 cup fresh pineapple cut in 1 inch chunks, optional

1 cup Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce and Marinade

Cut beef into 1-inch cubes and place in a large zip-loc plastic bag. Pour 1 cup of the teriyaki marinade over the beef cubes. Press air out of the bag and close top securely. Turn bag over several times to coat all pieces of the beef. Refrigerate 2 hours, turning bag over occasionally.

When ready to cook, preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

Alternately thread beef and vegetables evenly onto 12-inch metal or bamboo skewers. Thread the pineapple chunks on a separate skewer.

Grill the kabobs and pineapple over direct medium high heat until cooked to desired doneness, 7 to 10 minutes, turning once. Serve with yellow rice if desired.

Notes:
1. If using bamboo skewers, soak the skewers in water at least 30 minutes to prevent burning on the grill.
2. Allow the kabobs to come to room temperature before grilling.