Easy Homemade Pickles

{pickles by Liisa VonEnde}

Did you know that it actually ridiculously easy to make your own pickles? I can’t believe that I’ve been buying sub-par, chemically brewed pickles from the grocery store all this time when this quick, easy method was right under my nose! There are a ton of ways to go about this, but for simple, quick pickles try this recipe. These are not the sweet variety, but rather the dill/sour kind (my favorite!)

Directions:

Wash jars: Run jars through the dishwasher or wash thoroughly.

Prepare your brine:  “Brine”…now doesn’t that sound like the element of a serious project?Nope, it’s just water, vinegar, and salt! To each quart of water that has been boiled and brought to room temperature, add ¾ cup of distilled white vinegar and 4 Tablespoons Kosher salt. Estimate how many quarts to make depending on how many jars you will pack with pickles. Note: Do not use reactive pots (like aluminum) for making brine. Stick with stainless or glass bowls/pots for pickling tasks.

Wash and pack small cucumbers  into clean glass jars, into which fresh dill has been layered on the bottom first.

Add 1 Tablespoon of pickling spice and lots of chopped garlic. (Up to you how much. Leave it whole or chop it up!)

Add a dash of crushed red pepper flakes, or 1-2 small hot red peppers cut open lengthwise, plus more fresh dill.

Cover with plastic wrap and let stand out until soured, perhaps a couple of days, then refrigerate with lids on.

The pickles should last for a few months only (hah, not a chance if you’re a self-confessed pickle fanatic like me). If you do want to store pickles all year, use a recipe that calls for water-bath processing (meaning vacuum-sealed lids). It’s not that refrigerator pickles go bad, necessarily, but they lose that oh-so-important crunch.

Added Notes

{Thanks to lovely Liisa for both the recipe and delicious pickles on a hot summer day!}

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Tortilla For One + Veggie Burger (Chickpea and Kale)

I cut the burger in half before actually rolling it up in the tortilla.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m living a pretty spartan existence this month (er, this year…) but that doesn’t mean that I have to live on prepackaged food, and neither do you. Having zero counters, one plate  and one bowl to mix things in just takes it down to the elemental. Come on, you probably have a real table, or at least a counter that’s not just your stove with a cutting board over it. So what’s your excuse not to cook?

You can make the tortilla dough ahead of time and roll them out one at a time, or you can make them individually, which is what I usually do because it really does only take 5 minutes (if that). I don’t use oil in the dough- I just find that it’s not necessary.

Yeah, I know. This does not look or sound good (a green burger?) but I swear, it was delicious!

This is a simple recipe for a veggie burger that uses chick peas, eggs, and bread crumbs as a base. I adapted the recipe quite  a bit, substituting kale for sprouts (only because I didn’t have any sprouts) and adding extra bread crumbs because the burger “batter” was pretty liquidy. I also added lemon juice because I thought they were a bit bland. The kale worked really well and the extra lemon juice really helped bring out the flavor.

I’m not exactly sure how this is different from falafel, but it doesn’t really matter, does it? It was delicious, especially when both are fresh and still warm from the pan.

Maybe you’re on a bit of a budget, you’ve got a bunch of  kids that you want to secretly feed kale to, or are  just trying to save up for a really expensive pair of shoes or an awesome trip somewhere (can I come?)

In any case, both of these recipes should delight your thrifty heart.

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Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes”

(secretly) healthy comfort food

Dear readers, I have an embarrassing confession to make. I’m not sure I even want to admit this to myself, but last night I did something truly, awfully depraved. I cooked ( I use that term loosely here) and ate instant mashed potatoes. I’m not proud. I’m still trying to understand and come to terms with this strange behavior.

Well, after some deep analysis, I came to the conclusion that due to my love of real mashed potatoes I, in a fit of empty-cupboard syndrome, pulled the box of “Shur-Fine” instant mashed potatoes from the deepest, darkest corner of the cabinet where it had been sitting alone, spurned by the other food ever since I had bought it for a bread recipe (secret ingredient). I was even embarrassed to be seen buying them in the grocery store, and considered explaining myself to the cashier but managed to restrain myself with my usual admonition, “thing like crazy person no do!”

So what does this have to do with cauliflower, you might ask? Well, everything.

Due to their almost total lack of nutrition plus aggregate value of butter + carb bomb, I only eat mashed potatoes approximately 4 times a year. I don’t even have a potato in the house! But what if you could have them any night of the week? What if…they could even be…healthy?

I give you…Caulifower Mashed Potatoes!  Do I even need to explain the advantages? Hmm, we could make a chart here, but I think it’s pretty obvious. You can eat the whole bowl. Enough said. Oh also, um, vitamins. 

(recipe after the jump)

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