Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dill Pickles

This is an old recipe of mine - I like this one because it requires no brining at all. It is simple and easy to follow.
Dill Pickles

8 pounds cucumbers
4 cups vinegar
12 cups water
2/3 cup pickling or canning salt (do not use table salt)

Fresh Dill
Grape Leaves

Wash cucumbers and cut off blossom end. (The blossoms contain an enzyme that will make your pickles soft and dark)

Soak cucumbers in ice water bath for about 4 hours, adding ice as needed. (this will make them crunchy)

Sterilize 7 to 8 quart jars (or twice as many pint jars if you prefer)

Cut cucumbers into spears if desired.

In a large saucepan or stock pot, combine the vinegar, water and salt. Bring brine to a rapid boil.

In each sterilized jar, place garlic and dill to taste (I use 3 medium cloves garlic halved per jar and 2 heads of dill) and 2 small grape leaves (the grape leaves are optional but if you have them available – don’t leave them out – they will keep your pickles crunchy!)

Fill jars with the cucumbers and then add brine (it should be boiling as you add it). Using a spatula, remove air bubbles, clean the rim of the jars and seal.

Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

The longer you can wait to open the pickles, the better tasting they will be. I usually try to wait 6 to 8 weeks before testing but sometimes they get opened much quicker!

Grilled Chicken Spinach Salad with Raspberry Dressing

Earlier this summer my oldest brother took me out for dinner and I had this wonderful spinach salad with grilled chicken breast and a wonderful creamy raspberry dressing. With so many raspberries in my garden, I was sure I could replicate it and I was not disappointed.

Here is the salad all nicely layered before adding the chicken - I used what I had available - spinach, cucumbers, radishes, kohlarabi, and carrots - use whatever you like. I generously sprinkled craisins over the whole thing and topped it with slivered almonds.

Next I grilled up a chicken breast and sliced it on top.

And here is the finished salad with the dressing on top. It was delish!

Raspberry Salad Dressing

14 oz Silken Tofu
1/3 cup Agave Nectar (or maple syrup)
14 oz fresh or frozen raspberries (thawed)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons coconut oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt

Mix all ingredients until smooth in a blender. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving

Makes about 1 quart