Thursday, August 25, 2011

beans taste better pickled

Growing up, we never put food up.  Who needs to put food up when you can go to the grocery store and buy anything, all year round? 

Two years ago, I tried my hand at canning. And what keeps me coming back is the experience of opening a jar of pickles or beets or tomato sauce to share with friends and family on new years eve. knowing that i grew the garlic and dill and beans that we are enjoying during the dead of winter is an incredible feeling. and so i put up what i can!

this year, i started with dilly beans.  easy, fast, so tasty!

2 pounds green beans, washed and trimmed
16 cloves garlic
lots of dill
4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
8 teaspoons mustard seed
8 12-oz ball jars
4 cups white vinegar
4 cups of water
1/2 cup kosher salt

1. Start by sterilizing the jars--place jars and lids in boiling water for 10 minutes.
2. Fill your jars with all the fixings ( split beans, dill, garlic, red pepper, and mustard among 8 jars)
3. Bring water, salt and vinegar to a boil.
4. Pour brine into each jar, leaving a solid 1/2 inch of space between rim of jar and brine. Cap the jars.
5.  In large pot, bring water to a boil.  When you put your jars of beans in the water, the water should cover the jars be a few inches.
6. Boil full jars for 10 minutes (more or less depending on your location, read more)
7. Wait at LEAST two weeks to enjoy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

millions of peaches

I just finished making the following recipe, courtesy of Deborah Flateman...former CEO of the Vermont Foodbank and the woman who hired me for my first real job.  i remember the first time Deb cooked for was a staff meeting. i can still taste that risotto pie. she is an amazing cook and this recipe will not disappoint. ENJOY every bite--and follow to the letter!

By Deborah Flateman
What can you say about peaches? When they’re good, they’re really, really good. And when they’re not, well, the disappointment one can feel is beyond description. You know, when they’re dry, mealy, tough- skinned. Not juicy and tender and sweet perhaps like the ones I remember picking from my grandfather’s tree that, despite his gross lack of attention, still managed to produce small, sugar-sweet  orbs of summer delight.  Juice running down the chin with every bite.  Heaven.
My former husband is a guy who, within ten minutes of talking with him, was able to take you into a zillion directional paths. One day at work where he came in contact with lots of folks from all over the country, he struck up a conversation with a real, honest-to-goodness Georgia peach (a really nice lady from Macon) who promised to send her recipe for peach custard pie. And true to her ‘peachiness’ form, she sent this recipe that has become my absolute favorite in the celebration of our fuzzy, pulpy passion. I also include my mom’s tried and true recipe for flaky pie crust. Give this one a try! The process is easier than you think, and the outcome is absolutely outstanding.
Mom’s Pie Crust
2/3 C (heaping) Crisco
2 C Flour
6 T Cold Water

Cut the flour and salt into the Crisco until it resembles coarse meal. Add the water and mix in. Don’t work the dough too hard or it will be tough. This is enough dough for a double crust 10-inch pie.

Peach Custard Pie (preheat oven to 375 degrees)

1.       Line a 10-inch pie plate with Mom’s pie crust (use store bought if you must!).
2.       In a large bowl, beat 3 eggs, 1 C sugar, 3 T flour, 1 t vanilla, and ½ C of melted, unsalted butter (in that order). Set aside.
3.       Peel and slice peaches (about 6 large) into the lined pie plate (peaches should fill the pie plate by about two thirds).
4.       Pour custard mixture over the peaches.
5.       Apply a lattice top over the batter and crimp edges (only a lattice top will work here).
6.       Brush with egg wash and sprinkle sparsely with sugar.

Bake for one hour. Serves 6-8 happy people. This recipe also works with frozen peaches if you have a hankering when fresh ones aren’t around.