home meet the chef Services and Pricing Sample Menus blog

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Busy Week

I have had a busy and productive week. Monday started out with reporting for jury duty. Out of 240 people, I was one of 15 people who were asked to be questioned for the one jury trial of the day. Out of those 15, I was one of 6 people chosen to serve on a jury in a DUI case. It was an interesting experience. We were unanimous in our decision and the case was concluded by the end of the day.

Tuesday night I went to a cooking class at the Buford Highway Farmers Market. The class topic was salmon and cost $15. At the end of the class, everyone received a $10 gift card for the market. I had not been to this market in several years. It has changed a lot since my last visit and I can't wait till my next day off to go there and wander the aisles to make new food discoveries.

Wednesday was a day off and I did errands, some to get ready for our weekend at Lake Burton. Yay! Can't wait to float on a raft in the lake and do nothing, nothing. I'll take some knitting, reading, maybe some cooking magazines I need to catch up on. We're leaving Friday morning for the long weekend.

Tonight is my monthly book club meeting. We read Loving Frank. It was an historical novel about a love affair that lasted for many years between Frank Lloyd Wright and a woman, a former client. Very interesting with a definite surprise ending. A good read. I think I'll make "taco bites" as my appetizer contribution.

Today my brain is actually in the menu-planning mode and I got all my menu plans done for clients for the next three weeks...yay! Now off to finish laundry and start packing for the weekend. Also to make pimento cheese to take with us.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kirby Cucumbers and Pickles

It seems I've gone crazy with canning, putting up, putting by, whatever you want to call it. In the last couple months I've canned green beans, tomatoes, strawberry jam, pickled peaches, peach preserves, triple berry jam, onion/pepper relish, and now pickles. And I have really, really enjoyed doing it!

This weekend I made pickles that my husband asked for...he especially likes these. They're called Kinda Sorta Sours from an Alton Brown recipe that I've had for several years.
My extravagant recipe organizing system: I know approximately what folder it's in and I definitely know what the piece of paper looks like that it's written on! I'll put the recipe back where I found it.

The full recipe is below but in a nutshell, you start with cucumbers. These are Kirby cucumbers, the perfect cucumber for making pickles. They're peaking in season now so get them while they're hot! They are small, with thin skin and have great flavor and crunch. You wash the cucumbers, cut them in either spears or slices, slice onion and smash some garlic. Then you make your boiling liquid using vinegars, sugar, and spices.

Pack the jars, add the boiling liquid, add the lids that have been sitting in hot water. Once they're packed, turn them upside down for a couple minutes so that the seal gets hot and seals well, and you're done! I made 4X the recipe for this many jars. I'm going to get more Kirby cucumbers this week while they're available. Enjoy!

Alton Brown's Kinda Sorta Sours
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 medium cucumbers or about 6 Kirby's
1 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp mustard seed
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp pickling spice
4 whole garlic cloves

Combine onion, cucumber slices and garlic in jars.
Combine remaining ingredients in non-reactive pan. Bring to boil and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour hot liquid over ingredients and seal.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Spices and Spice Jars

Several years ago, I became obsessed with these cute little 1/2 pint jars. These are the old kind with the metal tops and the porcelain insert. I began searching for them at antique shops and shows and bought a lot of them on eBay.

I wanted them to store and display my spices. Here they are in their spot on the back of a door in my kitchen. It's a great convenient spot and I can always see how much I have of any given spice. Did I say I love these jars? I think I have about 40.

Of course I have them all lined up in alphabetical order.

I buy my spices at the DeKalb Farmers Market. Notice that I paid 77 cents for this tub of sage. Sure beats paying $3.99 at the grocery store for about 1/5 this amount! When I buy a new supply of a spice, I label the top of the jar with the date so I'll know its shelf life. I don't let a spice sit for more than a year because by then it has lost its flavor and punch.

My little spice jars, just another thing that makes me smile when I use them!