Garden Cucumbers

Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad 
2 cucumbers
1 onion (sweet is best)
3 teaspoons salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar

Heat sugar and vinegar until it boils and turns clear. Stir continuously, let it cool.
Peel cucumbers and cut into thin slices. (I like to variegate mine) Slice onion thin. Combine and season with salt, mix well. 
Let stand for 1 hour, stirring once in a while so flavors will blend evenly. It will become watery.
Rinse well in cold water 3 or 4 times, then drain. Put in bowl and add the sugar and vinegar mixture. Let it stand in the fridge till cold.
Refrigerator Dill Pickles

  • 6 to 8 pounds pickling cucumbers
  • 40 fresh dill sprigs
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 quart white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup canning salt

  • Cut each cucumber lengthwise into four spears. In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, dill, onions and garlic; set aside. In a Dutch oven, combine the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook and stir just until salt is dissolved. Pour over cucumber mixture; cool.
  • Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Yield: 100 pickle spears.  Six calories each. 

Swiss Chard

One of the healthiest vegetables in the world, second only to spinach. 

Tomato, Chard, and Gruyere Casserole 
Serve 8

This giant Provençal casserole is called a panade.  It's like a strata.  Be sure to note the 10x15 lasagna pan required.  When preparing mine, I reduced the layers to fit a 9x13. 

5 1/2 pounds Swiss chard, stemmed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 large onions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon chopped thyme

1 cup chicken broth or apple juice/cider or combo of the two (my substitute for dry white wine

Freshly ground pepper

3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

One 1-pound loaf of day-old peasant bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick

3 pounds beefsteak tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick

9 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (3 cups)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
  1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the chard for 2 minutes; drain. When the leaves are cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess water. Coarsely chop the chard.
  2. In the same pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and thyme and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 12 minutes. Add the chard and the wine and simmer over moderately high heat until the wine is reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. Butter a 10-by-15-inch baking dish. Line the bottom of the dish with one-third of the bread, overlapping the slices slightly and cutting the bread to fit. Top with half of the tomato slices and season with salt and pepper. Spread half of the chard on top, then sprinkle with half of the cheese. Repeat the layering once and finish with the remaining bread. Pour the hot stock over the casserole and press with a spatula. Brush the top with the melted butter.
  4. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the upper third of the oven for 1 hour. Uncover the dish and bake for about 10 minutes longer, until the top is browned and crisp. Let the casserole rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Make Ahead:  The cooked chard can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. 

Windfall Tomatoes

 A strong wind knocked off some green tomatoes.  And you know me.  I couldn't let them go to waste. 
Green Tomato Pie
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 cups thinly sliced green tomatoes (about 4 to 5 medium)
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)
  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add tomatoes and vinegar; toss to coat. 
  • Line a pie plate with bottom crust. Add filling; dot with butter. Roll out remaining pastry; make a lattice crust. Or top with a regular crust, brush with egg, sprinkle with sugar and make slits.  Trim, seal and flute edges. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until tomatoes are tender. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 6-8 servings.
  •  1 serving (1 piece) equals 433 calories

Peach Peel Chicken

I used some of my peach peel jam to make apricot chicken.  It was tasty. 
 Apricot Chicken
 From crockpot365

11 oz jar of apricot preserves (I used my jam made from peach peels)
1 t dried minced onion flakes
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T soy sauce
1/4 t ginger
1/4 to 1/2 t red chili flakes (optional)
6 chicken thighs or equivalent body parts ( I used frozen thighs)

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients except the chicken.  Place the chicken into slow cooker. Pour sauce over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, high for 4-6--if your chicken isn't frozen, your dinner will cook faster.

What is it?

It's fried zucchini.  You try taking a picture of a 2 year old holding food.  But I digress.  After I polished off a container of rock hard buttermilk powder, I thought that wasn't so bad and went out and bought another one.  Yep, it's solid powder.  Some people never learn.  
Batter Dipped Fried Zucchini
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 T plus 2 t. milk (whole is best)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 T butter, melted
  • One medium zucchini, washed and sliced
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, milk, eggs and melted butter. Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook. 
  2.  Dip zucchini in batter.
  3. Fry in preheated 350 degree oil until golden.  


Missed that one. 

Garden Eggplant

Eggplant Parmesan with Crisp Bread Crumb Topping
From Food and Wine
Serves 8

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus about 2 cups for frying
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
Two 28-ounce cans whole, peeled Italian tomatoes, drained
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
8 small eggplants (1/2 pound each), cut lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped basil
1 pound lightly salted fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced and torn into small pieces
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
  1. In a large skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Using your hands, crush the whole tomatoes into the skillet. Bring to a simmer and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is very thick, about 25 minutes. Transfer the tomato sauce to a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Meanwhile, in a very large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of olive oil. Season the eggplant slices with salt and pepper. Working in several batches, cook the eggplant over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden on both sides, about 8 minutes per batch; add more olive oil to the skillet between batches. Drain the eggplant slices on paper towels.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°. Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Arrange one-third of the fried eggplant slices in the baking dish and sprinkle all over with 1 tablespoon of the chopped basil. Top with one-third of the torn mozzarella and sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Repeat this layering twice. Sprinkle the bread crumbs all over the top of the eggplant Parmesan. Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 45 minutes, until the top of the eggplant Parmesan is golden and the tomato sauce is bubbling. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
Make Ahead The assembled eggplant Parmesan can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Bring the eggplant Parmesan to room temperature before baking. Notes This dish is extremely versatile. The eggplant can be sliced lengthwise or crosswise before it's fried. In addition, the eggplant Parmesan can be baked in a glass or ceramic baking dish that is round, oval, rectangular or square. Serve with green salad and crusty Italian or peasant bread.


Leftover Juice

I put up about 160 pints of crab apple jelly.  It was a bountiful year for the crab apples and I couldn't let all that fruit go to waste.  I'd rather slave over a hot stove and then let all that jelly go to waste.  On the bright side I will never have to make jam again in my life.  My last little bit of juice wasn't enough to make a batch of jelly so I just drank it.  
Crab Apple Juice

If extracting juice with a press:
Heat juice to 160 degrees to pasteurize.  Check the temperature with a thermometer because you will maintain a taste more like unheated cider if you don't bring the cider to a full boil. 

If you use a Nutri-Steamer to extract the juice, pasteurizing isn't necessary as it is heated in the extraction process.

Sweeten to taste while the juice is warm.  Drink warm or cold.  By leaving it tart or slightly tart it can be used as a red wine substitute.   

Runny Jelly

Which of course wouldn't be jelly, but a syrup and can be used as such.  But you can remake it and hope it turns out the second time. 
Remake Directions
From Sure Jell

1 box  SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin
3/4 cup  cold water
1 cup  of your jam or jelly
2 Tbsp.  sugar
PREPARE CONTAINERS: Rinse clean plastic containers and lids with boiling water; dry thoroughly.
PREPARE PECTIN MIXTURE: Gradually add pectin to water in small (1-qt.) saucepan, stirring constantly. Bring to boil on medium heat; boil 2 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
PREPARE TRIAL BATCH: Measure jam or jelly into small bowl. Add sugar; stir 3 min. or until sugar is completely dissolved. Add 1 Tbsp. of the pectin mixture; stir an additional 3 min. Immediately pour into one of the prepared containers. Cover and let stand up to 24 hours before checking to see if set. Meanwhile, store remaining pectin mixture in refrigerator.
PREPARE REMAINDER OF BATCH: If Trial Batch sets satisfactorily, prepare remaining jam or jelly, remaking no more than 8 cups of jam or jelly at one time and using same directions as for Trial Batch with the above-listed measures of sugar and pectin mixture for each 1 cup of jam or jelly. 

Pour into prepared containers. Discard any leftover pectin mixture. Refrigerate jelly.  

Or LADLE immediately into prepared glass canning jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 5 min. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)


Kraft Kitchens Tips

How to Measure Larger Amounts of Ingredients
For convenience in measuring larger amounts of sugar and pectin mixture: 3 tsp. = 1 Tbsp., 8 Tbsp. = 1/2 cup, and 16 Tbsp. = 1 cup.
If your jam or jelly still doesn’t set, you can always use it as a glaze or syrup.

I bought 20 gallons of milk.

Hey, they were 99 cents.  Now that its been 2 weeks we are in Defcon 1.  I quadrupled this recipe and was able to use an entire gallon of milk.  To celebrate I stopped at the store to see if they were trying to dump any milk for 99 cents.  They were.  But it was chocolate.  No one complained about that purchase.  Ingrates. 
Pure Cream of Tomato Soup
From Epicurious
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups tomatoes, chopped (fresh or canned)
Melt the butter in a soup pot. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the onion is softened but not browned. Sprinkle the flour over the butter mixture and continue to stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, bay leaf, sugar, and salt and continue to cook and stir until slightly thickened. Stir the baking soda into the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes to the milk, and bring just to a simmer. Remove from the heat and put through a strainer.  Or remove bay leaves and blend until smooth in blender.  Taste and correct seasonings. Reheat before serving.