Refrigerator Pickles… a recipe

 I absolutely LOVE when it is pickle making time of year. I am not—yet—the best preserver when it comes to “putting by for winter” though ever since I was a child it has been a dreamy idea to me. I always pep myself that this will be the year. THE YEAR where I start a pantry of all I grew and canned and dried and all the rest of the fanciful notions that seem attainable when the short days and cold weather make it just story book enough to feel possible. As a child I would often play house and would spend uncountable hours foraging for mazanita berries and wild cherries; storing up good food for when the blizzards hit. We lived in Southern California.
Anyway, what follows is the pickle recipe that does get used in my kitchen. Maybe when my hair is white and I finally get to wear the muumuus I so intend to eventually wear, I will have more tried and true recipes for preserving summer’s harvest.

 

 

Refrigerator Pickles 
In a very clean 1 gallon jar place a washed strand of fresh dill weed.
If you don’t have fresh use a tablespoon of dried.
Add roughly 4 lb. pickling cucumbers washed (they are all over at the farmers market right now)
4 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 cup salt
1 + 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 tablespoon black pepper corns
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon whole allspice
a few cloves
6-8 cups water or until jar is full.
optional: pepper flakes or a couple fresh hot peppers,
fresh strand tarragon. 
Cover with wax paper and fasten with string or a rubber band.

Let sit out for two days, out of direct sunlight, then refrigerate for up to two months.

Recipe is re posted from this post. 

Cheers ~
Marica

Making Raspeberry Freezer Jam

After being given several flats worth of almost over-the-hill raspberries, I made it my afternoons work to make a stock pile of freezer jam. (Freezer jam is real jam, it is just skipping the step of processing it in heat and instead using a freezer to preserve the jam and keep it safe to eat.)
freezer, raspberries, jam, homemade jam
 The nice part of making freezer jam rather than canning, is that it is fast and less messy. If you are worried you won’t have the time to can a bunch of jam this can be a fabulous substitute.
freezer, preserving food, raspberries, recipes for freezer jam
 I usually follow the rule of thumb to use equal parts fruit and sugar. I don’t typically add pectin, which means the jam will be a bit sloppy, but I like it that way. Simmer down the fruit and sugar for at least 20 minutes; though you can go a little longer and the jam will become thicker. I sometimes add a dash of spice or orange zest. My favorite spices to use are cardamom, nutmeg or allspice though cinnamon is a good one too. Depending on the fruit and how juicy it is, you may need to add a splash of water to avoid burning the bottom of the pot. Note, too much will make soupy jam that doesn’t hold at all. 
Pour the jam into clean mason jars leaving half an inch of head-room. Twist on the cover and let cool. Place the unopened jars in your freezer and keep opened jam jars for use in the fridge.
The jam will last quite a while. I looked up specifics and this link said up to a year in a freezer and once thawed about 3-4 weeks.
Hope summer is wrapping up well for everyone!
                                                        Cheers ~
                                                                   Marica

 

Ginger Love (and a recipe for how to make sweet pickled ginger at home)

I am a ginger devotee. It is probably one of my most favorite ingredients to eat or cook with. At Japanese restaurants there is never enough pickled ginger on my plate and I am willing to endure the hollow, sour feeling in my stomach that comes free eating far too much pickled food in one seating. Oddly, I have never attempted to make my own pickled ginger. Today, however is a new day, and guess what, I made what will now most likely become a staple in my kitchen—pickled ginger! 
What brought it all to the forefront was a batch of fast pickled radishes I put together at the food truck yesterday. I was needing a little salad pizazz and had a small bin full of fresh pink radishes (I’ll actually give you all that recipe another time, once I figure out the precise proportions to use.) Either way, yesterday evening I was too tired to bother with ginger but my mind was already running with ginger thoughts and laughing at the idea I had never before even tried to make my own fast pickled ginger. Well today it was my priority. Between biscuits and omelets, pies and ice tea, I shuffled aside some time for ginger experimentation. 
The result is utterly satisfying. After eight hours of soaking, the pickles are fantastic; bright, extremely potent, sweet and with a true bite. I will bet tomorrow and even the day after, they will have come to terms with their fate and settled down to a somewhat milder delivery of their pickled ginger charm.  <!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:”MS 明朝”; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1073743103 0 0 415 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:””; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; msoascii-font-family:Cambria; msoascii-theme-font:minor-latin; msofareast-font-family:”MS 明朝”; msofareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; msohansi-font-family:Cambria; msohansi-theme-font:minor-latin; msobidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; msobidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; msoascii-font-family:Cambria; msoascii-theme-font:minor-latin; msofareast-font-family:”MS 明朝”; msofareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; msohansi-font-family:Cambria; msohansi-theme-font:minor-latin; msobidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; msobidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} –>

ginger

ginger, pickling, sweet pickled ginger, Japanese style pickled ginger
Pickled Ginger Recipe
First wash and peel your ginger then slice very thinly until you have about one cup. I used a peeler, but a cheese slicer could work as well. Be sure to follow the grain or the ginger will be rougher in texture. Also note, the ginger gets more stringy as it gets closer to the center so optimally just use the outer portion for this recipe. Place the ginger in a bowl and mix with the following ingredients and then let sit covered in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours: 
1+1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 cup water
Please enjoy and let me know how they come out!
                                                        ~Marica

Vegan Banana Muffins Recipe

I have a real soft spot for banana muffins. These particular muffins are yummy and yet still a tiny bit healthy. I often make a batch at the pie truck and then bring them home at the end of the day for my kiddos—They love when I bring treats. These days it’s hard to keep my fifteen-year-old from eating us out of house and home. Seriously! As an added piece—so you can get in the mind of a crazy pie-maker/mother/obsesser-of-story-books—I have an old love affair with the Betsy Tacy and Tib books. I read each and every one multiple times as a child, and to be truthful, I even read some of her later books not so very long ago. Either way, in the stories the house keeper/cook always makes the family muffins on their first day back to school. I found this tradition so romantic. Every time I make my children muffins I think of Betsy and her family and the simple tradition that somehow has made a lasting impression on me. Silly as it sounds, I feel like these are the things that matter. These bits and pieces are what keeps us inspired, warm and decent people in a very complicated world.
vegan, baking, recipes, muffins, banana, healthy

VEGAN BANANA MUFFINS
In a large bowl mix:
3 ripe bananas 
1 cup orange juice 
1/2 cup grape seed oil
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup ground walnuts
In a separate bowl sift together:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix both sets of ingredients together. Pour into an oiled muffin pan and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes and then rotate the the pan and bake for another 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

                                                                    Cheers ~
                                                                                Marica

Fast and Easy Almond Paste

love almond paste. I’ve seen marzipan sold in packaging, but it was always way to sweet and not so tasty.
 A while back I was messing around with making croissants and wanted to somehow make them almond filled.
I threw some almond meal, agave and lemon juice together. It worked and was quite good. 
 Then a couple of evenings ago I was intensely craving almond croissants. I made them, but this time, instead of lemon juice I used vanilla. That was the trick, The paste was absolutely perfect. 
 I don’t have exact measurements for you, but it is best if you do it by feel anyway.
Combine desired amount of almond meal with agave until is becomes sticky and holds together. 
Add roughly one teaspoon of vanilla for every cup and a half of almond meal. 
Be sure not to eat it all while you test it, that could be a problem. 
                                               Best wishes ~ Marica

Dinner of Broccoli Soup, Vegan and Gluten-Free . . .

Everyone has had a bit of a cold lately . . . The weather has been taking an Autumnish tone . . . 
So in respect of sniffling noses and colder days, there has been a fair amount of 
soup consumed around here . . .
 The first soup was a fiery tortilla soup with fresh grown cayenne, and thai peppers . . .
 Tonight’s soup started with potatoes,
 and as it grew into its full form
 took on an Indian flavor . . . 
 Broccoli and Potato, vegan and gluten-free soup
In a pot with an inch or so of water, simmer until extremely soft:

3 new potatoes, sliced thinly
Add and simmer a bit longer:

1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
4 cups water
Add:
8 cups fresh broccoli, chopped finely
Pinch nutmeg
Dash of dill
Salt and black pepper to taste
A generous squeeze of lemon
Optional: Cayenne, chili powder or pepper flakes.
                                                       Hope you all are staying well  ~ Marica

The Pickle Recipe . . .

I was sent an email by a very lovely woman in my town asking if I could post the pickle recipe. I didn’t initially because it isn’t original to me. . . the problem is I don’t remember where I found it . . . but I’ve added and subtracted just a bit, and hope with all good intention, nobody will feel I posted this without their permission. 
Fresh Refrigerator Pickles
In a very clean 1 gallon jar place a washed strand of fresh dill weed
If you don’t have fresh use a tablespoon of dried.
Add roughly 4 lb. pickling cucumbers washed (they are all over at the farmers market right now)
4 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 cup salt
1 + 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 tablespoon black pepper corns
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon whole allspice
a few cloves
6-8 cups water or until jar is full.
optional: pepper flakes or a couple fresh hot peppers,
fresh strand tarragon. 
Cover with wax paper and fasten with string or a rubber band.
Let sit out for two days, out of direct sunlight, then refrigerate for up to two months. 
Mine usually last a few days, if, before they become a delectable memory. 
                                           Happy Last Weeks of Summer ~ Marica