Bread and Butter Pickles

Every summer I like to make a big batch of pickles. Making pickles is easy, fun, and delicious; not to mention that you can make extra to gift to family and friends. Near my home there is a market known as Chesapeake’s Bounty. The wonderful team over at Chesapeake’s Bounty works hard to bring fresh and local goods to our community. Everything sold at Chesapeake’s Bounty is sourced from a sustainable network of food growers and producers who live and work here in Southern Maryland. You can get fresh seafood sourced from right here in the Chesapeake Bay, the freshest local produce you can find, and plants so you can cultivate your own garden!

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Today, with the help of my awesome friend Hannah, we decided to make fresh pickles. Ten jars of pickles to be exact! We collected a bunch of brand new Ball mason jars from Walmart, and then we headed down to Chesapeake’s Bounty for tons of Cucumbers!

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Making Pickles is a lot easier than one might expect. With the simple recipe below you’ll be able to master making your own batch of pickles and maybe even venturing off into making other pickled and preserved items.

This particular recipe is known as the “bread and butter” pickle recipe. Usually this recipe calls for fresh dill, but I decided to use 1 drop of dill essential oil instead!

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Ingredients

10 of the Pint sized mason jars

10 Cucumbers

6 cups of distilled white vinegar

3 cups of sugar

2 teaspoons of coarse salt

1 teaspoon mustard seed

1 teaspoon celery seed

Hot chili flakes (optional)

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Fresh dill or dill essential oil from Doterra.

Method

Be sure to wash and boil your mason jars and lids before use. This sanitizes them and helps prevent the introduction of unwanted bacteria.

  1. Slice your cucumbers into rounds, discarding of the “butt” ends of each cucumber. Put all slices into a colander and toss with salt, let sit in the sink for at least 30 minutes to help draw out some moisture.
  2. In a large pot, mix together the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, and turmeric. If you are choosing to use one drop of Dill essential oil, now is the time to add the one drop as well as the hot chili flakes. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. While you are waiting for the brine to come to a boil, pack your mason jars with the cucumber slices, if you are choosing to use fresh dill, now is the time to pack a sprig of Dill in-between each layer of cucumber. You really want to jam as many cucumbers in as you possibly can. Be sure to alternate directions in which the cucumbers lay so that the brine will reach all parts.
  4. Once your brine has boiled for at least two minutes, you may now add it to your mason jars. You may choose to use a measuring cup or a funnel to do this part. Be sure to completely cover all of the cucumber slices with brine. If some are floating, use a clean spoon to push them down and help them stay submerged. Be sure to leave at least a half an inch of headroom when you fill the jars.
  5. Allow the newly filled mason jars with your pickles to cool to room temperature before sealing them with the lids. Store them in your refrigerator.

 

 

These pickles must be stored in the refrigerator, feel free to share them with family and friends. Give them away as gifts!

 

Enjoy!

Traditional Shepherds Pie

One of my favorite Sunday dishes to make is traditional shepherds pie. Growing up, I had had American style shepherds pie. The kind with ground beef, corn, and potatoes. It was good. But this recipe is even better!

The origin of shepherds pie dates back to Scotland and northern England where shepherding was a common way of life. Potatoes, lamb, and root vegetables such as carrots and onions were common.

I’ve adapted this recipe over time and it has come to be my own. My husband adores this meal and often over indulges himself when I make it. You can easily double this recipe to feed a large family or host a dinner party. With this meal at the center you’ll be the talk of the town for weeks!!!

Ingredients

2 pounds of Ground Lamb

1 onion

9 baby carrots

1 sprig of Rosemary

1 sprig of thyme

3 Russet Potatoes

8oz Chicken Stock

2 Tablespoons of tomato paste

1 cup of Red Wine

2 tablespoons of Worchestersire sauce

3 cloves of garlic

Method

1. Wash and peel your potatoes. Dice them and add them to a pot of water. Boil until tender

2. In a large nonstick skillet, Brown your ground lamb.

3. In a food processor or chopper. Chop together the carrots, onions, garlic, rosemary leaves, and thyme leaves. Be sure the consistency is close to a rough paste.

4. Once the meat is browned and most of the liquid cooked off. Add the carrot/onion mixture. Stir to combine and cook down.

5. Add the wine, chicken stock, and tomato paste and worchestershire sauce. Allow to simmer until it forms a thick sauce.

6. While the meat sauce simmers. Strain and mash the potatoes. You may choose to add your own extras to the potatoes like sour cream and chives.

7. Once the sauce is reduced. Transfer to a large dish. Top with the mashed potatoes. Be sure to rough up the potatoes with a fork. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Bacon Brussel Sprouts

This is a yummy and easy side dish that only utilizes 6 simple ingredients! I made this for my husband and he was stealing sprouts off my plate. I also cooked it in my cast iron skillet which always adds some extra flavor to whatever I cook in it.

Ingredients

1lb Brussel sprouts

Three slices of thick cut, apple smoked bacon (I use uncured nitrate free)

2 tablespoons Olive oil

Pinch Salt

Pinch Pepper

3 tablespoons Brown sugar

Method

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Remove the stem end of the Brussel sprout and the first outer layer of leaf. Add the Brussel sprouts to your cast iron skillet or oven safe dish. Cut your bacon into chucks and scatter them throughout the sprouts. Coat the sprouts and bacon in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with brown sugar. Put into oven for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through. Serve hot.

Italian Chicken and Bruschetta Pasta -Cooking By Sight

So I’ve been cooking for a long time. It’s a hobby of mine that I love and enjoy. When someone first starts cooking they might first start with simple recipes and they’ll measure everything.

As one progresses with cooking they start to be more daring and not measure as much. Soon you advance enough to becoming able to make your own recipes from scratch. This is what I call “Cooking By Sight”.

That’s what I did here. I have no idea how much of each ingredient is in this dish, but it was so easy and simple to make I had to share. Maybe you too will be inspired by this.

Ingredients

Pasta

Cherry tomatoes

Basil

Olive oil

Minced garlic

Chicken breast

Italian seasoning

Parmesan cheese

Salt

Pepper

Method

I boiled my pasta per the instructions on the box. While the pasta boiled I chopped as many cherry tomatoes I desired. I also chopped as much fresh basil I desired. I mixed these two in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and as much minced garlic as I liked.

To the chicken. I coated Italian seasoning on both sides and cooked through in a skillet with olive oil.

Once the pasta was finished. I added the tomato basil mixture to the pasta as well as a few handfuls of grated parmesan cheese.

Served with the chicken on top.

Garden Herb Fried Chicken

Who doesn’t love fried chicken? I mean ok maybe vegans and vegetarians… but hey. Chicken works in our house and we LOVE it.

I made this Garden Herb Fried Chicken a few weeks ago and it had my husband licking his plate. It was so fresh, crisp and juicy. I literally was thinking that day of what I could possibly throw together that would be yummy? I had to prune some of my herbs back in the garden so I thought about experimenting with fried chicken tenderloins might be worth a shot.

It was a huge success!!!

I hope this recipe works for you as much as it worked for us.

Ingredients

1 lb chicken breast tenderloins

3 eggs

1/2 cup milk

3 sprigs of parsley

3 sprigs of thyme

3 sprigs oregano

1T olive oil

1 clove of garlic

2 cups four

1 T Salt

1 T pepper

1 T dried thyme

1 T onion powder

1 T paprika

1 T garlic powder

1 T mustard powder

Dash cayenne pepper

Your choice of frying medium. (Lard, shortening, vegetable oil)

Method:

In one bowl mix the eggs and milk. Either finely chop the fresh herbs or mash them in a mortar and pestle with the olive oil. Add to the egg and milk mix. Add chicken and marinate one hour. Mix all dry ingredients. Add the chicken to the dry ingredients then back to the wet. Then dry again. Add to already heated oil and fry, be sure to stay by the stove for safety and watch. Flip every two minutes until golden brown.