Saturday, August 3, 2013

Pickles, pickles and more pickles.

Pickling cucumbers at Carpintino's
Well worth the drive to Kent
Two summers ago I managed to get a couple of my girlfriends to show me how to make pickles. They had been taught by their grandmothers and were canning pros, so I was lucky to get in on this pickle event. That afternoon we processed 54 lbs of pickles and I was hooked. I now do it each August in my own kitchen and have slowly adapted the Minnesota classic Huckbarth Family recipe and made this one my own. I use jalapenos instead of anaheim peppers, for a little kick. How many seeds determines the spiciness. Last year was my first year with the adaptation and I didn't put too many seeds in. This year I am throwing them in to see what happens.

Dill Pickles for 16 quart jars of dill pickles

  • Brine: 1 quart vinegar, 3 quarts water, 1 cup canning salt (per batch)
  • 1 dill plant
  • 3 garlic
  • 4 jalapenos peppers
  • 18 lbs cucumbers (so basically 1 lb per qt plus an extra lb or two so you can be choosy)
  • alum

  1. boil brine (while you do step 2)
  2. pack jar first with dill, 1 garlic clove, anaheim pepper slice & 1/8 tsp alum, then pack tight with cucumbers
  3. fill jars to 1/4 inch from the top with boiling brine
  4. wipe top, place hot lid & finger tighten
  5. Place in hot bath for 10 min (water should be 1-2 inches above the jars)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Steamers ala Saltspring Island

When Sean and I were on our honeymoon on Saltspring Island we had dinner one night at the Marketplace Cafe. The restaurant had great ambiance, delicious food and lovely service -but what really knocked our socks off were their steamed clams. Being from Seattle, I have had plenty of clams, but the broth on these was so rich and memorable that we had to ask the chef about the ingredients. Turns out the secret is sherry.

Even months after our return home Sean talked about those clams and so I have been slowing adapting a recipe to try to make it more and more like the ones we had on Saltspring. Here's what I've got so far:

1 lb live steamer clam
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 -6 chopped garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup cooking sherry
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup butter

1 fresh baked baguette or 1 round sourdough loaf

  1. Rinse and drain clams; set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in large heavy pot over medium heat.
  3. Add garlic, dill, and thyme and heat until garlic is just starting to brown (about 2 min).
  4. Add sherry and water and heat until steaming (about 1 min).
  5. Add clams, cover pot and cook 5 minutes.
  6. Add butter and stir gently until well blended with juices.
  7. Ladle out clams into a large serving bowl.
  8. Remove any clams that did not open all the way.
  9. Pour remaining juices over clams.
  10. Serve hot with fresh bread on the side.