August 26, 2015

Old fashioned vinegar pie

Happy early birthday to my husband! He recently started a new job that has a bit of a hectic schedule, so we celebrated his birthday with our parents this past weekend. I always let him pick his birthday dessert, which is almost always a pie. I had him look through my "Pie!" board on Pinterest this year to get some ideas. He chose vinegar pie! Wait, what?! Vinegar pie is a thing? That's what we said when we first heard about it last year. It's been on my list of recipes to try ever since so I was glad he picked it. Plus, since I'm slowly plugging along at my 25 Pies in 2015 Challenge, it helped to give me another pie recipe for the year! 

So there were six of us that ate this pie and overall the reactions were positive. You really can't taste the vinegar. Since there's so much sugar in the pie, it gets a nice crusty top which is delicious. It's very sweet, so the raspberries (slightly tart) were a nice compliment. This recipe is a mix of the many I found on the web. There seems to be a mix of those that are plain, those that contain lemon flavor, and then those that are spiced. For the most part it seems that people agree that it's an old pioneer recipe that was made when fruit supplies were depleted. 

August 21, 2015

Skillet chicken and summer squash quinoa

As much as I love cooking, in the summer when it's hot and humid I have a difficult time convincing myself to make dinner some nights. It's just too hot and the kitchen gets even hotter! The past week or so has been especially sultry. This is why we eat a lot of easy stir fries, curries, sandwiches, salads, and simple one-pan meals like this skillet chicken and summer squash quinoa. Everything we need for a hearty and nutritious meal is all cooked up in one pan! Plus it is another way to use up those zucchinis and summer squashes - bonus! 

I like to use quinoa on occasion as an alternative to rice, noodles, or potatoes with our meal. It cooks up quickly and I like the texture - plus you can use it in so many ways, including breakfast cereal. We really enjoyed this dish. Once you chop everything up it comes together in a snap. It will serve 2-3 people depending on hunger level. 

August 17, 2015

Deli-style refrigerator dill pickles

Pickles are a thing of beauty. I can't eat a sandwich or a burger without one (or two). Dill are my favorite and the crisper the better in my opinion. I bought some pickling cucumbers at the farmers' market recently and proceeded to scour around for the best refrigerator pickle recipe I could find. Initially I was going to ferment them, but our place is just too hot right now to try to ferment. So I found this recipe that I used as a guide (though I completely modified the seasonings). I must warm you that they are completely addictive if you are a pickle fan like me! I've been averaging four a day... They are the perfect compliment to your favorite sandwich or summer burger!

Note that these are refrigerator pickles so they are not preserved and are not safe for canning. These pickles are ready to eat after about 48 hours of brining, and they don't last forever. You should eat them within a couple of weeks. If the pickles start to get soft/mushy or you notice any sort of mold, you've taken too long to eat them and they should be tossed. I put my pickles in one large half gallon jar with a Ball reusable storage lid. You can also use quart jars (3-4).

August 11, 2015

Green bean and red potato salad

I love this time of year when fresh vegetables and fruit are overflowing from people's gardens! Sometimes we visit my father in law's and he gives us SO much stuff from his garden that I start to feel a bit overwhelmed trying to come up with ways to use it all up before it goes bad. But, most of the time, I love coming up with new ways to enjoy the plethora of fresh produce we are lucky to have available to us.

Green beans are a favorite vegetable of mine. I love them just cooked up with a bit of butter and salt. Honestly, I don't often do too many "creative" things with them. I like them the way they are (or in five bean salad). I decided to dress them up a bit with these cute baby red potatoes in a tangy dressing of Dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice, and olive oil. We enjoyed this salad with a ham steak and some applesauce we canned last fall. It was a lovely late-summer meal. The recipe will serve about 4  people as a side dish.

August 3, 2015

Sweet corn chowder

Is everyone enjoying lots of sweet corn right now?!? I was happy to see sweet corn arrived to the farmers' market recently. It's a sure sign that you are at the peak of summer and I think it's something most people look forward to each year. We love to eat sweet corn on its own with some butter and salt, but I also like to make a batch of corn chowder. Surprisingly, I haven't posted my corn chowder recipe on here yet, so it gave me the perfect opportunity to use this fun corn soup bowl. Corn chowder really highlights the sweetness of corn. It's simple in flavors and ingredients to let the corn shine.

This recipe will make enough for about four servings as a main dish. We had our soup for dinner with some garlic bread. It was delicious! It also makes a nice lunch (we will be taking the leftovers to work).