Dilly Beans

Ingredients

4-5lbs of green beans (I like to mix yellow beans too)
washed, topped and tailed.
Sliced Lemon (optional)
Carrots (optional)
6 Garlic Cloves
1 Cup fresh dill weed
Pickling spices
Mustard seeds (optional)
6 Cups of White Vinegar
3 Cups of Water
1/3 cup Sugar
3 Tablespoons of Salt

1.  Cut Beans into lengths of 1 inch shorter than the pint jars.  Divide Dill weed and sliced garlic into jars and put a few sliced onions in bottom of jars.  Add 1/8 teaspoon of pickling spice and whole peppercorns to taste in each jar.  Pack the beans vertically in eight clean hot jars, somewhat tightly.  Place 1 slicked lemon and a couple of sliced carrots if you wish for garnish (optional).  Add hot peppers if you wish for a hot/spicey version.
2.  Combine the vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil.  Pour hot brine over the beans to cover by 1/2 inch.  Leave 1/2 inch of headspace between the top of the liquid and the lid.
3.  To can: tighten lids and place jars into boiling water for 15 minutes to release and trapped air.   Turn off heat and let sit for 5 mins before removing from pot (canning pot).  Set aside for 24 hrs and check seals, then store in a cool dark place for up to 1 year.
`Gyoza Girl
Published in: on August 21, 2011 at 6:09 PM  Comments (2)  

My Favorite Guacamole

Ok, so I know this isn’t the best picture, but I hope it’s enough to make you salivate for this tasty treat!  (We had already started to dip into this when I remembered I needed a photo… Oops!)  This recipe is from Darin Molnar and he gets a request to make it EVERY (that is not an exaggeration) weekend.  When I have this beautiful green dip sitting in front of me, there is a good chance I will be full by the time dinner is ready.  Once I have a bite, I can’t help myself, the Guacamole Monster takes over and I can’t stop eating it!

Guacamole

3 large, ripe avocados

Juice of 1-2 limes

4 green onions, chopped, white part only (but save the green stems for garnish!)

1/4-1/2  jalapeno, chopped (depending on how spicy you like it)

salt and white pepper to taste (Darin say’s the white pepper is key and is his secret ingredient…so this is just between us.  Don’t tell anybody! LOL)

1 bunch cilantro

1 tomato, chopped

remaining green onion stems

Combine avocados, lime juice, and green onions in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.  Add jalapeno, salt, and pepper and blend again.  Place in a serving bowl and top with cilantro, tomato, and the green parts of the green onion.  Serve with chips, on tacos, over eggs, or use as a condiment on deli meat sandwiches!

Tip:

Avocados are known to oxidize and turn brown.  The lime juice in this recipe needs to be added to the avocados right after cutting to keep the bright green color.  This recipe is not designed to keep and look pretty in the fridge.  It will taste fine, but will turn brown with time.  If you wish to keep this in the fridge for a couple of days, add a little sour cream to the recipe before refrigerating, it will keep longer this way.

Published in: on April 17, 2011 at 9:05 AM  Comments (4)  

Gyoza (Japanese Pan Fried Dumplings)

This is Julie (not a Gyoza) she is my neighbor.  I am fortunate to live in a neighborhood with some amazing cooks, Julie is one of them.  She has graciously shared a recipe for me to pass on to all of you.  Anyone who has been fortunate enough to taste any of Julie’s concoctions surly knows this beautiful lady can cook!  Thank you Julie for sharing this recipe!

Gyoza Recipe (Japanese pan fried dumplings)

4 cups, loosely packed, minced Napa cabbage (use the frilly leafy half of the cabbage)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
9 ounces ground pork
1/2 tablespoon grated ginger (I freeze ginger and hand grate it frozen, less mess and just as good a flavor)
2 – 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon green onion (green part only), minced
2 teaspoon aka miso paste (red/dark miso paste) (optional)
1 teaspoon of teriyaki sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper (optional)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
40 dumpling wrappers (if you cannot find the round ones you can get the wonton wrappers in your friendly produce dept. and cut the corners off)

For cooking the dumplings:
1 tablespoon sesame oil (do not substitute this gives it the authentic flavor)
1/2 cup water

Dipping Sauce:
6 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
Several drops of chili oil or sesame oil (optional)

1. Toss the minced cabbage with the salt in a large bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes. Using both hands, or a cheese cloth, squeeze the cabbage firmly to drain and discard the excess water (prevent your dumplings from becoming mushy) and then transfer the cabbage to a deep bowl. Add the pork, ginger, garlic, green onion, miso, sesame oil, crushed red pepper, and sugar. Mix everything together with your hands until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Using your hands, scoop the mixture into a ball, lift it, and then throw it back into the bowl. Repeat several times to tenderize the meat and help the mixture stick together.

2. Have a small bowl of cold water ready. Lay a dumpling wrapper on a dry work surface, and place a heaping teaspoon of the meat mixture in the center of the wrapper. With a fingertip moistened with water, trace a line along half of the edge of the round wrapper. Fold the wrapper over to enclose the filling, and pinch the wrapper in the center to seal the edges together at that spot. Holding the filled half-circle in the left hand, pleat the top of the wrapper from the middle out, pressing it to the flat edge of the wrapper at the back. Set aside the stuffed dumpling with the pleated-wrapper edge up. Repeat to make 40 dumplings in all.

3. In a large skillet with a tight fitting lid, heat 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil over medium-high heat. Carefully place as many of the dumplings that can fit without touching in the skillet with the pleated-wrapper edge up. Cook the dumplings for 3 minutes, or until nicely browned on the bottom. Check the progress by lifting 1 or 2 dumplings by their pleated edge.

4. Once the bottoms are nicely browned, use the skillet lid to shield yourself and carefully pour in 1/4 cup of the water. When the hissing and splattering die down, drizzle in 1/2 teaspoon of the sesame oil around the edge of the skillet. Place the lid on the skillet to trap in the moisture and then quickly lower the heat to keep the liquid at a bare simmer.

5. Check the dumplings after 2 minutes. When the wrappers appear slightly translucent and the meat feels firm when pressed lightly with a spoon, remove the lid and raise the heat slightly. Continue to cook until all the water has evaporated and only the oil remains (about 2 minutes). Once you hear a sizzling sound, shake the skillet. The dumplings should slide about. If they seem to stick to the skillet, move the skillet away from the stove and replace the lid for a moment. Remove the dumplings from the skillet with a broad flexible spatula. If you’d like, flip them over so that the seared surface faces up. Cook the remaining dumplings the same way. Serve the dumplings hot accompanied by the dipping sauce.

4. While the dumplings are cooking, make the dipping sauce by mixing the soy sauce and rice vinegar together in a small bowl. Pour the sauce into a small serving pitcher or distribute among individual dipping dishes.

(This is a Gyoza)

Published in: on April 12, 2011 at 8:52 AM  Comments (5)  

Pancetta, Basil, and Tomato Bites

These tasty little nibbles are a food of love.  Expect to get your hands dirty, and plan ahead, these are best when the ingredients have had a little time to get friendly with each other in the refrigerator.

Start by slicing a sliver of the tops of 16-20 cherry tomatoes, then scoop out the insides (I like to save the tops and pulp to add to tomato sauces for a fresh flavor).

For the stuffing:

3 oz. Pancetta (Italian bacon.  You can find this in the deli section of most supermarkets by the salami.  Pancetta is not smoked like traditional American bacon.)

1/2 C. Mayonaise

4 green onions, chopped

3 Tbsp. fresh grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp. chopped, fresh Basil

Fry the Pancetta and crumble fine.  Add all ingredients for stuffing and stir.  With a little spoon (a measuring spoon works well), stuff the filling into each tomato (this is messy; but remember you get to lick your fingers when your finished, and trust me, it’s worth it! LOL).  Place on a dish and cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the fridge for several hours.  This appetizer can be made a day ahead which makes it convenient when entertaining.  Anything you can make ahead of time will free up your time to spend with your guests.

~Enjoy!

Published in: on February 9, 2011 at 2:10 PM  Comments (1)