Easy Refridgerator Pickled Green Tomatoes

Dill Tomatoes

This recipe will make 1 quart jar of tomatoes, but you can always (and should) make more!

Ingredients:

1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 ¼ cup water
2 tablespoons kosher salt (If you use table salt you must to cut the quantity in half)
1 pound firm green tomatoes (about 5 plum tomatoes)
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and sliced in half
4 tablespoons dill seeds
½ tablespoon whole black peppercorns

About the tomatoes. They can be any kind, but they must be all green, no orange allowed, and they must be cut in half or quarters. I have done this with cherry tomatoes, but for some reason they are not as good as Romas or other pear shaped tomatoes. They must be close to full size meaning those little green pellets that have not begun to form seeds will not work.

Directions:

Make sure you have a really clean bottle and lid. The lid must have a good rubber seal. The best thing to do is buy canning jars and lids, which are available in a lot of hardware and grocery stores. Sterilize them by submersing them in a boiling water bath. Add the garlic, dill seeds, and peppercorns to the jar. Thoroughly wash the tomatoes and slice them in halves or quarters. Cut out all bad spots and the stem ends. Cram them in the jar leaving about ½” – ¾” of space at the top. Make the brine by combining the vinegar, water, and salt in a non-reactive sauce pan or pot. Bring to a boil, and stir until all the salt is dissolved. Pour the hot brine over the tomatoes to within ¼” of the top. Wipe the jar top, put the lid on and tighten. Age for at least 1 week in the refrigerator. Beware. The brine will taste very salty at first, but don’t panic. The juices from the tomatoes will dilute the concentration of salt in a week or two.

Bumper Crops Day 2 – Dill-licious!

Dill

Ahhh the dill pickle… could anything be more Jewish? Be it a new dill or an old dill, people love a pickle (say that 10 times fast!). With bushels of dill cukes coming in, now is the time to start putting up jars of pickles to last you until Pesach. While we are on the topic of dill however, some kashrus notes: The eating of fresh dill is not recommended due to possible insect contamination. With the pickles, since you are not eating the dill directly, rather just flavouring with it, it is recommended to either use dill that has a hechsher (some Israeli or NYC area herbs have them) or use greenhouse grown, and then rinse off the pickle before eating it. If neither of these options appeal to you, you can always use dried dill instead of fresh, I promise, I won’t tell a soul!

Roasted Red Peppers

Roasted Red Peppers

Ingredients:

12 Red Bell Peppers
12 cloves of Garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 bunch fresh Basil
Kosher Salt
Air-Tight Storage Containers

Directions:

In order to make Roasted Peppers, there are two practical methods for the home cook. If you have a gas oven, with exposed flame elements, then you can simply rest the peppers on top of the elements to blacken the skin of the pepper (or use tongs to hold over the element to get all the angles). If you do not have a gas oven, then move your oven shelf to the top portion of the oven and set your oven to broil. If you are using the oven method, you can roast the peppers whole, rotating them occasionally to get all the sides, or you can slice the peppers away from the core, and place them on a greased cookie sheet, flesh side down, and just let them roast. Remember however to leave your oven door ajar so that you do not set off your smoke detectors!

Once you have completely blackened the skin of the peppers, place the hot peppers in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. This will trap the steam, and make it easier to remove the skins once the peppers have cooled. While the peppers are resting, prepare the rest of your ingredients. Make sure that the containers you will be storing your peppers in are 100% clean, as you will be storing your peppers for a long time, (or until they’re all eaten up!) and you do not want bacteria to grow.

Finely mince the garlic and divide it up amongst your containers equally. Wash and dry the basil, making sure you have checked for any dirt or insects. Take 5-6 leaves of basil, and stack them on top of each other, then roll them up, making a little basil cigar. Take your knife and slice through the cigar, making fine strips of basil (this technique is called chiffonade for those who want to be fancy!). Divide the basil amongst your containers. Remove the plastic wrap from the peppers, and slide the skins off the peppers. It does not have to be perfect, in fact, a little bit of the charred skin adds flavour. Make sure to remove all the seeds, then slice into strips and equally distribute the peppers into your containers. Add salt to taste, and cover with EVOO.

These peppers will keep for weeks, but make sure to keep them REFRIGERATED! You do not want to risk botulism (which can form if left for a length of time un-refridgerated). Botulism can’t grow below 40F.

Bumper Crops – I love you, a bushel and a peck…

Bushels of Veg

As summer starts to fade, we become melancholy about all of long hazy, lazy days that we will miss now that Fall is approaching… But alas! Do not fret! For now is the PERFECT time for you Foodies out there, for it is now bumper crop season! Bushels and bushels of fresh fruits and vegetables are ours for the taking, and for the creating! All week I will be showcasing some great recipes for what to do with all those baskets of cucumbers, tomatoes, beans and more!

Sneaky Veggie Lasagna

Lasagna

Ingredients:

12 Lasagna noodles
2 cups Tomato sauce
1 Zucchini, medium
1 Eggplant, medium
1 Red Pepper
5 cloves of Garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
2 cups Ricotta Cheese (or low fat creamed cottage cheese)
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 cup shredded hard cheese, like Mozzarella
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and lightly grease or spray a cookie sheet. Wash all the vegetables, removing the stems from the larger vegetables. Slice the zucchini in half, lengthwise and place cut side down on cookie sheet. Slice the eggplant in half. Leaving the skin intact take a paring knife and gently slice around the rim of the flesh, then criss-cross the flesh of the eggplant. Place cut side down on the cookie sheet. Slice the pepper in half and remove the core and any seeds. Place cut side down on the cookie sheet. Wrap the garlic cloves in tinfoil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and EVOO, then make into a little baseball shaped package and place on the sheet. Sprinkle all the remaining vegetables with EVOO and salt and pepper. Place in the oven for around 15 minutes, checking to see how the vegetables are doing. The skins may blacken (especially on the peppers) this is NORMAL!! TIP: Keep your over door slightly ajar during this, so that you don’t set off your smoke detectors.

While the vegetables are roasting, bring a large pot of water up to a boil on the stove. Once the water has reached a rolling boil, add a heaping tablespoon of salt and drop in the pasta noodles. Cook, minus a minute or two, according the pasta’s directions on the package they came in. Drain the noodles into a colander and allow to cool so that you can handle them to layer.

Remove the roasted veggies from the oven. Allow to cool for a few moments while you reduce the oven temperature to 350 (for baking the lasagna) and while you set up your food processor with the metal chopping blade. In your food processor, add the cloves of garlic, the zucchini, the eggplant, minus the skin (which should just slide out since you scored it). For the pepper, try and remove as much of the pepper skin first before adding it to the mix, but you don’t have to be perfect. Give the vegetables a few whirls to break everything down. Next add the ricotta and parmesan cheeses to the mix. Hit the pulse button to mix it up, then add the eggs and a touch of salt and pepper to taste. Give it once last pulse to fully combine.

Lastly, in a 9×13 baking dish layer the lasagna as follows: Tomato sauce, Noodles, Cheese/Vegetable mixture, grated cheese, repeating until the dish is filled and ending with noodles, sauce and grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Let sit for 15 minutes before cutting into, to allow the cheese to set.

Back From Camp…. And Back to School!

Well, it’s that time of year again; the little ones are back from their summer time adventures and are about to start the new school year! So while you’re busy trying to find where they could have possibly misplaced every single one of their socks, or listening to another story of the “weird kid” from the other bunk, why not have a warm and sneaky lasagna bubbling away in the oven? Match it up with a tossed garden salad and some home-made garlic bread and you’re the “bestest” mom ever! Definitely better than the mom of that “weird kid” 🙂