Easy Cheese Soufflé

Soufflé is one of those dishes that has a big, scary reputation… even though it can be one of the easiest things in the world to make!

Seriously, Soufflé – cheese especially – is nowhere near as finicky as you may have heard. Don’t harass it when it’s in the oven, don’t slam the oven door, and serve it right away – done. It WILL deflate less than a minute after being taken from the oven – that’s just thermodynamics, not any failure on your part.

This recipe takes ease in preparation a step further, and just involves a blender or food processor – no making a separate béchamel sauce, no beating egg whites… super easy! Also: gluten free!

Easy Cheese Soufflé

Butter
7 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1.4 cup milk
1 tsp mustard powder
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Use butter to grease two 16oz ceramic ramekins, preheat oven to 375F

Blitz everything except cheese in blender for 30 seconds. Divide cheese between two ramekins, fill with egg mixture.

Bake for 50 minutes, serve immediately – you’ll have about 30 seconds before the soufflé deflates!

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How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Hoppy Dill Pickle Relish

After seeing how nuts my husband went for the Hoppy IPA Pickles I created for him, I decided that I should make a hopped up version of a pickle relish. We love (non-sweet!) dill pickle relish, this could be a fun variant on the old favorite.

As I was already midway through making a batch of dill relish when I had this idea, I decided to make a few “design” decisions to create a hopped relish that was visually different from the dill. The addition of turmeric turned it a lovely golden color, while the flecks of red from the sweet red peppers worked well to help create a … pretty? … relish. Yes, that works – In the jar, this is a really pretty relish.

The flavor on this is wonderful, and would pair well with a variety of meats – well beyond the traditional use on a hotdog.

Strange thing is, I may actually prefer this to dill relish! As someone who doesn’t even really like hops… yeah. Weird. The bitterness from the hops just really works well in this context!

I just used the cucumbers left over from pickling, and it made 3 pint jars worth of relish, plus a small amount of overage that we put in a small bowl for more immediate use. If you tend to grill a lot in the summer… you may want to make several batches. It’s THAT good!

Homemade Hop Pickle Relish Recipe

2 lbs pickling cucumbers, cleaned
1 small onion, peeled
1 small red pepper
2 cups vinegar
1 large handful dried hop leaves (or 2 handfuls fresh)
1/4 cup canning salt
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes (OR 1-2 fresh jalapenos)
1/4 tsp dill seed
1/4 tsp turmeric

Chop cucumbers, onion, and red pepper into 1″ pieces, chop in a food processor until finely chopped (or to whatever size you would like!)

Fill your LARGE pot with at least 6″ of water, put on medium or high heat to bring it to a boil as you prepare your brine.

In another heavy pot, bring vinegar to a boil. Add hops and stir well, mashing them around a bit. Allow them to simmer for 5-10 minutes, tasting frequently.

Once mixture has reached your desired level of bitterness, use a slotted spoon to remove all hop leaves. Add processed vegetables and all remaining ingredients, bring mixture to a boil.

Use a sterile ladle and canning funnel, pour boiling relish into prepared jars, leaving about 1/4″ head space. Wipe off the top edges of the jar with a clean, wet towel, top each with a new, sterilized lid, and carefully screw on a clean lid ring. I like to use a kitchen towel for this, the jars are HOT! Carefully place your jars of relish into the boiling water pot, allow to process for 15 minutes. CAREFULLY remove them, allow to cool overnight.

The next morning, check to make sure that all of the jars achieved a proper seal – try to push down in the middle of each lid. If it “pops”, it did not seal. Any jars that didn’t seal should be put in the fridge and used in the next few weeks.

Store in a cool, dark area (ideally) for up to 1 year, chill well before eating.

Enjoy!

Fan of hops? You’ll LOVE my latest cookbook, Hedonistic Hops!

Hops are prized for their ability to impart varied, complex flavours to beer… but did you know they can also be used culinarily? While hops may seem like a bizarre or exotic item to cook with, it’s the same as using other herbs and spices in your kitchen… you just have to know what to do with them. Appetizers, main dishes, beverages.. even desserts can be uplifted with hops!

Even those who are not fans of beer will love the unique flavours that various types of hops can bring to their plate. Floral, earthy, peppery, citrusy… Cooking with hops is a great way to expand your seasoning arsenal!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Beet Green Chips

Remember back when I shared my recipe for kale chips, and mentioned that you can use any number of dark, leafy greens for it?

A couple of weekends ago – when I went on my pickled beet making tear – I found myself with the greens from 45 lbs worth of beets, thinking about what a waste it would be to compost them. I decided to see how they worked as chips.

Wonderfully! Not only do these taste great, they’re really pretty! The beet greens roast up in various shades of greens and browns. With the prominent red veining, they look like autumn leaves – probably tasting better than crunchy dead tree leaves, though!

Beet Green Chips Recipe

Beet greens
Olive oil spray
salt

Preheat oven to 350F

Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper, spray with olive oil.

Wash beet greens, and shake/towel/spin dry. Cut the hard “ribs” out of the leaves, leaving long strips of leaves.

Arrange beet greens on cookie sheets, so that they are tightly spaced, but not overlapping. Spray olive oil across the tops, then sprinkle with a little salt.

Bake 1 sheet at a time for 9 minutes, or until completely dry. Cool a little, then enjoy! These are great fresh out of the oven, but can also be put aside for later – IF they last!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

“Caulcannon” Pickles (Mixed Root Vegetable Pickles)

When I first became obsessed with pickling, one idea came to mind before all others – CAULCANNON PICKLES. (!!!!)

As I mentioned in my earlier Caulcannon recipe post, we make the East Coast Canadian style of caulcannon (colcannon) around here – and we love it. (If you haven’t yet tried it, click that link and whip up a batch – it’s great stuff!)

Anyway, with out love of the flavor that the mixed root vegetables bring to the dish, I thought it would be a great idea to make pickles based on that same set of flavors. Well, minus the potatoes and dairy ingredients, anyway!

These are fabulous! While they would be great with the addition of dill, jalapenos, mustard seed, etc… we went fairly basic with just garlic and pepper, to more closely capture the flavors in our beloved caulcannon – and really let the flavors of the root vegetables take center stage. Unlike cucumber pickles – cucumbers have a very mild taste – the root vegetables bring a lot of flavor to the finished pickles here.

A few notes about pickling:

1. The amount of brine you’re going to need will vary widely depend on the shape and size of your vegetable slices, the size of jar you use, and how well you pack them into the jar. Have a lot of extra vinegar on hand, and either make more brine than you think you’ll need, or be prepared to make more as you go.

2. Pickling salt is usually available with the canning supplies in any grocery store. You’ll want to use this, rather than regular table salt – the anti-caking additives in table salt can make your pickle brine go murky and ugly.

3. While you can use previously-used jars for canning (when WELL washed and sterilized!), you need new lids for each new batch. Safety first!

Homemade Mixed Root Vegetable Pickles

2.5 lbs parsnips
1 – 1.25 lbs turnips
1 lb carrots
1 1/2 lb rutabaga
1-2 onions, peeled, sliced, and separated.

Brine:

8 cups vinegar
8 cups water
1 cup pickling salt

Per pint jar (2x for quart jars):

1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1/4 tsp mustard seed (optional)
1/2 tsp dill seed (optional)

Canning Equipment:

Clean, sterilized canning jars & rings
New, never-used, sterilized canning lids
Canning funnel
LARGE pot to process them in
Jar lifter (nice to have, not necessary if you can handle pain!)

Peel all of your vegetables, and slice into sticks. Try to keep the thickness of the vegetable sticks about the same, even if that’s not possible of length. (eg: Turnips will have shorter sticks than carrots are capable of, etc).

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In batches, blanch your root vegetables for about 1.5 minutes, then quickly submerge in cold water to stop the cooking process. Once finished blanching all of your root veggies, drain well and mix with onion slices. Set aside.

Fill your LARGE pot with at least 6″ of water, put on medium or high heat to bring it to a boil as you prepare your brine.

In another pot (NOT the canning pot!), combine vinegar, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring well to dissolve the salt. As the brine heats up, measure your “per jar” ingredients into your sterilized jars. Arrange your prepared vegetables into the jars, packing them tightly.

Once brine comes to a boil, use a canning funnel to pour brine into prepared jars, leaving about 1/2″ head space. Wipe off the top edges of the jar with a clean, wet towel, top each with a new, sterilized lid, and carefully screw on a clean lid ring. I like to use a kitchen towel for this, the jars are HOT! Carefully place your jars of pickles into the boiling water pot, allow to process for 15 minutes. CAREFULLY remove them, allow to cool overnight.

The next morning, check to make sure that all of the jars achieved a proper seal – try to push down in the middle of each lid. If it “pops”, it did not seal. Any jars that didn’t seal should be put in the fridge and used in the next few weeks.

Leave the jars alone for at least a few days, to allow the flavors to permeate the pickles. Store in a cool, dark area (ideally) for up to 1 year, chill well before eating.

Enjoy!

Mixed Vegetable Pickles

Every fall, my husband and I take our big roadtrip to Chicago, for our favorite annual convention. It’s something we very much look forward to every year – a great event, loads of friends, and an anniversary – we first fell in love at the event! There is pretty much nothing that would stop us from going, and the entire thing is wrapped up in tradition for us.

Every year, we plot out our trip weeks in advance, and look forward to it in the way that children look forward to Christmas. All year, we save our spare change in a jar, and a few days before the trip, we cash it in – this becomes our “cheese budget”. We DO have to pass through Wisconsin, afterall – and this has the double duty of motivating us to not just leave change everywhere! We wake up FAR earlier than we plan to on the morning we leave, because we can’t sleep – we just want to get on the road! We have our traditional stops along the way, etc etc.

Anyway, the year before last, we bought something else along with the cheese – a jar of mixed dill vegetable pickles. We plowed through most of the jar in no time, only saving the last bit so that we could figure out how to pickle it. Then we bought a house, moved, and got hit by a tornado. That jar survived all of that, sitting in the back of the fridge just waiting to be replicated.

While my source material is probably not edible anymore, I was able to use a combination of memory, listed ingredients, and appearance of the bottom of the jar contents to create a very similar recipe from it. I went a bit nuts with it – the recipe below is only half of what I made, that first batch! There was a fair amount of prep work involved, but it paid off – these are pretty much exactly what we remember from that jar we bought – and cost probably 1/10th of what we paid for it at that little tourist stop!

A few notes about pickling:

1. The amount of brine you’re going to need will vary widely depend on the shape and size of your vegetable slices, the size of jar you use, and how well you pack them into the jar. Have a lot of extra vinegar on hand, and either make more brine than you think you’ll need, or be prepared to make more as you go. As a general idea of scale, the recipe below made about 6 pint jars plus 3 quart jars of pickles, packed VERY tightly. Your mileage will likely vary!

2. Pickling salt is usually available with the canning supplies in any grocery store. You’ll want to use this, rather than regular table salt – the anti-caking additives in table salt can make your pickle brine go murky and ugly.

3. While you can use previously-used jars for canning (when WELL washed and sterilized!), you need new lids for each new batch. Safety first!

Homemade Mixed Vegetable Pickles

2 heads cauliflower
2 lbs broccoli
1 stalk/package celery
1-2 lbs baby carrots
1-2 onions

Brine:

8 cups vinegar
8 cups water
1 cup pickling salt

Per pint jar (2x for quart jars):

1/2 – 1 tsp dill seed
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 tsp mustard seed
Jalapeno slices (optional)

Canning Equipment:

Clean, sterilized canning jars & rings
New, never-used, sterilized canning lids
Canning funnel
LARGE pot to process them in
Jar lifter (nice to have, not necessary if you can handle pain!)

Wash all vegetables. Cut cauliflower and broccoli into bite sized florets, slice celery into 1- 1.5″ long pieces. Mix all vegetables together in a large bowl or pot, trying to more or less evenly distribute each variety.

Fill your LARGE pot with at least 6″ of water, put on medium or high heat to bring it to a boil as you prepare your brine.

In another pot (NOT the canning pot!), combine vinegar, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring well to dissolve the salt. As the brine heats up, measure your “per jar” ingredients into your sterilized jars. Arrange your prepared vegetables into the jars, packing them tightly – seriously, try to cram as many pieces into each jar as you can!

Once brine comes to a boil, use a canning funnel to pour brine into prepared jars, leaving about 1/2″ head space. Wipe off the top edges of the jar with a clean, wet towel, top each with a new, sterilized lid, and carefully screw on a clean lid ring. I like to use a kitchen towel for this, the jars are HOT! Carefully place your jars of pickles into the boiling water pot, allow to process for 15 minutes. CAREFULLY remove them, allow to cool overnight.

The next morning, check to make sure that all of the jars achieved a proper seal – try to push down in the middle of each lid. If it “pops”, it did not seal. Any jars that didn’t seal should be put in the fridge and used in the next few weeks.

Leave the jars alone for at least a few days, to allow the flavors to permeate the pickles. Store in a cool, dark area (ideally) for up to 1 year, chill well before eating.

Enjoy!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Homemade Carrot Pickles, Two Ways

Day 3 of Pickle Week! So far, we’ve looked at Dill Pickles and Pickled Beets, how about some Pickled Carrots?

These and beets are pretty much the only exceptions to my intense aversion to sweet pickles… but a little sweetness suits carrots and beets in a way that just seems wrong for cucumbers, IMNSHO. Not TOO much sweetness, though!

These are great – clean tasting, and perfectly crunchy. I love the way the apple cider vinegar works with the carrot flavor, but feel free to substitute regular vinegar (5%) if you prefer.

Because the brine is the same across the jars – the flavors are added to the jars before the carrots and brine – it’s really easy to make several different flavors of carrot pickles at a time. My two favorites are represented here – dilled and ginger – but feel free to go a little wild with it. Coriander, hot pepper flakes, sliced habaneros… add whatever flavors you think you’d like with carrots, directly to the jars!

A few notes about pickling:

1. The amount of brine you’re going to need will vary widely depend on the shape and size of your carrot slices, the size of jar you use, and how well you pack them into the jar. Have a lot of extra vinegar on hand, and either make more brine than you think you’ll need, or be prepared to make more as you go.

2. Pickling salt is usually available with the canning supplies in any grocery store. You’ll want to use this, rather than regular table salt – the anti-caking additives in table salt can make your pickle brine go murky and ugly.

3. While you can use previously-used jars for canning (when WELL washed and sterilized!), you need new lids for each new batch. Safety first!

Homemade Carrot Pickles

~ 5 lbs carrots (washed, peeled, and sliced)

Brine:

5 cups apple cider vinegar
4 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup pickling salt

Per pint jar (2x for quart jars):

For Ginger Carrot Pickles:

2 thin slices fresh ginger
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 – 1 clove garlic, peeled (optional)

For Dilled Carrot Pickles:

1 head fresh dill (or 1 tsp dill seed)
1/4 tsp pepper corns
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed (optional)

Canning Equipment:

Clean, sterilized canning jars & rings
New, never-used, sterilized canning lids
Canning funnel
LARGE pot to process them in
Jar lifter (nice to have, not necessary if you can handle pain!)

Slice your carrots into whatever form you prefer – we like to do spears in pint jars, cutting them to lengths that perfectly fit the height of the jars.

Fill your LARGE pot with at least 6″ of water, put on medium or high heat to bring it to a boil as you prepare your brine.

In another pot (NOT the canning pot!), combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring well to dissolve the sugar and salt. As the brine heats up, measure your “per jar” ingredients into your sterilized jars. Arrange your prepared carrots into the jars, packing them tightly.

Once brine comes to a boil, use a canning funnel to pour brine into prepared jars, leaving about 1/2″ head space. Wipe off the top edges of the jar with a clean, wet towel, top each with a new, sterilized lid, and carefully screw on a clean lid ring. I like to use a kitchen towel for this, the jars are HOT! Carefully place your jars of pickles into the boiling water pot, allow to process for 15 minutes. CAREFULLY remove them, allow to cool overnight.

The next morning, check to make sure that all of the jars achieved a proper seal – try to push down in the middle of each lid. If it “pops”, it did not seal. Any jars that didn’t seal should be put in the fridge and used in the next few weeks.

Leave the jars alone for at least a few days, to allow the flavors to permeate the carrots. Store in a cool, dark area (ideally) for up to 1 year, chill well before eating.

Enjoy!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Homemade Pickled Beets

Growing up, it seemed like there was always a supply of canned goods in the basement. I can’t remember my mother actually DOING the canning, maybe my grandmother did them… who knows?

Anyway, I remember liking the pickled beets as a kid. I don’t think I was completely nuts about them – something that definitely changed as an adult! Now, my husband and I can’t get enough of them – especially in our favorite salad (Salad greens, sliced pear, pickled beets, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and Green Goddess dressing – yum!).

When I started up with the pickling, it didn’t take long to get into the beets. Hell, it may have been my first pickle this year – oh, the mess that 1 month can make of my memory!

Anyway, when I looked up to get a basic idea of what people DO when canning beets, I noticed that most recipes used cloves and cinnamon, or pickling spice. I’m not a fan of commonly used/available pickling spice, and would gladly remove the clove and cinnamon flavors from pickled beets… so, I did. I created my own pickling spice recipe for this, which I LOVE. Hands down, these are the best pickled beets that either of us has ever had!

A few notes about pickling:

1. The amount of brine / jars you’re going to need will vary widely depend on the size of your beet slices, the size of jar you use, and how well you pack them into the jar. Have a lot of extra vinegar on hand, and either make more brine than you think you’ll need, or be prepared to make more as you go. As a rough idea, I’ve found it takes about 3 lbs of beets per quart jar – your mileage may vary!

2. Pickling salt is usually available with the canning supplies in any grocery store. You’ll want to use this, rather than regular table salt – the anti-caking additives in table salt can make your pickle brine go murky and ugly.

3. While you can use previously-used jars for canning (when WELL washed and sterilized!), you need new lids for each new batch. Safety first!

Homemade Pickled Beets

15 lbs fresh, firm beets – scrubbed well.

Brine:

8 cups vinegar
4 cups water
4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp pickling salt
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp each: ground cloves, ground ginger, hot pepper flakes
1/2 tsp each: allspice, black pepper, mustard powder
1 tsp each: celery seed, coriander

Canning Equipment:

Clean, sterilized canning jars & rings
New, never-used, sterilized canning lids
Canning funnel
LARGE pot to process them in
Jar lifter (nice to have, not necessary if you can handle pain!)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove stalks/leaves from washed beets, add beet roots to the pot of boiling water. Boil for 30-45 minutes, or until fork tender. Submerse beets in very cold water, allow to cool enough to handle easily.

Remove the skin from the beets: you can use a vegetable peeler if you want, I prefer to sort of rub the skins off – they come off easily.

Fill your LARGE pot with at least 6″ of water, put on medium or high heat to bring it to a boil as you prepare your brine. In another large pot (not the canning pot!), combine all brine ingredients. Stir well and bring to a boil.

While the brine comes to a boil, slice your beets. I like to aim for a little thicker than 1/4″ thick, cut into half circles. If the beet is too big for a half circle to fit into a jar opening well, I’ll cut them into quarter circles.

Once brine comes to a boil, add beet slices and allow to cook for 5 minutes.

Once beets have cooked, use a slotted spoon and canning funnel transfer beet slices to sterilized jars. Shake the jars as you go, letting the beets settle in tightly – you want these to be packed! Once jars are filled with beets, use a clean ladle and the canning funnel to pour brine into prepared jars, leaving about 1/2″ head space.

Wipe off the top edges of the jar with a clean, wet towel, top each with a new, sterilized lid, and carefully screw on a clean lid ring. I like to use a kitchen towel for this, the jars are HOT! Carefully place your jars of pickles into the boiling water pot, allow to process for 30 minutes. CAREFULLY remove them, allow to cool overnight.

The next morning, check to make sure that all of the jars achieved a proper seal – try to push down in the middle of each lid. If it “pops”, it did not seal. Any jars that didn’t seal should be put in the fridge and used in the next few weeks.

Store in a cool, dark area (ideally) for up to 1 year, chill well before eating.

Enjoy!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Homemade Dill Pickles

Here we go – the start of “Pickle Week”!

I’m fairly new to pickling, so I had to spend a bit of time researching things like techniques, brine ingredient ratios, etc. Usually I’m really “freestyle” in the kitchen – even with baking – but my background in microbiology did instil a healthy fear of botulism in me. (That’s a nice way to say that I’m probably OVERLY paranoid about it, right?)

So, with all of that straightened out, I got right on pickling all kinds of different things – recipes are coming.

I can’t see ever buying pickles again, of any kind. I’m not even kidding. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved pickles, but now that we’ve had homemade… I just don’t see any way of going back. These taste so much better – cleaner? – than store bought pickles! Probably far healthier, too!

Even beyond the basics, pickling them at home means that you have full control over the way they are presented (slices? spears?), and seasoning. It’s been fun to develop recipes, honing everything to our personal tastes. My Hoppy IPA Pickles went over so crazy well, I actually had to put on a second, MEGA batch of them this weekend!

So, here’s my recipe for basic dill pickles. These are great as-is, but feel free to alter the “per jar” ingredients used. (Don’t alter the brine recipe! This one is safe, and changing water/salt/vinegar proportions can screw with that!)

A few notes about pickling:

1. The amount of jars / brine you’re going to need will vary widely depend on the shape and size of your cucumbers, the size of jar you use, how you prepare your cucumbers, and how well you pack them into the jar. Have a lot of extra vinegar on hand, and either make more brine than you think you’ll need, or be prepared to make more as you go.

2. Pickling salt is usually available with the canning supplies in any grocery store. You’ll want to use this, rather than regular table salt – the anti-caking additives in table salt can make your pickle brine go murky and ugly.

3. Use pickling cucumbers specifically, as they’re best suited for this. Pickle them within a day or two of them being picked, for crunchiest results – your best bet is to buy them at a farmers market. Use pickles that are crisp, not soft or mushy.

4. While you can use previously-used jars for canning (when WELL washed and sterilized!), you need new lids for each new batch. Safety first!

Homemade Dill Pickles
~ 4 lbs pickling cucumbers, washed/scrubbed well.

Brine:

8 cups vinegar (5% acidity)
8 cups water
1 cup pickling salt

Per pint jar (2x for quart jars):

2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1 head fresh dill (or 1 tsp dill seed)
1/4 tsp pepper corns
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 – 1/2 jalapeno, sliced (optional)

Canning Equipment:

Clean, sterilized canning jars & rings
New, never-used, sterilized canning lids
Canning funnel
LARGE pot to process them in
Jar lifter (nice to have, not necessary if you can handle pain!)

Slice your cucumbers into whatever form you prefer – we like to do spears for both pint and quart jars, selecting pickles that perfectly fit the height of each.

Fill your LARGE pot with at least 6″ of water, put on medium or high heat to bring it to a boil as you prepare your brine.

In another pot (NOT the canning pot!), combine vinegar, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring well to dissolve the salt. As the brine heats up, measure your “per jar” ingredients into your sterilized jars. Arrange your prepared cucumbers into the jars, packing them tightly.

Once brine comes to a boil, use a canning funnel to pour brine into prepared jars, leaving about 1/2″ head space. Wipe off the top edges of the jar with a clean, wet towel, top each with a new, sterilized lid, and carefully screw on a clean lid ring. I like to use a kitchen towel for this, the jars are HOT! Carefully place your jars of pickles into the boiling water pot, allow to process for 15 minutes. CAREFULLY remove them, allow to cool overnight.

The next morning, check to make sure that all of the jars achieved a proper seal – try to push down in the middle of each lid. If it “pops”, it did not seal. Any jars that didn’t seal should be put in the fridge and used in the next few weeks.

Leave the jars alone for at least a few days, to allow the flavors to permeate the cucumbers. Store in a cool, dark area (ideally) for up to 1 year, chill well before eating.

Enjoy!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Valentine “Heart Beet” Eggs.

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of photos of Chinese Tea Eggs on Pinterest. They’re really pretty! Basically, you hard boil some eggs, crack the shells, then steep them in a tea and soy sauce mixture, producing gorgeous designs all over the peeled egg.

Partly because I can never seem to NOT screw with an idea, and partly because of the copious amounts of pickled beet brine that a recent beet/goat cheese salad obsession has left us with, I decided to bastardize the idea a bit. It turned out great – brightly “tie dyed” pink eggs, subtly flavored with beet brine.

… and then I bastardized my own idea! Check it out…

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How to Make Kale Chips

I’ve been sitting on these photos for a few weeks, originally planning to post early in January, for healthy recipes. Well, I’m impatient, so here we go!

Kale chips are so easy, and SO good. You’d be surprised how fast one can plow through an entire head of kale by themselves, when done this way. My husband and I both prefer them to potato chips, and they never last long around here.

The only downside to this is that it requires several batches to be baked. Kale shrinks down to almost nothing as it bakes, so you can find yourself baking 6 rounds in the oven, then snarfing it all in 10 minutes. Totally worth it, anyway!

Kale chips

Now, this recipe is labeled as “kale chips”, but you can use the techniques here to make roasted chips out of almost any dark leafy green. Baby spinach makes delicate, papery chips. Mustard greens make pretty chips with a sharp bite to them. Try collard greens, turnip greens – whatever you like – just be sure to keep an eye on them. The thinner/more delicate the green (baby spinach), the less cooking time it’ll need. You don’t want to burn them!

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