I recently cracked open a jar of homemade strawberry jelly and haven’t stopped fantasizing about making and canning jelly and jam this summer. This quickly led to binge-watching How To videos on YouTube to brush up on my technique since I haven’t canned anything since I was a kid, and a new pregnancy low when I segued from jelly making/canning videos, to pickle-making videos. Which I watched as I ate a bowl of pickles.
Needless to say, I’ve bookmarked the video tutorial that guided me through the process of making my own fresh garlic dill refrigerator pickles and am dying to test this technique out this summer. For safekeeping, here is the recipe that inspired me:
Garden-Fresh Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickles
2 pounds Fresh Pickling Cucumbers
1 1/2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar (unfiltered)
1 1/2 cups Water
2 tablespoons Pink Himalayan Salt or Pickling Salt
Garlic Cloves, peeled (2 per jar)
Fresh Dill, large bunch
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1 teaspoon Dill Seed
1/2 teaspoon Black Peppercorns
Of all the foodie things I’ve been inspired to re-create at home, I’ve had the best luck with sandwiches. The first I ever tried to recreate was a panini I had while studying abroad in Florence in college. At lunch, Italians (and American students fortunate enough to have learned about the Oil Shoppe) would line up out the door and shout out their orders by number. The one I was partial to and promptly tried to replicate on my return home for friends and family, involved ingredients you probably have on hand. But if you know a great neighborhood bakery, slip in for a fresh loaf of crusty bread — it makes all the difference.
Oil Shoppe Sandwich Ingredients:
two thick-cut slices of crusty bread
good quality olive oil
4-5 slices turkey breast
2 slices provolone cheese
a handful of arugala
4-5 sun-dried tomatoes
4-5 artichoke hearts
2-3 TBSP pesto
1 TBSP olive oil
salt and pepper
To assemble, spread pesto on the inside of two slices of bread, then layer toppings as you like. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper before tossing onto a panini press. Ta dah. It couldn’t be any simpler. The trick is definitely in the quality of the ingredients so try to get the best quality you can, which means freshly made pesto and bread. I love how this sandwich takes me back to Italy in a second, with such simple ingredients.
Over the weekend I went to a good friends’ housewarming party so I took the opportunity to try this recipe I’ve had on my “Must-Try” list forever. I didn’t follow it to the letter but I don’t think you have to when making something like chicken salad. I particularly liked that this version called for a lot of shredded carrot and was served up in easy, DIY, baked wonton cups. I love recipes that can be made ahead, they’re perfect for entertaining. They went pretty quickly at the party so I think I found a keeper! I’ve always wanted to experiment with wonton cups too, so I’m happy to cross that off my cooking bucket list.
My recipe tweaks are in italics below:
- 36 wonton wrappers
- 2 cups diced, cooked chicken
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (normally I’d have added these, but I didn’t for the party because of potential nut allergies)
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1/3 cup shredded (then finely chopped) carrot
- 1/3 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup Crisco® Pure Vegetable Oil
- 2-3 tablespoons Smart Balance mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley (I used both dill and parsley)
- 1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
1. HEAT oven to 350°F. Spray one side of each wonton wrapper with no-stick cooking spray. Press wonton wrappers, coated-side-down into miniature muffin cups.
10 to 12 (mine burned!) 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Check on them around 9 minutes! Remove from pans; cool.
3. COMBINE chicken, pecans, green onions, carrot and celery. Stir in oil, vinegar and thyme.
4. SPOON chicken mixture into wonton cups. Sprinkle with parsley or dill.