Tag Archives: vegetarian

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

I love pickles. That’s not a secret. As I type this I have four different types of pickles, pickling. This particular recipe is super easy and amazingly delicious. I serve these pickles often at potlucks and BBQ’s and they are always met with rave reviews. Give them a few days to “pickle” before you get into them, it will be worth it I promise! Again, this is a recipe where you can mess with the spices a whisper and only good things will happen. For example, omit celery seed, add a cinnamon stick, or just use pre-made pickling spice.

Fresh garden goodies ready to be pickled!

Fresh garden goodies ready to be pickle

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

  • 6 medium cucumbers
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 small bell peppers
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • Bay leaves (optional)
Sliced veggies enjoying their salt treatment.

Sliced veggies enjoying their salt treatment.

Thinly slice the cucumbers, onion and peppers. Toss in a large bowl with salt and set aside.

Cooling pickling mixture.

Cooling pickling mixture.

In a saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, mustard and celery seed. Bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and add 3 cups of ice. Place vegetables in jars, adding a few garlic cloves  and a bay leaf to each one.

In just a scant few days, these will be amazing!

In just a scant few days, these will be amazing!

Once the ice has cooled the pickling mixture, pour over the vegetables. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

See? Super easy! I hope you enjoy these pickles as much as I do!

 

 

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Blueberry-Meyer Lemon Jam

Recently, our local blueberry farm opened their gates to the U-pick crowd. Well, being the foodie I am, I had to go. My friend and I loaded up and spent a scant hour picking a bucket of blueberries. I was then faced with the daunting task of making several pounds of blueberries into stuff before they went bad. I succeeded. I ate a whole bunch, then I pickled a whole bunch, then I made this wonderful jam, and the rest I froze for pancakes.

This is what a blueberry farm in Northern California looks like.

This is what a blueberry farm in Northern California looks like.

I think this is now my third favorite jam I make. Which is really saying something since I think I make close to 30 different kinds (I don’t have a problem). I used Meyer Lemons because we have several trees here on the ranch, so they are free in addition to being delicious.

The spoils of my picking! Glorious!

The spoils of my picking! Glorious!

Blueberry Meyer Lemon Jam*

  • 3 cups blueberries, mashed to make about 2 1/2 cups
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1.5 tsps. Meyer Lemon zest, grated
  • 1 Tbsp. Meyer Lemon juice
  • A whisper of butter (to prevent foaming)
  • 1 package (3 oz) liquid pectin
Blueberries, lemon zest and juice ready to be made into jammy goodness.

Blueberries, lemon zest and juice ready to be made into jammy goodness.

Add blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, butter and juice in a jam pot. Bring to a roiling boil, stirring to prevent sticking. Add pectin and boil hard for one minute.  Remove from heat. Add to sterilized jars and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

This jam would be breathtaking on a scone, cheesecake or even on toast. It’s light, crisp with a hint of tart. It’s lovely and I ended up making two batches because it’s going to make great gifts.

IMG_3666

*based on Southern Living’s recipe

You also might wanna try:

Blueberry Jam with Mint

Blueberry Mojito Jam 

 

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Pickled Garlic

Neighbor Pete brought me a big box of freshly harvested garlic a few weeks ago. I love garlic and use it in most meals when I can. One of my favorite things ever is to roast it in the oven or on the BBQ and eat it on good french bread. However, neighbor Pete brought me more garlic than I could use in a reasonable amount of time. So I had to get creative – I had to can it.

My huge ass box of delicious fresh garlic.

My huge ass box of delicious fresh garlic.

This is a super easy recipe! And so so so good! I could probably eat a jar of this myself without a problem.

Pickled Garlic 

6 cups peeled garlic cloves (do yourself a favor and buy the pre-peeled ones at Costco)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon canning salt
3 cups 5% vinegar
bay leaves

Peeled garlic. By hand. Such a pain. But so worth it in the end!

Peeled garlic. By hand. Such a pain. But so worth it in the end!

Peeling this much fresh garlic is not fun. I tried all the tricks, shaking it in the bowl, using that special garlic tube – nothing worked as well as peeling it by hand. After peeling 6 cups of garlic cloves by hand, I was not amused and my nails hurt!!! Just buy the pre-peeled stuff, trust me.

Yum.

Yum.

Mix the sugar, salt and vinegar in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once you have your cloves peeled blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute. Pack your hot garlic into your sterilized, hot half pint jars with a bay leaf. Ladle the hot vinegar mixture over the garlic and leave ¼ inch headspace. Adjust your lids and process in a water canner for 10 minutes.

I almost ate this whole jar in one sitting. It's so mild and sweet! One of my favorite things!

I almost ate this whole jar in one sitting. It’s so mild and sweet! One of my favorite things!

Give it about two weeks to cure. And that is it! So easy and so good.

 

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Recipe: Meyer Vanilla Lemonade

One of the many benefits of living in California is the citrus!!!! Because of this I have a collections of dwarf citrus trees in my front yard. I have several Meyer lemon trees because they are my favorite. Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and mandarin or orange. They are sweeter than your average lemon and have a thinner skin. One of my favorite things to do with these lemons is make lemonade.

Lemonade in my AgHag chalice.

Lemonade in my AgHag chalice.

Meyer-Vanilla Lemonade

6 to 7 Meyer lemons (about one cup of juice, although I prefer one cup running over)
3/4 cup vanilla sugar*
5 cups water, divided
Ice

This smells like sunshine.

This smells like sunshine.

Bring one cup of water and sugar to a boil to make a simple syrup. Remove from heat and cool. Squeeze lemons, making sure to remove the seeds.
Add cooled simple syrup, lemon juice, and water into a pitcher and mix well. Serve over ice and with a lemon slice.

*Vanilla sugar is just sugar that I keep in a jar with a few gutted vanilla beans. It’s lovely for pastries, drinks and baked goods. It has a slight vanilla flavor that really compliments most things. You could add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the lemonade if you are using plain sugar. But I highly recommend getting a jar of vanilla sugar going for your pantry.

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Apricot Jalapeno Jam

My friend Aaron and I, this year! (We've been friends for like over a decade now!)

My friend Aaron and I, this year! (We’ve been friends for, like, over a decade now!)

Everyone needs a friend like Aaron. Aaron is my friend from college that everyone liked and everyone knew. For some reason, he stayed friends with me and pretty much fulfills my happy place when it comes to food. He works in production agriculture so he hooks this girl up with wonderful things like walnuts, oils, and apricots! I try and keep him elbow deep in jam and jelly – everyone seems happy so far.

Aaron apricots! I spent a good two weeks processing these, it was dreamy!

Aaron apricots! I spent a good two weeks processing these, it was dreamy!

Aaron got me something like 40 pounds of apricots this year. I love apricots, they are sweet little golden nuggets of warm delicious goodness. They made a fabulous jam. And jam I did! I made plain apricot, ginger, vanilla, but the best was apricot jalapeno! Something about sweet and spicy brings me joy. 

Apricot-Jalapeno Jam 

  • 3  cups finely chopped apricots (about 25 medium)
  • ½ cup minced jalapeno
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 3-oz pouch liquid pectin
  • 1/2 tsp butter (optional, it keeps the foam down)
  • 5-3/4 cups sugar

 

Instead of chopping the jalapenos and apricots, I just toss them in my trusty cuisinart.

Instead of chopping the jalapenos and apricots, I just toss them in my trusty cuisinart.

Mix apricots, jalapeno, lemon juice and sugar in large saucepan. Add butter. Bring to a rolling boil, one that cannot be stirred down. Add pectin and boil hard for one minute. Remove from heat and skim any foam. Place in jars, adjust lids and bands. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

The best jam I made all summer, hands down. It tastes like summer!

The best jam I made all summer, hands down. It tastes like summer! This makes about 7 half pints.

Serve this jam on cream cheese with wheat thins, or as a marinade on chicken or pork. It’s so good!

Adapted from here.

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Chokecherry Jelly

A few weeks ago, my Dad was reminiscing with me about family history and family members long dead and gone. I was lucky enough to meet some of these people when I was small. I have some hazy memories of certain encounters. I am constantly trying to strengthen these memories by pestering people who remember more than I do, or connecting by recipes, because taste and smell seem to bring memories galloping back.

I battled beard and mountain lions for these chokecherries! See the broken limbs?  From a bear!

I battled bears and mountain lions for these chokecherries! See the broken limbs? From a bear!

My Dad was telling me about cutting firewood for his Aunties and doing various “chores” for them like picking fruit, killing wild game, etc. Dad mentioned he used to pick a lot of chokecherries and gooseberries for jelly making. Immediately I perked up and demanded to know more.

This is what chokecherries look like.

This is what chokecherries look like.

I had vague memories of riding my horse and picking something for jelly when I was very small. I was little, therefore, super short, and couldn’t reach the fruit. But, like any enterprising young ranch kid, you found ways around that. I can’t remember much about this memory, like what berry, how old I was, or who we were picking them for, but I do remember riding my horse Sequoia.

Some of the biggest bear poo I've ever seen. I had all my cowdogs with me, just in case!

Some of the biggest bear poo I’ve ever seen. I had all my cowdogs with me, just in case!

I spent so much time on our mountain ranch this summer I was unable to devote as much time to my passions of gardening and canning. However when Dad taught me what a chokecherry bush looked like, I knew I had the opportunity to make up for lost canning time! During the middle of the afternoon, when it was too hot to do much else, I picked chokecherries, lots and lots.

Seriously, I went overboard. Typical.

Seriously, I went overboard. Typical.

 

Chokecherry Jelly

  • 3 cups chokecherry juice
  • 6 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 box (2 pouches) liquid pectin
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter (to prevent foaming)

Pour juice, sugar and butter into large heavy saucepan and stir to mix. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Bring to a full, rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir and skim off foam.  Add almond extract. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal with two-piece canning lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

This jelly is delicious. The almond extract really adds a lovely layer of flavor. Since I picked so many chokecherries I am attempting to make wine. Stay tuned as I am just a few more weeks from trying it, and if it’s good, I’ll show you how I did it!

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Honey Fig Jam

As you know, we have fig trees. However picking those figs is a whole other story. Between the deer, birds, my pig, and our neighbor Pete, it’s tough to get a good crop. However this year I persevered and picked enough to make jam. But not any jam, this jam is pure Table Mountain Ranch. It uses both ranch fruit and ranch honey, a marriage made in heaven!

This is what a mission fig tree looks like.

This is what a mission fig tree looks like.

Honey Fig Jam

  • 4 cups roughly chopped fresh figs
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 package pectin
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons honey
Washed, stemmed, and chopped figs.

Washed, stemmed, and chopped figs.

Wash and de-stem your figs. Chop finely. Add the figs, lemon juice, and water in a large saucepan. Add pectin and stir until combined. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring often.

Cooked figs.

Cooked figs.

When the mixture has reached a full roiling boil, add the sugar and honey.

Sweet.

Sweet.

Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Skim foam, and ladle into processed jars leave 1/4 inch headspace. Process for in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

This is delicious, I swear!

This is delicious, I swear!

 

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Zucchini Pickles

http://www.fix.com/blog/national-zucchini-day/

In honor of “sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch” night, I thought this would be a good time to share with you my latest new favorite thing: zucchini pickles. I know, I know, at this point in the summer you are tired of squash. I was too, until I tried these!

Neighbor Pete told me his Mom used to make pickles out of zucchini and they were delicious. I was hesitant to say the least. But since he gave me several pounds of zucchini and a couple of onions from his garden, I decided to at least try!

Pete's garden zucchini

Pete’s garden zucchini

Guess what? They were amazing. I couldn’t even tell they were zucchini pickles, they tasted and had the texture of normal cucumber pickles! If you have a bunch of extra zucchini (who doesn’t, amirite?) I highly recommend you give these a go!

Lucas Family Bread and Butter Pickle Recipe

  • 1 gallon sliced zucchini
  • 2 big onions, sliced
  • 1/3 cup pickling salt
  • 1 quart vinegar
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
Soaking in salt ice is an important step, don't skip it.

Soaking in salt ice is an important step, don’t skip it.

Soak the zucchini, onions, and salt in an ice water bath for two and half hours. Rinse in cold water.

Invest in a cheap mandoline, it is worth it for the beautiful, uniform slices and not stitches!

Invest in a cheap mandoline, it is worth it for the beautiful, uniform slices and not stitches!

Bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil. I let it boil about 5 minutes. Put about half of the rinsed zucchini and onions in the pickling mixture to scald. Then place in sterilized, hot jars. Do the same with the rest of the zucchini and onions, making sure to pack them tightly and to remove air bubbles.

Your pickling liquid.

Your pickling liquid.

 Adjust your lids and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Glorious, glorious bread and butter pickles!

Glorious, glorious bread and butter pickles!

Let them “pickle” for about two weeks to really get the full effect. Also if you are a fan of spice, add some peppers in there! I’ve been adding jalapenos into some jars and it makes the pickles even better!

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Mexican Sour Gherkin

My favorite plant center, The Plant Barn, brought these awesome little nuggets called Mexican Sour Gherkins or Mouse Melons, to my attention last summer. Of course it was too late to plant them, so I had to wait almost a whole year before I could finally get my dirty little hands on the seeds!

These, my friends, are Mexican Sour Gherkins!

These, my friends, are Mexican Sour Gherkins!

Much to my unadulterated joy, I was able to both buy seeds and buy the started plant at The Plant Barn. I’m going to tell you a secret. I am a horrible seed starter! When given the chance to buy a plant or start a plant from seed, I’ll buy the plant every time, I don’t care if it is more expensive, they freakin’ live!

The plant like to have a trellis to grow up.

The plant likes to have a trellis to grow up.

I did actually manage to start several plants from seed! They took longer to start growing and producing compared to your normal garden cucumber, but they make up for it because they are unique! They look little like baby watermelons!  It’s fun to give them to kids, it blows their little minds (oh they blew mine too, who am I kidding?).

The plant is fairly prolific, I can pick a handful to munch on, fairly quickly.

The plant is fairly prolific, I can pick a handful to munch on, fairly quickly.

These “melons” do taste like cucumbers you are used to, but just a whisper sour. I haven’t had enough to make bread and butter pickles, but I hear they are delicious that way. I’ve been enjoying them alone, but my favorite is sliced in half and on a salad! They add a surprising little kick!

The guts...

The guts…

If you get the chance to grow these little guys, I highly recommend them! It’s always fun to get some new and exciting things in your garden and they have been a great treat for Silly the teacup pig!

 

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Roasted Broccoli

Growing up, I always liked broccoli. My Mom steamed it and served it with mayonnaise. I never cared for the mayo, because I liked how broccoli tasted! It’s delicious! But just TRY and make me eat onions, I’ll have a temper tantrum, to this day! I can safely say, I loathe onions and the more that people give me a bad time about that, the more I hate onions.

Speaking of, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve enjoyed learning new and different methods of preparing my favorite foods and avoiding those I loathe. Roasting has quickly become my new favorite way to eat broccoli! And the good news? NO ONIONS IN SIGHT!

This recipe will change the way you feel about broccoli.

This recipe will change the way you feel about broccoli.

Roasted Broccoli

1 head of broccoli, washed and chopped into bite size pieces (about a pound)

4 cloves of garlic, minced (you could use less, I really like garlic)

2 tablespoons olive oil (use lemon infused for a real treat)

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Broccoli, olive oil and garlic, yum.

Broccoli, olive oil and garlic, yum.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Mix the broccoli, chopped garlic, oil and salt together in a bowl, making sure to evenly coat. Spread on a cookie sheet, in a single layer.  Roast for about 15 minutes, until tender. Then place the cheese and pepper on the broccoli and roast for 5 more minutes or until your cheese is golden.

YES!!!!

YES!!!!

I’ve also made this recipe with bacon, citrus zest and juice, and all different kinds of finishing salt. If you omit the cheese and add bacon, it’s paleo! If you add cheese and bacon, it’s a main dish! There are so many variations with this recipe, it’s easy to keep it interesting.

Enjoy!

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