Mason Jar Pickles

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I’ve become a huge pickle lover this summer. After I tried some homemade pickle spears at a Sunday market in Chicago, I decided to make my own. I bought some pickling spice at The Spice House and immediately went home to make these sweet and spicy homemade pickles! Adjust the sweetener or Serrano chilies for a sweeter or spicier version.

Mason Jar Pickles

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup water

2 tablespoons honey

1.5 tablespoons salt

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon pickling spice

2 large cucumbers, slices 1/4 inch thick

1 small onion, sliced

2 Serrano chilies, halved

Combine all ingredients except for cucumbers, onions and chilies into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for two minutes. In a large jar layer the cucumbers, onions and chilies, leaving about a half an inch of space at the top. Pour the brine over the vegetables and stir to remove air bubbles. Let cool until it is room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. Enjoy 24 hours later for all flavors to meld.

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Fried Green Tomatoes with Spicy Cajun Remoulade

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Fried green tomatoes are one of my favorite dishes from the South. Every time I go to visit my brothers down in Nashville I always make sure to get an order! These green tomatoes came from my Mom’s suburb-of-Chicago outdoor garden and were just as good as the Southern fried ones! Also, since these were picked fresh off the vine, they were twice as delicious. I like my fried green tomatoes spicy so this recipe kicks up the heat! If you aren’t into spicy-ness tone down the sriracha, hot sauce and Cajun spices a tad. This dish is a great for a starter before dinner and even substituted for regular tomatoes for a tasty twist on a BLT. Enjoy!

Fried Green Tomatoes with Spicy Cajun Remoulade

For the Spicy Cajun Remoulade

½ cup low fat mayonnaise

½ cup light sour cream

½ tablespoon sriracha

½ lemon, juiced

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

Salt and pepper

Combine the ingredients of the remoulade, stir until combined and refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the Fried Green Tomatoes

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 egg

1 1/2 cups skim milk

1 tablespoon hot sauce

4-5 Fresh green tomatoes

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Cajun seasoning, for sprinkling

Combine Cajun seasoning, cornmeal and flour into a bowl and toss to combine. Set aside. Combine egg, milk and hot sauce and beat until combined. Set aside. Slice tomatoes into ½ inch slices. Dip each slice into egg/milk/hot sauce mixture until well coated. Then dip each slice seasoning/cornmeal/flour mixture until evenly coated. Heat ½ cup vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add tomatoes, flipping once, about 2 minutes per side. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning and serve hot with the Spicy Cajun Remoulade.

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Strawberry Basil Lemonade

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Who doesn’t love a tall glass o’ lemonade on a hot summer day? It is definitely one of those cravings that lasts all summer long. For this recipe, I went off of a post from my new favorite food website, Food52.com. It combines lemonade with the sweet flavor of fresh strawberries and the subtle peppery flavor of basil. It turned out to be a really delicious and satisfying drink. I think it would make for a great cocktail too! Just splash in some vodka and bring it out to the pool with you for a cool-off cocktail!

Strawberry Basil Lemonade

Recipe taken from Food52.com

1cup sugar

3 cups quartered fresh strawberries

20 medium basil leaves, roughly chopped

1 1/2cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Put the sugar in a heatproof bowl or cup and pour 1 cup of boiling water over it. Stir to dissolve and let cool. Combine the strawberries with the basil and 1/4 cup of the sugar syrup in a blender. Puree until smooth.

To make the lemonade, fill a glass with ice and add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of the strawberry puree, 1/2 cup cold water, and 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar syrup, depending on how sweet you like it. Stir well and serve right away.

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Enjoy!