Fresh Herbs

A fresh and fun recipe catalog by a girl who likes to play in the kitchen the "from scratch" way.

|EAT MORE VEGGIES| 10/09/2011

Filed under: Apps,DILL,PARSLEY,Savory — |FreshHerbs| @ 12:23 pm

I’m trying to eat more veggies (EMV)…but I’ve never really been a fan of crudite. I think that is partially due to the fact that I’m an event planner for a living, and crudite for an event is, well, rather expected and boring (though typically one of the healthier options on the menu). So really, it’s an entertaining staple. I started to think to myself that maybe crudite isn’t just for parties anymore. Why not keep some dip on hand in the fridge to help aid my EMV goal? Hubs L-O-V-E-S raw carrots. Everytime we run out of cut carrots I get a {sad face} from him so having veggies on hand isn’t the problem (me washing, peeling, and chopping them is). I, on the other hand, always have plain nonfat greek yogurt in the fridge (can’t remember the last time I purchased sour cream at the market). Not only is it healthier, but it’s easier to digest too. So I set out to find a dip using my greek yogurt as a base and found this tasty dip that I modified to my taste.

Veggie Dip
Makes 1 cup; can be doubled for a party

1/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay ™ seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 tablespoon minced onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients and let sit in fridge for 2 hours (better overnight). Serve with crudite, potato chips (not part of the EMV goal!), and other favorite party dippers.

This makes me think of my SIL- she’s a Maryland girl and loves Old Bay. As the weather turns colder and I find myself reaching into my spice cabinet for dried, as opposed to |FreshHerbs| I’m reminded just how handy dried herbs can be. This dip has no salt (outside of what’s already in the Old Bay) yet it still packs a flavor punch that fancies up bland raw vegge. So who’s going to EMV? I’m going to try! Cook often and eat well!

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|PICKLE ME THIS| 09/11/2011

Filed under: DILL,Picnic,Savory,Sides — |FreshHerbs| @ 4:23 pm

If ever there was a day to have apple pie for breakfast, this is it…and I did. America The Beautiful, these United States, remembers this day 10 years ago, and every year, as we all still grieve for those lost and those affected on 9/11/01. Ten years later I understand what loss is more than I did then. A thing more deeply felt and a thing which must be experienced to be learned and understood.

Dill, garlic, vinegar, peppercorns, allspice berries...and cukes of course!

And so it was a few days ago that I felt the need to comfort myself with some good home cooking. And staring at a bowl full of apples that were just about to turn, and massive cukes from Lisa and Ken that were too large to be eaten quickly, I turned to pickles and pie! Now, I’m not going to spend too much time on the pie here (I tried the French version this time instead of my typical two crust) though it was delicious. I’ve made many a pie and many a pie I will make again. Pickles, however, where new. A whim. A why not? And I must say, I will be making them again. {Why do I buy pickles in the store when I can make delicious fresh ones at home so easily?}. Honestly, they were so easy and took no more than 10 minutes. I found the original recipe here and adapted it to suit my own taste, the size of my jars, and the ingredients I had on hand. I even had enough cuke to make a little jar for Lisa and Ken, the source of such fine vege.

Easy Dill Pickles
all seasoning can be adjusted to taste and preference 

2 large jars (I used one large Ball canning jar and a smaller old spaghetti sauce jar)
2 large garden cukes
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 Tb Kosher salt
2 tsp dried dill (generous, to taste)
2 cloves garlic (whole, peeled)
1/2 tsp peppercorns
1/2 tsp allspice berries

In a small saucepan, boil water, vinegar and salt. While liquid is coming up to temperature, wash and slice the cukes (don’t peel them!). Add all of the spices to the bottom of the jars and pack the jars with slices cukes. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cukes up to about 1/4 inch from top of jar. If you find that you don’t have quite enough liquid, bring some additional water to a boil and top off. Screw on the lids and let them cool off a bit before stashing them in the fridge. Allow to sit in fridge for at least 24 hours, but the longer they sit the better they get. As the cukes pickle, they’ll lose their bright green color and shrink a bit which will make some room in the jar. I like to shake the jars around a few times to make sure the dill is evenly distributed.

These are a salty, spicy, vinegary masterpiece! In fact, my 9 year old friend Meghan (Lisa and Ken grow more than cukes) rated these 95 out of 100. I’ll take it!

My first attempt at dill pickles!