Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lemon-and-Bay-Leaf Pickled Green Beans

During one of my 57 visits to Lowe's in the last few months, I made an impulse purchase (okay, there were probably a few impulse purchases, but this one has proven the most fun).  It was a copy of Better Homes and Gardens Canning.  I'm working my way through this cookbook/magazine and have made a few recipes, and adapted a couple others.  I'm really enjoying it, and recommend it to anyone interested in canning as a food preservation method. 

Lemon-and-Bay-Leaf Pickled Green Beans
recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Canning special interest publication, 2011 edition

makes 4 pints

2 3/4 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon pickling salt
2 1/4 pounds (11 cups) fresh green and yellow beans, ends trimmed
8 bay leaves
4 teaspoons whole peppercorns (I used a mix of red, green and black)
8 strips lemon peel (use a vegetable peeler to make these, then squeeze the lemons for the juice called for in this recipe)

1.  In an 8-quart stainless-steel, enamel or nonstick heavy pot, combine the water, vinegar, sugar, lemon juice and pickling salt.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar and salt dissolve.

2.  Add beans to liquid and return to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute.  Drain beans; reserve the liquid.  Set beans aside and return pickling liquid to a simmer and cover.

3.  Place 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of peppercorns and 2 strips of lemon peel to each of the 4 hot, sterilized pint jars.  Pack the hot beans into them, lengthwise.

4.  Pour boiling pickling liquid over beans in jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.  Remove any air bubbles in filled jars.  Secure lids and rings.

5.  Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes (start timing when the water returns to boiling after adding the jars).  Remove jars from canner and cool on wire racks.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Southwest Chicken Sliders

These are very easy to make--in fact they were a sort of accidental creation, but now I crave them often.  I serve them topped with sour cream and the pickled red onions that I posted about previously (Red Chile Short Rib Tacos aka Taco Toppings).  The burger is a simple mix of ground chicken,  olive oil, salt, hot sauce (I use Tapatio) and southwest seasoning (Penzey's Southwest Seasoning or Pampered Chef Southwestern Seasoning Mix).  If I had it, I'd add sliced avocado or some guacamole to the list of toppings!  Don't forget the tomato!  The one pictured is straight from my garden.  Yum!  I recommend cooking these in a skillet so they don't dry out--I personally don't grill ground chicken due to this, but it's certainly a matter of personal preference.  Please note the variances in seasonings in the recipe guidelines below--I posted these varied amounts keeping in mind that everyone has difference comfort levels when it comes to salt and other seasonings. 

Southwest Chicken Sliders 
serves 4

1 pound ground chicken
1 tablespoon olive oil
several dashes of hot sauce
1/2-1 teaspoon of salt
1-2 teaspoons of southwest seasoning

Mix all ingredients and form into patties (I make 8 sliders from a pound of ground meat but these would make great regular sized burgers, too!).  

Cook in a skillet on medium-high heat for approximately 5 minutes per side or until chicken is fully cooked.  

Place cooked sliders on buns and top with your choice of toppings.

3/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt (I lowered this amount)
1 thinly sliced red onion

Combine ingredients 1-4 and bring to a boil.  Allow mixture to cool for at least 5 minutes.  Toss with onion and refrigerate at least overnight.

I usually make a double batch as these keep very well in the refrigerator--I love these and always have some in my fridge!