Zucchini Fritters

Serving these with sriracha sauce adds a tasty twist. We think the leftovers are as good (maybe better) cold the next day.

ZUCCHINI Fritters
2 cups zucchini, grated
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 T cornstarch
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T finely chopped onion
1 large egg, beaten
black pepper, to taste
2 T olive oil

Place grated zucchini in a colander over the sink. Add salt and toss to combine; let sit for 30 minutes to drain. Then Press in paper towels to remove more moisture.

In a large bowl, combine zucchini, flour, Parmesan, garlic and egg; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Scoop tablespoons of batter for each fritter and cook until the underside is nicely golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side, about 1-2 minutes longer. Makes 6-8 fritters. Serve immediately with sriracha sauce.

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Sweet Dill Pickle Relish

Sweet Dill Pickle Relish
Process in water bath or simply refrigerate small batches.

(Makes 4 pints)

4 pounds large cucumbers
1 large onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c. pickling salt (or Kosher)
3 cups apple cider vinegar
¾ c. sugar
2 tsp. dill seeds or 1 T dill sprigs chopped
2 tsp. mustard seeds
2 tsp. celery seeds
½ tsp. turmeric

Clean and sterilize 4 or 5 pint canning jars and lids (8 or 9 if doubling recipe).

Using a peeler, remove most of the cucumber skin, leaving some strips (they will add flecks of color to the relish). Store-bought cucumbers have a wax coating and could be a little tough, this is the reason to remove most of it. Then halve the cucumbers lengthwise and using your knife or a spoon, remove the seeds. Rough chop the cucumbers.

Peel and chop the onion and garlic. Using a food processor, process the cucumbers, onions and garlic to a fine dice. Don’t over process, pulse! Unsure? Use a knife and finely chop everything.

Place the cucumber mixture in a stainless steel or large glass mixing bowl and mix in the salt. Let sit 1.5 to 2 hours to draw out water.

Drain the cucumber mixture, pressing or squeezing (with cheesecloth) to press out the excess moisture.

In a medium pot, add vinegar, sugar, dill, mustard seeds, celery seed and turmeric. Stir to dissolve sugar, add the cucumber mixture, and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare your water bath and have it simmering or on a low boil.

Fill jars using a slotted spoon, adding back only enough liquid to cover. Leave 1-inch in necks. Add the lids and process 10-15 minutes. Remove from stove, cool, and tighten lids.

Note: 7 jars process better, so If you double this batch, and have 8 jars, simply put the 8th jar in the refrigerator unprocessed to use right away. It will keep that way for weeks.

Cauliflower Tortillas

cauliflower tortillas look like pancakes
Cauliflower Tortillas

CAULIFLOWER TORTILLAS

3/4 head cauliflower
2 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
juice from 1/2 lime (add the zest too if you want more of a lime flavor)
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Trim the cauliflower, cut it into small, uniform pieces, and pulse in a food processor in batches until you get a couscous-like consistency. The finely riced cauliflower should make about 2 cups packed.

3. Place the cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes, then stir and microwave again for another 2 minutes. Place the cauliflower in a thin dishtowel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible, being careful not to burn yourself.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Add in cauliflower, cilantro, lime, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined. Use your hands to shape 4 MEDIUM “tortillas” on the parchment paper.

5. Bake for 10 minutes, carefully flip each tortilla, and return to the oven for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, or until completely set. Place tortillas on a wire rack to cool slightly. Can be made ahead to this point.

6. To reheat: either microwave, or heat a medium-sized skillet on medium. Place a baked tortilla in the pan, pressing down slightly, and brown for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

7. Serve like a tostada with baked, shredded chicken and fresh salsa or eat them like they are as a side dish.

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

a half spaghetti squash baked with cheese
Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

SPAGHETTI SQUASH ALFREDO
1 T. oil
1 T. butter
2 T. chopped onion
1 clove garlic, sliced
Salt and pepper
4 oz. Neuchatel cheese
1/3 c. half & half
½ spaghetti squash
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup cooked, chopped kale

Halve and clean 1 whole spaghetti squash (I usually roast both halves at once, reserving the second half for another meal). In a heavy, shallow baking dish, rub ½ of the spaghetti squash with butter or oil and roast at 400 degrees F. until tender (about 1 hour).

While squash is roasting, prepare the Alfredo sauce as follows: Saute’ onions in oil and butter over medium heat for 5 minutes, adding garlic in the last minute. Add Neuchatel cheese and half & half, stirring until combined. Salt and pepper to taste.

When squash removed from oven, loosen squash “spaghetti” with a fork so it will take the sauce. Pour sauce over/into the squash and gently mix by lifting and turning a few times with a fork.

Top with a handful of Parmesan cheese, return to oven, and bake again for 20 minutes or until turning golden and bubbling. Serves 2.

Kosher Dill Pickles

dill pickles in a jar
Kosher Dill Pickles

THIS one is the winner of three canned dill pickle recipes I tried:

KOSHER DILL PICKLES
(Nadia’s favorite hot water bath process pickles)
50-60 Pickling cucumbers (enough to fill 10 quarts)
1 c. canning salt
1 qt. dark vinegar
3 quarts Water
10-20 large cloves garlic, peeled
10-20 heads fresh dill (all depends on size, if small, use 2 per jar)
1 jar grape leave (buy at deli) or 10-20 fresh (1-2 per quart)

Scrub pickles and trim off the blossom ends (they sometimes contain an enzyme that will make pickles soft). If you cucumbers are not picked the same day, put them in a big tub of ice water and let them soak and freshen up for an hour or two.

I like to put 2 grape leaves in each jar. Boil canning salt, vinegar and water. In sterile quart jars, put in garlic first, then 1 grape leaf and ½ to 1 head dill. Then fill jar with the cucumbers (I usually leave them whole but you could use spears) leaving enough room at the top for another head of dill and a grape leaf. Topping with a grape leaf helps keep pickles below the brine and also makes them very crispy. If you don’t have dill, you can use oak leaves (rounded corners, or fresh bay leaves).

Fill the jars with hot brine, cover tightly with fresh lids and process in a hot water bath 10 minutes. (Modern canning methods advise 15 minutes, I always do 10.) You may or may not use all of your brine.

Fermented Chow-Chow Relish

a jar of chow chow and a half jar of sauerkraut juice
Fermented Chow-Chow alongside some sauerkraut juice

FERMENTED CHOW-CHOW
3 cups roughly chopped green tomatoes
1 cup sweet red peppers, roughly chopped
1 cup green bell peppers, roughly chopped
1 cup roughly chopped onions
1 or 2 habanero peppers, seeded and quartered
2 T salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups naturally fermented sauerkraut, chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp celery seeds

Chop and mix green tomatoes, sweet peppers, bell peppers, onion and hot peppers. Add salt and sugar. Combine and let sit for 3 hours until juices make your brine. (I keep the veggies in chunks so they will be easier to keep below the brine while fermenting.) Then add chopped sauerkraut (homemade or fresh only), mustard seeds, turmeric and celery seeds. Sauerkraut jump-starts the ferment.

Pack into a 2 quart jars and cover with a cabbage leaf if you have one and use your favorite method to weigh it all down and keep veggies below brine. Cover with tight lid and let sit at room temperature for about a week to ferment.

Remove the weight and covering and taste to be sure it is becoming sour. At this point, you can transfer to a food processor (in batches) and pulse until you get the chop and texture you prefer for chow chow. (Yes, you can leave it big and chunky if you want.)

Return to jar and refrigerate. Flavors develop over time and this tastes best when refrigerator-aged a month or longer. Very good served with hot dogs and brats, but also with chicken and pork (spoon over meats and bake or cook in a slow-cooker). Keeps for months.

Note: You can vary your vegetables depending on what you have on hand, but keep proportions the same with about 3 cups vegetables to each tablespoon of salt. If you do, uses moderately firm textured vegetables. Example: Cauliflower would be a good substitute if you don’t have enough peppers.

Crispy, Fermented Dill Pickles

jar of fermenting pickles with bubbles on top
Fermenting, natural, pickle barrel style sour dill pickles

CRISPY FERMENTED DILL PICKLES
Have on hand, scrubbed and cleaned: Pickling cucumbers to fill 3 or 4 wide-mouth quart jars
Brine:
6 tbsp pickling salt
1/2 gal (2 quarts) water
Spices per quart jar:
1 T dill seed or 1-2 fresh dill heads
1-2 cloves garlic
1 T mustard seeds (maybe also a teaspoon of pickling spices)
½ tsp hot pepper flakes (optional) or I small, red fresh hot pepper (also optional)
1/2 tsp peppercorns
1-3 grape or bay leaves (the tannins help make pickles crispy)

You will need: 3-4 wide-mouth quart jars or (optional) wire-bale jars, (or use half-gallon size jars) and plastic, non-corrosive lids (available in canning section).

Wash the pickling cucumbers and trim off the blossom ends. The blossoms have enzymes which can cause the cucumbers to soften as they’re pickling. Be sure to scrub this end well to remove all traces of the blossom, or use a sharp knife to take a very thin slice off that end.

Some varieties are spiny, remove them by rubbing with a soft brush or terry cloth. If the cukes aren’t just-picked from your garden, soaking them in ice water will help retain their crunch. Soak them for at least an hour in ice water while you prepare your jars.

Heat ½ gallon of water, add salt and stir to dissolve. Let cool to room temp.

In your jars, place 1 grape leaf on bottom, arrange cucumbers to fit (below the neck), then add spices. Pour in the brine (up to the neck). Top with another grape leaf or two (to keep pickles below brine). Loosely tighten lid just enough that when pressure builds up it can seep out.

Pickles will be done in anywhere from several days to two weeks. Bigger batches in larger containers take longer. Refrigerate when they are done, best eaten in the first month.