Grow Your Own

When I write about food, it is typically about food in an amazing restaurant or on an airplane. In this post I will discuss food in a very different way.

Now for those of you who thought this post was about weed (pot, maryjane, marijuana, 420, whatever), sorry to disappoint.

Its about coming home to so many cucumbers, zucchini’s, and cabbage heads that it is time to get some jars on the shelf.

 

Today I made Bread and Butter Pickles and Cabbage and Beef.  And of course Zucchini Bread will be next.

 

Bread and Butter Pickles

We start our pickles by pouring a Coca-cola mixed with Mount Gay 1703 Barbados rum. This keeps us relaxed during the pickling process which makes the pickle happy.  Then we begin.

cucumbers 1
First we slice the cucumbers into whatever size we want the pickle chips to be.  I always smell or taste each cucumber because occasionally there is a bitter cucumber which goes right into the compost.  Pickling a bitter cucumber simply makes a bitter pickle.
cucumbers 2
Then I chop up a few onions and a quarter cup of coarse iodine-free salt and mix both with the cucumbers.
cucumbers 3
The next step is critical.  Mix a lot of ice with the pickles, onions, and salt.  This step guarantees a crisp pickle.  No one really enjoys a limp pickle.
cucumbers 4
Then I put some weight on the whole mixture and let it sit for about 3 hours.  Not sure why the weight but the recipe said to.

Billysky got 3 hours of playtime while I waited.  We played wrap the toy mouse in a plastic bag and watch her get the mouse out.  Then we played rest-in-the-cat-house.

 

Three hours up; back to the pickles.

mccormick spice
The recipe I use calls for mustard seeds, ground turmeric, and celery seed, along with apple cider vinegar, sugar, and of course the ice-cold cucumber/onion mix.
bread and butter pickles 1
Double double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble.
bread and butter pickles 2
Do not let the mix boil, just get it very very hot.  As you can see, they are starting to look like pickles.
bread and butter pickles
And our finished product – 7 jars of bread and butter pickles.  I will let these sit so the sugar and vinegar does their jobs.

Sometime in September I will wake up with anxiety because it will be the day I will open a jar hoping they are amazing.  (I have been lucky so far.)

Cabbage and Beef

I planted 8 cabbage seeds in March and got 7 cabbage heads this summer – great yield. With my last two I decided to make cabbage and beef in a tomato broth.

beef
Instead of ground beef, I use stew beef.  I marinate it in Worcestershire sauce and rosemary from my back yard that I dried myself.
cabbage softening
I soften the cabbage leafs for about 3 minutes in boiling water.
cabbage and beef
I then role the beef in a cabbage leaf with some provolone cheese.  I added my last two jars of tomatoes and sauce from last summer.  I toss in the extra cabbage and spice it up a little.
Beef and cabbage 1
This is what it looks like after 2 hours at at 275 F in the oven.  You readers unfortunately can not smell the garden-fresh flavors.
Beef and cabbage 3
Beautiful!
Beef and cabbage 2
I opened a roll of cabbage and the provolone spilled out.  The beef is so tender (from the low cooking temperature) and the flavors so fresh.

Zucchini Bread

I ran out of time to bake a few loaves of bread and make muffins.  But if you are curious how I make my zucchini bread, I use our family recipe.

The recipe is in a blog post from last February where I examine the juxtaposition of Valentine’s Day and zucchinis.  Click to read Valentines Day and Zucchinis and get a great zucchini bread recipe.

Final though:   Fresh and local will always make a dish taste amazingly better.

Peace and happy gardening.

 

 

4 Comments Add yours

  1. yummylilthings says:

    Great post, Paul! Everything looks delicious.

    Like

    1. paulifeblog says:

      I just ate the cabbage and beef for lunch. Very delicious and the cabbage so sweet – much better than grocery store.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Off the bitten path says:

    Nice one. I’m always thinking about doing my own preserving etc. on account of missing a few things from home. I just don’t know where to start. Maybe pickles are the way to go.

    Like

    1. paulifeblog says:

      Preserving is a good thing to try if you can get good raw ingredients. I pickle beets, cucumbers, and peppers. I also preserve raspberries and blackberries. Let me know if you want any details. Beets are the easiest. Berries are most difficult.

      Like

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