Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Hand-written recipes are the best recipes.  

The above recipe was given to us by my mom.  I asked her to "email me the recipe," and this is what I got.  But I like this better.  It's like a little love note. My mom's good at that.  And she's good at picking recipes.

Most of the things I make are a blend of stuff I already know and what I've discovered on the internet.  It's an experiment, and it never comes out the same.

However, hand-written recipes are always good, because somebody that you know tried it, then took the time to write it down, with you in mind.

They also make me feel sentimental (Clearly.  Excuse me while I stroll down Memory Lane.) Because they make me think of my grandma and great grandma.  Hand-written recipes remind me of Christmas time, when I've helped my grandma make the old Italian cookies from recipes that were written down 50 years ago, the cursive neat, the pages faded and yellowed, folded too many times.  They instruct you to add "pinches" and "handfuls" of things, and use ingredients like lard (that's why they're so good). And when I bite into them, I think to myself that these taste exactly the same as the cookies my great grandma would have been eating years and years before.  They're like an edible time machine, and make me feel more connected to her: that makes me happy.

Big Grandma and I, circa 1986. We're thinking about ya, Gram.

Well, this isn't Christmas in July, and this recipe is probably the opposite of cookies.  But, it's written, with love, from Mom, and is probably one I'll continue to make year after year.  Is it weird that pickles will make me think of my Mom?

Mom's "Fresh Cucumber Salad," or Bread and Butter Pickles (copied from...?)
Copied exactly as written-- interpret as you will. I added my notes.

3 fresh home-grown cucumbers
add strips of green/ red peppers (we used a long hot)
1 T celery seed (replaced with fresh dill sprigs and pickling spice)
2 cups sugar
optional - add chopped onions (do it)
2 cups white vinegar

Set on counter 4 hours in a bowl.

Place into jars.


"Fresh Cucumber Salad" is all the way to the left, top.  The beets are the pink ones. Bottom pic is turnips and scapes.

Okay, I can't help myself - I always mess with recipes rather than follow them exactly.  It has more to do with what's in my cupboard at the moment than anything else.

Anyway, this was a good way to preserve some veggies.  We were overloaded with cucumbers and other vegetables from our CSA and decided to refrigerator-pickle them to stretch out their expiration dates. (Refrigerator pickling saves them for weeks-months, whereas canning saves them through the apocalypse).  We've used variations of this recipe and this one from good old Alton Brown to pickle beets, turnips, and garlic scapes, too, but those take longer to cure, so you'll just have to wait and see how those turned out (although, I don't see how they could turn out bad...).



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