Monday, August 24, 2009

Pickles and Macaroni and Cheese

This is my post of recipes from friends of friends. The first comes from the daughter of a friend and is perfect for this time of year when cucumbers are everywhere, and the second from my aunt's mother-in-law and is great comfort food, no matter the season. Enjoy, because they are both fantastic!

Refrigerator Pickles

Cucumbers -Small (Kirby) are best. Cut off stem ends. Use enough to pack tightly in container, 2 layers if tall jar.

Fresh Dill (including flowering tops & seeds if possible)

2 Dried Hot Peppers

4 or more cloves Garlic, cut into 4 lengthwise pieces

1 TBS or more Peppercorns

¼ to ½ tsp. whole Cloves

1 ½ TBS or more whole Coriander Seeds

2 Bay Leaves, crumbled

Dried dill seed (optional)

Use a large (at least 2 qt) jar. Wash jar well and sterilize with boiling water.

Prepare Brine: Use about 4 cups water & pour in kosher salt - try ¼ cup first then add more if necessary. Stir till salt dissolves. Should be almost too salty when finished. If way too salty, add more water.

Stuff dill into bottom of jar. Add cloves. Put in one layer of cukes. Use about ½ spices. Add more dill. Pack another layer & repeat. Stuff garlic & peppers down between cukes.

Add brine to cover cukes. Cover and shake gently. Refrigerate. In approx. 2 days, taste the brine. If too salty, replace ¼ or ½ brine with water. If not salty enough, make more very salty brine and add.

Pickles are ready in 3-4 days.

Pat's Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil water and cook 2 cups of elbow macaroni noodles, draining when done.

Grate 2 cups muenster cheese.

Melt 2 TBSP unsalted butter in a small saucepan over low heat.

Turn heat up to medium and add 2 TBSP white flour, whisking constantly until roux starts to brown slightly and becomes fragrant.

Slowly pour in 2 cups milk, whisking constantly and stir until thickened, a few minutes.

Whisk in 1/2 teas. salt, 1/2 teas. garlic powder, 1/4 teas. pepper, and 1/4 teas. paprika. Take off heat.

Butter a 9x9 or similar sized casserole dish with lid. Even a 9x13 baking dish covered with aluminum foil would work.

Put half of the noodles into the dish. Add half of the cheese, spread out evenly on top of noodles. Put remaining half of noodles, and then remaining half of cheese. Pour the cream sauce on top and dot with a few teas. butter.

Bake covered for 30 minutes and then remove cover and bake another 15 minutes.