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No vinegar! That's the key to real, deli style, kosher dills. Use fresh, crisp pickles for best results. Water, coarse kosher salt or pickling salt, garlic, pickling spices and dill combine with cucumbers to produce a brine. The brine is formed when the salt draws acid from the pickles and combines with the other ingredients. 3-5 days gives you half sours, 12-20 days gives full sours. Refrigeration stops the fermentation process. You can taste them while they are fermenting and adjust spices. There is really no way to hurry them up. Double recipes as required. Just fill each jar you have until you run out of ingredients.
And leave the vinegar in the pantry...
This is the simplest, sunniest dish you can imagine. Layer on the ingredients, donâ€™t bother stirring, slow roast and dip into Mediterranean heaven.
This is lovely to look at and handy, as it is made ahead (up to three days). It is refreshing and unique, and easy enough to serve a crowd. If you want to avoid the eggs, simply leave them out. Canned or jarred prepared beets, as well as roasted red peppers are two ways to speed up the preparation of this salad. A sweet and sour version is another variation: chopped cabbage, lettuce, apples, pears, raisins, and carrots would be the layers. You also vary it in with canned black beans and crushed tacos - almost any variety of layered things would work. The trick with this is finely chopped everything so the final result is a pretty, marinated salad.
Double or up the recipe as you need. This is wonderful for Passover, Easter, brunches or wedding day luncheons. A Fiestaware egg dish is perfect for this.
A nice French tang in a classic vinaigrette. I crush the garlic with a mortar and pestle and use the mortar (bowl) as the vinaigrette bowl. Another neat way to make quick and fresh vinaigrette is to shake it all in a small Mason jar. What's leftover, refrigerate for more salad days ahead. Use this to marinate lamb chops but it's main purpose is to toss with green salads of any description.
The real thing takes time, but it's worth it. It's the slow saute of the onions that requires the time but you can listen to satellite radio or read the lastest issue of UTNE while the onions slow cook. This is a meal in itself but sadly, this restaurant soup rarely lives up to what its originators intended: brazen with caramelized onions, real stock, and a crown of toasted sourdough bread with a trio of cheeses. If you have baby boomer parents, ask them where they hid the French onion soup bowls (beside the fondue pot probably). If you are a baby boomer, kick yourself for selling the onion soup bowls at the garage sale, and buy some more. Or, make this a communal affair. Serve the soup in an oven-proof casserole and ladle out servings at the table. Do use real stock, so easily available.
Most cream soups begin the same way. Simmered vegetables go into a chicken or vegetable or water stock. This is then amalgamated with a cream base, usually made with a classic flour-butter roux, to which milk and cream is added. The soup is then seasoned, the softened vegetables and creamy broth get pureed, and voila: cream soup in any flavor you choose. You can play around with the herbs and spices but mostly, this is the sort of recipe that suits whatever vegetable you prefer or what the market or season offers. For spring, of course asparagus is my choice. It is absolutely lovely with fresh herbs, a touch of lemon, black pepper and fleurs de sel (salt). Once you get this soup down pat, it works with whatever vegetables you like.
I am wild about turnips and always make extra roast or boiled ones for this fine potage.
This doesn’t have an exciting name but it is the fastest, easiest way to flavor and nutrition I know off. It is essentially chop, dump and sauté and serve but it smells as exotic as if you’d been cooking over the proverbial hot stove for hours. You can add tofu if you like but if you serve it alongside a protein of some sort, that’s not necessary.
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The best fries are fried twice. There is a special method here that is the trade secret of bistro chefs and any French fry outlet in Montreal (did you know Montreal has the best frites outside of Europe?). Just follow the recipe. Match these up with a burger of Bistro Style French Pepper Steak, a salad of baby greens and balsamic vinegar and a warm sourdough baguette for a feast. A dusting of Fleurs de Sel (imported salt) would make this dish a banquet on its own.