Friday, September 17, 2010

New York City Wish List

When we go to New York City, it's a major food fest.  (I always know I'll gain at least five pounds).  Everything we do is scheduled around where and when we will be eating.  I keep a list on my iphone of places that we hear about, so the next time we are in NYC we can visit as many on the list as possible.

It's our NYC Wish List!

We have our favorites that are a must each time we're in New York.  Like...
Carmines - The best Italian, served family style

Joe's of Bleeker Street - The best slice of pizza, great crust!

La Esquina - A new favorite.  Seriously the best tacos!  See Emily Everywhere's post  "La Esquina: A word worth waiting for" for second testimonial on the tacos.  She has some other posts regarding our food frenzie in NYC that are well worth reading.

Katz's Deli - Another new favorite.  Order the pastrami sandwich - you won't believe how good it is.

Cupcake Tea at The Ritz
Ritz Carlton - Cupcake Tea is so romantic - go for a walk in the park afterward.

Other great places to grab a bite in New York:

Gramaldi's - Great pizza, but be prepared for a long line unless you get there when they open.  Just over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Serendipity - Wonderful, overthetop desserts.  Famous for their frozen Hot Chocolate.

Magnolia's, Crumbs and Eleni's - Who has the best cupcake???

Silvias Fried Chicken and Waffles
Silvias - Up in Harlem.  Queen of Soul Food.  Chicken was good, but the Waffles were fantastic!!

Cookies from Levain Bakery
Levain Bakery - Fabulous cookies.  And I love cookies.  They have four cookies to choose from, or don't choose and have one of each!  Chocolate Chip Walnut, Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip and Oatmeal Raisin.

Donut Plant - They have a square Peanut Butter and Jam doughnut!  Best doughnut I tasted was the Creme Brulee.

Stand - A hamburger joint with Gelato Milkshakes!  Yummy!

Artisanal - Suppose to have great Mac and Cheese.  I know!  Who goes to New York to get Mac and Cheese - It's suppose to be That Good.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Got a Nickel? Go Suck a Pickle!

  • It has been a busy summer!  I realized I am down to my last 3 jars of dill pickles.  I have called around to the local farms looking for cucumbers in bulk.  I haven't found any yet, we are at the end of the growing season.  I thought I may not get any this year.  I was delighted when I returned home from New York and a friend of mine brought me some of her excess cucumbers!  I was able to bottle 11 quarts of dill pickles.  Though that seems like it should be plenty, I wish I could have double or triple that amount.  I use them as payment to my Dad when he helps us with todo's around our place in St. George.

Pickles are the easiest thing to bottle.  You can get a lot of them done in a relatively short amount of time.

There are different recipes out there for dill pickles.  Some recipes call for pickling spices, and sugar.  I don't use the pickling spices or the sugar.  All you need is a basic brine recipe that you like.  My favorite recipe is very simple.  

  • Brine
  • 3 qts (12 cups) water
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup pickling salt (make sure you use pickling salt, it is not iodized, so the liquid won't be cloudy in the jars)

  • You'll need about 8 pounds of 4 inch long pickling cucumbers
  • 3 cloves garlic for each jar, peeled and halved
  • 1 head fresh dill weed for each jar
  • 1 grape leaf for each jar (keeps the pickles crisp)
  • Optional - if you like spicy!
  • jalapeno or any hot pepper, with slices cut through it - one for each jar. I like to use the red peppers for their bright color in the jar.
  • or use 1/4-1/2 tsp cheyanne pepper,
  • or 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

  • Wash cucumbers, and place in the sink with cold water and lots of ice cubes. Soak in ice water for at least 2 hours but no more than 8 hours. Refresh ice as required. 

  • Sterilize 7 (1 quart) canning jars and lids in boiling water.

  • In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, water, and pickling salt. Bring the brine to a rapid boil.

  • In each jar, place 3 cloves of garlic, one head of dill, grape leaf and pepper if desired.  Put enough cucumbers into each jar to fit tightly, do not leave space.  I like my pickles cut in spears, but you can do whole or halves if you like that better.  Fill jars with hot brine to within 1/4 inch from top.  Remove air bubbles.  Seal jars, making sure you have cleaned the jar's rims of any residue.

  • Process sealed jars in a boiling water bath. Process quart jars for 20 minutes.

  • Store pickles for a minimum of 8 weeks before eating. Refrigerate after opening. Pickles will keep for up to 2 years if stored in a cool dry place.

    USU Extensions had this to say about crisp pickles:

    Use of ice to firm pickles
    Soak cucumbers or other vegetables in ice water for 4 to 5 hours before pickling.

    Use of grape leaves to firm pickles
    Historically, grape leaves are sometimes added to pickle products. The tannins in grape leaves were found to inhibit the pectinase enzyme (a chemical that would break down and soften the pectin structure). However, this enzyme is located at the blossom end of the cucumber and if that is removed this process is redundant.

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