Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dill Pickle Soup

Right in the middle on the leaf that is the shiniest--a reward!!  I really neglect my house plants.  I don't really like these Christmas cacti, but they are my mom's, who really loved them.  I am keeping 4 pots for her, but she is in a Nursing Home and doesn't even remember her cacti or her home, so I sort of take care of them.  Now these plants are so grateful--and they don't know that they are Christmas cacti, because every time they get neglected to the point of looking sickly, and I feel bad and water them, (regardless of what time of year), they reward me with a huge flush of blossoms:  white, red, orange, fuchsia pink.  Then I remember the mom I used to know.......

I invited the neighbors over for lunch, and since she is an incredible cook, I wanted to make something that she has not likely cooked, that tastes really good, so I made Dill Pickle Soup  You might say:  Yukk!!  Argh!!  Dill Pickle Soup?
There is a story behind this.  A couple of Saturdays ago, I went to a church-related all-day meeting in Wetaskiwin.  Lunch was catered by a restaurant, and I was intrigued by this soup--but they wouldn't give out the recipe, so I had to play with veggies and dill pickles till I got something similar.  Here it is:
OK, so this picture doesn't stimulate the olfactory nerves one bit, and it could be any kind of soup.  So here is how it goes, for the brave and curious.

Dill Pickle Soup
This is not exactly a measured recipe.  It's how grandmas used to cook--by tasting.  I'll give the numbers of my first pot, which was about 3/4 of a dutch oven full--enough for two lumberjacks to eat and two cupfuls for lunch the next day.

4 med. potatoes in chunks
2 carrots sliced
1 onion chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
a stalk of celery
1 large or 2 smaller dill pickles chopped, also chop the dill weed from the jar and the pickled garlic from the jar  (do storebought pickles even have garlic and dillweed?)
Ground black pepper
Chili pepper flakes (according to your hot taste) 
1 box of low-sodium chicken broth and 2 c. water
1 can evaporated milk (I use 2%)
Fresh dill, finely chopped according to taste (or frozen or dried)
Juice from dill pickle jar
Put a couple of Tbs of oil in the pot,  cook garlic and onions till onions are clear or golden.  Add potatoes, carrots, celery  and spices, fry gently till all is coated.  Add the broth and water, the dill and garlic and chopped dill pickles and the garlic and dill weed from the jar.  Bring to the boil and simmer till the potatoes and carrots are soft.  Blend in blender--may have to do in batches.  Add a bit of water if it is too thick.  Return to pot, add chopped fresh dill, taste, add dill pickle juice to taste.  Simmer a bit longer.  Add the whole can of milk--do not boil any more after the milk is added, simmer a bit, taste, add more pickle juice and more dill if needed.  Add salt to taste (I don't add salt).

I've made this twice so far, each time it was a bit different, but really good.

I will definitely be putting more dill weed in the jars from now on.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Thank God for a Bountiful Harvest

 This is that peek into the cold room.  Pickles tomatoes, squashes, pumpkins.  We had a great tomato crop this year--9 big boxes of green tomatoes came in green just before the big frost on Oct. 5th.  From the first pick-over I froze about 49 pounds (12 pkg of 4+lbs each) and have already canned 21 quarts (some of the above picture are still from last year).

 21 clean jars
waiting for these tomatoes to fill them tomorrow.  Now there are only two boxesful of green tomatoes left.

I also cleaned up all the leeks, which we love for soup.
These, along with fresh celery from the garden were chopped and sautéed with a bit of margarine to make a soup concentrate, which gets frozen, then I only have to add potatoes, broth and milk in the deep cold winter.  I did the same with celery alone, for celery soup.
Harvested some pretty kale, red and green, made a recipe of our favorite Kale and Chickpea Soup.  The remainder will be blanched and frozen.  I also got about 4 meals of brussels sprouts.

Our late apple tree gave us two large boxes of lovely apples.  I told Kubota Man that I would bake pies and pastry with the blemished ones, and keep the sound ones for fresh eating--he indicated a wish that there  be lots of blemished apples.
And a couple more peeks at our bountiful harvest:
Onions:  Walla Walla, Ailsa Craig (similar to Kelsae), Candy, White Sweet Spanish, and Red.  I rarely buy onions, sometimes in April and May.  These are 5-gallon pots.

Our potatoes:  Sangre, Red Norland, Kennebec, Yukon Gold and Russet.  Also lots of Squashes.
This is Kubota Man on the--you guessed it--the Kubota, rototilling my new patch, where I planted 16 Saskatoon bushes and 28 Haskap (Honeyberries), as well as where I will plant a new raspberry patch next year.

I'm  really busy now with seed orders, plant orders and shrub orders.  The soil-less mix for the greenhouse was delivered last week, and Kubota Man has already got most of it in the greenhouse.  I haven't taken inventory for pots and supplies--need to get on that.

The garden is all cleaned and rototillled.  Tomorrow it's tomato canning and if there is any daylight left I'll clean a couple of flower beds and the flower pots on the deck, and get them stored away.  I hope our nice fall weather stays a while.