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A Taste of Summer

August 6, 2011

This summer has been incredibly hot. Some days our little A/C unit struggles to cool our living room more than a couple degrees. If it were up to me, the temperature would never rise above 80 outside. Needless to say, baking and cooking have not been my #1 priority the last couple months. However, I have managed to make a couple things that I am really enjoying this summer, and that I wanted to share with you.

First, COLD BREWED COFFEE. Perhaps I am one of the last people on Earth (not the last officially, thanks Aunt AnnMarie!) to have heard of this. Regardless, it’s delicious. All the yummy coffee-ness without any of the bitterness you get by chilling hot coffee, or watery-ness you get from pouring your hot coffee over ice. In case you’ve never tried it, here’s what you do:

Measure 1/3 cup of ground coffee to each 1-1/2ish cups of coffee; combine in a container (I use air-tight tupperware), shake once for good measure (no need to separate the grounds in a filter or anything); let sit overnight (12-15 hours) – you could let it sit in the fridge, but I do it on the countertop and that works fine; pour the mixture through a coffee filter, I do it in a wire mesh strainer but you could pour the coffee through your coffee maker filter and let it drain in to the pot too; store in the fridge. I like mine over ice with a little flavored creamer, yum!

Second, ICE BOX PICKLES. I love pickles. Especially really strong, spicy, zesty, crunchy, sour pickles. Last summer I canned pickles, and the flavor was good but the texture left a little something to be desired… I think it was the boiling necessary to seal the jar. Anyway, this summer I thought I’d try ice-box pickles — success!! If you have some extra cucumbers in your garden (or see them at the store), and you like pickles, you should give this a try.

Cucumbers – as many as you need to fill your jar(s)

Garlic, 1 clove roughly chopped

Whole black pepper corns, 5-ish

1 Dill head, or about 1/2 teaspoon of dried dill (I used both because my dill head was pretty small)

1 sprig of fresh thyme

1 tablespoon of salt (I used kosher)

1/4 teaspoon of ground mustard

1/4 teaspoon of chili powder

Vinegar (I used cider vinegar, but plain old white vinegar would surely work too)

Cold Water

These ingredients are for each individual jar. Add spices and seasonings to the jar. Fill the jar with cucumbers – slice them into chips, spears, or leave them whole. Really stuff the jar full of cucumbers, you’ll want more. Now fill the jar about 2/3 to 3/4 full with vinegar, and then top off with cold water. Put the top on tightly, shake the jar well, and leave in the fridge overnight or longer.

I tried my pickles the very next day and they were really good. I opened my second jar almost a week later and they were even more delicious, and still crunchy!

As soon as I can get some plums from one of our farmer’s markets I’m going to make my grandmother’s plum cake. It’s worth fighting the heat! Plus, the plums are usually only perfect for this in August. Stop by for a piece this week during Musikfest!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ann permalink
    August 6, 2011 9:50 am

    I’ve been waiting for this post. I haven’t tried the iced coffee since you mentioned it, but I have regretted not getting it ready for a treat after camp. McDonald’s iced latte’s are $2.29 for a small, so I will be thrilled to invest in vanilla-flavored creamer and make this more cheaply (with half-caf) at home this week.

    You will be sharing your Grandma’s recipe, won’t you? Steve will LOVE a plum cake, something I have never tried before.

    The pickles sound like something to try with Julie when she gets home from GS camp. She loves pickles, and she loves Melissa! She is at that age where the pretty fashionable cousin is to be admired and copied!

  2. Auntie Pam permalink
    August 8, 2011 9:07 am

    The pickles sound wonderful! What size jar are you using, quart or pint? I do something similar without the jar – vinegar, water, salt and pepper – I slice the cucumbers and leave the mixture on the counter. I love August – pickles, sweet corn and tomatoes.

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