Category Archives: Vegetarian

Pickled vegetables

It’s summer, and with summer, comes more time to cook and more things to cook with: farmer’s market vegetables! Yesterday, I did a little experiment with my grandmother’s family pickle recipe and tried pickling some of my own vegetables. But here’s the catch: Paul hates pickles. So, I had to modify the recipe to make it taste like something Paul does like: our recipe for blanched kale with a dressing of sauteed onions and jalepenos in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Here’s how I did it.

Spicy Pickled Vegetables

Step 1: Choose your vegetables

My choice of vegetables was heavily inspired by things I’ve had pickled successfully in the past: carrots, green beans, cauliflower, celery, red pepper, and cucumbers. I cut all of them into chunks that would pickle in roughly the same time and could also be eaten easily in one bite.

Step 2: Make your pickle juice!

The next order of business is to make your pickling liquid. My recipe was loosely based off my Grandma Martha’s pickle recipe, but modified to (hopefully) suit Paul’s taste. Here it is:

The page from my recipe book that I copied my Grandma's recipe onto before coming to Bloomington.

7 cups water
3/4 cup cider vinegar
about 3/8 cup balsamic vinegar
3/8 cup salt
2 tsp sugar
1 jalepeno, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
1/4 large onion, roughly chopped
1+ clove garlic, rough chopped

Heat all of the above ingredients in a saucepan, covered, just until boiling and then remove from heat and keep covered until ready to pour over vegetables.

Pickle juice on the stove

Step 3: Clean your jars.

This step is essential. Even though we’ll be pickling with the help of the refrigerator (and not the old fashioned way), it’s key that your jars (and tops) be extremely clean, because otherwise you’ll have mold growing in your pickles in just a few days and they won’t last for weeks like they will in clean jars.

Step 4: Build your vegetables.

Layer the vegetables into the jars in any order you please. You can do separate sets of vegetables in each jar, or mix and match. I like to mix because it looks pretty.

All in: green beans, carrots, celery, red pepper, and cauliflower.

All ready to be pickled!

Step 5: Pickle!

Pour the pickle juice over the vegetables, seal the jars, and put in the fridge. Test the vegetables every day or so, to see when they’re pickled to your desire of doneness. It can be anywhere from a day to a week, depending on the type of vegetables, the size of the slices, the temperature of your fridge, and your personal tastes. We’ll be trying ours tonight. I’ll keep you posted!

Sealed up tight!

Sitting tight in the fridge, pickling away.


Alllllll byyyy myyyy seee-eh-eelf

FYI, you’re supposed to sing (go to 0:58) the title of the post.

Well, it’s crunch time at school. And I’m alone tonight, trying to cram down some food between doing the massive amounts of paper writing, presentation making, and number crunching I have to do before the semester winds to a close in two weeks. BUT that doesn’t mean I don’t have time for a good meal. Or sorta.

Here is what I’m eating right now:

Looks yummy, huh? A pile of farmer’s market mixed mustard greens grilled cheese on homemade sourdough bread. Except those of you with a keen eye might recognize that orange-yellow goo oozing out of my sandwich as none other than – no! Can it be!? Oh yes, it is. – Kraft American Singles Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product!

Now, I’m well aware that just even having this stuff in the fridge soils our reputation, and that reporting it here is close to food blogger suicide. But what can I say? Paul occasionally cooks for small children at work, as you all know, and sometimes they have leftovers. And a few months ago, they made grilled cheese on the cheap (a.k.a., out of Paul’s pocket, because they didn’t have cooking club funds) and had 3 packages of leftover Kraft Singles. Lucky us! And, because this stuff lasts forever, I only just tonight opened up the last package.

And you know what? It was absolutely every bit as delicious as the kids on the commercials make it look.

So there.

Eggplant Parmesan

Its been a while since I have done this.  I hope blogging is something like riding a bike, in that its something you don’t forget how to do.  Then again, I don’t particularly like riding bikes, though I don’t remember why.  I think I crashed once.  It probably hurt.  Anyways, it is enough to have kept me off a bike for the last 10 plus years.  But back to why we are here.  Jess has been on me for a long time to get something posted, but truth be told I am incredibly lazy and had trouble getting myself to do it.  But then Jess went home for Spring Break, and I ate frozen pizza and leftovers for a week straight.  After that, I am so excited to be eating fresh delicious food that I will gladly write about it here.

Today’s dinner put a serious hole in my “I don’t get full on a vegetarian diet” argument.  We decided to make eggplant parmesan, and it was fantastic.  We started with a tomato sauce made from tomatoes, garlic, a red onion, some red wine, and fresh herbs from Jess’ hydroponic AeroGarden.  We let these simmer all afternoon in our slow-cooker until we had a nice homemade sauce.  For the eggplant, we sliced them into 1 inch thick pieces and quickly browned both sides in a skillet with some oil.  It was then covered with a mixture of breadcrumbs, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese, and placed in a bed of our tomato sauce to bake in the oven.  When it came out is was a beautiful golden brown, a lot more appetizing than the frozen leftovers I had grown accustomed to.  We served it over pasta, with a side of rainbow chard with some garlic, onion, and spicy peppers.

Now, when Jess and I discuss what meals we are having the following week, I always try to tell her I need a significant helping of meat to make sure I get full.  Unfortunately for a couple living off of loans and an AmeriCorps living allowance, meat doesn’t always fit into the budget.  So it is good finding vegetarian meals that bring me into food coma territory.  And this was definitely one of them.  One plate and I was stuffed, which is great because it means leftovers, and during my week of eating freezer food I had finished all of my lunch options, and was getting sick of peanut butter.

P.S. I will try to not let it get to be a whole month (maybe even more) before I post again.  and I wanted to thank whoever it was that periodically checked our blog for updates.  I hope it was worth the wait.