Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pickled Okra

Tell me if they are really that GOOD!

I've always heard that pickled okra is the way to convert okra haters to lovers. I never had enough to pickle. I grow one okra plant, which gives me an okra a day... which is lovely, but not enough if I want to pickle/ can them.

One day, an assistant of my florist was so kind to bring me a WHOLE BAG of freshly picked Okra. She says she has about 30 okra plants! I went out to Walmart and bought a dozen of caning jars, went out and bought mustard seeds (was unable to find dill seed:() and other ingredients that I usually don't have in my pantry.

I have to wait a week to taste... I am excited and scared at the same time. What if this taste terrible? What have I done? Wasted a whole bag of perfectly good Okra.... But I HAVE read numerous articles and blogs about pickled Okra and they ALL say wonderful things. So let's keep our fingers crossed! (also, I used some organic unfiltered white vinegar... not sure if that was OK)

I will post again with the verdict!

Recipe was taken from many different sources and I made it my own.

5 sterilized canning jars
2 lbs Okra
1 quart white vinegar
1/2 cup salt
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp Mustard seed
5 sprigs of fresh dill
10 cloves of garlic, smashed
5 chilli (I used serrano for three and red dried whole chilli for the other two)

1. I distributed the Okras into five jars. (now I realize that I should have just packed them from the bottom to top because after putting in the vinegar mixture, it is floating on top and I feel wasteful)
2. in each jar, I put in two cloves of smashed garlic, a chilli, cut in half, and a sprig of fresh dill.
3. bring the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, and salt to a boil. Then pour the mixture into each jar just to show the 1/4 of the jar top. Seal the jars.
4. place the sealed jars in warm water. make sure the jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water. bring the whole thing to a boil. let it boil for 10 minutes, then take it out onto a towed surface. let it stand for 24 hours or so. When it is really SEALED, you will hear a "ping" sound. the lid should be concave. if it does not seal properly, the Okra needs to be eaten within two weeks or so.

SO........ It's been a week (almost.) So I had one. Maybe my expectation was too high, but these pickled Okra taste like... a pickle. OF COURSE! I made PICKLED OKRA. I guess the reason I like Okra so much is because of their delicate taste and their slime. Both was lost by pickling. So while pickling them might make haters convert, if you love Okra the way they are, you might find them less appealing. Don't get me wrong, it tastes good, like any pickles are tasty and is one of our guilty pleasures :)

Peanut butter pie

I don't even personally know Jeannie, but via tastespotting, I started to see dozens of the same recipes... it was not a daring bakers' challenge, but bigger than that. I cannot imagine what Jeannie is going through. to have something so precious one day, then unexpectedly, it is taken from you... I could not help but to make this pie, for Mikey and everyone I love. THE love of my life does not like peanut butter baked into cakes, cookies or pies, so I shared it with my family who I equally love, of course :)

I brought some to my sister in law's. My baby niece (3 weeks old) cannot share this beautiful, delicious pie with everyone, but one day... :) She will taste my love through my cooking (and through my spoiling her).

This is a wonderful recipe, AND forgiving too. I think the amount of different ingredients you put in is basically up to your liking. More cream cheese? more cookies for thicker crust? more peanut butter!!?? Yes, it is possible.

spread that chocolate down!

This recipe is from Jeannie's blog above

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie

Serves 10 to 12

8 ounces chocolate cookies

4 tablespoons butter, melted

4 ounces finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup chopped peanuts

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces cream cheese

1 cup creamy-style peanut butter

1 cup confectioner's sugar

1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well. Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Because I didn't want a very hard chocolate bottom, I mixed in some cream to make it into a Ganache. (1/8 cup cream) Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use. Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner's sugar. Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.

Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream). Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top, if using, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving. Here, I just shaved some of the same chocolate and put it on top, it still looked lonely, so I filled the empty outer circle with more salted peanuts.