I love fresh cucumbers from the garden, but it never fails that the majority of the crop has to be harvested around the same time. Cucumbers in salad are delicious, but 25 of them? Instead of wasting them, pickle them! I have an easy recipe for refrigerator pickles. You can make them with just 10 minutes of prep and 6 hours to brine. You don’t even need to turn on the stove!
What are Refrigerator Pickles?
Refrigerator pickles are made without the typical canning process, instead they’re made with raw cucumber slices and brine. The take very little effort and they’re ready to eat within hours. The upside of making fridge pickles – they’re easy to make and incredibly crispy and delicious. The downside, they’re not shelf stable, but will last several weeks in the refrigerator.
A dozen fresh picked cucumbers (I prefer the shorter pickling variety)
1 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or pickling salt*
1 tablespoon of pickling spice blend
(which usually includes black peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, dill seed, allspice berries and crushed bay leaves)
2-4 cloves of garlic
1 sprig of fresh dill
If you like them spicy 🌶️ (optional)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more/less to taste
- Add the water, vinegar, salt, one clove of garlic per jar, pickling spice blend and dill into 2 (1-quart) jar — or divide the mixture evenly between four small (1-pint) jars — and stir to combine.
- Add the sliced cucumbers to the jar(s). Then place the lids on the jar(s), and shake to combine.
- Refrigerate ideally for at least 2 days before eating, although you can totally dive in before that time. The pickles will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 weeks.
Too many cherry tomatoes? I have the perfect Roasted Garlic Tomato Recipe just for you.
Great as a side dish or to top your favorite pasta. It’s a great late Summer meal!
To say that I’m a Polish-American to the core, would be an understatement. Growing up as a first-generation American, my parents and grandparents instilled in me a great love of family, an immense pride in our Polish heritage and a passion for it’s deeply-rooted food (or at least to indulge in it!).
My great-grandmother and grandmother were always in the kitchen making meals from scratch, filling the house with delectable smells of soups, stews and baked goods. One of my favorite childhood memories was selecting my favorite cookies off an assorted cookie platter. Grandma always had food on-hand for that unexpected guest and you never dare leave without having at least a bite to eat.
So I say it’s fitting to share with you one of my favorite Polish cookie recipes, just like my Grandma use to make. Simple in taste and in effort, the Kolaczki is especially good along a side of black tea or coffee. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do, Na Zdrowie!
8 ounces (1 block) of cream cheese (at room temperature)
12 ounces (3 sticks) of butter (room temperature)
3 cups flour (all-purpose)
28 ounces apricot filling (or prune, raspberry, etc.)
A dusting of confectioners’ sugar for garnish
How to make Kolaczki
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with butter until light and fluffy. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, and mix well. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 350 F. Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick on a silicone mat or a surface that has been dusted with equal parts confectioners’ and granulated sugars (not flour), because the granulated sugar will act as ball bearings and help keep the dough from sticking.
- Cut into 2-inch squares. Place 1/2 to 1 teaspoon fruit or cheese filling on center of each square. Overlap opposite corners of dough to the center over filling, pressing dough together lightly. Alternatively, brush a tiny bit of beaten egg white on one point and press the opposite point on it.
- Bake for 15 minutes (longer if baking frozen) or when corners start to brown. Cool completely and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Note: Kolaczki tend to get soggy after several days if not stored properly. Store them in an air-tight container without the confectioners’ sugar. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
Tips on freezing
- If you find yourself with leftover fillings, they can be frozen in a zip-top bag or another container with little loss in flavor or consistency. Just defrost them when you’re ready to use them. Pour off any accumulated moisture on the surface.
- As for the kołaczki themselves, fill them and freeze on a parchment-lined sheet pan. When completely frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe container separated by sheets of parchment paper. Bake them from frozen. Don’t freeze baked kołaczki. When defrosted, they will be soggy and unpalatable.
Brownie recipes are much like chocolate chip cookie recipes, everyone seems to have their own favorite recipe and thinks theirs is the best. I get it. There are so many variations and are a standard dessert go-to for many. I personally like my brownies chewy and dense. (Oh, and super chocolaty *duh*) After doing some “brownie research” for this post, I concocted a Brownie recipe that is chocolaty, chewy and even had a secret ingredient to elevate the chocolate flavor —INSTANT COFFEE! I made a batch of these brownies this weekend. My boys were licking their plates to get every last crumb and morsel. A true sign of a recipe gone right!
P.S. The coffee is totally optional, but must say it does give it a great boost!
Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 30-40 mins
Total time: 55 mins Servings: 16 brownies
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp instant coffee diluted with 1 tsp of hot water (or 1 tsp of coffee extract)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 9 x 9 inch square pan. Set aside when done.
Place the butter in a heat-proof bowl and microwave until butter is completely melted.
Add the brown sugar, white sugar and salt while the butter is still warm. Mix to combine the butter and sugars together until you have a smooth consistancy.
Add the vanilla, shot of instant coffee (or coffee extract) , eggs and egg yolk to the butter and sugar mixture. Whisk in the eggs until they have been incorporated into the butter sugar mix. With a hand mixer, approx. 2 minutes until the mixture is well combined and is light in color.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour and cocoa powder together.
Add the dry mixture of flour and cocoa powder into the wet ingredients and mix it in until just combined. Add about ⅔ of the semi-sweet chocolate chips halfway through the mixing in of the flour. The goal is to make sure the batter is not over-mixed when the flour is being incorporated. Important: Do not over mix!
Spoon the batter into the 9 x 9 pan. Spreading the batter evenly. Sprinkle the rest of the semi-sweet chocolate chips on top.
Bake for 30 – 40 minutes. If you like your brownies fudge-like, stick closer to 30 minutes. If you like you brownies a little more well done, 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let it cool down to room temperature. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. Brownies that are chilled are easier to cut.
Cut the brownies into squares with warm knife and serve.
Fenway Serving Tip: Drizzle with chocolate syrup, a dollop of whipped cream and lightly sprinkle with cocoa powered for an impressive presentation.