Some Spicy Dills

Spicy DillsI made these up about six weeks ago, and just opened them last night. The wait was worth it.

These turned out very well indeed.

Especially if you like some heat in your dills.

Since you can regulate the number of jalapeño or Serrano chiles that you add,  why I guess there is no excuse not to make these.

Don’t wait until the season is ripe, you can now buy small bags of small cucumbers which are perfect for this recipe year round in most grocery stores.

So get a move on.


  • 3 cups water
  • 5 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 5 lbs whole pickling cucumbers
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 12 sprigs dill
  • 3 jalapenos quartered


  1. Prepare the jars by scalding the jars, and lids and rings and then leaving in the water (turned off until ready to pack.
  2. Add the water, vinegar and salt to a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Set aside at a very low simmer while you pack the jars.
  4. Distribute the cucumbers, garlic, dill and chiles between the jars (about 3 pints I found)
  5. Pour the pickling liquid over the contents, bringing it to the lower rim of the can.
  6. Affix the lid and then the screw top. Don’t screw on the lid too tightly, just securely.
  7. Sit on the counter and allow to cool.
  8. Test each jar to make sure the seal has taken. Press down and it should not pop up. You may have heard most of not all “ping” but pulling down the lid themselves. It’s fine if one or more doesn’t, as long as it stays down when you push it.
  9. Unsealed jars should be stored in the fridge and consumed. Sealed jars, once cooled can be stored in a pantry.
  10. Let jars sit for 6 weeks to properly “age”.

SERVES: I got 3 jars from a bag of store bought snacking cucumbers.

TIPS: You can of course vary the heat by the amount of chiles you place in the jar. cutting the chiles open will help making the cukes hotter than leaving them whole.

SOURCE: Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide


Microwave Bread and Butter Pickles

bread and butter pickles 2012This is a standard recipe found everywhere. The reason is simple. It works perfectly every time, and is exactly the perfect recipe to make two pint jars at a time. The time in the kitchen is minimal and they are ready to eat just about immediately, although chilling thoroughly is recommended.

You can make these all year and avoid those flaccid and sometimes over-sweet commercial ones.


  • 4 C sliced cucumber (1 1/2 english cucumber, or 4-5 pickling cucumbers) You can use regular cucumbers but I love the english which are firmer and are really crunchy with a thin skin.
  • 1/2 of a medium (between  a hardball and softball), sliced very thinly
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/2 c white vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric and celery seed each


  1. Place all in a microwave safe large bowl. Turn on high for 4 minutes. Stir. Cook on high for another 4 minutes.
  2. The onion should be translucent.
  3. Bring two pint jars just off a boil in a large kettle.
  4. Ladle the pickles into the jars until just at the lower rim of the jars. Fill with the liquid until the liquid hits that lower rim, leaving 1/2 head space.
  5. Cover with a new sterilized lid and then a screw top. Let cool on counter.
  6. Refrigerate until consumed.

SERVES: 2 pint jars

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

Tangy Tomato Chutney

chutneyI’ve always steered clear of chutneys. Mostly because they seemed to pair things I didn’t think sounded very good together.

Well, I was wrong. And I’m seldom wrong I tell ya.

But this stuff is good.

It’s like something to just put on the table with just about everything. You could use it on sandwiches, hotdogs, and along with roast meats of any kind.

It’s just delicious, easy to make, and should be in your refrigerator ALL the time.


  • 5 large cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped (at least half a head–I know it sounds like a lot in the ratio, but it really is okay. I checked the recipe more than once)
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped or grated
  • 1 28 oz of tomatoes or equal amount of fresh “real tasting” tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 c red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne (as you wish)
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds


  1. Place the garlic, ginger and 1/2 c of the red wine vinegar together in a blender and whir up until completely smooth.
  2. Put everything else in a non-metallic heavy clad saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. When it reaches a boil, add the puree.
  4. Lower heat and continue to cook at a low simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
  5. Cool. The mixture should be like honey when tipped from a spoon.
  6. Add the raisins and almonds.
  7. Store in the fridge.

SERVES: 1 pint

NOTES: If it doesn’t thicken enough after it’s cool, then I would put it back on and simmer some more. It should be more or less like a thick ketchup.

SOURCE: An Invitation to Indian Cooking, by Madhur Jaffrey

Sweet Jesus Chile Pepper Jam

chilepepperI have looked for this stuff for years! Back a few decades I came across some sweet but hot chile pepper jam in a store. I fell in love.

They stopped carrying it, and I was never the same. Well, almost not.

Enter Rufus and his recipe.

I have returned to heaven.

This is better than the other stuff. This is as hot as you like, or as mild as you like. It is simply the gift of the gods.

it goes with anything you can imagine–hotdogs, grilled chicken or pork. on sandwiches. Heck it probably works on ice cream.

Go to Rufus’ food blog. I’ve never met a recipe that didn’t come out perfectly. Still come here of course, because I love to bring good recipes to a palate near you.


  • 6 c finely chopped chile peppers (put together your blend of heat. I made a half recipe of 3 cups with 2 lg hatch chiles, five jalapeños (4 red), one Serrano. That gave me a healthy 3 cups which made one filled-to-the-brim pint with a couple of tablespoons leftover for dinner that night.
  • 3 red bell peppers similarly chopped
  • 4 c sugar
  • 1 c white vinegar
  • 1  1/4 c cider vinegar


  1. Use a food processor if you have one. This will go much faster.
  2. Place all in a large saucepan and bring to boil.
  3. Boil 30 minutes or until thickened.
  4. Ladle into sterilized jars, cap and screw top
  5. Cool on the counter.
  6. Store.
  7. Any jars that don’t ping, place in fridge until consumed.

SERVES: 2 pints

NOTES: I made a half recipe and next time will make a full one. I cooked mine a bit, since it thickens up more when cooled (mine was kinda sticky but the taste is still fine). The heat is up to you. You can go from poblanos to Habanero and all in between. That’s why I just made one jar–to test my heat level.

SOURCE: Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide


Microwave Dill Pickles

dill7I love making my own stuff, mostly because I believe in avoiding the additives and preservatives in most things. I’m not a fanatic, but as long as it’s not too laborious, I’ll try making my own.

This is certainly true of pickling. It’s both easy and gives a great quality product as good or better than what you can buy. However, I do not want to make up twelve quarts at a time, usually I want a pint or two.

Microwaving really works, and it keeps the cukes really crisp. I made up a couple of pints in probably about 30 minutes time. So when you have extra cukes, even big ones, give this a go.


  • Enough cukes to fill one quart jar or two pints. You can make them in spears, cut them in half, cut in rounds, leave whole, whatever you have will work just fine.
  • 1 clove garlic, into two pieces if using pint jars
  • 3/4 tsp dill or a sprig in each jar
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1 jalapeño, split if using pint jars (optional if you want a bit of spiciness)
  • 1/2 c cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • canning jars, lids and screw tops


  1. Bring your jars a boil and then let sit in the hot water until needed. Put the lids and screw tops in a small saucepan and bring them just off the boil. Turn off and retrieve as needed.
  2. Wash your cukes and cut them up or not as you desire.
  3. Fill the jar(s) leaving 1/4 inch head space at the top, as follows. Place the garlic, dill and turmeric, and hot pepper in the jar, then put in the pickles, fitting them as tightly as you can. Note: if you are using two jars, divide the dill and turmeric in half.
  4. Add the vinegar, water and salt to a microwave safe bowl and heat on high until it boils. Stop the microwave.
  5. Pour over the pickles until the liquid comes to the 1/4 inch head space.
  6. Place a sealing lid on, and then the twist lid. Do not tighten the twist lid too tight.
  7. Leave on counter until the jars are no more than tepid and then transfer to the fridge.
  8. Pickles must be left in fridge until eaten.

SERVES: 1 quart

NOTES: You can now buy a small english cucumber in little bags of about 5, this will be pretty close to 2 pints. You can just make your pickles two pints at a time as needed year round.