Epic Kitchen Weekend Extravaganza

Pant, pant, puff, puff. I'm here to tell you that my tail is dragging. Just before I sat down here, I spent some time icing my aching feet (which feels surprisingly good). We finally got some sunshine here in the Pacific Northwest...just in time for me to crank up the oven to 500°F.

I started today by tracing out Block #11 for the Bee-utiful Quilt-A-Long,

and I did a little stitching on that. I'm hoping to finish it up tomorrow. Not a lot of stitching on this one. It didn't get much of my attention this morning, however, because I was anxious to get started on the cherry pie. Cherry pitting waits for no one.

The temperature was supposed to be warmer today, and I wanted to work with that crust while it was still relatively cool. The crust was made yesterday and then chilled in the fridge overnight. I'm kind of coming to the conclusion that the crusts behave better when they've had a night to think things over. This one went together nicely.

Usually, I do a lattice top for a cherry pie, but I was tired. Instead, I did those little cherry clusters you see there on the side. Yeah...I figured you'd want me to tell you what they're supposed to be. The leaves are a little too big, and I couldn't roll those stems very delicately, and they kind of look like a part of the male anatomy. Once you see it, you can't unsee it, so I apologize for bringing it up, er, pointing it out. (Demonstrating what too much time in the kitchen can do for one's sense of humor.) Nevertheless, our tummies won't know the difference, and that is going to taste mighty fine with a scoop of vanilla ice cream this evening.

Once I had that in the oven, I went to work on the Calico Sweet Pickle Relish that's been brining in the refrigerator overnight. It was keeping the pie crust company. This morning I dumped it out, rinsed it off, and gave it a good long time to drain. Meanwhile, I started brining the second batch of zucchini relish. It only takes an hour before it's ready for cooking.

It's been a long time since I made the Calico Sweet Pickle Relish. The recipe is one I cut out of our local paper, The Oregonian, before time began. I know it's before time began because it isn't on the internet. It's made with cucumbers. When I could grow a successful garden, I always had an overabundance of cucumbers. For some reason, I've had no success whatsoever growing them since. This summer, I'm getting more cucumbers from our CSA share than we can eat, and so here we go again.

It's not so different from the zucchini relish, but perhaps a little less sweet, and with more flavor from the celery seeds. It's yummy. My yield was 3 pints...a good amount. Here's the recipe I'm using.

Calico Sweet-Pickle Relish

Cynthia Fishborn and Cheryl Long

3 1/2 cups finely chopped cucumbers (about 6 medium cucumbers)
2 medium onions -- peeled and finely chopped
1 large green bell pepper -- seeded and finely chopped
2 medium red bell peppers -- seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup pickling salt
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup white or cider vinegar (at least 5 percent acidity)
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Combine cucumbers, onions, green and red peppers in large container and sprinkle with pickling salt. Add water; stir to mix well.  Place lid or plastic wrap over container and refrigerate overnight.

Drain off salted water.  Rinse in fresh water and drain well.  In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, combine sugar, vinegar, mustard seed, celery seed and turmeric, stirring to mix well.

Microwave on high (100 percent power) for 5 to 6 minutes, or until mixture comes to a boil, stirring twice.  Add the drained, chopped vegetables to the vinegar mixture, stirring well to combine. Microwave on high for 6 to 7 minutes, or until mixture comes to a boil, stirring twice.  For immediate use:  Let cool, pack into glass or rigid plastic containers with tight fitting lids and refrigerate up to 6 to 8 weeks.

For long-term storage:  Wash 4 pint jars.  Keep hot until needed.  Prepare lids as manufacturer directs.

Ladle hot relish into 1 hot jar at a time, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.  Wipe jar rim with a clean, damp cloth.  Attach lid.  Fill and close remaining jars.  Process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes (15 minutes at 1,001 to 6,000 feet; 20 minutes above 6,000 feet).

* * * * *

While that was processing, I got to work draining and cooking the second batch of zucchini relish. My yield on that today was five pints to go along with the four pints I cooked up yesterday. That should last a while, and I'll have some to give away as well.

So with all that cooking this weekend, I'm not relishing (ha!) the idea of returning to the kitchen to make dinner. Mike and I are going out for dinner.

Tomorrow I'll tackle Mt. Laundry, and then I'll have the day for sewing. This week I'm focusing on blocks, and it'll be good to get onto some shorter term projects than I've been working on so far this month. There are still quite a few things on my list of goals for the month of July, but I'm still hopeful I can cross them all off my list.

6 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lana Ku said...

"Part of the male anatomy......bringing it up"......bwahahahaha! My kind of humor. "Relishing the idea"......you're on a roll! Oh wait......or on a pie! Lol! Now I really want some cherry pie! Hey....there might be a joke in there somewhere.....male anatomy......cherry pie.......lol.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I'm not a cherry pie fan (cheesecake, yes), but this looks delish. And the relish - can smell it over here. Just love zucchini relish - no, I'm not making any.

Rebecca said...

Once it is seen it can not be unseen.... so True. But it can be eaten!!!! Here in Central Oregon (Madras) the heat is starting late this year but coming on strong. In years past when I had a garden my MIL (who lived with us) would get up at 4 in the morning and start pealing or chopping what ever I had set up the night before. Things she could do sitting down. I was up by 5 usually and would join her in the kitchen after hitting the garden in the cool. It was considered a successful day if we done by 10 am 11 at the latest as the heat came up and so did our feet with a good book.

gpc said...

It all sounds delicious to me. I remember pitting sour cherries on the porch with grandma and an aunt or two. Still love those pies. :)

quiltzyx said...

Epic Epicurianism Everywhere! Love the looks of your full canning jars and I can almost taste that cherry pie, YUM!

Brown Family said...

I like cherry pie, but I am the only one in the family that does. I just do not cook just for me!