Quick Refrigerator Pickles

I love dill pickles, they’re perfect for when I crave just a little something salty and crunchy. I keep finding new recipes I swear I’m going to try, but there’s one recipe I keep coming back to. These are not the sweet variety I always thought of when I heard “refrigerator pickles”, I’m not a big fan of the sweet ones. These are very fresh and fairly mild tasting and have a crisp crunch. They are also the easiest to make; since they stay in the fridge they don’t need to process in boiling water. This recipe is great for small batches – which has been how I’ve done most of my canning so far. I tried my hand at growing my own pickling cucumbers and dill this year, and so every week or so I find myself with just enough to pick and make 3-4 quart jars. These can be eaten after just a few days, but have better flavor if you can wait a week or two (I’m not great at waiting!). They will keep in the fridge for about 2 months, and the flavor will continue to develop as they sit.

You’ll need:

1 gallon of pickling cucumbers (for 4 quarts)

1 cup white vinegar

8 cups water

1/4 cup pickling salt

For each quart jar:

1 dill head

1 clove garlic

1/2 tbsp mixed pickling spices

1/2 bay leaf

Combine the vinegar, water and pickling salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and set aside to cool.

Place the dill, garlic, pickling spices and bay leaves in each jar. Fill the jar with cucumbers, cut in halves or quarters if they are large.

When the vinegar solution has cooled, pour it over the cucumbers and refrigerate.

This is my go to recipe when I want to use up what came out of my garden, but don’t want to be canning all night. Now I have a whole shelf full in the fridge, looks like it’s time to share!

– Jodi

Pizza Two Ways

Last night my family came over to drop my sister off for the night. She’s off school for the summer, and wanted to hang out at my place for a while. She can be a picky eater, so I wanted to make something for dinner I knew she’d eat. I figured pizza would fit the bill. With 4 adults to feed also, I thought I better make two pizzas. I decided to do one more traditional, like what you’d order from any pizza chain; and one like I’ve been making lately with the whole wheat crust.

I wanted to dress up the plain pepperoni pizza, so I made it stuffed with cheese around the edge. I knew my family would enjoy that one for sure. I   topped the whole wheat crust with fresh vegetables and prosciutto. Scott and I love this combination and I hoped my family would give it a try.

For the thicker white (stuffed) crust:
2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 envelope Quick Rise Yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup very warm water (120 to 130 F)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Mozzarella (if desired)
Toppings we used:
Tomato sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

Combine 2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Stir very warm water and olive oil into flour mixture. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4 to 6 minutes. Cover and let the dough rise for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on your preference for a thin, more dense crust or a thicker crust. Once the crust has risen to your liking, Lightly oil 1 (14-inch) or 2 (12-inch) round pizza pan(s). Shape dough into smooth ball. Divide and roll dough to fit desired pan(s). I prefer to roll mine out on a silicone baking sheet so I can easily move it onto the pizza pan.

For the stuffed crust (skip this step for a regular crust): I rolled mine just a bit bigger than my pan and dotted with little mozzarella pearls. Fold dough over the cheese and pinch together to seal. Flip the dough onto the pan so the pinched side is down.

Bake the crust in a preheated 400F oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and add desired toppings. Return pizza to oven to finish baking for another 10 to 20 minutes, or until done. Baking time depends on size and thickness of crust and selected toppings.

For the thinner wheat crust:
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 envelope Quick Rise Yeast
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2-2/3 cup hot water (120-130°F)
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
Toppings we used:
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 sliced tomato
a handful of fresh chopped basil
1 thinly sliced onion sauteed with
2 cloves garlic
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

Combine flours, yeast, salt and sugar in a food processor or stand mixer; mix to combine. Combine hot water and oil in a measuring cup. With the mixer running, gradually pour in enough of the hot liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. The dough should be pretty soft. If it seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water; if it’s too sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Mix until the dough forms a ball, then mix for 1 minute to knead.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Coat a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it, sprayed-side down, over the dough. Let the dough rest for 10 to 20 minutes before rolling.

Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on the lowest oven rack; preheat oven to 500°F or highest setting. Roll (about a 13-inch circle) and top the pizza as desired and bake the pizza until the bottom is crisp and golden, 10 to 14 minutes.

My mom and stepdad both tried my whole wheat pizza and said they liked it. Everyone really enjoyed the pepperoni too. The cheese did leak out in a couple places, but for the most part stayed put. The little mozzarella pearls worked perfectly for this crust. With how simple and inexpensive these were to make, I don’t want to go back to ordering in!

– Jodi