Pickled Red OnionsWell, the blog neglect has gotten worse and worse.  One of these days I will put it on the calendar and give it a go.  This summer has been busy, way to busy.  But fall is upon us and its time to store what I have harvested or at least purchased from the farmers market.  A couple weeks ago I bought a giant red onion with the sole intention of pickling it and that I have since done.  If you have never had red onion pickled on a taco or a burger you are missing out, its some kind of tangy with a little onion crunch.

This has got to be the single easiest condiment to make, ever.  And they will most likely get some looks should you eat them in public or with company present.

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That’s it, a few minutes of work and you have a condiment for the masses.  What is your favorite off the wall condiment?

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Sun Dill PicklesSadly I have been neglecting my blog, don’t feel alone though, I have also been neglecting my cooking and my diet (meant merely as the consumption of quality food and bacon).  The last several weeks have been crazy busy and finally the combination of my garden and my parents garden while they are on vacation is forcing me to do some canning and cooking.  Thank goodness for fresh produce.

One of the recipes that has been passed down through my family like balding (I hope not) and an attitude are sun dill pickles.  Just like they attitude they are true to form every time.  You put the same stuff in the jar, you follow the same process, you get the same result.  Easy, actually they are really easy, but, also true to form I have tried a few things this year to make them last longer.  One problem we always have they spoil, well they don’t actually spoil they just turn mushy.  No one wants a mushy pickle, they do make great dill relish at this point I must point out.  The best dill relish ever actually.

So this year I am trying the typical alum in half of the jars (I have left the alum in the recipe as handed down) and grape leaves in the other half.  In my reading this year I found that grape leaves are supposed to keep things crisper.  Do they?  I have no idea but come middle of the winter I will crack open two jars of pickles one with each technique and be sure to follow up on here with the results.  Fearful of a funky taste I have tried a few pickles from the grape leaf jars and noticed no difference in taste.

Also new this year to the process in addition to the usual washing I have begun removing the a small chunk of the blossom end of the pick approximately 1/16-1/8″ off the end of each pickle.  I read several places that there is an enzyme in the blossom end of the pickle which makes them mushy…so just to be safe they are all gone.

So with all of that said here is the recipe, it is designed for a gallon of pickles, rarely do I do a whole gallon at once, the left over brine keeps nicely in the fridge until it is needed.

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These are probably the simplest pickles ever and they are mighty tasty, they are no Claussen pickles (more about that to come) but they are great in their own light and did I mention simple to make?

Be sure to check back mid winter to see how the grape leaf – alum throw down shakes out, which will keep the pickles crisper, will either or will they both fall short.

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The chicken saga continues, and tonight we cracked open the P90X cookbook and scaled back a recipe for the two of us.  We have also started on a new portion control saga to only eat as much as our fist (chewed of course), with more vegetables and less meat.  We ended up with a relatively easy chicken recipe that was tasty.

Lemon-Garlic Chicken Breast with Coucous

2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp molasses
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper

Combine lemon juice, molasses, garlic and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl and mix well.  Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and put chicken in it.  Pour marinade over chicken, cover and refrigerate, turning occasionally for 1 hour.  Pre-heat oven to 425°F and bake for 45 minute or until done, basting occasionally.

It was pretty tasty, at least the skin was and it had enough flavor to permeate every bite of the chicken.  It was a little dry, but I slacked in my basting and will do that more frequently next time.

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Disclaimer: Ordinarily an ordinary recipe like this would not make it to the blog, however, with the request for more variety in chicken recipes come the good and the bad.  Usually when we make Jerk Chicken in the summer or spring we use a whole chicken and go all out, it is certainly not the poor man’s variety and I will make a point to write about it this summer.

With that aside, we had another workout and cook at the same time meal tonight.  It was called Jerk not because of the process or its temperament but because of the seasoning we applied and despite its ease and lack of process and a rich marinade it was far more than edible it resembled jerk chicken and it was easy.  Besides that it tempted us with smells of the Caribbean, while we did our plyometrics.

Poor Mans Jerk Chicken and RiceIngredients
2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lime juice
jerk seasoning (I got mine at Penzeys)

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Combine lime juice and olive oil in a glass baking dish until uniform.  Roll chicken several times in the mixture and sprinkle both sides, covering evenly with jerk seasoning.  Bake for about 50 minutes or until done, turning once.

While not nearly as delicious as the real thing, our poor man’s jerk chicken was a tasty treat with a bit of a kick in the middle of winter.

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We are still on the chicken diet and instead of waiting after our workout tonight to prepare dinner I decided it would be nice to have dinner done at the same time were done working out.  So that is what we did, a little prep before and basting on water break and an easy but oh so tasty dish of Curry Chicken on rice was born.  Our workout last somewhere around an hour usually and as such we had pause for just long enough to throw the chicken in.

Curry Chicken on Rice

This could be love at first taste, it became apparent tonight as I ate my dinner that I have not eaten enough curry in the past and will have to include this in my diet in an increasing fashion in the future.  My curry love affair has been born.

2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp butter or margarine
1/3 c honey
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp curry powder

Pre-heat oven to 375°F.  Place butter in a glass baking dish and heat until melted.  Add honey, mustard and curry powder to melted butter and mix thoroughly.   Add chicken and roll in curry mixture several times.  Cook for 50 minute basting frequently.  Serve over hot rice and smother with curry mixture left over in the baking dish.

I used a cheap curry I had purchased at the grocery store and will be looking next time I am at the spice shop at the variety of curries they have available.  Also of note I made the rice as usual in my rice cooker and allowed it to warm once it was complete.

This might not be as low fat as other chicken dishes but at about 350 calories a serving (did a little math) I’ll take it, its good enough for me, besides what is the point of working out if you can’t eat more?

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