Thursday, July 22, 2010

Week 6: Dill Bread and Quick Pickles

dill bread bread and butter pickles

As much as I would like to "go with the flow," I'm not a spontaneous/spur-of-the-moment/sure-whatever kind of gal. So I love it when a plan comes together. Friday afternoons, as I clean the vegetables in my share, I begin to map out the week's cooking. It's something of a "free association" exercise.

Hmmm. Look at that heaping bunch of dill. What am I going to do with that? Dill ... Pickles! OK, I have pickling cukes in here, so that's easy. Oh, and I could make fish. If I marinate some salmon steaks in dill and garlic, and throw them on the grill, we could grill the squash and zucchini at the same time. Lettuce ... will be good for salad, and we'll boil the corn. That leaves me just the arugula and the chard ...

A little research online and Hey, here's a recipe for dill bread. That ought to go great with salmon, and it'll use up that container of cottage cheese and ... oh, oh, oh, this is perfect: a couscous salad that uses dill and scallions and arugula. Score! That leaves me just the chard ...

So it goes, and so it went. This week I boiled corn; put up a small batch of pickles; baked dill bread; invited friends to partake of dill bread along with grilled salmon, zucchini and squash (plus an eggplant, purchased separately); threw together couscous salad and lettuce salad; and ate cold salmon leftovers with aforementioned salads. As of this writing I still have the chard, but inspiration will come to me by dinner time. The remaining dill has been planted in the garden, as the dill heads were dropping pollen on my kitchen counter.

The Dill Bread recipe was found on Smitten Kitchen and it was, indeed, great with salmon. I made minor changes: swapped all-purpose flour for the bread flour; cut the onion back to 1/4 cup; took the option for honey over sugar; and used low-fat, small curd cottage cheese.

As for pickles, I have made three kinds of quick pickles in the past two weeks. Oddly enough, none of the recipes include dill. The Daikon and Carrot Pickle, mentioned in passing last week, is reminiscent of cabbage health salad. It's a traditional layer in a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich, which would typically feature pork, but we had it instead with leftover Passover brisket. Make note that daikon radish smells more cabbagy as it pickles.

Pictured above are Bread and Butter Pickles from The Hungry Mouse. I'm liking these more the longer they sit in the brine. Still, my preferred recipe for a sweet-sour pickle is this one:

Freezer-Safe Quick Pickles

You can make this recipe with pickling cucumbers or regular cucumbers, sugar or Splenda. Defrosted pickles keep most of their crunch, though I have not tried freezing pickles made with a sugar substitute.


7 cups sliced cucumbers (pickling cukes preferred, but not mandatory)
1 cup sliced onion (optional; sliced scallions work, too)
1 cup diced green pepper (optional)
2 cups sugar (or Splenda; see note above about freezing)
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp celery seed

Combine the vegetables in a bowl or freezer container. Mix together the sugar, vinegar, and spices. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Pour over cucumbers. Refrigerate. Pickles are ready to eat in a couple of hours and can be safely frozen.


  1. Freezer pickles? Brilliant! I am a lazy jam maker for the same reason; I try to avoid canning at all costs. And a dill bread recipe? Sounds lovely. I bought smoked salmon about 2 hours ago. I think the universe is trying to tell me something. Thanks!

  2. It's telling you to go ahead and bake, so long as it's not 90 degrees again. I think a dinner of smoked salmon, dill bread, and some kind of chopped cucumber salad would be delightful. Happy eating!