Horseradish Pickles

Have you ever opened your mouth, and inserted your foot? I have. I’m actually quite famous for that…
IMG_2745I tend to be the ‘pickle in the middle’ a lot at work. “Prudy, can you tell ‘so and so’ that I need him in my office?” “Prudy, tell ‘so and so’ that he has to contact ‘him or her’ to re-open that work order number before the end of the day today”….

Well, I used to work with a guy named Horatio**, and one day was given direction to tell him to move some boxes for Jezebel**.   In other words… I was asked to be the pickle in the middle.
**Names have been changed to protect the innocent and the Jezebel.

I knew that this wasn’t going to go over very well…given the animosity between Horatio and Jezebel…and I knew that Horatio was really busy working on another job… but I was given a task, and I had to carry it through.

I found Horatio busy working on that job.
“Hey, Horatio… I’m wondering if you would have some time to move some boxes…” I asked him.
“For who?” He asked me.
“Um..Jezebel” I reply.

IMG_2764I could see his frustration…and stood there quietly while he expressed his displeasure..

“What do you people think I am?” he asked (a bit heated), and I’m sure didn’t want me to answer.

But… in my uneasiness…my clumsy Prudy way….
Yep.
Of course I did.
I gave him an answer.

“Horatio…I don’t think you’re anything…”

Let’s all pause a moment, and let those words sink in….

Mmhmm. Yep. I said those words. I opened mouth…and inserted foot.
Big time.

But I truly didn’t mean them to come out the way they sounded. What I was trying to say was that I didn’t think he was lower than me, nor did I think he was lower than Jezebel…or anyone who we work with for that matter. I look at him as a co-worker. A good guy. I look at him as an extremely talented craftsman. I look at him as a friend.

That’s not how it came out…and I felt terrible for it…and I still feel terrible for it.
Deep down….he knew… he knew that I didn’t mean it the way it sounded….but he had to be mad for a little while, he had to take some time for it to really sink in…and realize that I didn’t mean for those words to sound the way that they did. We hugged it out a couple of days later… and we were back to normal after that.

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The pickle in the middle.
That’s me.

And in honor of my pickleness… I want to share with you my Aunt Lizzy’s Horseradish Pickles.
They’re sweet… they’re sour…. And they have a definite bite to them. They’re delicious! And so, SO easy to make!

Now here is where I can actually use those words…and really mean them…

“I don’t think the prep work is anything…”

It’s a matter of slicing up the pickles if you so choose, cooking up a simple horseradish syrup, and switching out the pickle juice for the horseradish syrup…

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However… they do take a few days to actually pickle. But that’s just a few days of flipping the jar once a day to make sure that the flavor goes through the whole jar.

They’re great for picnics, lunch, dinner, or even breakfast if you like pickles with your eggs… and they’re even great to grab out of the jar and eat…you know…just because you wanted a pickle.

And Aunt Lizzy was such a character…I know that she would have been laughing with tears streaming down her face if she would have seen that whole scene going down!

Life is good, it’s a “sometimes it doesn’t pay to be the pickle in the middle…but it always pays to be the pickle maker”, kind of good.

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Aunt Lizzy’s Horseradish Pickles
Makes 1-1/2 Pints Pickles

1-1/2 pints dill spears (drain and throw the juice away)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup cider vinegar
4 oz strong prepared horseradish

In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, water, and vinegar to a boil. Boil just until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat, and add the horseradish. (Make sure you keep your face away from the pan! It’s pretty strong!)

Place the pickles in your own canning jar, or you can keep them right in the jar you bought them in. Pour the horseradish syrup over the pickles, and place the lid on the jar tightly.

Let stand for five days, flipping jar once a day to stir up the mixture.

Store in the refrigerator. Keeps for about a year (but won’t last that long!)

Enjoy!
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Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwiches!

Today is Black Friday, and I don’t care.
That’s not entirely true.
I do care.

I care because the retail stores of today have let the almighty dollar dictate the destruction of the true meaning of Christmas, while their hunger and greed have created such a calamity of what was once a quiet and peaceful Thanksgiving.

I had absolutely no plan, nor desire to go out into that madness, and instead, I spent a quiet and peaceful Black Friday, listening to Christmas music, and put decorations up, while a big pot of turkey stock simmered on my stove.  With my strong convictions about Black Friday, I totally kept my fingers crossed hoping that my Christmas lights all worked, and I didn’t have to go out for replacements.

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Maybe it’s because I’m older, that I don’t have the desire, drive, or yearning that I used to have, to go out and try to grab those promised deals that were almost always sold out by the time I arrived at the store. And that’s because they only would have one or two of the wonderful bargains in stock to begin with!  So yeah, don’t let me lead you on…I was totally caught up in that hype for a lot of years.

But today, I stayed in my warm cozy house and remained stress free while I put my trees up and hung the ornaments…and while Sophie stood guard over the stove to make sure that no one came close to that pot of turkey stock.

Life is good.  Life is cozy good inside my house, while the Black Friday crazy world swirls around me beyond these quiet walls.

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So Katie and Jessica had to work until 1pm today. Mike got home from work at 1am (yes, 1am) last night, and had to go back in at 1pm today. Jessica came home and went straight to bed, not wanting to eat anything because she had to go in at 3am last night, and had been loading up on caffeine and sugary foods to stay awake. Yes, 3am…don’t get me started on the Thanksgiving/Black Friday thing again! You know that really bad hangover feeling that you get from staying awake for 24+ hours?  Jessica was suffering from that, so food wasn’t even on her mind.  But Katie mentioned that she might stop in after work.  I decided that if she does, I thought that I’d make some sandwiches from the leftover turkey for the two of us.

The first sandwich is inspired by Sprague’s Maple Farms in Portville, NY.  It’s about 30 minutes from our cabin, and we go there quite a bit when we’re down there. I kind of do the “craving-visioned” thing when I’m at Spragues, because they make this turkey, stuffing, cranberry/horseradish sandwich in which I can’t seem to see anything other than that sandwich on the menu. I order it every time.  They make it with wheat berry bread; which is so, SO fresh that it sticks to the back of my teeth as soon as I take a bite. It is insanely delicious.

I have wanted to make this sandwich at home, and today was the perfect day to do just that.  I had the ingredients, but changed it up a little, using my mom’s cranberries and leftover stuffing, but added some two-year old Vintage Farmhouse Cheddar, and used fresh Marco Polo bread that I bought from Wegmans.

I wasn’t sure that Katie would be a fan of the horseradish, but I knew that she would enjoy a grilled cheese type of sandwich, so I thought that I’d make her a grilled brie, with cranberries, turkey and clover sprouts, also on the Marco Polo bread.

As it turned out, Katie was willing to try both sandwiches, so I cut each of them in half and we shared them. Katie said that she loved each one separately, and couldn’t say that there was one that she liked better than the other. I have to say that I agree; and guess it depends on what you’re in the mood for. The grilled brie and turkey is definitely more mild, and much lighter, while the grilled cheddar, turkey and stuffing definitely has a sharp bite, and a much heavier texture. I think if both of these sandwiches were on that menu, I’d have a very difficult time choosing.

I’ll make the sandwich for Jessica tomorrow…since she’s still sleeping.. And if you’ve been following my blog, then you know if I offered one of these sandwiches to Michael, he’d look at me as if I had lost my mind. He wouldn’t even consider tasting either sandwich.. Hey, I’m just keeping it real here!

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Grilled Cheddar, Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich
For each sandwich:
2 slices Marco Polo Bread, sliced thick
3 oz turkey breast, or chicken breast, sliced thin
1/3 cup stuffing
¼ cup cooked cranberries
¼ cup mayonnaise
1/4 tsp horseradish
About 1 oz or more sharp white cheddar cheese, such as Vintage Farmhouse Cheddar, sliced thick
2 tbsp butter

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Melt one tablespoon of butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Mix the cranberries, mayonnaise and horseradish in a small bowl until well blended. On one slice of the bread, layer the cheddar cheese, turkey, stuffing, and cranberry/mayonnaise mixture. Top with remaining slice of bread, and spread the remaining tablespoon of butter on the top slice of bread.

Place the sandwich in frying pan with the melted butter, and fry until the one side is golden brown.  Flip the sandwich, and fry until the opposite side is golden brown.  If the cheese isn’t melted before the sandwich is fried to golden, remove from heat and place a lid on the pan until the heat melts the cheese.  Serve immediately.

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Grilled Brie, Turkey, and Cranberry Sandwich  
For each sandwich:
2 slices Marco Polo Bread, sliced thick
3 oz turkey breast, or chicken breast, sliced thin
¼ cup cooked cranberries
¼ cup mayonnaise
About 1 oz or more mild brie, sliced thick
½ cup clover sprouts
2 tbsp butter

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Melt one tablespoon of butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Mix the cranberries and mayonnaise in a small bowl until well blended. On one slice of the bread, layer the brie, turkey, cranberry/mayonnaise mixture, and clover sprouts. Top with remaining slice of bread, and spread the remaining tablespoon of butter on the top slice of bread.

Place the sandwich in frying pan with the melted butter, and fry until the one side is golden brown.  Flip the sandwich, and fry until the opposite side is golden brown.  If the cheese isn’t melted before the sandwich is fried to golden, remove from heat and place a lid on the pan until the heat melts the cheese.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!