It’s pickle time!

Remember the song Cookie Time from the movie Troop Beverly Hills? Well, this time of year, I’m singing this, only it’s pickle time instead of cookie time! And if you don’t know this movie, go look for it. It’s a 1989 classic. I feel like I need to learn this dance to do while I’m making pickles.

Our cucumber vines are slowly starting to produce, but so far we don’t have enough to do a full canning so I went on the search for a quick pickle recipe that I could do with just a few cucumbers.

I found a great little quick refrigerator pickle recipe here. They look very lovely and I’m sure mine would have turned out great. . .had I not used tablespoons instead of teaspoons on the salt. Ha! My husband said it made his tongue go numb.

I was in the midst of canning some green beans when I put together this quick pickle recipe and clearly I wasn’t paying enough attention to the recipe. The sad thing is, even though they are super duper salty, I actually like them anyway. I’m sure they would be much better had I followed the recipe correctly. I will definitely try this again though.

I also found a great list of things to do with leftover pickle brine. Now, don’t judge me, but I have been known to drink it straight from the jar. I had some left over green beans though so I thought I would give one of these ideas a try. I blanched them and put them in a jar of grapeleaf pickle brine I had left over. I’ll let you know how this turns out. It could be a flop, but I did so hate to waste that pickle juice!

You can find more of my pickling stories on The Lush’s Blush by using the search bar on the right. If you have a favorite pickle recipe, I’d love to try it! Tell me all about it the comments.

Quiche: It’s what’s for breakfast

Asparagus and cherry tomato quiche | The Lush's Blush blog
Asparagus and Cherry Tomato Quiche
I bought a really big bag of asparagus at Trader Joes the other day. You ever notice that asparagus is one of those things typically served in smaller portions? We’d eaten it sauteed and in a pasta dish and I was in the market for some other venue for the last of the asparagus. I also had some lovely cherry tomatoes my neighbor Zehra gave me.

Sunday mornings are pretty much the only time my husband and I get to enjoy breakfast together and he is usually in charge of the menu. I typically request cheesy eggs and biscuits and gravy. That’s pretty hard to beat, in my mind, but I thought I would give quiche a try as a way to use up some of my fresh produce.

Though Morgan deemed it “not a very manly breakfast” he did eat two servings. I ate three. Needless to say, we enjoyed it. So here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try!

Kitsey’s Asparagus and Cherry Tomato Quiche

Ingredients

  • 10 – 12 asparagus spears, chopped into bite sized pieces (don’t forget to snap off the ends first.)
  • 10 – 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 of an onion, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil, chiffonade (I used about 5 large leaves)
  • 1 frozen pie crust

Directions

If you’re going to get fancy and make your own pie crust, feel free. Otherwise, lay one out of the freezer so it can thaw while you turn on the oven at 350 degrees to preheat. Cook chopped bacon until fat is rendered and it’s just beginning to get crisp then remove from pan. Drain off most of the grease, but leave about a tablespoon in the pan. Saute chopped onion until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and saute just for a minute then remove from pan. Toss chopped asparagus into hot pan and saute for about a minute then remove. Place pie crust into pan and top with halved cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Put cooked bacon on top of the tomatoes. Whisk together eggs and milk, season liberally with salt, cracked black pepper and basil. Add in cooked onions, garlic and asparagus. Pour egg mixture into piecrust. Top with shredded parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.

Shatley Springs: A step back in time

img_6239Growing up, one of my favorite summer treats was a trip to Shatley Springs. In today’s world of farm to table restaurants with fancy upscale versions of Southern fare, it fascinates me that this little place in the absolute middle of nowhere is still around. But I am certainly glad it is.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good upscale Southern dining experience, but sometimes the tradition of a place outweighs the fancy table cloths.

I had a few days off recently and my Dad and I decided to take a little trip up to Crumpler, North Carolina to eat lunch at Shatley Springs.

While I greatly enjoy the food, it’s really about the overall experience. It’s not just lunch, it’s an adventure. It’s a little vacation and a good meal that is close enough to home to do in a day, but still feels like a sweet little get-away.

Shatley Springs is something of a ramshackle little red building set on a property in the mountains of North Carolina with a spring said to have healing properties. There’s a little duck pond, gift shop, and cabins on the property as well.

The restaurant serves up plain ol’ country fare like fried chicken and mashed potatoes. They have a menu, but the only way to do it, in my opinion, is to order the family style. They bring out a great big platter of fried chicken and country ham and bowls full of pinto beans, mashed potatoes, cabbage, apples, corn, macaroni and cheese, oh and biscuits. Be sure to ask for some red eye gravy too! I can’t explain it but it just brings me joy to watch them bring out all those dishes of food and set them right in front of you. Oh, and there’s cobbler for dessert. I usually leave feeling so miserable I can hardly walk, but it’s worth it.


The entire place feels like a little step back in time. The story about the spring is quite fascinating also. It was discovered in 1890 by one Martin Shatley. Shatley was said to suffer from a variety of health problems including a very severe skin disorder. According to his testimony, written down in 1925, Shatley had seen numerous doctors and tried many different treatments, none of which worked. He was so ill that he contemplated taking his own life just to get out of the misery he was in. Shatley had suffered from his ailments for seven years when he moved his family to the area where he discovered the spring.

“Then I moved away from town and went to this farm,” Shatley said in a written testimony. “A few months after I had been on this farm one day I walked out on my farm. My face was so inflamed and swollen I had to hold my eyelids up with my hands to see my way to walk. I passed a spring and dipped up some water with my hands and bathed my face to cool the fever down in my face as I had often done when I passed where there was cold water and in less than one hour I realized that my face was better and so much better that I became excited about it.

“Then late that evening I went back to that spring and bathed my face and other parts of my body, and by the next morning the fever had left where the water was put on the skin. I was so glad I felt like shouting, I was glad with all my heart. I told everybody I saw about it. I gained strength every day and in three weeks I was out on the farm at work and could do about as much work as any man I could hire, and in six weeks my lung was well and I was about as stout as I ever was.”

Since the spring was discovered, many have come to seek healing for various ailments. The spring runs to this day, right under the restaurant. Visitors are able to collect water to take home while there.

Thankfully, I have no ailments in need of curing, but I can say the water is quite refreshing and I certainly feel glad with all my heart when they bring out all that food!