Orville's Garlic Pickles

I grew up in an awesome neighborhood.  I'm tempted to say the BEST neighborhood ever.  We had kids our own age, not a lot of car traffic, it was safe, and we had the greatest next door neighbors named Orville and Elsie. They would come over if they heard the oven timer going for an extended period of time and take a roast out of the oven, they'd let us just walk in their back door without even knocking, and they'd let us come over Friday nights to watch Family Matter's, the show with Urkel because his voice drove my dad nuts. 

They also made some of the foods that I now consider comfort foods.  There were a couple that stand out to me: home made grape jelly, with butter and saltine crackers, freezer oatmeal cookies, and garlic pickles.  

Now, before you go thinking I'm nuts, these pickles are TO DIE FOR!  They're sweet and garlicy...and I'm not talking subtle garlic.  I'm talking punch you in the face garlic.  If you like pickles and you like garlic, this recipe is for you!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 quart jar of Kosker Dill pickles
  • LOTS of fresh garlic 2-3 heads or 20-30 cloves
  • 1 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cup white sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Drain all pickle juice out of the jar and cut pickles into chunks and put the pickles back into the jar. 
  2. Make a syrup of sugar and vinegar on the stove, by bringing them to a boil and stirring about 2-4 minutes.  
  3. Add trimmed garlic cloves to the mixture and pour over pickles chunks back into jar, while hot.  Let stand several days before serving.

Rhubarb Crisp

We had the best neighbors growing up.  Orville and Elsie were an elderly couple and they loved my brother and I like grandchildren.  We often went through the fence that separated the two properties and into their back door to go see what they were doing.  We would do many things, like make and eat sweet garlic pickles and smell like garlic for two days, we'd eat saltine crackers with butter and home made grape jelly and watch Friday night shows, we'd also make freezer oatmeal cookies and try to not eat too much dough.  

One thing that will always remind me of those days is Rhubarb crisp.  I don't remember ever making Rhubarb Crisp with Orville and Elsie, but they always grew a bunch of rhubarb and they would send us home with some.  It was my mom that made Rhubarb Crisp and I'm happy to report that it was as good today as it was back then.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2lbs fresh rhubarb
  • 3/4c white sugar
  • 1 tbl corn starch
  • 1 1/2c oatmeal - quick or old fashioned
  • 3/4c packed brown sugar
  • 3/4c butter (1 1/2 sticks) - melted
  • 1/2c flour
  • 1 1/2tsp cinnamon

PREPARATION:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Rinse rhubarb and slice.  Should measure about 5 cups.

Add rhubarb, white sugar, and corn starch into a large bowl.  Toss until evenly coated and pour into a 9x13 pan.

Add oatmeal, packed brown sugar, cinnamon, flour and butter into a medium mixing bowl.  Mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed.  Pour mixture over rhubarb evenly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Serve warm, some like it with ice cream.

ENJOY!

Mom's Best Mac 'n Cheese...with Bacon

Everyone love's mom's mac 'n cheese.  It's comfort food 101.  Now, I'm assuming that every family has a "Mom's Best Mac 'n Cheese."  If you don't, then you're in for a treat.  My mom cooked most week nights.  She had some staples that we grew up with that I still love today.  There are some variations you can do...I've added bacon here....because bacon makes everything better!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2c pasta - elbows, penne, or any other that you love
  • 3tbl butter
  • 2tbl flour
  • ground pepper - to taste
  • 2c shredded sharp cheddar
  • 2c milk

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the pasta to the package specifications.  Strain and let sit in the sink.  Using the same pot that you used to cook the pasta, melt butter and add flour.  Mix in milk, cheese, and pepper until cheese is melted.  Add cooked pasta and mix well.  Pour mixture into a greased 9x13 pan.  

I topped it with a little extra shredded cheese and bacon.  You can also crunch up potato chips or add bread crumbs for crunch.  The variations are endless!

Lastly, pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes and serve!!