Fresh Tomato, Cucumber, Basil, & Orzo Salad

This salad couldn’t be simpler to make. Every time I make it, I am surprised at how much I love the flavor.


First, slice up some tomatoes and cucumbers.

I used about 1 1/2 cups of each. I sliced, as well as cubed the cucumbers to have a variation in texture.

Toss in a couple tablespoons of fresh basil leaves.

Add in about 2 cups of cooked orzo.

Top with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.


That’s it! And it’s absolutely easy and fresh. I grew up eating cucumbers and love them fresh, but apparently not everyone does. Hopefully you do, and you maybe try this salad and tell me how good it was!

Peace and love,



Fermented Refrigerator Pickles


Do you love pickles? Are you on the fence about pickles? I always liked pickles, but wouldn’t necessarily choose to snack on them. Ever since I first made these perfect peck of pickled cucumbers, I look forward to having them again every year. Perhaps the “fermented” part of the title drew you here. These are left on the counter for a couple days to sour, and then need to be kept in the refrigerator. The water-bath canning method would kill off any bacteria, so those cannot really be fermented.

I think if you are hesitant to make your own pickles, you should start with these. They are incredibly delicious. I love them, and I end up even fishing out the garlic pieces to munch on those when the cucumbers are all gone.

Let’s talk about what you’ll more or less need to make this delicious fermented food.

You’ll want some dill. Fresh seems to be quite easy to find for me this time of year at every grocery store I’ve been to, so I have that, but if you only can find dried dill weed and dill seed, use those. It’ll be amazing.

Oh, and those are grape leaves pictured above. I came across a little city-owned garden with grapes because I live in Idaho’s wine country now and I “borrowed” some leaves for my pickling project. I’ve never used grape leaves before, but I have read multiple times that it can help with texture due to the tannins.

Also, I am using pickling cucumbers here, but honestly regular cucumbers would work fine and I’ve done that in the past. You could slice them up, or just pack in maybe 4 or 5 into a large jar.


Pickling spice is super easy to toss together yourself if you keep pungent seeds on hand.

This is 1 tablespoon each of mustard seed, peppercorns, coriander, dill seeds and then about 4 crushed up bay leaves because that is all I had left. I didn’t have any allspice berries, but I had a really old bag of allspice and I just tossed about 1/2 tablespoon in there. I like spice, so I also added in 1/2 tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes.

You will most definitely want garlic. Even if you think you don’t like garlic, it’s what gives these pickles that special flavor edge that store bought can never quite attain. You’ll want at least 2 heads of garlic.


Water, vinegar, and salt are the other ingredients (besides cucumbers!) you’ll want to have on hand.

Boil approximately a quart of water, then let that cool all the way down to room temperature, then add in 4 giant tablespoons of salt and 3/4 cup of white distilled vinegar.


Ready? Let’s get started.

I just read that it’s possible to get soggy, mushy cucumbers from some enzyme left from the blossom end of the cucumber. So I chopped off that end. Usually I would just leave them whole, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt.


Into a very clean jar place a lot of dill into the bottom. I use a combination of the leaves and the heads with seeds on them.

Then pack in the cucumbers. It actually does help to stack them nicely. I lay the jar on its side and place them in. I had a few extra so I decided to make an extra small jar.


Now it’s time for the spices! The allspice powder is not so appealing, but I love seeing all the seeds floating once I add the brine. Add in a bunch of garlic cloves. Yum! I took this opportunity to use any of the garlic cloves that looked like they might not make it through the winter due to damage from being dug up violently… Not by me.

To the half gallon jar I added 1 heaping tablespoon of the pickling spice, and the pint jar I added 1/2 tablespoon. I know that math doesn’t equate, but it’s what I did. There is probably a good 1 1/2 heads of garlic in the half gallon jar and about 1/2 head in the pint jar.


If you have any access to grape leaves, add one or two of those in now.


Perhaps you have a spicy pepper lying around waiting to be used? Yeah, slice that and throw it in, too.


Now top this lovely concoction off with MORE DILL! Again, heads as well as leaves work well. My dill was not so fresh, but it still smelled divine and will do the trick.


Now pour your prepared brine into the jars. Mine happened to be the perfect amount (must be my lucky day!) but if you need to make more brine, just do it and be patient.


I’m going to place linen on the tops of these and let them sit on the counter for three days, and then taste them by slicing off a chunk. Once they are super tasty, place normal lids on them, and keep in the refrigerator.


I may have also “borrowed” a few roses as well as some grapes.


I couldn’t resist this bi-colored rose!


Wine grapes are actually not very nice to eat as they are like 50% seeds inside.

Peace and love,



Simple Fruit Clafoutis

Have you ever had a clafoutis? I hadn’t until about 2 years ago, I think I was following one of my favorite garden bloggers and discovered a delicious way to make a dessert that didn’t require a specific fruit. Potentially any fruit will taste scrumptious this way.

It sounds fancy, but it couldn’t be simpler and uses very country-like ingredients. I haven’t found a vegan version, but let me know if you find anything.

Start with about 3 cups of sliced or cut up fruit or whole berries.

To make the batter combine these ingredients into a blender:

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup cream

3 eggs

A pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup all purpose flour

Blend and scrape down sides if needed.

Heat oven to 350°F and then dust your baking dish of choice with a tablespoon of sugar. I just used my Pyrex cake pan, but I think it works in a pie dish, brownie pan, whatever you have on hand, really.


Pour half the batter into the baking dish.

Place fruit into pan and arrange prettily if you like.

Pour the remaining batter into dish.

Bake for 50 – 65 minutes. Mine needed the full time in there. You’ll see it rise quite high and be bubbly, and when it cools it will collapse. Look for a hint of golden brown.

The clafoutis is custardy, tart, slightly sweet, and creamy smooth. I LOVE clafoutis. When peaches are fully coming in, I’ll be making another and hopefully sharing.

I hope you’re enjoying your summer and all the blessings that come with it. (I’m thinking food, of course.)

Peace and love,