Libby’s Bread and Butter Refrigerator Pickles
Adapted from Saveur Magazine:

  • About 1 lb. of cucumbers, trimmed, thickly sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 c. white wine vinegar
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp. celery seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric

Directions: Combine the onions, cucumber slices and salt in a large bowl. Toss well until salt is well dispersed over the onions and cucumbers. Add 3 c. of ice cubes to the bowl, cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, drain the water that has pooled in the bottom of the bowl (secreted from the cucumbers and onions as the salt set in). Place the rest of the ingredients in a large pot. Whisk together over medium-high heat until thoroughly combined. Bring to a boil.
Once the water has boiled, add the cucumbers and onions. Stir well. Allow the liquid to return to a boil, than immediately remove the pot from the heat source. Transfer the pickles and the delicious pickling liquid to a large, clean plastic or glass container. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight. Pickles will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. Makes approx. 5 c.

Star Recommends: DeLoach Russian River Pinot Noir
Enticing red berry fruit aromas blend with rhubarb and cola. Delicate notes of anise and baking spices lace the fruit to unfold a rich palate of black cherries supported by medium fine-grain tannins. The finish lingers with attractive subtle toasty undertones, fine acid, and excellent balance.

Cilantro-Lime Rice
Adapted from Rockin Robin at

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 c. basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 c. veggie broth
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • Zest from one lime
  • 1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt

Directions: Heat oil in saucepan over low heat. NOTE: The walls of the saucepan should be deep enough to hold your rice and water—this is the pan you will cook your rice in! When the oil is warm, add the garlic and rice. Increase the heat to medium low and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the broth, salt and lime juice. Bring to a boil. As soon as the liquid boils, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

Once the rice is done, fluff with a fork. Stir in the lime zest and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately! Serves 4.

Star Recommends: Frei Brothers Sauvignon Blanc
This Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc has a lively acidity with aromas of citrus, melon and freshly cut grass. Hints of vanilla and cream complement the bright aromas, which extend to the palate and culminate in a light, crisp finish.

Cucumber Cilantro Raita
Adapted from

  • 2 c. plain yogurt
  • 1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and diced
  • 1 green chile pepper, minced
  • 1 Tbs. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt

Directions: Combine the yogurt, cucumber, chile pepper and salt in a serving bowl. Mix thoroughly, until well combined. Garnish with cilantro.
Place bowl in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld. Serve cool with your favorite hot dish! Makes approx 2 c.

Star Recommends: Seghesio Arneis
Arneis is a rare grape. Seghesio is the only producer of this ancient Italian varietal in Sonoma County. Pears, melons and almonds on the palate supplement an anise and mineral nose.

Mushrooms and Beer with Kale
From Wisconsin Fun Next Exit:

  • 3/4 lb. mushrooms (white button or crimini or a combination), cleaned and cut into halves
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 3 Tbs. flour (whole wheat is fine)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 12 oz. bottle of lager beer
  • 1 bunch kale, cleaned and ripped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 box spaetzle or package of egg pasta (such as pappardelle)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • fresh parsley

Directions: Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook until the onions are tender (about 4 minutes). Add the mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms are also tender and start to brown (about 5-7 more minutes), stirring occasionally. Remove the onions and mushrooms temporarily from the pan. Melt the butter in the pan drippings and add the flour, stirring to avoid lumps. Return the mushrooms and onions to the skillet and stir them around to coat them with the butter and flour. Now place this mixture into a covered casserole dish, crack open the bottle of beer (giving yourself a sip, if you like), and pour it over the mushrooms and onions. Season with salt and pepper, cover it, and place it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. With 15 minutes left remove the lid of the casserole dish and boil water for the spaetzle or pasta. When the water is boiling, steam the kale until tender (about 3-4 minutes). Place the kale aside and cook the pasta. To serve the dish, place a serving of pasta on the plate, top with a portion of the steamed kale and pour over a ladle of the mushrooms and beer. Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh parsley. Serves 2-4, depending on how hungry you are!

Star Recommends: Chateau Garderose Lalande de Pomerol
This is some serious Bordeaux. Fully ripe and lush while at the same time exhibiting fruit and woody sweetness in its tannins that make it very drinkable. This wine will stand up very well to the earthy flavors of both the mushrooms and the kale. Enjoy.

Zuni Café Zucchini Pickles
Adapted from

  • 1 lb. zucchini
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 2 c. cider vinegar
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp. crushed yellow and/or brown mustard seeds
  • scant 1 tsp. ground turmeric

Directions: Wash and trim zucchini, then slice very thin (a mandoline does the job best). Slice onion into thin pieces. Combine the two veggies in a large but shallow non-reactive bowl. Add salt and toss. Add several ice cubes and enough cold water to cover the slices (this crisps them up prior to the pickling). Stir to dissolve salt. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour. After 1 hour, test your zucchini- it should be slightly softened. When ready, drain and pat dry. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Set aside to cool to just hotter than room temperature (warm enough to touch without discomfort). This step is important because a hot brine will cook the veggies, destroying the crisp texture created in the ice bath.

Return the zucchini and onions to a dry bowl and cover with cooled brine. Stir thoroughly to coat. Transfer the pickles to glass jars and seal tightly. Store in refrigerator for at least one day before serving—this allows the flavors to mellow and permeate the zucchini. Makes approx 3 c.

Star Recommends: Bonterra Organic Merlot
This nuanced wine blends a focused Merlot character with an evident heritage of Bordeaux. Aromas of cranberry, chocolate and cola spice add to the old-world style.

Coconut-Crusted Tempeh Island Salad
From The Healthy Everythingtarian:

  • 1 (16-oz.) pkg. tempeh
  • 1/3 c. almond meal
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 4 c. mixed greens
  • 1 c. strawberries, quartered
  • 1 c. sliced cucumber
  • 1/2 c. diced kohlrabi
  • 2 Tbs. sunflower seeds
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as desired
  • Honey, as desired
  • 2 Tbs. chopped cilantro

Directions: Open the package of tempeh and slice width-wise 1/2-inch pieces (should make 10 finger-wide wedges). In a shallow bowl or plate, mix the almond meal and coconut. In an additional bowl, crack the egg and whisk. Set-up an assembly line, starting with the tempeh slices, the egg and finally the almond-coconut mixture  . Heat the canola oil over medium in a saucepan.
Dredge the slices of tempeh in the egg and roll them in the almond-coconut mixture. Then place them in the pan, cooking each side until they are golden brown.

Meanwhile, on each of two plates, place 2 c. mixed greens, 1/2 c. berries, 1/2 c. cucumber, 1/4 c. kohlrabi and 1 Tbs. sunflower seeds. To serve, place 5 of the coconut-crusted tempeh slices on each plate. Drizzle with olive oil and honey and sprinkle with cilantro, as desired. Serves 2.

Star Recommends: Domaine de Fondreche Rose
This wine is pretty and has a transparently pale rose-petal-pink color that belies its full aromas and flavors. Ripe and fresh strawberry aromas waft from the glass, accented by an elusive, characteristic whiff of herbs de Provence. Crisp and bright on the palate, fresh berry fruit is nicely balanced by zippy acidity.

Crisp Chocolate Orange Cookies
From Wisconsin Fun Next Exit:

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 c. unbleached sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 5 Tbs. cocoa
  • 3/4 c. flour (whole wheat is fine)
  • freshly grated orange peel (optional)

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix together the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla and orange extracts in a medium-sized mixing bowl. In another bowl sift together the cocoa and flour. Stir the cocoa and flour into the wet ingredients until combined. Form teaspoonfuls of dough into small balls and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes. Top cookies with orange peel, if you like.

Star Recommends: Lustau Capatz Andres Deluxe Cream Sherry
Each component of this wine (Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez) is aged independently in its own Solera. After blending the two together, this sweet wine is bottled. With a mahogany color, it has smoky and dried fruit aromas; soft and sweet on the palate, it has a delicate acidity on the finish. A great complement to these cookies.

Summer Squash Gratin
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks:
“Be sure to slice your potatoes as thin as possible- slice them too thick and you’ll have trouble cooking them through because the squash cooks up more quickly.”

  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 1/2 lb. summer squash or zucchini, cut into 1/6th inch slices
  • 1/2 tsp. fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4 c. oregano leaves
  • 1/4 c. fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. fine grain sea salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter
  • 2 c. fresh whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/2 lb. waxy potatoes, sliced transparently thin
  • 3/4 c. coarsely grated Gruyere cheese, or 1 c. feta

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 9X9 inch baking dish with olive oil. Sprinkle with lemon zest.

Place squash slices in colander over a sink and toss with 1/4 tsp.sea salt. Allow 10-15 minutes for the salt to pull extra moisture out of the squash (hence the colander!). Purée oregano, parsley, garlic and 1/4 tsp. of salt, along with red pepper flakes and olive oil in a food processor or blender. This sauce will be used in just a minute or two.

Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a saucepan. Continue to cook until the butter turns brown. Stir breadcrumbs into the browned butter and remove from heat.

Shake your colander of squash to remove any last drops of water, than dump into a large mixing bowl. Add the potatoes and about 2/3 of the oregano sauce. Toss well. Add the cheese and about half of the breadcrumbs. Toss again, until everything is coated. Add more salt/pepper if needed.

Pour the squash/potato mix into the pan and top with the remaining crumbs. Bake for 35-55 minutes. Check to ensure that the potatoes are fully baked before pulling the dish out of the oven. Once done, remove from oven, drizzle with remaining oregano sauce, and serve hot! Serves 4

Star Recommends: Masi Valpolicella Bonacosta
Young and vibrant on the nose with typical cherry aromas to the fore and a distinct hint of cloves. Good structure on the palate; ripe cherry is still the dominant flavor with cooked plums and touches of sweet cinnamon spice.