Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Summer Squash Pickles Recipe & a Review of The Homesick Texan Cookbook for Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off

How could you not fall in love (or at least very serious like) with The Homesick Texan Cookbook? It's big, appealingly glossy and colorful, and packed with recipe after delicious recipe (about 125 of them in total) and mouthwatering color photos. The fact that it is written by a food blogger, Lisa Fain, who started her Homesick Texan blog in 2006, gives it a special place in my heart as it is always great to see fellow bloggers do well. I was worried at first that it would be too "meat-centric" for my current plant-strong lifestyle (it is Texas after all!), but I was pleased to find many recipes that either were written meat-free or could easily be adapted that way. The writing is descriptive and pulled me into the book, giving me an enjoyable education on Texas food and a new appreciation for it--I can see why Lisa Fain was so homesick for the amazing food she was missing when she moved from Texas to New York.

The real test of a cookbook however is the recipes. How clearly are they written, how easy would they be for the average home cook to follow, and most importantly, how do they taste? The Homesick Texan wins that ultimate test--it isn't just a pretty book, it has serious good-cooking "chops." I tried 4 recipes from the book for the Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off event, and all of them came together easily and were tasty enough that I would happily make them again.

The (Not) Pork Tacos, Gas Station Style, served with Austin-Style Black Beans,

and Green Chile Chowder were all excellent (although the Poblano Macaroni and Cheese ranks as my very favorite). ;-)

Based on how great these recipes were and how wonderful the recipes my fellow Cookbook Spotlight bloggers made looked and sounded, I know this is a book that I will continue to pull off the shelf and cook from. In fact, since I had a yellow squash and a couple of little zucchinis from the farmers market sitting in my fridge (and I have a penchant for pickles), I decided to sneak one more recipe in this week and made the Summer Squash Pickles to munch on.

Lisa Fain says, "Many of us reach that point in midsummer when we have so much summer squash, we have no idea how we'll ever be able to eat it all. Why not do what my family's been doing for years--make squash pickles. If you have never had pickles made from squash, I think you'll be surprised at how they taste. Said one friend who ordinarily doesn't enjoy squash: "They taste like pickled cucumbers. What a surprise!" They make a fine starter on a pickle plate, add bright crunch to hamburgers, and give flair to green salad. But even if you can't bear the thought of eating any more summer squash, the best thing about preserving them is that you can save them until the winter when you just might be ready to eat them again."

Summer Squash Pickles
"The Homesick Texan Cookbook" by Lisa Fain
(1 Quart)

1 lb yellow squash and 1 lb zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
4 cloves garlic, cut in half
2 tsp dill seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp celery seeds
2 tsp black pepper corns
2 cups white vinegar
2 Tbsp kosher salt

Special Equipment:
2 pint-size jars or 1 quart-size jar with lids and bands.

Sterilize the jars and lids in either a large pot of boiling water or dishwasher. Remove jars and lids with tongs and place on a clean surface.

Divide the sliced squash, zucchini, and garlic cloves and pack into the jars. Add to the jars the dill seeds, cumin seeds, celery seeds, and peppercorns, placing 1 teaspoon in each pint jar.

Bring to a boil the vinegar, salt, and 1/2 cup of water. Pour the boiling vinegar mixture into the jars, leaving a bit of head-space. Cover with lids and fasten with rings. Allow to cool and then refrigerate. They will be ready after 4 hours and will last for 1 month in the refrigerator.

Notes/Results: Pickly-goodness! This recipe was very quick and easy to make and the resulting slices of zucchini and yellow squash were full of flavor. They were good after the four hours, and even better a day or two later. I have not yet tried them on a veggie burger but I think they will be marvelous on it. A definite make again recipe, I also think it would be fun to do a spicier version with some chili in the mix. I will make these again.

I was lucky enough to receive a free copy of The Homesick Texan Cookbook to review and participate in a Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off (thanks girlichef and Hyperion!), but this is a book worth buying if you love Texas-style food, or want to learn more about it, or if you
just like truly delicious food that will make your tastebuds happy. It is a great addition to any cookbook shelf.

*This post is part of The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef*


  1. I am SO happy my copy finally came! This definitely seems like a keeper cookbook. I've never thought to pickle summer squash before...but if it tastes like regular pickles with more good-for-you nutrients...then I'm in!

  2. Those squash pickles totally caught my eye too, but I'm fairly scared of pickling so I'm glad to see that you did it! I think they would make terrific snacks, but like you I think they would be terrific with a veggie burger (or any other type of sandwich).

    I couldn't agree more with your review of the book. I think this is one of my favorite cookbooks this year.

  3. I'm so happy that you enjoyed this book as much as I did, Deb. And I, too had my eye on those pickles. Now I want them even more. Thanks so much for being a part of this Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off! =) ...and great review!

  4. Great review, great fun cooking with you and awesome job!
    Take care...

  5. It all looks so wonderful. My book just arrived - looking forward to some Texan cooking!

  6. great review, this cooking spolight was so much fun. I had these pickles on my to do list, your looks amazing!!


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