Sparkling Cucumber Basil Lemonade | Kale and Caramel Cookbook

sparkling cucumber and basil lemonade | apt 2b baking co
sparkling cucumber and basil lemonade | apt 2b baking co
sparkling cucumber and basil lemonade | apt 2b baking co

I spent a good few hours in the backyard this week, sweeping up the leftovers from fall and winter - getting ready for the few glorious weeks when the weather is warm enough to hang outside, but the mosquitos haven't hatched yet...I am a mosquito magnet and our backyard seems to be a hotbed of bug action in the warm months which makes it a not so fun place to hang.

For whatever reason we couldn't seem to get ourselves together enough to host people out back last year, but I am determined to host a few get togethers in the coming weeks. That means lots of good reasons to try delicious new recipes - and big batch cocktails. I love a sparkling sipper and this refreshing drink from Lily's new cookbook caught my eye immediately as I flipped through. Now, this recipe isn't a cocktail as written, but I could see a heavy pour of gin fitting in quite nicely with these tasting ingredients. 

Lily's new book is broken down into 12 chapters that each highlight a flower or herb in fresh and delicious recipes including lots beauty products like masks, body scrubs, and the like but it is also so much more than just a cookbook. Lily writes about life, love, hurt, and heartbreak in such a painfully honest and vulnerable way it is a truly unique release in this busy Spring season.

Sparkling Cucumber Basil Lemonade

Recipe courtesy of the Kale & Caramel Cookbook

I subbed in limes for lemons because I was out of the yellow guys and I highly recommend it if you find yourself lemonless like me.

3-inch length of cucumber, chilled and coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup), plus some extra slices for garnish

2 to 3 fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus lemon slices for garnish (or lime!)

1/4 cup still water 

1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar 

3/4 cup sparking water, or more to taste

Add the chopped cucumber to a blender or food processor with the basil, lemon juice, still water, and honey. Blend until smooth, then distribute evenly between two glasses. 

Add the sparkling water, agin splitting evenly between the glasses. Drop in a few ice cubes, and garnish with cucumber slices, lemon slices, and basil as desired. 

sparkling cucumber and basil lemonade | apt 2b baking co

Classic Dill Pickle Spears

Classic Dill Pickles

I've been so distracted by pies and tarts recently, that after my wild success with pickled beets I nearly forgot about my goal to make more pickles this summer, for shame! Luckily, I ran into a giant crate of Kirby cucumbers the other day to remind me to get back to brining. I chose a classic dilly recipe full of ingredients I always have on hand (except the dill seeds, which were easy to find) for my cukes which was perfect for a novice pickler like me. From start to finish, this recipe took less than 30 minutes (plus the curing time) and they are perfectly garlicy and spicy with a nice vinegary bite, the only problem is that I drastically underestimated how many pickles my household was capable of eating in a week. I guess it's back to the stove for me...

Classic Dill Pickles

I'm pretty excited to pick up some more cucumbers to make another batch of these guys and now that I am well on my way to becoming a pickle pro, I think I'll whip up batch of bread and butter pickles to tuck into my sandwiches. I might even have to find a crinkle cutter for those classic pickle-chip ridges.

Classic Dill Pickles

adapted from the Food in Jars Cookbook

yield, 4 pints of pickles

2 cups apple cider vinegar

3 teaspoons pickling salt

8 garlic cloves, peeled

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided

4 teaspoons dill seed, divided

2 teaspoons black peppercorns, divided

1 overflowing pint pickling cucumbers (I think I fit about 4 small cukes per jar)

1. Prepare and sterilize four pint jars, preferably regular mouth. Place the lids in a small saucepan, cover with water and simmer over very low heat.

2. Combine the vinegar, 2 cups water and the pickling salt in a medium pot and bring to a boil.

3. While the brine is boiling, add 2 garlic cloves, 1/4t red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon dill seed, and 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns to each sterilized jar. Trim the blossom ends from the cucumbers, cut them lengthwise into spears and pack them tightly into the jars. Alternately, you can pickle the cucumbers whole.

4. Carefully pour the hot brine over the cucumbers in each jar, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Gently tap the jars on a kitchen towel to release any air bubbles, then use a wooden chopstick to dislodge any remaining air bubbles in each jar. Check the headspace again and add more brine if necessary.

5. Wipe the rims, and apply the lids and rings to the jars. Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes, then let the pickles cure for at least 1 week before eating.

This book was sent to me by the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

Classic Dill Pickles