Search results for 'pickles'

I Can Haz Pickles?

17 Jul

Where would I be without the Internet?

Pretty

Obviously, this blog wouldn’t exist. I wouldn’t have a job. I’d have to glean useless knowledge from books and I probably wouldn’t laugh as much on a daily basis as I currently do.

My friends and I, like most people, enjoy a certain amount of, what shall we call it, the sending of links? Not to the annoying level (I hope) of say, my aunt who likes to send out those stupid emails that ask you to think of a number and concentrate really hard, blah, blah, blah.

No, I prefer to think that our link sending has a certain level of sophistication, that it serves an international purpose, that we’re trying to educate ourselves by drinking from the font of interweb knowledge and exploring new levels of social discourse. What? You’re not buying this? Okay. Fine. I’ll admit it. Yes, there is a lot of CO and LOLcatz. There. Are you happy now? So embarrassed…

Strange

Recently I sent a link to a food product I’m sure you will all be very shocked to hear I’d like to try, Pickle Sickles, to my pickle-loving (but not that much) friend and possible BBQ-crawl co-conspirator Dave. After he made several IM-speak icky noises he sent me back this link saying they’re his favorite and that the Boy and I should try them and that I’m demented for ever even thinking of eating frozen pickle brine. Some people will just never understand picklemania…

And so, with three bunches of baby carrots leftover from the Independence Day cookout that got rained out moldering away in the fridge the Boy and I made Firecrackers. Of course, I couldn’t stick to Alton‘s recipe. I mean, who keeps onion powder, or for that matter, white sugar, around the house anyway?

Ann's Summer Sparklers

I mixed and substituted and boiled and washed and packed and poured and cooled and then chilled our little carrots. And then we waited. And waited. Three or four whole days we waited. Finally, it was time. We cracked the lid and gingerly pulled one out.

And how were they? So good. So very, very good. Corgi puppy levels of good. Disapproving Rabbits levels of good. And yes, even Dramatic Chipmunk levels of good.

Ann's Summer Sparklers

They’re spicy, tangy, crunchy and just ever so slightly sweet. So go on, make yourself some Firecrackers, or, better yet, some of my Summer Sparklers or if you prefer cucumbers, try some of Lisa’s Dilly Guys. Just get on it and bottle yourself some of this amazing summer produce.

Or, if you really must, you can pickle some sausages.

Wow.

That might be taking it just a little too far, even for me!

Head below the jump for the recipe for Ann’s Summer Sparklers.

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Porcini + Pickles

19 Mar

Does anyone know if there’s an etymological root shared by porcini mushrooms and the word porcine?

If not, there should be, because they make a handy stand-in for bacon.

Verrazano Narrows Bridge

On an impromptu trip into the City this weekend, I picked up the winter issue of Diner Journal, a Williamsburg food mag with writing from one of my favorite bloggers, the ever irreverent and potty mouthed Grocery Guy. It’s a really cool little slice of literary food writing, with winter recipes from two Billyburg institutions, Diner and Marlow & Sons.

I browsed through it on the train home, drooling over all the meaty goodness. Brisket cooked in Chimay. Pork braised in milk. Lamb shanks cooked in white wine. Sigh. Can Meat-Free March be over already?

Porcini Spatzle + Sauerkraut With Pickles

The weird, ball bearing snow we got on Friday night makes it hard to believe winter’s almost over, but there are signs. Croci and daffodils are muscling their ways out of the frozen earth, the robins have returned.

The spring vegetables have not, so larder cooking remains the name of the game.

One of the few meat-free recipes in the Journal is for spätzle. There’s also one for Lentils cooked in red wine I have my eye on. I’m beginning to sense a theme here… These folk really like cooking with booze.

Their spätzle recipe differs a bit from the one I concocted from the memories of my aunt’s Easter-time dumplings in the ratio of egg to milk, so I decided to stick with the one I know. I made the dough a little thicker, like a stiff pancake batter, and used two spoons, as if I was making quenelles, to get the batter to drip into the boiling water. And then, in place of the bacon, I used some reconstituted porcini mushrooms that they sell for scandalously cheap at Polbridge.

Porcini Spatzle + Sauerkraut With Pickles

But man and woman cannot live on spätzle alone (although you could try, it would probably be a pretty good life too, until the scurvy kicked in of course).

The boy suggested making a vegetarian version of chocroute. I blanched. I paled. I gasped. I scoffed. I felt a little dizzy. Chocroute is one of the meatiest of meaty meat dishes. I felt Frenchmen and women all over the globe turning over in their graves at the very idea of taking the sausages and smoked meats and bacon out of the dish.

But then we got home.

I headed for The Czechoslovak Cookbook first. I hoped to find a cabbage or sauerkraut recipe, but alas, nothing piqued my interest. I then turned to Polish Cookery, and boy oh boy, here we hit the jackpot (and I bet you were beginning to wonder where the pickles fit in).

Porcini Spatzle + Sauerkraut With Pickles

Like many good old ethnic cookbooks, this one offers up a “mother” recipe which is followed by “chick” recipes, or variations on a theme if you prefer. To wit; Vegetable recipe 30, Sauerkraut in Wine (Kapusta Kiszona na Winie) is followed by Sauerkraut with Dried Mushrooms (no. 31 Kapusta Kiszona z Grzybami) and Sauerkraut with Pickles (no. 32 Kapusta Kiszona z Ogorkami) which is where I stopped in wonder and glee. Sauerkraut? Pickles? Can we get a hells yeah? I thought so.

The original recipe (no. 30) obviously calls for cooking the kraut in wine, while the pickle variation calls for cooking in stock, but I’m a lot like the Diner Journal folks. I enjoy cooking my food in wine. So, I did, but to get that hearty savoriness one would get from stock, I threw in the porcini soaking liquid. Genius, right? I love it when everything ties up neatly in a pretty culinary package.

Porcini Spatzle

And how was it all? Delicious! The spätzle had much more body than my original batch and were so garlicky and tasty with the silky, earthy mushrooms mixed in. One would think the kraut would be very sour and sharp, what with pickles and wine along for the ride, but it just isn’t so. The browned onions and mushroomy goodness impart a depth to the liquid that seems almost meaty and gets soaked up by the spätzle doubling their deliciousness.

This is hearty woodsman fare.

But if you ever do actually feed this to a lumberjack I’d suggest throwing in some smoked pork loin (actually, I’d suggest this preparation for anyone not having a Meat-Free March)!

Head below the jump for recipes for Sauerkraut With Pickles & Porcini Spätzle.

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Bounty

20 Aug

So, it turns out that I can grow tomatoes after all.

Just very, very slowly and one at a time. I’m a deliberate ‘mater farmer, obviously!  Little Roaslita has some amigas, but the plant has a touch of something. I’m just hoping that now that the weather is so hot and dry that she can hold the nasties (and the crows) at bay.

And while I’m excited at the promise of some real homegrown tomatoes to snack on, if you can believe it I’m actually sad that I don’t have any more green tomatoes.  Just as I was finishing up a batch of green-tomato ketchup¹ (the final four plants I had in the garden succumbed to the blight), flipping through a cookbook while the cans boiled, I came across a recipe for green tomato pie².

Oddly enough, the recipe sounds a bit like the Shaker Lemon Pie that you were all exclaiming about on my last post.  I’m hoping that I’ll be able to make it at the end of the summer when those farmers that have actually been able to grow tomatoes this year will be off-loading their greenies.

But while this year I’m a minimalist tomato grower, I’m a maximalist with everything else.  We have squash the size of your arm, and some the size of your head.  The eggplants and peppers are so leaden with fruit I’ve had to stake nearly every one of them.  And then there’s the beans.

Drowning in veggies? Head below the break for a few good recipes.

Ramped Up

7 May

There is no surer sign that Spring has returned than the reappearance of ramps.

In years past, I was a part of the ravening hoard of ramp “hunters” at the Union Square greenmarket, marching from booth to booth until a waft of earthy, oniony air would hit my nose and stop me in my tracks.  But for some reason, this year, I had lost all enthusiasm for them.  They just didn’t seem special anymore.

Then on Saturday when I called my mom to make plans for our dinner at Local 111, she asked “Do you think they’ll have ramps?”  I said I thought they would. And they did; in a spring onion soup, alongside low-poached swordfish, and accompanying a local steak.

The soup was delicious, light and pleasant in a way that’s hard to do.  It wasn’t too “green”, as if it had been overloaded with spinach, nor was it too bitter, as can happen when you add too many raw alliums.  It was perfect topped by lumps of sweet, briny crab.  The encapsulation of Spring in a bowl.

And then there was the side of pickled ramps my mom ordered.  Tinted ever so slightly daffodil-yellow by turmeric, they were piquant in the most pleasant way.  Ramp-mania had indeed returned!

Want to find out where we went foraging for ramps? Find out after the jump.

Easter Eggs Of Another Color

31 Mar

Well, it’s that time of year again, time to dust off my most popular post of all time.  Apparently I’m not the only pickled egg fanatic out there…

Pennsylvania Dutch Pickled Red Beet Eggs

It’s that time of year when the hearts of children, and yes, grown men and women the world over, sing with glee and hope.  It’s time to bite the ears off a chocolate rabbit.  Or snarf down multiple bags of Cadbury’s Mini Eggs.

And while I am human, and I do get a weird thrill out of chomping on dopey, oddly vacant bunnies in dark, milk and white chocolate varieties, the thing that really makes my heart go pitter-pat as we approach the Easter season is, of course, pickles.

And I know I am not alone.

Over the past two weeks, I have been getting hundreds of hits a day from people looking for a pickled red beet egg recipe.

Pennsylvania Dutch Pickled Red Beet Eggs

Don't they look a bit like a sunset?

So, pickled egg lovers of the world unite! Here is what you’re looking for:

Pennsylvania Dutch Pickled Hard Boiled Eggs And Red Beets (aka, pickled red beet eggs)

  • 1 can small, whole red beets¹
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. cider vinegar
  • 1 c. cold water
  • 3 or 4 whole cloves
  • small pieces of cinnamon
  • 1 doz. hard boiled eggs

Put all together in a pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
Peel eggs and add to liquid and beets.
Put all in a jar or container and cover.
Allow to pickle for about 2 days before using (aka,EATING!)

This recipe first appeared in the Pitcher Hill Church’s Ladies Cook Book.

It’s my grandmother’s recipe, or maybe even her mother’s, or her mother’s mother’s. We’re not 100% sure.  What I can guarantee is that these are delicious. Make them and eat them in good health.

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¹ Last year someone asked, a little snidely in my opinion, why the recipe didn’t use fresh beets.  My answer to this is: Because it is my grandmother’s recipe, and this is how I’ve always eaten these eggs, and so it’s how I’ll always make them.  Also, this is an old recipe, from a time when canned beets were probably considered a luxury.  If anyone has ever tried making these with fresh beets, I would love to hear about your experience. Please leave a comment.