Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pickle This!

After I have make a resolution to be more consistent with my blogging, what do I do?  I don't post anything for 20 days.  Of course, I could always say that I don't have anything to blog about, as I feel that not doing much of anything awesome and blog-worthy, but then I also resolved that I wanted to post more about my (and Steph's) everyday meals.  Damn you, resolutions!  At least I can go back and edit posts...

When I first met Stephanie, she didn't like pickles, which was yet another reason why she was the woman for me.  You see, growing up, a new pickle jar would last approximately 2.3 days, between Mom, Dad and Rory.  We used to buy the giant tubs of dills from Restaurant Depot to keep up with the demand.  So when Stephanie told me that she didn't like pickles...I knew I'd never have to worry about going to the refrigerator and finding the pickle jar empty.

Recently, Steph decided that she wanted to try pickles again (realizing that they were a tasty snack that wereworth 0 points) and so she helped herself to some of my Vlasic Zesty Dills.  Lo and behold, Stephanie loves pickles...which means I come home sometimes and find the pickle jar empty!  Alas, marital bliss.  To that end, I decided that a better way (and more fun) way of tackling our now-doubled household pickle habit was to see about making my own refrigerator pickles.  I went with a recipe from Epicurious as a jumping-off point for what will probably be a bunch of trials to find a satisfactory refrigerator pickle recipe.


There are the main ingredients, a sweet onion, gherkin pickles and a giant bunch of dill.  Note the artistic setup of that photo:  my lame attempt at good photography.  The onion was thinly sliced, and the gherkins were uniformly cut to 1/4" by my trusty mandoline.  (Side note:  My backwards cap is a Jets cap.  It is entirely apropos that I am making green food.  In Rex we trust!  J-E-T-S!)  From that picture, you can get a good idea of just how little counter space I have.  Not the easiest to work with, but I make do.

Those are yellow mustard seeds and white peppercorns, which have a completely different flavor profile than regular peppercorns - do not ever substitute one for the other!  I started crushing them with my trusty mortar and pestle, but after a number of mustard seeds tried a daring escape from their eventual doom, I decided to go with the modern convenience of a spice grinder (the purchase of which was inspired from here).  The spices got boiled up with some cider vinegar, water, sugar, salt, dill seed then ladled it into my jars - the smells in my kitchen were absolutely out of this world.  The end result?  Two jars of homemade dill pickle goodness.  How do they taste?  I'll let you know tomorrow.

Since I was in the swing of things, I also whipped up a batch of pickled peppers.  I don't know where I got the recipe from, but they are a snap to make and, best of all, no points!

Mini-sweet peppers + shallots + champagne vinegar + garlic + thyme + sugar + red pepper = the best thing you could possibly put on a sandwich.


Heather said...

I bet we could have a competition for the smallest counter space.

I can't wait to hear how the pickles turn out - I have never made them but love to eat them. Ironically we never have them in the fridge though.

Rob Timko said...


How do you like your mandoline? I spent like 70$ on that POS and it sucks ass.

My 1.99 one from the Hong Kong supermarket is 100x better!

let me know how they come out! I spent the better half of the day on a Mole Negro...what a process...and I don't think it's going to be worth it for some reason...

Alex said...

Heather: I'm hoping that they maintain their crunch. They may be a bit too sweet (with a full cup of sugar in the brine) but I'm considering this the first of many experiments. I'll keep you posted.

Rob: I like my mandoline, but I don't use it regularly, only when I need something super-thin or if I'm doing a ridiculous amount of slicing and I need uniform cuts. It works fine, although it could use a replacement blade.

Funny story about it: it was one of many gifts that Steph received at her bridal shower that got the "Oooooh, Alex will love this!" response from her.

Don't get discouraged if it's not as good as Bayless's - he did say it took him 20 years to figure out how to make it!

Stepha said...

Just to add a bit more detail: when I opened the mandolin at my bridal shower, I actually said, "What is this? Huh? Oh, I'm sure Alex will love it. He put it on the registry after all." That was the reaction to most of my gifts. :)

Ms. Meg said...