Saturday, August 04, 2007

Finocchio Piccolo: Piccolo Pickle-Ohs

Inspired by Paul Virant--the pickle guy?--and borrowing the use of star anise and citrus peel from a Martha Stewart recipe, these pickled baby fennel are going to make squisiti antipasti, come fall.

3 small bunches baby fennel
1 qt. white vinegar
1 cup water
6 Tbs. kosher salt
peel of one lemon
2 whole star anise

1. Wash fennel well, making sure to pry open stalks to release dirt.

2. Trim fennel tops and pack baby fennel, lemon peel and star anise into one sterilized quart-size jar.

3. Boil vinegar, liquid and salt until salt is dissolved (five minutes).

4. Pour hot liquid over fennel, close lid and process in a hot water canner for 10 minutes.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Salt-n-Pepa Here

The following was adapted from the pickled hot chiles in Gourmet, 2002.

These pickles ain't for everybody.
Only the sexy people.

1 Qt. white vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
6 Tbs. kosher salt
1 lb small hot chiles (5 cups)
5 garlic cloves
1 tsp. dill seed
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. black mustard seed
1 tsp. Wynad peppercorns
1 strip lemon peel

Friday, July 20, 2007

Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit

These Dragon's Tongue, purple and flat bean pickles were inspired by Ruth Reichl, who featured the Wynad peppercorns used in this recipe in last week's Gourmet newsletter. In Ruth's words, "everything else is just dust." This $23-a-bag spice is fragrant enough to sew into sachets and store with your unmentionables--if you're into that kind of thing.

I spent days wandering the thousand-year old spice market in Kerala last year, but never encountered these rare peppercorns.wild Balinese long peppers, which I've used instead of bay leaves (per Big Tree's rec). It's an experiment, so don't go cursing Pickle Girl come fall. Have fun with your pickles, people.

1 lb. unusual beans
1 Qt. white vinegar
1 c. water
6 Tb. kosher salt
1 clove garlic
1/2 jalapeno
1 long pepper, snapped in two
1/2 tsp. Wynad peppercorns
1/4 tsp. dill seed
1/4 tsp. black mustard seed
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

You know the drill.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

'Scape from New York

In this New York City heat, I've been dreaming of stowing away to the country on a farm truck at the Union Square Greenmarket, like some lucky little Pixar character. Instead, I spent an evening standing over a boiling canner while my husband tried to pickle me with mojitos.

Dangle these pickled garlic scapes in cocktails, chop them up in lieu of capers in salsa verde, or serve them alongside grilled meats.

1 qt. white vinegar
1 cup water
6 Tbs. kosher salt
2 bunches garlic scapes
1 tsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. peppercorns
1 bay leaf

1. Wash scapes and trim ends. Line up a handful of scapes and wrap around your wrist, knotting the tops through the opening. This should yield two or three knotted groups of scapes, which will help you wrangle them into a sterilized quart jar.

2. Boil vinegar, water and salt for five minutes, then keep warm.

3. Add scape bundles and spices to the jar, then pour hot liquid over to within 1/2 inch of the top. Wipe rim clean and seal with a new lid.

4. Process in a hot water canner for 10 minutes, or refrigerate for a few months. Scapes will be perfectly pickled within three weeks.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Will the Real pickle girl Please Stand up?

In what, admittedly, was pure narcissism, I Googled "pickle girl" with the hope that maybe--just maybe--somebody besides Ned reads this blog. I was gobsmacked to learn pickle girl (ahem... the real pickle girl), has an evil twin--one Maury has the chutzpah to call Pickle Girl.

If you want a good laugh, check out what is either heinous acting or an honest-to-goodness phobia of pickles.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Pickles in the News: The Electric Kool-Aid Pickle Test

I've decided it's high time pickle girl shared news from the world of pickles beyond the pantry. Yesterday's NY Times article on Kool-Aid dill pickles in towns along the Mississippi Delta inspired me to get on my Mason jar box and say it loud... power to the pickle.

Here's a telling snippet from the article:

But she did eat dill pickles impaled on peppermint sticks, and she remembers how friends sucked the juice from cut lemons through peppermint sticks repurposed as straws. “That’s the same kind of taste,” she said. “Same as how they used to dip pickle spears in dry Kool-Aid mix for that pucker.”

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Ramping up

Pickled ramps seem to be ubiquitous in foodie cirles these days, so it's no surprise these wild, fledgling leeks are easier to find with every passing spring. If you live in NYC, you'll find ramps at your local Greenmarket through May. They can also be found at Whole Foods, Chelsea Produce, and Garden of Eden.

The following recipe for sweet pickled ramps is adapted from Tom Colicchio's Think Like a Chef:

1 pound ramps, cleaned and trimmed
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. coriander seed
1 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. red peppercorns
1 bay leaf

1. Combine the vinegar and sugar with 1 cup of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the mustard, coriander, fennel seeds, peppercorns and bay leaf. Keep warm over low heat.

2. Meanwhile, blanch the ramps in a large pot of boiling salted water until the leaves turn bright green, about 2-3 minutes. Drain, then shock the ramps under cold water. Dry, and arrange in a clean jar.

3. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the ramps and set aside to cool. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 days before serving.

Pickled ramps will keep in the refrigerator for several months.