Pickle Me This, Pickle Me That

Carrots.  Out.  The.  Wazoo. Between the CSA and my garden, I am Bugs Bunny's best friend.  I love carrots, don't get me wrong, but my ideas are getting exhausted.  So right when my cucumber vines exploded, I dug into the past and resurrected my pickle recipes.

These are ice box pickles, remember, and are meant to be stored in the fridge.  Indefinitely.  But definitely in the fridge, not on your pantry shelves.  If you want to store them on your pantry shelves you have to follow proper canning methodology which I'm not getting into here.  These are meant to go in the fridge.  Nod your heads at me.  Good.

To fill up 4 half-pint jars you need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (any kind, white, apple cider)
  • 1 rounded tsp kosher salt
  • 2 rounded tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp peppercorns, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes OR 1 1/2 tsp of McCormick's pickling spice

Bring all ingredients to a boil, then turn off the heat and let sit 5 minutes.  Wash jars, rings and lids with soapy water.

For cucumbers


Wash, then slice or cut into spears.  Put one smashed garlic clove and one sprig of fresh dill into each jar.  If you have no fresh dill, add 1 tsp to the brine above.  Pack cucumbers into jars, then pour brine over, leaving 1/2 of head space.  Wipe rims of jars, then put on lids and screw on rings.  Let cool, then store in fridge.

For carrots:


Wash, peel, then cut into uniform spears.  Follow same directions above, but replace the dill with thyme (fresh or dried).

Pickled cucumbers will be ready to crunch on pretty much overnight.  Pickled carrots you want to wait a week or so to let them soak up a lot of brine.  My CSA delivers orange, white and purple carrots.  I knew the purple ones would bleed so I kept them in their own jars.

Now.  Are you ready for a treat?  Pickled grapes.  I know, I know, I thought the same thing.  But you have to try them.  It's Molly Wizenburg's recipe, from Orangette, she made them for her wedding.  Make one little batch and try them, trust me.  They are wonderful.

Pickled Grapes with Black Pepper and Cinnamon

  • 1 pound red grapes, preferably seedless
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 (2 1/2-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Rinse and dry the grapes, and pull them carefully from their stems. Using a small, sharp knife, trim away the "belly button" at the stem end of the grape, exposing a bit of the flesh inside. Put the grapes into a medium bowl, and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then pour the mixture immediately over the grapes. Stir to combine. Set aside to cool at room temperature.

Pour the grapes and brine into jars with tight-fitting lids (or cover the bowl with plastic wrap), and chill at least 8 hours or overnight. Serve cold.


In a Pickle, Epilogue

The chick pea salad is gone and what's left of the pickled red onions is fetchingly in a mason jar, evoking the days when our ancestors "put up."

I combined both dishes in my Saturday lunch, having made falafel for Pandagirl and me. Falafel is a ball or patty made from ground chickpeas and/or fava beans. Falafel is usually served in a pita pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread, and served with salads, pickled vegetables (!) and drizzled with hot or tahini-based sauce.

The Moosewood Cookbook has a recipe for making your own, but I just buy the boxed mix, to which you add water, let sit, and then shape into patties and fry. I put two on a bun for Panda with ranch dressing, lettuce and tomato, but for myself, I constructed a salad with the ginger chickpeas on the bottom, the falafel next and then topped with the red onions.

I did the same for today's lunch but instead of falafel, I piled the pickled onions on the leftover half of skirt steak I took home from Croton Creek last night. Perfection.  

Dare I say, happily-ever-after perfection.

In a Pickle, Part II

These looked (and were) ridiculous easy to make and the Moose said they would keep "practically indefinitely." Love that. I can see these on top of a burger, or in fish tacos, or with bean salad, or on crostini, or with tuna salad, or... (Did I mention practically indefinitely?)

Pickled Red Onions

  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns (OR 1 tsp of pickling spice which I had in the house, don't ask me why)
  • 4 medium red onions, sliced very thin (and apologies to Redman who was wept at the kitchen computer as I sliced.)

Fill a teakettle with water and put it up to boil

Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper (or pickling spice) in a bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved

Put onion slices in colander in the sink and pour boiling water over them. They will wilt slightly. Drain well and transfer to the bowl with the marinade.

Cover and allow those babies to get drunk for several hours. Store in the refrigerator and use as needed. Practically indefinitely.

In a Pickle, Part I

I took The New Moosewood Cookbook to bed the other night and—... Yes, may I help you? It was sensational, all right? We are in love.

But anyway, I read through the MC like it was a novel and got really jazzed about a lot of different recipes. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I start getting into yummy slaws, cold salads and pickled things, to be eaten outside with yummy grilled things. Two particular recipes I felt I needed to try right away: Ginger Chick Peas and Pickled Red Onions.

Gingery Marinaded Chick Peas

This calls for dried chick peas, presoaked for 1 1/2 hours. But the Moose does acknowledge that some of us live in the real world, and blessed the use of canned chick peas, drained and rinsed well. I also added my own twist of grated carrot because I tend to think of carrots when ginger is mentioned. Some people think of Mary Ann. Whatever.

Apparently this also tastes best when made a few days ahead, so my batch is chilling out in the fridge and I will have to get back to you over the weekend.

  • 2 cans chick peas, rinsed and drained well
  • (Optional) 4 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 5 to 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 to 4 tbs lemon juice (I squeezed two lemons)
  • 1 to 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 tbsp finely minced ginger (fresh or from a jar)
  • 2 to 3 tbsp red wine vinegar (I confess this seemed like too much acid with the lemon juice; I left it out.
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup finely minced red onion
  • freshly ground black pepper

Combine everything, mix well, cover tightly and let marinade "practically indefinitely" (I love that!!). Stir from the bottom periodically during marination.