7.11.2005

Pickle-palooza

I thought I didn't like pickles. Then my sis and I went to the East Coast Grill in Cambridge. On the way there she mostly talked about the pickles. So when they plopped a little dish down, we went at it.

Now I know I love pickles. Just not any found in grocery stores.

quickpickles
When sis and I discovered that the recipe for the revelation pickles is to be found in the little (and inexpensive) Quick Pickles: Easy Recipes with Big Flavor, by none other than Chris Schlesinger, John Willoughby, and Dan George, we promptly checked it out from the library. (I really might aquire this one-which is saying a whole lot.)(In fact, I might be forced to buy it, because I've used the one from the library so often the pages and the spine have become more than a bit separated.)

This book is chock-full o' interesting and varied pickled what-have-you recipes, and the vast majority are refrigerator pickles. You make 'em, stick 'em in the fridge for a bit, then eat 'em. Key absent word: canning. There are some fun fermented recipes in the back, but I haven't attempted any of those (yet).

For the 4th of July menu - lots and lots of pickled things, and meat. Pickles and different sausages go particularly well together, I think.

So did the friends we had over. Fun people interested in food and not minding that I hadn't pre-tested any of these recipes, including the ones I just totally made up, except the Back Eddy East Coast Grill ones.

IMGP3659The Award for Overall Best Eating Pickle goes to:

Back Eddy Pickles (on right), made with cucumbers, carrots, and culiflower, and pretty much following the Quick Pickles recipe. They are sweet, crunchy, have a distinct allspice-y effect to them. Perfect general pickle for most cook-out occasions.

Award for pickle most likely to please non-pickle eaters (so basically pickle least resembling pickles in flavor) and best eaten on or with other foods:

El Salvadorean Pineapple-Pickled Cabbage (on left and also below). The recipe (from Quick Pickles, here-to-fore known as QuickPick), calls for green cabbage but I love the red because it is brilliantly purple. I left out the carrot the recipe called for, so it is basically cabbage, red onion, fresh pineapple, garlic and hot pepper, pineapple juice, and white vinegar. I can definitely see this pickle on fish tacos.

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IMGP3635 Most interesting use of ingredients, most unique pickle, and 2nd runner up in prettiest pickle catagory:

Citrus-pickled Turnip Wafers with Gin and Juniper Berries (back right). I loved these pickles. Others who either didn't love citrus or didn't love gin appreciated them, but didn't love them. There isn't a lot of gin, but it rounds out the flavor. These turnips are young spring ones from the farm market. I love baby turnips. LOVE THEM. (Recipe also from QuickPick.)

Prettiest: The pickled radishes on the left. Let's get a glamour close-up, shall we?

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Aren't those babies beautiful? This is a totally made up recipe, and I think I did a great job considering my lack of pickling experience. I don't really remember the details, though. B sliced them fine (mad props to B for all the slicing and dicing for pickle-palooza. If only we had the OXO Good Grips Mandoline, (about $50, Santa)), we salted them, rinsed them (common pickling technique), ingredients included mirin, rice vinegar, and mebbe some wine vinegar. Some white sugar. They really mellowed, but retained their crunch and just a bit of their heat. Everyone loves radishes when they're pickled! And the color is all them. They just leached out their pink. Almost glow in the dark brilliance.


IMGP3608Least yummy but still maintaining potential for serious recipe tweaking:

Crunchy Orange-Pickled Red Onions with Chipotles and Tequila. Also green apples. From QuickPicks. Just way too much chipotle. Until I reread the recipe right now to post, I forgot all about the orange.





IMGP3664Best Dessert Pickles & Easiest Pickle to Make:

Balsamic-Pickles Peaches.

White balsamic vinegar, sweet vermouth, pineapple juice, and peaches. Yum yum yum.






IMGP3594Pickle without a recipe with most potential for improvement:

Remember those most improved awards from athletic or school kind of things? Doesn't that inherently imply that you sucked before? Well, this pickles don't suck, but my lack of pickle making therefore recipe inventing experience is very evident here. They are garlic scapes, and very mellow, not very garlickly. Adorable curling around the jar. I think I have a good base of the right vinegars, but am going to be working on the flavors. Or the lack thereof.


One last pic:

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all the vinegar from the start of pickle-palooza.

All in all, it was a tremendous success and delicious. I love learning about cooking techniques and types of foods unfamiliar to me. Good thing most of the pickles last weeks, if not months, in the fridge, 'cuz we're going to be eating them for a while yet!

4 comments:

Michèle said...

Wow Im very impressed! I've never pickled anything in my life and I must admit I watched suspiciously once as my boyfriend tried to make pickled eggs. But Im very tempted to give it a try, the pickled peaches sound like a great way to start..

Kris said...

*sigh*

I am sorry I missed it... I love pickles!

plentyo'moxie said...

K - there are plenty of pickles left! Come on over. They are actually mellowing/changing. Some are vastly improved over last weekend.

Michelle - I think I would be suspicious of myself making pickled eggs. Really, the peaches were a piece of cake. And so delicious. Pretty much everything was super easy and not very time intensive, and the directions in the Quick Pickle book are very clear.

Ace, Mover said...

Bring some to the pickles to the Movers meeting!

And her name is "Michele" with one "L".

... just sayin'...