It’s been far too long since I’ve updated but I do have a good reason. Without getting into a lot of detail (because I can’t without getting upset), just after Halloween there was a death in my family that absolutely shattered me – brought me right to my knees. I’m still going through the grieving process and it’s hard, but I feel fortunate to have a wonderful husband, family and friends around me. I’m just taking it a day at a time and slowly starting to feel better.
Part of the healing process for me is delving back into the things I enjoy (I had to force myself!). I’m working on some fun writing for my friend’s pop-culture blog Biff Bam Pop, and of course I am still cooking a lot. I have lots and lots of pictures and recipes to add but for now I’ll start with my latest project: home pickling.
With the holiday season getting closer and closer, I’ve been getting a little stressed about money – I have a large extended family and I like to give everyone something, even if it’s just something small. Last year I mixed up little dry ingredient bags of Mexican Hot Chocolate (from Serious Eats) and put them into packages with some marshmallows, chocolates and instructions for how to prepare. This year the Mister and I have a few ideas, one of which is trying our hand at making our own pickled stuff. Who doesn’t love pickled stuff?!
We’re pickling novices so we decided to start with two simple recipes for fridge pickles – that way we didn’t have to worry about the whole canning/making things shelf stable process. We’ll do that when we get to making our gifts but first we want to see how these work out.
Last Sunday we spent an hour or sterilizing jars, slicing things and mixing up brine and before we knew it we had 5 jars of pickled stuff! 2 large jars and 2 small jars of spicy cilantro green beans, 1 jar of sesame coriander cucumbers and 1 tiny jar of pickled carrots and sliced jalapenos (we had some leftover brine and didn’t want to waste it).
They are currently in the fridge, hopefully getting more and more delicious with each passing day. It’s absolute torture to not open a jar and sample them but I’m trying to be good. We are really hoping they work out but if not, back to the drawing board! I’m determined to be a home pickler!
Here are the recipes, which we adapted from the October 2011 issue of Glow Magazine. I made more than the recipe called for but in the interest of accuracy I’ll post them with their original measurements:
Fill a pot with water, bring to a boil. Add 1/2 lb trimmed green beans and cook for 3 mins. Plunge into ice water and drain well. Pack into 2 washed and dry 2-cup mason jars along with 10 sprigs of fresh cilantro (we also sprinkled in some chili-pepper flakes because we like our spicy pickled beans to be SPICY..hopefully this does not backfire). I also added some fresh dill and a clove of garlic in each jar.
In a saucepan, stir together 1 1/4 cups each white vinegar and water. Add 1 tbsp peppercorns (we used a mix of pink and black) and set over medium heat. Simmer until hot and pour over beans, leaving 1/2 inch gap from the rims. Seal tightly. Will keep well in fridge for 10 days.
8 mini cucumbers
2 mason jars (2 cups each), washed and dry & lids
1/2 tsp chili flakes
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 rice wine vinegar
2/3 cup water
1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
Wash cucumbers, cut lengthwise into quarters, pack into jars. Sprinkle chili flakes over top. Place sesame seeds in a small saucepan and set over medium hear. Stir often until lightly toasted (about 1 minute). When toasted, immediately add vinegars and water. Stir in coriander seeds, salt and peppercorns; bring to a simmer (2-3 mins). Pour over cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch gap from rims. Seal tightly with lids. Pickles will keep in fridge for up to 2 weeks. Flavour improves after a few days; shake occasionally to ensure that spices are evenly distributed.
As previously mentioned, we did not boil our filled jars after wards but the heat of the brine caused them to seal themselves. This does NOT mean they are shelf stable – we’re keeping them in the fridge. We plan on trying them all on Friday and I’m excited! I hope they taste good! I will have to post a follow up later!
If these beans work out I plan on making someone a home made Bloody Caesar kit with some Clamato juice, celery salt, a mini bottle of vodka and a small jar of our home made spicy green beans. I’d be thrilled to get a gift like that but maybe that’s just me…