It’s not that I dislike Rachel Ray but she has one of those annoying shows where she has to constantly talk to you about random topics and it doesn’t benefit me in any way. Why is Rachel telling me about her dog while making pork chops? Why tell a story about Rachel’s husband only liking Italian food when she is making a pot roast? Just strange banter. Being without the remote left me watching the show and I’m glad I did. She showed viewers how to make quick pickles.
Now quick pickles are different from regular pickles for two reasons: 1.) they are quick (obviously) and 2.) they are not canned for long storage, they must be refrigerated. But don’t let this fool you, they are good. Rachel was making weird combinations like Granny Smith apples and onion to go with her pork chops. I stayed with more traditional ingredients but with a twist.
So a quick pickle is usually hot vinegar based liquid poured over veggies and such to sit for a short period of time to..well, pickle. The basic recipe calls for 3 parts vinegar to 1 part sugar, and then add spices as you like.
Basic Pickle Recipe
3 cups vinegar (white, apple cider or rice)
1 cup sugar
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Bring everything above to a low-boil in a small sauce pan. Then pour over ingredients in a seal-able container. (I used the plastic containers from Chinese take-out or take-out soup but Mason jars are always good). Put them on the counter to cool and then place in the fridge.
Kitchen Mischief Safety Tip: If you use a Mason Jar ,you may here them seal due to the heating and cooling of the lid; but please don’t think they have been properly canned. Canning entails sterilizing the jars, lids, caps and utensils to remove the germies. If you don’t (like when you quick pickle), you are setting yourself up for a case of botulism. Keep these in the fridge not in the cabinet.
I made three different recipes to try. They were 80% good but still need a little work. Using the recipe above (using different vinegars) I poured them over the veggies of choice. Here are the three I made up to try:
Thai Cucumbers – Got this idea from a Thai restaurant here in Birmingham. Use the basic recipe above (with the rice wine vinegar), I poured it over thinly sliced cucumbers, thinly sliced red onion and a few slices of Serrano chilies.
What I learned: I think I will bring the pickle liquid down to room temperature before pouring on the cucumbers. They lost their crisp.
Spicy Pickled Slaw – look for it in an upcoming fish taco recipe – YUM! I used the recipe above (with the white vinegar) and poured it over shredded cabbage (use the angle hair from the bag), fresh dill, red onion, sliced Serrano chilies and fresh dill.
What I learned: I like the recipe but if you want more crunch, cool the pickle liquid before pouring over the veggies.
A Bloody Mary Kit (Picture at beginning) – Spicy pickled carrot sticks and asparagus. I used the recipe above (with apple cider vinegar) and poured it over carrot sticks, trimmed asparagus, thinly sliced lemon wedges, fresh dill, and a sliced Serrano chili.
What I learned: My lemon must have been old because it went bitter, so I will check that before. Also, I think I will add extra salt to the liquid – they need to standup against a spicy Bloody mary.
Spring is coming and all those wonderful veggies you will get at the farmer’s market need a place to go. If you don’t use them immediately, pickle them! Try it! It’s cheap, good for you and there is no limit to what you can try. With that said, I’m going to make Josh some pickled brussels sprouts – he just loves them. 😉