July 12, 2010

The Redeeming Pickle

Pickles, you are forgiven.

We are no longer in a fight.  I have forgiven you for your disappointment, gotten over my mistakes and even learned a thing or two.  Namely, that I prefer pickles made with vinegar.

The other week, when my kosher dill pickle attempt failed, I needed something to pull me out of my funk.  I thought about abandoning pickles for a while, giving them the cold shoulder, but it's so so hard when you love them the way I do.  So instead I took the only other route (after much encouragement from friends) which was to jump back in the saddle and get to pickling ASAP.  

Actually, I've got a secret to share - I've made the pickled red onions before.  They're real swell.  Put them on tacos, on burgers, eat them straight out of the jar, they even make a great snack on a cracker with some goat cheese.  They're tangy, still crunchy and lightly spiced with the cloves and all spice.

Now the bread and butter pickles, those were a new to me recipe.  Aren't they lovely with their yellow-y glow from the tumeric?  I was never a huge fan of the ones you buy in the grocery store, but after the awful tasting dills I made, I needed something completely different.  You can consider me converted.  Once again, Deb over at Smitten Kitchen led me down a successful path.  (It was her site where I discovered the discrepancies between brands of kosher salts and while it may have been too late to salvage the dill pickles, it certainly helped these bread and butters.)  And don't forget about the onions in there, they're delicious too.  Not too sweet, crunchy and oh so pretty - they'd be a hit at your next BBQ.

Pickled Red Onions
From David Lebovitz

3/4 cup white vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt

1 bay leaf

5 allspice berries

5 whole cloves
a small, dried chile pepper

1 large red onion, peeled, and thinly sliced into half rings

In a small, non-reactive saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar, salt, seasonings and chile until boiling.  Add the onion slices and lower heat, then simmer gently for 30 seconds.  Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Transfer the onions and the liquid into a jar then refrigerate until ready to use.

Bread and Butter Pickles
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 4 cups of pickles

1 pound kirby cucumbers, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 tablespoons Morton's Kosher salt
 (or 3 tablespoons of Diamond kosher salt)
1/2 cup sugar 

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, onion and salt. Mix well. Cover the mixture with ice. Let stand at room temperature for two hours. In a pot, bring sugar, vinegar and spices to a boil. Drain cucumbers and onions. Add to vinegar mixture and bring almost back to a boil. Remove from heat and cool. You can store the pickles in an airtight container for up to three weeks in the fridge. They will begin tasting pickled in just a couple hours.

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