Houston, we have some pickles…

May 21, 2007


It’s just the Husband here today, and if you are a frequent reader of the blog, you’ve noticed things have slowed down since our little bundle of joy arrived. It turns out that Jack is a little pistol. So much so that while gesticulating and grinning at his doctor at his two month check-up, the doctor felt the need to remark, “Oh, he’s an active baby.”

And, yes, he is. The little guy sleeps well enough during the night, but is quite alive and awake during the day. As a result, my wife and I have developed strong calf and thigh muscles because his favorite way to be soothed is to be held while his parents do deep-knee bends (reminiscent of the Oompa-Loompas in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory). The result is tired parents and recipes that sit in the queue.

In reality, though, we haven’t slowed down. I’ve still been busy putting together ideas, and we’ve been snapping photos and debating the recipes privately. Cooking is still the rage in our kitchen. In fact, we’ve had so many guests over the past nine weeks, I’ve likely cooked more and for larger groups than at any time since we started the blog. The result has been some creative things we hope to share more over the coming months.

The idea that I’ve been most excited about lately is pickling, and I wanted to invite you folks into the test kitchen. With summer just around the corner and gardens starting to yield many a delicious thing, I know many of you have some ideas about the subject and would love to exchange insights.

Here is what I’m working on… The first is a pickled green been with pink peppercorns and curry powder. The result has been described as having an Old Bay flavor by one of our blogger friends, Synaesthesia, when she came for dinner last week.


The second is a spicy carrot, a variation on the Firecracker recipe from Good Eats. The carrots have lots of straight heat and not much else.


The third is pickled Hungarian wax pepper. It mellows in a sweet brine of cider vinegar and dill, and has a sweet and spicy bite.


The final experiment is a Japanese-style pickled ginger, a.k.a gari. When it came time to serve them, they had not pickled long enough to produce that pretty pink color you see in gari next to your sushi, but the basic flavors were there.


So this is my latest obsession, I’ll be working on these a bit longer, as well as a few other experiments, and sometime this summer I hope start posting about my pickled masterpieces. However, if you’ve got ideas, suggestions, recipes, horror stories, we’d love to hear them. So post about pickling please!


  1. I do a different kind of pickling and to be honest I’m not sure if it would be called pickling but the idea is the same – buying in-season stuff that’s in abundance and preserving them to consume as condiments. Gosh, you must be saying, duh! (lol)

    As recent as today I made something called acchar. Finely chopped green mangoes that have been sauted in with a masala mix, garlic, hot chillies and salt. It is cooked slowly so that the mango is cooked through and the spices permeates it. When this is cooled completely, I’ll put it in sterilized bottles and store in my pantry. This lasts for a long time as long as you ensure that you always use clean cutlery when dipping in to it.

    Last week, I made a green mango chutney. I pureed green mangoes and mixed it with a garlic and hot chillie paste that I made. This chutney I stored in the refrigerator.

    Finally, I made what we call in Guyana, Sour. This is green mangoes (again), a scotch bonnet pepper, salt to taste and water that’s cooked over medium heat until all the water evaporates and the flesh of the mangoes soft enough to be mashed with the back of a pot spoon. When cooled, it is sotred in jars and refrigerated.

    These can be eaten with seafood, curries, pitas, or any dish with which you wish to have some flavourful tang.

    Congrats on the baby. Keeping Mommy and Daddy busy – a true bundle of joy.

  2. I’ve made gari a couple of times now myself, I find a very sharp knife helps keep it from having that fibrous appearance even with very thin slices cut completely perpendicular to the fibers. I also found with the first batch that even given an extended pickling time it only took on a very faint pink tinge naturally so I added a couple of drops of red food coloring to the second batches brine to achieve the more common coloration.
    Being a fan of curry (i make my own curry powder), all forms of pepper, and fresh string beans I’m quite interested in your pickled green beans. I feel compelled to ask what their texture is like, would it be closer to a raw or a cooked bean?

  3. I always assumed that the pickled ginger that comes with sushi was artificially colored, so I had no idea that it might turn pink naturally. I’m a pretty boring pickle maker — I’m addicted to dill pickles, made the old fashioned way with lots of garlic and dill from the garden, and that’s what I make all summer.

  4. Beautiful pix of delicious looking pickles.But for those of us fellow bloggers who use your blog as a way to get our “baby fix” as well as food ideas, we need to see baby Jack (not pickled of course)!

  5. I’ve had pickles on the brain, too. The cukes are climbing and the mason jars have been purchased. I’m not a patient man, though. The waiting is tough.

  6. Oh yum, I can’t wait to see more pickles! My current favorite is a refrigerator pickle made with zucchini- the original recipe called for cucumbers.

    Your photo of banana peppers has me seriously regretting my lapse in judgement yesterday when I chose to not purchase pepper plants.

  7. Hey, you guys… nice story in (on?) Culinate. 🙂

  8. Saw your blog featured on the Blog Feed today. It’s always such fun to find other couples doing the tag-team food blog thing. You’re in my reader, now.

  9. Ohhhhh I could have fun with this….our neighbor has an irrational fear:) Heights, confined spaces, and public speaking are one thing…..her’s is ANYTHING pickled!

    I don’t want to even ask;)

  10. Well…I made these stunning beet-radish pickles a while ago…eye candy for sure!

  11. […] Pickles Citrus-Glazed Barbecue Ribs Galbi – my own secret recipe Potato salad Asparagus with olive oil, garlic and salt – the finest asparagus I’ve ever had Ice cream trio with homemade marshmallow creme and pecan chocolate chip cookies […]

  12. My daughter forwarded this site to me. At 29, she has turned into an excellent cook, devouring every cookbook and website she can find…funny, she wasn’t interested in cooking & indeed couldn’t boil water until she was well into her 20’s. I don’t know if she wanted me to respond with my pickling method but here goes. Being a grits (girl raised in the south), I love toothachingly sweet pickles best. This recipe, term used very lightly, can be used with any veggie one likes raw or pickled. It should be noted these are refrigerator pickles, not canned, and therefore should be stored in the frig. However, they will keep for months, if they hang around that long. Since they’re so quick and easy to make, I just make them a quart at a time.

    1 clean quart jar & lid
    Fill with washed & sliced veggies
    Brine: Bring to a boil 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar & 1/2 cup sugar + 1 tea-ball filled with pickling spices. Stir to dissolve sugar. Pour over veggies. Put lid on tightly, turn upside down & cool at room temperature 24 hours. Store in frig. Best when allowed to allow 3 days before eating.

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