Hello food lovers!
I have a confession. I am a pickle-obsessed chef! Betsy, my wife and partner, is always teasing me that if "it" doesn't run fast enough, it will end up in a jar with pickling spices. Among my favorite 'dilled' vegetables are green beans (dilly beans), asparagus and green tomatoes. I have also canned cantaloupe, watermelon rind, okra and summer squash. Recently, I ran across a quick recipe for turning our garden cucumbers into delicious, crisp pickle spears. We eat them up as fast as I can make them!
Spicy Dill Quick Pickles (from Food and Wine, Aug '09)
Kirby Cucumbers or other un-waxed cukes, quartered
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/4 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity, which is normal)
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
6 large garlic cloves, halved
4 to 6 long red or green hot chiles, halved lengthwise to release their flavor
16 dill sprigs (which is a small piece)
Pack cucumber spears into 2 clean 1-quart glass jars. In another jar, combine the salt, sugar, vinegar, coriander and garlic. Shake until the salt and sugar dissolve. Add 2 cups of water and pour the brine over the cukes. Tuck the chiles and dill between the cukes. Add enough water to keep the cukes submerged. Close the jars and refrigerate overnight (for up to a month... if you don't eat them by the next day.)
For hotter/spicer pickles, add more chiles.
You can 'pick your pickle' or do a combination of vegetables. Here are some tips for prepping other, more dense items: (so they will absorb the brine quickly)
Asparagus -- blanch 1 minute; cool
Carrot sticks -- blanch 2 minutes; cool
Cauliflower florets -- blanch 1 minute; cool
Green Beans -- steam 2 minutes; cool
Each quart jar will take about 12 ounces of vegetables.
Wishing you good digestion!