Category Archives: condiments

Refrigerator Garlic Dill Pickles

DSC_0205

I’ve never met a pickle I didn’t like.  From beans and carrots to beets and the traditional cucumber, I’m a fan of them all.  Pickled vegetable salads are a common feature on Balkan menus and as such, in the past two years I’ve tried pickled vegetables I never even imagined.  I’ve learned that cauliflower is surprisingly good when it has been sitting in a vinegary brine as are red peppers and even mushrooms. As much as I love pickles it was only recently that I started making my own.  A part of my reasoning for not making my own pickles is because they are so readily available on market shelves.  I am also the only pickle fan in my house so I was hesitant to invest a lot of time into something only I would enjoy.  And then I realized how easy it is to make my own pickles!

These cucumber pickles are the perfect solution to my pickle making phobia.  I am able to make them in small batches so there isn’t the fear of being inundated with more jars than I can possibly ever eat.  (With a move on the horizon the last thing I want to be packing up and moving is jars of pickles).  They cure overnight in a vinegar brine while sitting in the refrigerator so I can enjoy them the next day–no extended pickling process is necessary.  I used cucumbers for these pickles but you can easily substitute any vegetable you like.  Depending upon your preferences, you can add more or less spices.  And because this recipe only makes two pints, you can experiment with vegetable and flavor combinations without ending up with numerous jars of pickles you don’t like.  Unless you are like me and love all things pickled.

REFRIGERATOR GARLIC DILL PICKLES

1 cup cider vinegar

1 cup cold water

2 tablespoons pickling salt

4 large pickling cucumbers

4 dill sprigs

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon mustard seeds, crushed

1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • Combine the cider vinegar, water, and salt in a medium-sized sauce pot.  Bring to a simmer, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Divide the dill, garlic cloves, mustard seeds, peppercorns, and red pepper flakes between two one-pint canning jars or other glass container with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Thoroughly scrub the cucumbers, discard the ends, and slice into 1/4 to 1/2 inch coins.  Pack the two jars with as many cucumber coins as will snuggly fit.
  • Pour the hot pickling brine over the cucumbers to just cover.
  • Wipe the rims and seal with the lids.
  • Place the jars in the refrigerator and allow to sit for at least 24 hours before eating.

Yields:  2 pints

 

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Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemons are a staple of Mediterranean and North African cooking.  You can find them in gourmet markets (outside of Albania that is) but they are so easy to make you with proper planning, you can make your own.  After making lemoncello I’m alway left with a dozen rindless lemons and have difficulty finding something that requires that much fresh lemon juice.  Preserved lemons to the rescue!

This simple recipe from Martha Rose Shulman’s Mediterranean Harvest cookbook only has three ingredients.  I pack my lemons in small jars that hold one lemon each.  These make perfect holiday or hostess gifts for the foodies in your life.

PRESERVED LEMONS

12 organic lemons or enough to fill a wide mouth 1-pint or 1-quart jar

Sea salt

Lemon juice

  • Sterilize your jar by submerging in boiling water for a minute.  
  • Very carefully lift the jar out of the water using tongs.  Tip the water out of the jar and into the pot as you remove it, so that you don’t get scalded.  
  • Drain the jar on a clean dish towel, top down.
  • Quarter each lemon lengthwise from the pointed (bud) end down to within 1/2 inch of the stem end making sure to keep the lemon intact.  
  • Pack the lemons with salt.  Place the lemons in the jar, packing as many as will fit.  
  • Add lemon juice to completely cover the lemons, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons salt over the top and cover tightly.  
  • Set in a cool place or refrigerate for at least 3 weeks.  
  • The lemons are ready when they have softened.  
  • To use, simply remove from the jar, rinse, and slice or chop as directed.

 

If you need inspiration or ideas for how to use your preserved lemons, check out these recipes:

 

A Trio Of Sauces: Honey Mustard, Chimichurri, & Ginger-Soy

Top to bottom:  Honey Mustard, Chimmichuri, Sesame Soy

Top to bottom: Honey Mustard, Chimichurri, Sesame Soy

I’m a condiment fanatic.  Our refrigerator door is always crammed with bottles and jars of sauces, dips, and pickled items that can take ordinary foods to a whole new level.  One type of mustard or vinegar is never enough for me since each has its own flavor profile that makes all the difference in their respective dishes.  Because of my love of discovering new condiments, our nomadic lifestyle is a mixed blessing for me.  While our travels allow me to discover new sauces and condiments that enhance my culinary repertoire, having to pack up and move–and therefore empty our refrigerator– every couple of years is hard.  Leaving behind wonderful the wonderful sauces and such is just so upsetting.

But not all condiments need to be purchased; in fact the best ones are those that are whipped up by hand in my own kitchen.  Combine a little of this and a dash of that and you have magic in a bowl in minutes.  This trio of sauces highlights just how versatile condiments can be.  All three take just minutes to make and while they can be used immediately, taste better after they sit for an hour or so.  The ingredient ratios are just suggestions as you can add more or less of an ingredient depending upon your own preferences.  If you love garlic, add more. If you aren’t a fan of Dijon mustard, substitute a stone ground one instead.  Experiment with different combinations of fresh herbs.  Dip cooked meats or vegetables into the sauces a al fondue style to bring a variety of flavors to the table that will be sure to please all palates.  Chicken or pork is particularly good when dipped in the ginger soy and honey mustard sauces.  Or marinate a flank steak in the chimichurri sauce before grilling.  The combinations and possibilities are endless so let your imagination go wild………….

HONEY-MUSTARD DIPPING SAUCE

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Allow to sit for 1/2 hour before using.

Yield 1/2 cup

CHIMICHURRI

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley

3 tablespoons cilantro

8 cloves garlic, crushed

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Roughly chop the parsley and cilantro.
  • Place in shallow bowl and using a stick blender puree until combined.
  • Add the garlic and continue to puree until smooth.
  • Add the remaining ingredients puree until combined.
  • Allow the sauce to sit for at least 1/2 hour before using. Adjust the salt and pepper before serving.

Yield 1 cup

GINGER SOY DIPPING SAUCE

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

5 tablespoons rice vinegar

3 tablespoons warm water

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger

1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon Sriacha

1 teaspoon white sesame seeds

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl until well blended.
  • Allow to sit for at least one hour before serving.

The sauce can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to one week. Return to room temperature before using.

Yields 3/4 cup

 

Refrigerator Garlic Dill Pickles

DSC_0205

I’ve never met a pickle I didn’t like.  From beans and carrots to beets and the traditional cucumber, I’m a fan of them all.  Pickled vegetable salads are a common feature on Balkan menus and as such, in the past two years I’ve tried pickled vegetables I never even imagined.  I’ve learned that cauliflower is surprisingly good when it has been sitting in a vinegary brine as are red peppers and even mushrooms. As much as I love pickles it was only recently that I started making my own.  A part of my reasoning for not making my own pickles is because they are so readily available on market shelves.  I am also the only pickle fan in my house so I was hesitant to invest a lot of time into something only I would enjoy.  And then I realized how easy it is to make my own pickles!

These cucumber pickles are the perfect solution to my pickle making phobia.  I am able to make them in small batches so there isn’t the fear of being inundated with more jars than I can possibly ever eat.  (With a move on the horizon the last thing I want to be packing up and moving is jars of pickles).  They cure overnight in a vinegar brine while sitting in the refrigerator so I can enjoy them the next day–no extended pickling process is necessary.  I used cucumbers for these pickles but you can easily substitute any vegetable you like.  Depending upon your preferences, you can add more or less spices.  And because this recipe only makes two pints, you can experiment with vegetable and flavor combinations without ending up with numerous jars of pickles you don’t like.  Unless you are like me and love all things pickled.

REFRIGERATOR GARLIC DILL PICKLES

1 cup cider vinegar

1 cup cold water

2 tablespoons pickling salt

4 large pickling cucumbers

4 dill sprigs

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon mustard seeds, crushed

1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • Combine the cider vinegar, water, and salt in a medium-sized sauce pot.  Bring to a simmer, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Divide the dill, garlic cloves, mustard seeds, peppercorns, and red pepper flakes between two one-pint canning jars or other glass container with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Thoroughly scrub the cucumbers, discard the ends, and slice into 1/4 to 1/2 inch coins.  Pack the two jars with as many cucumber coins as will snuggly fit.
  • Pour the hot pickling brine over the cucumbers to just cover.
  • Wipe the rims and seal with the lids.
  • Place the jars in the refrigerator and allow to sit for at least 24 hours before eating.

Yields:  2 pints

Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemons are a staple of Mediterranean and North African cooking.  You can find them in gourmet markets (outside of Albania that is) but they are so easy to make you with proper planning, you can make your own.  After making lemoncello I’m alway left with a dozen rindless lemons and have difficulty finding something that requires that much fresh lemon juice.  Preserved lemons to the rescue!

This simple recipe from Martha Rose Shulman’s Mediterranean Harvest cookbook only has three ingredients.  I pack my lemons in small jars that hold one lemon each.  These make perfect holiday or hostess gifts for the foodies in your life.

 

 

 

 

PRESERVED LEMONS

 

12 organic lemons or enough to fill a wide mouth 1-pint or 1-quart jar

Sea salt

Lemon juice

  • Sterilize your jar by submerging in boiling water for a minute.  Very carefully lift the jar out of the water using tongs.  Tip the water out of the jar and into the pot as you remove it, so that you don’t get scalded.  Drain the jar on a clean dish towel, top down.
  • Quarter each lemon lengthwise from the pointed (bud) end down to within 1/2 inch of the stem end making sure to keep the lemon intact.  Pack the lemons with salt.  Place the lemons in the jar, packing as many as will fit.  Add lemon juice to completely cover the lemons, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons salt over the top and cover tightly.  Set in a cool place or refrigerate for at least 3 weeks.  The lemons are ready when they have softened.  

  •   To use, simply remove from the jar, rinse, and slice or chop as directed.

If you need ideas for using your preserved lemons, check out the following recipes:

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