Thursday, October 28, 2010

Smitten Kitchen Pickles

The weather in the Philadelphia area has been strange this week. Despite the fact that we are a few days from Halloween, it has felt almost tropical since Sunday. Wet, sticky, rainy, all around it's been more like a week in August than October. Feeling like summer outside inspired me to seek out some of the last summer vegetables. Kirby (or pickle) cucumbers are still around at my local farm stand, so I decided to stock up before fall arrives for real.

One of my favorite discoveries this summer was the food blog Smitten Kitchen. Written by Deb Perelman from her tiny kitchen in New York City, SK is a gorgeous site with accessible, interesting recipes. I especially like that Deb is a seasonal cook - her recipes make the most of whatever is locally grown in and around the New York area. She even has her recipes archived by season.
Deb Perelman's Bread & Butter Pickles

Back to the cukes...I love bread and butter pickles, especially the homemade variety. I love sweet pickles so much that I will eat the scary florescent green ones from the grocery store, but I generally try to avoid foods that are a color I might see in Kara's marker box. My stepmother used to can her own bread and butter pickles which is probably what accounts for my current day addiction to them. I have never been able to replicate her success, however. One day this summer, to my great pleasure, Smitten Kitchen's post of the day was on quick bread and butter pickles. Here is the recipe. These are so good. So fresh and sweet and crisp. The perfect addition to a sandwich or burger. Or, as Deb suggests, a great gift for the host of a party. They will keep in your refrigerator for about a month, if they last that long.

We liked these pickles so much that I applied the same principles in her recipe to "quick pickle" jalapeno peppers. Also delicious. If you find some Kirby cukes that are hanging on from the summer, give these pickles a try. And if you can't find any decent cucumbers or, for some strange reason, bread and butter pickles don't do it for you, consider giving quick pickling a try with the vegetable of your choice. Carrots, cauliflower, onions, green beans are all good candidates in the fall.

Here are two other takes on the quick pickling: New York Times blog - Quick Pickling and  Mark Bittman's Quick Pickles.You can also Google "quick pickles" or "refrigerator pickles" and you'll find countless recipes. Give it a try. This is another one of those cooking techniques that is really easy and yields impressive results.

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