Wild Onion Pickle

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We are very excited about our new plot at the local community garden.  Visions of red ripe tomatoes, plentiful cucumbers, grillable eggplants, and fresh green beans fill our heads (idealistically, probably).  In an attempt to involve The Brood, we took them to the plot and had them help dig, pull weeds, and plant seeds.  Number 4 Child lost interest relatively quickly and hung out at the picnic table with the food (and his DSi).  Number 3 Child was interested in payoff…now.  When I pointed out the ubiquitous wild onions to her, she found her mission.  We ended up with a full bag of them and nothing in particular planned for them.  So I, rather predictably, said, “Hey, why don’t we pickle some?”

Wild Onion Pickle

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tsp each sugar and salt

1/2 tsp each cracked peppercorn and mustard seed

small bunch of fresh tarragon

a garlic clove, finely sliced

a small bunch of wild onion

Heat the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns, and mustard seed in a saucepan until simmering.  Meanwhile pack garlic, tarragon, and onions (which have been thoroughly cleaned and trimmed) in a half pint jar.  Pour the hot hot vinegar mixture over, seal, and wait.

That’s what we’re doing.  Can’t wait to try these!

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Collard Kim Chee

A while back we went to a really nice brew pub (The Wrecking Bar).  This establishment offered collard green kim chee as a side.

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Up to the point of ordering dinner, this place had been a home run.  The stone cellar ambiance, the fantastic bar, the kale ale cheese fondue (which we licked from the little cast iron dish), even the pickled veggies and pimiento cheese (normally I hate pimiento cheese but this was awesome) all said, “Love me.  Trust me.”  Then we sat down to order dinner…

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Apple Chutney

I love apples.  I eat them regularly.  I buy big bags of them from my local farmer’s market, and stick them in the fridge, so that i always have some around. Apples are an important part of my snacking regimen.

The problem is that invariably one or two will come loose from the bag and wander around my fridge for a while.  Any time that i clean out the fridge i find a few apples just hanging out, usually a little old.  Uh, not to imply that i do not clean my fridge weekly!  Bi-weekly in fact…

So what do i do with apples that are a little old, maybe soft in parts, but not bad yet?

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Cranberry Relish

I love cranberry sauce just as it is.  But when we were making trade items for the November Food Swap, I figured plain wouldn’t cut it.  Researching cranberry relishes, chutneys and sauces is overwhelming!  I ended up combining elements from a couple of recipes.  Some of the seasoning comes from a chutney recipe.  It doesn’t really taste like an Indian chutney, but it has a little bite from ginger and some mellow sour from the balsamic vinegar.  The slightly chunky texture that comes from using the food grinder gives it textural interest but leaves the relish spreadable.  If you don’t have a food grinder, a food processor would work as long as you don’t overprocess and end up with a paste.

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Thyme Vinagrette

Well, now it is three weeks after i made the latest batch of thyme vinegar.  Let’s check on it..  Sadly, there really isn’t anything to photograph here that you did not see in the last post.  It is just a sealed bottle with a bunch of thyme seeping in vinegar.

The taste, after three weeks, is subtle.  The strong taste of the cider vinegar is slowly absorbing the fresh, lemony thyme flavor.  It has a long way to go, but hopefully not 4 years!

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Thyme Vinegar

I love thyme.  It has a delightful taste that i liken to lemony oregano.  It goes well in so many things.

5 years ago i had a thyme plant living in a flower pot on the front porch of my condo.  It grew like crazy, and i was swimming in thyme.  Thyme goes bad rather quickly, and since i had more than i could use i decided to try to make a thyme vinegar to use in marinades and salad dressings.

So i stuffed a bunch of thyme into an old, sterilized beer bottle with a flip-top lid and rubber seal, then filled it the rest of the way with cider vinegar.  I stuck a label to the bottle listing the date i made it — 17 August 2008 — and set it in the wine rack built into the cabinets of my condo.

And life went on.  And i completely forgot about this vinegar.

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Apple Daikon Pickle

David Lebovitz’s pickled radish inspired this variation.  When I read his post, I had nothing but daikon radishes around, and there were some apples that needed to be used.  Then I thought that shallots would be a nice addition.  The tarragon I added with cornichons in mind, as my favorites are made with that herb.  It also seemed very French to me, and Lebovitz blogs in Paris.  In the end, the shallots tie all the flavors together and make the pickle decidedly savory, despite the apple.

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Apple Daikon Pickle

Radishes lend themselves easily to Asian pickling.  My last batch was a quick Japanese pickle in rice vinegar.  I’d never tried a European style until I came across David Lebovitz’s radish pickle recipe.  I didn’t have french breakfast radishes and had used my red radishes already, but I had a daikon radish that had gone unused.  My daughter also uncharacteristically left some apples uneaten, and thus this pickle was born.  The apples give a light sweetness that balances the vinegar but isn’t overpowering.  Shallots are also very nice with apple.  Next time, I’ll try adding tarragon.

Daikon

Ingredients
1 medium daikon radish
1 apple (any type that’s firm)
1 shallot
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
2 bay leaves per jar
An herb sprig (tarragon, thyme, dill)

Directions
1.  Thinly slice daikon, apple and shallot.

2.  In clean jars, pack slices (a little of each in each jar).  Add some peppercorns and bay leaves and herbs (if using) to each jar.  I got 4 pint jars from this recipe.  If you come up a little short, add more radish, apple or shallot.

3.  Simmer the remaining ingredients until the sugar and salt are dissolved and then pour into the jars.

4.  If you have canning jars, these can be processed in a hot water bath.  I left these in the pantry after sealing and opened after a week.  The colors had faded, but the vinegar had taken on a slight pink tone.