Easiest Refrigerator Pickles

Hello!

We are moving into our new house this week (yay!) so I have very limited time in the kitchen. I remembered Smitten Kitchen’s Easiest Fridge Dill Pickle recipe when I was trying to decide what to do with cucumbers, and I am so glad I did! This recipe couldn’t be easier or more delicious and it is perfect with our Diva cucumbers. I adjusted the recipe slightly by using a different type of vinegar and swapping out the dill for a dried spice blend. This is a recipe I will make again and again and we hope you like it too!

Easiest Refrigerator Pickles
makes 3-4 cups of pickles + brine

Recipe notes: 1) although not necessary, a mandoline makes slicing the cucumbers a quick and painless process; 2) I used 3 teaspoons of salt as I like my pickles salty – reduce amount to 2 teaspoons if you are sensitive to salt; 3) you can use different types of vinegar (white wine, distilled, etc) but I prefer rice vinegar as it has the lowest acidity level and doesn’t leave the pickles with a sharp bite.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds (about 3 medium) cucumbers, sliced very thin (I used the 3mm setting on my mandoline, which is about .12 inches)
  • 2-3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • A tablespoon or two of chopped dill or other seasonings as desired (I used 1 teaspoon of Penzey’s Greek Seasoning which contains oregano, garlic, lemon, black pepper and marjoram and I LOVED the flavor!)

Directions:

  • In a large mixing bowl, toss cucumbers, salt, vinegar and herbs/seasoning, if using, together until well combined. Note: the liquid will NOT cover the pickles, and that is ok. The salt will begin to draw water out of the cucumbers and soon there will be plenty of liquid. Set aside for an hour. Transfer to an air tight container and refrigerate. The pickles will keep for a couple of weeks, but come on, they won’t last that long!

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Hi everyone!

This is just a quick post with a tasty recipe for roasted tomatillo salsa. My husband said it was the best tomatillo salsa he has every tried, so thought I should share it!

We hope you enjoy the 4th!

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
makes about 1 cup

Recipe notes: 1) you can use cilantro in place of papalo, but I would add 3 or 4 times as much; 2) broilers vary widely, so keep a close eye on ingredients in the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces (about 20) tomatillos, husk removed, cleaned, and cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 small or 1 medium jalapeno, stem removed and cut in half lengthwise (remove seeds and ribs for a less spicy version)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion (about 4 ounces), peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 1 large garlic clove, unpeeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced papalo
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons water (more if you want a thinner salsa)

Directions:

  • Adjust oven rack to the upper position and pre-heat the broiler to high.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the tomatillos and jalapeno cut side down on the baking sheet. Add the onion and garlic clove to the baking sheet and spread all ingredients evenly. Broil for about 5-7 minutes, or until most ingredients are blistered and blackened. You may need to remove the blackened items and return the rest to cook under the broiler for a few more minutes. Once cool enough to handle, peel the garlic clove.
  • Transfer all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until ingredients are fully broken down and incorporated, about 15 seconds. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Preserve the Harvest :: Quick Pickled Radish Leaves

Making quick pickles is one of the fastest and easiest ways to preserve the harvest. These types of pickles are made by pouring an acidic brine over produce, allowing the brine to flavor the vegetable or fruit over a number of days in the refrigerator. Although they are called quick “pickles” it is important to understand a few important ways in which they differ from fermented pickles.

  • Time: quick pickles are ready in a matter of hours or days whereas fermented pickles take weeks or even months.
  • Flavor development: quick pickles get their flavor from the acidic brine and any flavoring components whereas fermented pickles get flavor from bacteria present during the fermentation process. Fermented pickles tend to have a more complex and developed flavor but you have more control over the final flavor with quick pickles.
  • Refrigeration: quick pickles have to be refrigerated and typically last only a few weeks, unlike fermented pickles which have a much longer shelf life.

Quick pickling is pretty foolproof but here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Vinegar/Water Ratio: I suggest starting with equal parts vinegar to water to see how you like the balance of flavor. You can always adjust it during the next batch. To determine the amount of brine needed, just measure the amount that will fit in the jar you intend to use.
  • Types of Vinegar: I wouldn’t use balsamic vinegar but just about anything else goes – apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, distilled white vinegar. I like to use rice vinegar because it’s has the lowest acidity level (~4%) of those I mentioned above (wine vinegars are around 7%) so the flavor of the vegetables and spices can shine through a bit more.
  • Flavorings: Whole spices and crushed garlic are great places to start when deciding how to flavor your brine. I prefer to keep the spicing relatively mild so I can use my pickles on just about anything. Mustard seeds, bay leaves and peppercorns are classic but don’t stop there. I have added cumin seeds, fennel seeds, allspice, cinnamon sticks, cloves and dried hot chiles to batches in the past.
  • Sugar: a lot of recipes I find include sugar – and some of them have A LOT! I don’t find that I need sugar because I use rice vinegar. If you are using a vinegar with a higher acidity level (see Types of Vinegar section above) then you might want to add a tablespoon or two to help balance the flavor.
  • Vegetables: some vegetables, like greens, thinly sliced onions or thinly sliced cucumbers don’t need to be pre-cooked. Just pour the hot brine over the vegetables and you are set. Others, like carrots or beets, need to be cooked a little beforehand to ensure they aren’t too crunchy.
  • Time: the amount of time you let the vegetables sit in the brine is completely up to your taste buds. I recommend trying them every day to see how they change.

Below is a rough outline of what I used to preserve the radish leaves from last week’s CSA share. We look forward to hearing your quick pickle recipes!

Quick Pickled Radish Leaves

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch radish leaves, trimmed, washed and sliced into 1″ strips
  • 1-1/2 cups rice vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • A few allspice berries
  • A few dried hot peppers

Directions:

  • Place radish leaves in a quart sized glass canning jar and set aside.
  • Place the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and carefully pour brine and spices over the radish leaves. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature. Place in the refrigerator and use within 2-3 weeks.

Leaf Celery Gremolata

Gremolata is an herb based condiment typically made with parsley, lemon zest and garlic. Its beauty lies in its simplicity – just three ingredients, chopped, minced and grated and tossed together. Each ingredient is bold so just a sprinkling really heightens the flavor of whatever you use it with.

I swapped out the parsley in favor of leaf celery (CSA’ers – this is in next weeks share!). If you aren’t familiar with leaf celery, it looks a lot like parsley but the celery taste is unmistakable. There are actually 3 different celery plants grown for different culinary uses – stalk celery, celery root and leaf celery. This website provides a lot of additional background and growing information.

You can use this with many different types of dishes. The original version was made to accompany osso buco, a braised veal shank, so I imagine this would pair well with many types of roasted meat dishes. For cheese lovers, I love the flavor of celery with blue cheese. You could pick up some Sequatchie Cove Creamery’s Bellamy Blue at the Main Street Farmers Market and serve it on crackers with a little of the gremolata sprinkled on top. This also goes well with starchy dishes as well, such as risotto or pizza. I originally made this as a garnish for a mushroom pizza and it was fantastic (pizza can be a fairly quick meal when you purchase prepared pizza dough from your local grocer or Niedlov’s Breadworks). Please experiment and let us know how you use it! Enjoy!

Leaf Celery Gremolata
makes about 2 tablespoons

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped leaf celery
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients together until fully incorporated. Best used when freshly prepared.

Green Onion Yogurt Flatbread

There are few foods as comforting as homemade bread. The wonderful aroma, the warmth when it’s fresh out of the oven, the slight tug when you tear it apart, and then the flavor – it really does enliven all senses. Unfortunately, making bread from scratch can be an all day (or multiple day) affair. So when I am looking for the comfort of homemade bread without the time commitment, I turn to flatbreads.

Flatbreads start with a dough made of flour, water and salt that is then rolled out thinly. They are typically unleavened so the hassle of letting the dough rise and ferment is eliminated. Almost every culture has flatbreads and the list is quite extensive. You are undoubtedly familiar with some versions, such as tortillas, pita, naan and johnnycakes.

The recipe below is based on one from the cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. It is a vegetable based cookbook with dishes and flavors inspired by the Middle East. It’s not a cookbook you own because you can easily make every dish – it is one you own to inspire a new way of thinking and cooking with vegetables and grains. He served these flatbreads with a barley and mushroom ragout but I just ate them straight from the pan! I thought they would be a great substitution for naan but I could also envision using them in place of flour tortillas.

Enjoy!

Green Onion Yogurt Flatbread
makes 6 – 6″ flatbreads

Recipe notes: 1) I like using butter to cook the flatbreads but found that it too easily burns when using it alone. I would recommend using a little butter and a little oil in combination to raise the smoke point; 2) feel free to add some other flavors to this, especially spices as they won’t throw off the ratio of flour and liquid (I think smoked paprika would be great!).

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (5 ounces) all purpose or whole wheat flour (or a combination of the two)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green or wild onions
  • 3 tablespoons fat of choice (butter, vegetable oil, olive oil)

Directions:

  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt until combined. Add the yogurt and onions and mix until a cohesive dough is formed. I found it much easier to mix everything together by hand. The flour should be fully hydrated and the dough will be just slightly sticky (the dough is very forgiving so add a little more flour if it seems too wet or sticky or more yogurt if it seems dry). Knead for a minute or so and then form into a 1″ disk. Wrap with plastic and chill for an hour in the refrigerator.
  • Divide the dough into six equal pieces. Roll into balls, then flatten with a rolling pin until they are quite thin (mine were probably 1/8″ thick, similar to a thick flour tortilla, but feel free to adjust the thickness to your liking). Heat 1/2 tablespoon of fat (or a combination of fats – see recipe note) in a large skillet (I used cast iron) over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Repeat with remaining dough rounds, adding more fat to the pan as needed. Serve or allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week.