Sunday, June 24, 2007

quick pickles

A new Penzey's store just opened in our area -- well, in Rockville, Md., to be exact. So getting out there took some doing, but Penzey's is worth the trip. So yesterday, we stocked up on new-to-me stuff like pink peppercorns, roasted Szechuan-pepper salt -- more on these later -- and pickling spice. Then today at the farmers' market, inspired by my shiny new purchases, I picked up some small pickling cucumbers and some green beans. At home I combined them with sliced red onion and lots of sliced garlic to make these quick pickles:

I used this recipe for my basic proportions for the brine, but added a couple teaspoons of my Penzey's pickling spice (plus some fennel seed) instead of the spices called for here. (If you want the whole breakdown of what's in Penzey's pickling spice, here it is--these are all whole seeds/berries, not ground: yellow and brown mustard seeds, allspice, cracked cassia, bay leaves, dill seed, cloves, ginger, Tellicherry peppercorns, star anise, coriander, juniper berries, mace, cardamom and Sanaam red peppers. Whew!)

They need to sit for a couple hours yet until they'll be ready to sample, so I'll report back later. But this was so easy -- a bare minimum of chopping, and the stove only needed to be on for about five minutes, an important summertime consideration.

As for my other Penzey's buys: the Szechuan peppercorn salt has a nice lemony, coriander/gingery flavor to it. This is going to sound weird, but I think it would be awesome on popcorn. And I'm going to use the pink peppercorns for this ice cream.


Blogger lis said...

i'm ordering that penzey's pickling spice today. last year, I thought about making pickles during canning season, but no grocery stores carried pickling spice (too antiquated an activity, I guess) and I was too lazy--or something--to come up with my own mix. I will probably only make one batch of pickles though because I absolutely hate the smell of hot vinegar.

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

The pickles were delicious. I think that a good rule of thumb for this recipe is that vegetables that have a lot of water (cucumbers, onions) take to pickling much more quickly than ones that have less (green beans).

1:18 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

My friend Katie makes pickled green beans and they are the most delicicrunchy veggies I've ever had!

I read in a recent Penzey's catalog that they were discontinuing and/or renaming all of their spice mixes for sausages--apparently not enough people grind and stuff their own sausages these days, even fewer than those who pickle.

7:56 PM  
Blogger tara said...

"Delicicrunchy." I like it!

The names of the Penzeys sausage-spice mixes crack me up. "Krakow Nights," "Tsardust Memories," etc. Are those the old names or the retooled ones, I wonder? :)

9:37 AM  

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