Tuesday, July 12, 2011

No oven required

My goodness. It’s freaking hot outside.

I just got an e-mail from my office (which, strangely enough, is in New York, not NC) alerting me that it was so hot that the power went out.

Now, I realize I’ve been skimping out on the baking posts lately, but CLEARLY it is too hot to operate an oven. I’ve burned my exposed midriff on a cookie sheet enough times (once) to confidently declare that cooking in a bikini is not safe. What? I like eating chocolate chip cookies by the pool. Don’t judge me.

Lucky for you, I have an easy treat to share that requires NO OVEN and makes one of my favorite summer side dishes – pickles!

Ok, I realize that pickles are a poor substitute for baked goods. The truth is that we got a crapload of pickle-sized cucumbers in our CSA box. I hate cucumbers, so pickling seemed like a natural solution.

I usually shy away from canning anything (botulism is no joke, jokers), but I figured if we ate them before 2025, we’d probably be ok.


I just googled a recipe for a basic pickling liquid and techniques and then threw a bunch of stuff in the jar. My choice of seasoning: toasted dill seeds, sliced jalapenos, a LOT of smooshed garlic cloves, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

They sat on the windowsill for a few days and then went into the fridge. Holy cow, these things were spicy. But also weirdly sweet. I’m addicted to them and they shall heretofore be known as crack pickles.

Making these pickles was SO EASY! I encourage anyone with a bunch of twerpy cucumbers laying around to give it a shot. It is of paramount importance for food safety to follow the ratio of your pickling liquid to a T (that’s why I’m not posting a specific recipe here – I don’t want to kill anyone! I’m a cookie expert, not a canning expert.) Like I said, there were a ton of recipes online; I ended up choosing one from the Ad Hoc At Home cookbook by Thomas Keller.

After the crack pickle success, things got a little haywire. I now know that you can pickle all sorts of things – red onion (delicious!), carrots, green beans, radishes (disgusting!), etc. If you are planning on seeing me in the next few weeks, you can expect a lovely jar of some sort of pickled item as a hostess gift.

Stop complaining. You’ll get your brownies when the heat index is below 110*F.

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