Posts Tagged vinegar

Now what did I do?

I wish I could remember what went into this latest batch of bread and butter pickles.

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I started, as always, with my yellowing copy of the NY Times food section from last July, which offers an easy, but oversweet recipe from a “make-em-don’t-buy-em” section on things to go with burgers. It’s one of those “tweak now” recipes that makes enough pickles to store in the fridge for a week or so. I love it.

There have been many experiments with this one, but I almost always add more vinegar than the recipe says, some sliced up garlic and a lot less sugar (probably only half the amount the recipe says). And I throw in herbs and spices according to mood or based on what’s in the pantry or the garden.

But the latest iteration is quite possibly the best I’ve ever made, with a chilli kick, the coolness of mint and a pink glow that came because I used the pickling brine I had left over from a couple of batches of pickled beets rather than mixing sugar, vinegar and spice anew. I know I added chilli, mint and mustard seeds, but can I ever make it work again?

My mother never followed recipes either. I guess I inherited the just-be-clueless gene.
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Green stuff

I’ve neglected this blog as I focus on the shell , as our Toronto renovation project is known, helped of course by the fact that there has not been much to preserve right now. It’s been a cool, wet spring and early summer, and it’s just not the season for major jamming ventures yet. But I did venture briefly into rhubarb orange ginger jam from an internet recipe (4 cups rhubarb turned into a paltry two jars) as a two-evening midweek venture. I definitely trebled the ginger in the recipe, as is my wont, and admit I’ll probably pass on the orange next time — I don’t think it added that much to the flavor — but believe it or not, I was actually running out of jam. Had to do something about that one.

But the real news is that our temporary home this summer (while we renovate the shell) comes with a big, sunny garden, so I optimistically planted snowpeas, beans, and four different sorts of greens, as well as a selection of heirloom and other tomatoes. The soil is probably the heaviest, clayiest soil I’ve ever seen, and we had a few torrential downpours after the planting (which was just after the May 24 weekend), so not everything germinated, but I proudly picked my first small handful of Asian greens today. It’s not enough for a salad yet. Maybe sliced up in chicken soup for a light and instant meal?

The chives, a legacy from gardeners past, are doing much better though, so I tried another internet experiement with chive-flower vinegar. Take a handful of chive flowers, strip the blossoms flowers from the stalks and submerge in a jar of white vinegar on the kitchen counter for a week or so. Strain, use over the year, or until you get fed up with it. No clue what it’s going to taste like, but oh it looks pretty.

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