Picklestory Part I

My mom is a food blogger and that’s awesome for several reasons.  For one, her archives are my first stop when I need a showstopping dessert recipe.  For two, every time I visit my family we cook something exciting together, like bagels or tamales.  For three, she’s always in the loop regarding good places to eat.  I traveled down to NYC to visit a few friends before Christmas and she told me to go to Peels (she follows their pastry chef on Twitter).  The whole meal was fantastic.  I’m haunted in particular by a little dish of pickled vegetables brought to the table with the cocktails.  And last night at Wegman’s when I saw a bushel of pearl onions, well…

I’ve never pickled before, unless you count making 25 pints of green tomato relish this fall (I don’t).  In fact, I never liked pickles OR onions as a kid.  Child Allison would be appalled right now.  Luckily, I have great written reference on hand, particularly the Smith & Hawken Gardeners’ Community Cookbook, which a family friend gave me for graduation.  It’s been invaluable in dealing with our garden produce.

[Sidebar: at the checkout last night, our cashier looked over the pile of collards, leeks, scallions, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and spinach and asked if we were planning to eat it all or if we had rabbits.]

So you’re curious about pickling?  Here’s what I did.  Last night, I peeled half a pound of pearl onions and brined them overnight.

This morning I rinsed those and then cooked up the pickling solution.

K drifted through the kitchen at this point.  “That’s a funky smell!”  N stumbled out of his room and I held the pan under his nose.  I learned that pickling fumes are great at waking people up in a hurry.

This was also the point when I learned that you’re not supposed to use iodized salt.  It’s right there on that page.

Anyway, the next step was to pour the crazy fragrant liquid over the brined onions and let that sit for a week.  A WEEK?  I have to wait a week to see whether this experiment will satisfy my pickled onion craving or turn out to be an iodized, oddly-flavored flop?

That’s right, 1/18/11 is Pickle Day.  Expect a full report and the recipe.

Also, that’s a salsa jar and instead of cleaning off the label adhesive residue I just papered it with pictures from a community night school course catalogue.  Stuntin’ is a habit.

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