Just a few notes on upcoming classes in the SF Bay Area, links to a couple of radio show appearances, a book update, and other morsels. And if you like what you’re reading here, be sure to sign up for Pickle News for fresh pickle happenings in your inbox.
Not a Photoshop’ed trick. Not a crazy new varietal. Just the young, green, unripened berries that usually fill your jam jar. They are delicious on their own – berry-ish minus the sugar (duh!) – and they remind me a lot of tomatillos. I know these may be tricky to find across the nation, but I’m sure your local farmers market vendor will be happy to bring you some. For them, it’s a shorter growing cycle and a hearty fruit that’s much easier to transport.
Sylvia from Yerena Farms has gotten some press from selling her strawberries to chefs doing all sorts of crazy things with them (and good for her, because I adore her and her family and they are extremely shrewd business people and farmers). I have yet to pickle them (but oh, I will!) but I took her suggestion and put together this little salsa – delicious! I made it pretty tangy to insure that it’s safe for water bath canning. And I was inspired by the salsa at Tacolicious and used mint instead of cilantro, but by all means you can swap that out for a more familiar salsa flavor. Chip away (ha ha!) and enjoy.
Oh, and just a word about the color. I also include some fresh berries for a little balanced sweetness. Pink food! Yeah!
Green Strawberry Salsa Recipe
Time: 25 minutes
- 1 pint (about 12 oz. by weight) of unripened strawberries; washed, hulled, and chopped to a medium dice (2 ½ cups)
- 7 oz. ripe strawberries (1 1/4 cups washed, hulled, and chopped to a medium dice)
- 4 oz. red onion (3/4 cup chopped to a medium dice)
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from about two juicy Persian limes)
- 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. chile powder (make sure it’s just straight chile; no added oregano or anything else)
- ¼ cup plus 3 T white distilled vinegar
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, tightly packed
In a medium saucepan, combine the green berries, ripe berries, onion, garlic, lime juice, salt, chile, and vinegar. Cover and bring to a boil for about 5 minutes, when it will become thick and saucy, stirring occasionally. While it’s cooking, mince the mint.
Allow the salsa cool for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, and then stir in the mint. Your salsa is now chip-ready and it will keep, refrigerated, for about two weeks.
Makes 1 1/2 pints.
Photo credit: Pete
Kimchi is often synonymous with cabbage, but really it’s any kind of salted and preserved vegetable (or fruit, or seafood) on the Korean table. The humble cucumber, the iconic vegetable of pickling in many minds, does a new trick in this pickle. Stuff it, cucumbers!
Stuffed Cucumber Kimchi Recipe (Oi-sobagi Kimchi)
Time: about 1½ hours
- 3 pounds English hothouse cucumbers or thin-skinned salad cucumbers on the slim side (not pickling cucumbers)
- 2 tablespoons fine sea salt
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and trimmed
- 2 green onions, roots and tough tops trimmed and outer leaves removed
- 9 cloves garlic
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- ¾ cup Korean chile flakes
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ ounce dried shrimp, optional
Wash the cucumbers and trim and discard the ends. Cut the cucumbers into fourteen 2-inch sections. Stand each piece upright on a work surface and cut an X shape halfway (1 inch) down into each piece, leaving the bottom inch intact. Stand the cukes up in a shallow dish and sprinkle the salt on their bottoms and tops and down into the X cut. Let them sit upright for 1 hour to leach out some of their juice.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Dice the carrot and the green onion. You can do this by hand, or by cutting them into chunks and pulsing about 20 times in a food processor. Transfer to a small mixing bowl.
In the work bowl of a food processor, combine the garlic, ginger, chile flakes, fish sauce, sugar, and dried shrimp. Puree into a paste, pausing to scrape down solids from the sides. This should take about a minute or so. Once smooth, fold the paste into the carrots and the onion.
Drain any liquid that has pooled in the bottom of the cucumber dish, and lightly pat the cucumbers dry with a paper towel or kitchen cloth. Stuff about 2 to 3 teaspoons of the filling into each cucumber, working to get as much into the center as possible, and mounding a dollop on top.
These pickles are ready to eat immediately, or they can be served at room temperature for about 12 hours. Unused portions should be refrigerated and eaten within 3 days.
Tokyo turnips? Small. Kyoto turnips? Gargantuan. This pickle is the pride of Kyoto, as it’s customarily made from the massive orbs found in the region. That said, you needn’t pack your passport to make this. Any sort of turnip will work here; just go with the largest ones that you can find. If the skin is tough or bitter, just peel it off. Note that a mandoline or some serious knife skills are necessary for this recipe.
Time: About 4 hours
- ¼ oz. of dried konbu
- 12-14 oz. turnips, about 1 very large one (or several smaller ones), peeled if the skin is bitter or tough
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 T sugar
- 3 T unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 T mirin
- 1 T lemon juice
Let the konbu soak in water, covered by 2 inches, for 1 hour.
Using a mandoline, slice the turnip very, very thinly – to ⅛ of an inch (or 3mm). Toss the turnip with half of the salt, flatten it down, and then sprinkle the remaining salt evenly over the top. Cover with a drop lid and a 14 oz. weight. Let the turnip sit for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, vinegar, mirin, and lemon juice. Once the konbu is tender enough to handle (don’t worry, it will tenderize more later) drain it and pat it dry. Chop into 2” long slivers, and add it to the brine. Let this sit while waiting for the turnip to macerate.
Once the turnip is sweating liquid, remove the weight and lid and squeeze it very firmly, discarding the liquid, until nothing more drips from it when squeezed. Add the turnip to the brine and seaweed and stir well to combine. Cover with a drop lid again, and weight with a 1 lb. ballast. Let this sit for 2 hours.
Your Senmai-zuke is now ready to eat. Kept covered, this pickle will last in the refrigerator for at least a month.
Makes about 12 oz.
I wrote this really in-depth piece on making homemade vinegar for The Blender, the blog of Williams Sonoma, and I just wanted to share.
It starts off like this:
…Starting with good red or white wine is a step in the right direction. My guess is that you already know where to buy quality wine, champagne, sherry, or cider – the best flavored vinegars always start with well-flavored, highly drinkable alcohols that lean a little sweet.
To it, one must add our personal, bacterial friend Mycoderma aceti, better known as a “mother”—the spongy spore that turns all things alcoholic into vinegar. Beyond that, all else that’s needed is a storage vessel, maybe a little water, and weeks or months of patience…
Why not read the whole thing?