Pickled Peppers

Okay, so way way too late for Passover. Actually, this last Passover I basically cooked an entire meal for thirty people practically by myself so I didn’t have time for blogging. This was followed shortly thereafter by a bridal shower that I hosted and cooked for also entirely by myself.

Yeah…I’m not bitter or anything.

I get myself into these fixes. I like cooking so much that I’m always volunteering to cook and then driving myself bat shit by doing too much. Ambition is dangerous, especially where meals for huge groups of people are involved. There’s so much that goes into it: artistry, skill, taste, time, and money. Not to mention all the variables involved in who will be eating your food and what’s expected of you. Once status and class-consciousness come into it then you can forget about enjoying yourself.

All I’ve learned the last few months of intensive cooking is that you should only really put yourself out in the kitchen for people who love you.

I give you now, pickled peppers. I made these for Passover. They were on the table during the ceremony and had disappeared before the appetizer course.

pickled peppers

Adapted from Jewish Home Cooking by Arthur Schwartz

6 red bell peppers

1 ¼ cups white vinegar

1 ¼ cups water

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

2 mounded tablespoons minced garlic

1.)   Roast peppers on stovetop over open flames until completely blackened all over. Turn on the oven fan and open the windows. This gets smoky. Do not leave unattended.

2.)   Once peppers are blackened put them in a glass or metal bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

3.)   Once cool, halve them and scrape off blackened skin under a cold tap, then remove ribs and seeds with a sharp knife.

4.)   Combine vinegar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the salt, sugar and garlic, remove from heat and pour over peppers.

5.)   Pack into a wide mouth jar, weighing down the peppers so they don’t float to the top, and allow to sit on the counter for one day. After one day refrigerate. It should keep for several months.

pickled peppers2


Pickled Curried Cauliflower

IMG_0254There’s nothing like a cold, spicy pickle to cool down a hot day in August. Most of us in America probably have bad associations with cauliflower: bags of frozen stir-fry mix and those sad, tasteless white lumps in school lunches. In Asia, however, they know what to do with cauliflower. Whether you eat it raw or cooked, it’s a vegetable that calls out for spices and intense flavors.

This recipe is extremely easy to make. You just need a few ordinary kitchen spices and a head of cauliflower. It’s in no way authentically Indian. They tend not to brine their pickles over there. Instead mustard seed oil and sunlight are used for the fermentation process. But I don’t have any mustard seed oil and live in a basement apartment, so brining it was.

 Indian Spiced Pickled Cauliflower

Adapted from picklemetoo.com

1 head cauliflower, cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon turmeric

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 quarts brine, made with filtered water

1.)   Clean a half-gallon screw top jar and layer the jar with cauliflower and spices.

2.)   Add brine and place a weight on the cauliflower so it doesn’t float to the top.

3.)   Keep in a cool place with the lid loose for 3 days.

Pickle Time


The Passover Pickling

An occasion for brining



I made all three recipes in one go (an experience I recommend to no one) and the next morning I was so shattered I could barely get out of bed. So do space your pickling experiences a day or so apart. Death by pickling would be a good band name, but not something you’d want written in your obituary.


Kosher Dill Pickled Cucumbers


Adapted from David Lebovitz

It is a sad fact that Kirby cucumbers are not in season come Passover. The ones I got were decent, but not ideal. All the same, they’re better than any pickle you’ll get in a store. This recipe makes a decent dilled pickle, but they’re neither sour nor as salty as the store bought kind.

20 Kirbys

4.5 liters water

6 tablespoons kosher salt

8 garlic cloves, crushed but unpeeled

2 tablespoons pickling spice

6 bay leaves

Large bunch of dill

  1. Bring one liter of water to a boil with the salt and stir until the salt dissolves. Remove the pot from the heat and add the remaining water.
  2. Prepare three one-liter wide mouth jars by running them through the dishwasher or sterilizing them in a water bath canner.
  3. Pack the cucumbers into the jars standing up. You may need to stack them with the jars on their sides to get them to fit in. They will fit in tightly. As you add the cucumbers, divide the remaining ingredients (dill, garlic, spices, and bay leaves.) Be sure to add the pickles and the spicing simultaneously as the pickles fit so tightly you will not be able to add many ingredients when the jars are full.
  4. Pour the brine you’ve just prepared into the jars so that the vegetables are completely covered. Cover the jars with cheesecloth and secure them with their metal rings.
  5. Store them in a cool dark place (I used an empty shelf) for three days. The brine creates a mighty aroma, so don’t go putting them anywhere you don’t want to smell like pickle juice. After three days, refrigerate.


Pickled Beets


Adapted from Alton Brown at The Food Network

There’s something wicked about the pickled beet. The stubby root vegetable that takes on gem-like colors when cooked and bleeds onto your plate like an alien sea creature. Left to their own devices I imagine them hopping out of their jars and latching onto our heads to transform us into hosts for the beet mind collective. Creepy, yes, but no pickle is as seductive.

6 beets

2 sprigs rosemary

1 onion, cut into quarters.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large red onion (thinly sliced)

1 cup white vinegar

½ cup sugar

1-cup water

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Snip the stems off the beets and toss them in a bowl with the rosemary, onion quarters, and olive oil. Place the ingredients in a foil package and cook in the oven for one to two hours, depending on the size of the beets (smaller beets may take only forty minutes.)
  3. While the beets are cooking, sterilize your jar by running it through the dishwasher.
  4. Once the beets are cooked (you’ll know they’re cooked once they’ve taken on that unmistakable gem-like color when cut open and can easily be pierced with a fork) allow them to cool and then peel off their skins.
  5. Slice beets thinly and place in your prepared one-quart jar, alternating them in layers with your red onion slices.
  6. In a pot boil together the vinegar, sugar, and water and pour the liquid over the beets.
  7. Refrigerate for three to five days before serving.


Pickled Carrots


Adapted from David Lebovitz

Light and easy going, brightly colored and punched with sweetness, the carrot needs little that it doesn’t already have. Pickling the carrot may seem a bit like gilding the lily, yet, there is something democratizing about brine: it places all vegetables in common, the mighty carrot beside the lumpy beet. When you bite into them the satisfying crunch of the carrot is followed by the toothsome kick of the pickle. They’ll satisfy taste buds you never knew you had.

1 lb carrots

2 ½ cups water

2 cups cider vinegar

4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and crushed

2 ½ tablespoons kosher salt

4 bay leaves.

  1. Peel and cut the carrots into two-inch long sticks. You don’t need to be too precise so long as the carrots are mostly all the same size.
  2. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil and blanche the carrots for one minute. Drain the carrots and run them under cold water.
  3. Heat the other ingredients together. Once at a boil simmer for two minutes, remove from heat and add carrot sticks.
  4. Once the liquid is cool, pour into a prepared sterilized jar and refrigerate. Carrots will be ready the next day and will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.