Monday, October 12, 2009

Pickles for Lazy, Impatient People

So heres the second installment of cooking for lazy, impatient people who still want to get that deliciously self-gratifying feeling of making ( and eating) complicated food made totally from scratch WITHOUT risking a stress prompted aneurysm. And WITHOUT sacrificing catching that oh-so-important episode of Desperate Housewives. (Not that i watch such trash. Ever. Really. I totally dont care to clutter my life with details of Bree's obsession with cleanliness and control and how her husband is resorting to kleptomania just to punish her. OR wondering how life will go on without Idi and her endless stream of men, men,men. )

Back to pickles. I have memories of my mothers breadnbutter pickles. Sweet. Tart. Satisfying. Perfect on a hunk of bread. With a scoop of melting margarine. ( we couldnt afford butter) But I always thought that making your own pickles was something Martha Stewart did on her day off. Or seriously super Utah Mormon mothers did before baking bread and milking cows on the prairie. (Im not sure why because my mother is none of those things.) I of course never envisioned i would one day have the techno-know-how to make pickles. Let alone the desire to join the ranks of the Pickle Perfect Homemaker. But then I got a calling in the womens organization that required me to not only plan cooking and craft activities for lots of women - but to actually attend them and pretend like i was learning something. (As opposed to only going to talk/gossip and eat the refreshments like i usually did.)
There I was doing my organizer thing when the demonstrater whipped out a bowl full of breadnbutter pickles. They smelt divine. They smelt like childhood. They tasted divine. Like I was 8 years old and only had to worry about how i could torment my kid sister ( who was spoilt rotten and it was soooo unfair) without her trying to stab me with the bread knife. ( i exagerate you not. Come on Pele - verify it! Embrace your past! Acknowledge your violent childhood!) After sampling the pickles, i was flabbergasted when the teacher then proceeded to make another batch. In 5 minutes. With nothing but a pot, some ice cubes, a gas burner. Various spices. A smile. A few effortless stirs. And voila! Pickles. I was hooked. That could be me. Chopping, stirring, spicing, smiling and then eating pickles...every darn day if i pleased. I got the recipe. I came home abuzz with excitement. I made pickles. And it was easy. And quick. And i rejoiced on behalf of lazy and impatient cooks everywhere. We have a winner folks!

Ingredients:(give or take whatever's in your cupboard)
- cucumbers. As many as you like. Maybe 8. Or 15. Or 25. The sauce in this recipe will pickle any number of cucumbers. And come on, how can one really say a defn number? Because everyone knows cucumbers are all different sizes. And shapes. So however many you have - then thats how many you need.
- 2 onions
- 3 tspns of minced garlic from a bottle. If youre obsessed with purity and suffering then go ahead and cut your own fresh garlic. 3 cloves of it. And try to catch up with the rest of us who are smart enough to buy a jar from the store for a couple of bucks.
- 1/3 cup salt
- 5 cups sugar
- 3 cups vinegar. I use white vinegar because its the cheapest. Pickle perfectionists use cider vinegar.
- 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 1/2 tsp celery seed ( dont be fia poto like me and try to chop up fresh celery instead. Trust me, it aint the same thing!)
- 2 tbsp mustard seed
Slice the cucumbers. Thin. Slice the onions. Thin. Throw in a bowl. Add the garlic. Sprinkle the salt over it all. Mix it with your hands gently. Crack a tray of ice cubes on top. Cover the bowl with a teatowel. Put in fridge for a few hours. I forgot about it the other time and left it for 2 days. Still turned out okay but i wouldnt recommend you push it too far.
Take out of fridge and rinse the salt off in running water. Put aside. In a pot, combine the sugar, vinegar, and spices on the stove. Medium heat and stir it to dissolve the sugar. Let it boil a little. Add the cucumber stuff. Stir it. Simmer it a bit. Turn it off. Wait for it to cool then eat it quick before the kids find out and all your pickles disappear before you have a chance to gloat over them

Cucumbers all cut up and covered with salt and ice.

Pickles in a pot. Simmering. Prepare to gloat.

No comments: