Friday, March 22, 2013

GETTING A LITTLE PICKLED


Joe would love to spend an afternoon in the sun gardening.  I love sipping a happy hour cocktail whilst watching the sunset.  Meet the Drunken Botanist, a perfect marriage of the two!  While I don't necessarily love gardening, I sure don't mind a veggie garnish from time to time in my cocktail, and pickled hors d'oeuvres are simply fabulous (especially if your guests are getting a bit too pickled on your yummy drinks). The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart is a fun little book Joe found for me that would make a great addition to any bar enthusiasts collection, with incredibly unique cocktail recipes (ever thought of adding fresh jalapeños, cilantro and a few cherry tomatoes to gin?).  I've written about pickling before, and as we finally roll out of winter (well, we still have snow on the ground, but our weatherman promises warmer days are ahead) it's almost time to start thinking about outdoor entertaining.  I've made my grocery list and am heading off to the store so I can have a unique, yummy beverage waiting for Joe when he gets off the plane tonight.  Happy pickling!
GET SIPPY!
You can pickle just about anything, but these are the perfect additions to any summer cocktail; cucumbers, green beans, asparagus, carrots, celery, green tomatoes or okra.  Go ahead, dive right into this project.  You'll love the results..or be so tipsy and relaxed, you won't care! (note: you don't need to add these pickled delights to cocktails, as they're just as yummy on their own!)
I like to prepare these in mason jars, but you can rinse out any old jam jar for this project.
1.) 2 cups sliced or cubed vegetables (I prefer thinly sliced)
2.) 2 teaspoons coarse, non iodized salt
3.) 2 cups sugar
4.) 1 cup cider or white vinegar
5.) 1 teaspoon each pickling spices (such as seeds of dill, celery, mustard, fennel)
Lemon rind, onion slices, garlic slices (optional)

According to the recipe in the Drunken Botanist, slice or cube the vegetables you chose for pickling. Toss with the salt and set aside for 30-45 minutes.  Heat the sugar and vinegar in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves; let cool.

Fill clean jars (again, I use mason jars) with vegetables, pickling spices, and optional ingredients.  Top off the jars with the vinegar mixture, seal tightly and refrigerate overnight.  ENJOY! (should last 2-3 weeks)