Is there nothing made cuter and more charming by the addition of a jar? A regular animal carcas can be positively horrifying, but suspend between glass in formaldehyde and you’ve got your own Damien Hirst.
Food in jars is unendingly lovely. Granola? Better in a jar. Dry popcorn and rice? Sensibly and aesthetically stored in glass. Pickles? DUH.
Last week I had the pleasure of cooking my first event throughKitchen Surfing. The website connects eaters, hosts, and venues with chefs and cooks. It takes the worry out of entertaining and is off to a smashing start. I was hired by a family challenged with food allergies and made a Carribbean inspired meal:
Mango-Chipotle Shredded Chicken
Coconut Creamed Collards
Crispy Cassava Cake
Rice Pudding with Cinnamon-Chocolate sauce
But, of course, I never leave the house without snacks in tow. Because I’d be at their apartment for a few hours prepping dinner before serving, I wanted to set out a little nibble for the family. I decided to make a quick pickle with cucumbers, jicama, mint and cumin. For those of you unfamiliar with the quick pickle, take note: Do you regularly open a jar of pickles, only to devour them in a matter of hours? The quick pickle is for you. If you will consume the vegetables within a week of the pickling, then no need to heat-seal your jars. I was helped along in my endeavour heavily by this tutorial on Serious Eats. Pickles can be anything you desire! Grab a vegetable and go.
I, being a pickle-fiend, can snarf an entire jar with lunch. This pickle is just in time for our early Spring. The mint wakes up your mouth and the jicama and cucumbers both snap back with a vertebral crunch. Might I suggest you try a jar or three for your next dinner party? Make them a day ahead, when your guests arrive your first course is already done. Pickles and champagne, I can think of no better opening for a Springtime soiree.
- 3 Kirby Cucumbers
- ½ lb Jicama
- 2 teaspoons Salt
- 1 cup Mint Leaves
- 1 cup Water
- 1 cup Brown Rice Vinegar
- 2 tbs Whole Cumin
- 1 tbs Peppercorn
- 1 puck Palm Sugar
- Slice the veggies into whatever shape tickles you. Shred the mint.
- In a colander, toss the veggies with 2 teaspoons salt. Let the veggies sit for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the pickling solution. The salt will start to draw moisture out of the vegetables.
- Mix the mint, water, vinegar, spices and sugar in a sauce pan. Bring the solution to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for five minutes.
- Pack the veggies into your jars (I used two wide-mouth 12-ounce jars).
- Pour the warm pickling solution into the jars until it is covering the vegetables.
- Allow the jars to sit open until the liquid has cooled, this can be done in the refrigerator.
- Screw on the tops and eat within the week.