We were out last night with our BFF's, Steve and Taffy Hirtz, to celebrate quite a milestone...their 44th wedding anniversary. I was best man in the wedding...the groom and I were but 20 years old. What a great couple....which begot a great family. And, oh, how far we've all come since that day in 1972.
To celebrate last night, we headed down to the highly acclaimed "The Butcher and the Boar". The food was fantastic, but what really stood out for me were their homemade sausages. We had the sampler plate which was comprised of one beef sausage, one wild boar sausage and one pork and cheddar sausage. Just a little bit of heaven!
Speaking of homemade, the best pickles in the world will be the ones you make yourself. Refrigerator pickles are quick and easy and do not require all of the preservation techniques associated with pickling. They taste a whole lot better than store-bought and you can go crazy by pickling any vegetable you want!
For the Brine
10 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups white vinegar
6 teaspoons kosher salt
Several sprigs of fresh dill
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorns (or more black if you don't have pink)
For the Vegetables
6 kirby cucumbers
6 young spring carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
1 handful of scallions or green beans
A few pieces of cauliflower to tuck wherever they will fit
4 small hot red chiles or 2 jalapeños
- In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil, reduce the heat so the water simmers and add the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and salt, raise the heat and bring to a boil, stirring until the salt dissolves. Remove from the heat.
- In 2 clear 1-quart jars, place a few sprigs of dill. Divide the seeds and peppercorns between the jars. Using tongs, remove the garlic from the brine and place 5 cloves in each jar. Then pack the jars full of cucumbers, carrots, scallions or green beans, cauliflower and chiles. You want them to be tightly stuffed.
- Bring the brine back to a boil, pour it over the vegetables to cover completely, let cool, then cover and refrigerate. The pickles will taste good in just a few hours, better after a couple of days. And they'll keep for about 3 months.
Happy 44th, Steve and Taffy!