I judge brunch spots as much by the bloody mary as the magic in the kitchen. And I recently found a five-star version (hot, spicy and packed with enough horseradish to clog the straw) at Buttermilk Channel in Brooklyn. The garnish — a tangy house made pickle spear — was sassy enough to match the kick of the drink. That crisp sour pickle stayed in my head long after I’d slurped down the last of the bloody mary and it got me thinking about making my own homemade pickles. Especially now, when kirbys are so readily available at the farmer’s market, why settle for limp pickles in a jar that have more in common with Shrek than cucumbers?
I followed a recipe I found for pickles in Food & Wine magazine, but it’s easy to make pickles in different variations using a brine of vinegar, sugar and salt. With the addition of fresh dill, chunky garlic and mustard seeds, these pickles looked pretty in a glass container and stayed crunchy for days. We’ve been having a lot of rain in the Northeast, but these fresh pickles are a zippy reminder of summer in a jar.
From Food & Wine July 2009
- 1 ½ cups distilled white vinegar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- ¾ teaspoons dill seeds
- 2 cups hot water
- 2 lbs Kirby cucumbers sliced
- ¾ cup chopped fresh dill
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, coriander seeds and dill seeds with the hot water. Stir until sugar and salt dissolve. Cool. In a separate bowl, mix the cucumbers, dill and garlic. Pour the cooled brine over the cucumbers. Place a small plate over the cucumbers to keep them submerged, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
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