Tag Archives: #pickle

Sugar-Free Made Simple: Spiced Pickled Peaches

I’ve said it before, but I love me some pickles.  Unfortunately, most store-bought pickles have some form of sugar in them.  So do most of my homemade pickle recipes.  (I see a whole lotta recipe revamping comin’ on.)

This spiced peach recipe, however, is not one that I’ve made before now.  I found it while searching for new ways to use my fresh chocolate mint.  If you haven’t tried chocolate mint yet, I highly recommend it.  I steep it in warmed coconut milk in the evening, and I also used it to make this gluten-free chocolate mint snack cake.

My inspiration recipe started with canned peaches in syrup.  Looking for a healthier alternative, I chose to use fresh peaches.  Remember – I’m kicking my sugar addiction here.  I also made some substitutions with the spices to use what I had in my pantry.  One of the things I love about pickling is that you can customize it to suit  your taste.  You also know exactly what is going into the food that you eat, when you use whole, fresh ingredients.

Aren’t they gorgeous?  I almost couldn’t wait the 24 hours in the fridge before trying my first bite.  Patience is not my virtue.  But then I decided that eating a too-sour, too-unpickled slice too soon would be a waste of peach.  It’s all about choices.

If you don’t have chocolate mint, you can substitute regular fresh mint.  You could also double, triple, or quadruple the recipe, if you have a bounty of peaches while they are in season.  I think these would also do well, if you wanted to preserve them for a longer period of time through a sterile canning process.  Me?  Remember, I’m not patient.  A quick, refrigerator pickle is more my style.  But let me know how they turn out, and I will envy your canning prowess.  And admire your patience.

Spiced Pickled Peaches
Adapted from Skirt in the Kitchen

3 sprigs fresh chocolate mint
1 cinnamon stick
1-inch fresh ginger, sliced
1 c. rice vinegar
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground allspice
1/8 t. red pepper flakes
1/4 t. whole cloves
1/4 t. whole peppercorns
1/8 t. anise seed
1/2 t. sea salt

In the bottom of a pint jar, place the mint, cinnamon stick, and sliced ginger. Set aside.

Place enough water to cover the peaches when they are submerged in a medium saucepan.  Bring the water to a boil.  Meanwhile, cut a small “X” at the bottom of each peach.  Place a medium-side bowl of ice water near the stove top.  When water is boiling, submerge the peaches for 30-40 seconds.  Remove the peaches from the boiling water and place in the ice water bowl for approximately a minute.  Remove the peaches from the ice water and pat dry with a clean cloth or paper towels.  The skins should easily slip off, but use a paring knife for any spots that don’t easily peel.

Slice the peeled peaches in half and remove the pits.  Fill the prepared jar with the sliced peaches.  If they don’t all fit, set them aside.  You may be able to sneak more in once the liquid is poured over the peaches.

In a small saucepan, bring rice vinegar and the next 8 ingredients to a boil.  Remove from heat and pour the vinegar mixture over peaches in the prepared jar.  If you had any leftover peach slices, try to fit them in now.

Put the lid on the jar and allow the peaches to come to room temperature.  Place the cooled jar in the refrigerator and allow to “pickle” for at least 24 hours.  The peaches will keep for about a month in the refrigerator.

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Countdown to Cinco de Mayo: Spring Gazpacho with Fava Beans and Quick-Pickled Shrimp

Do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo?  I think it’s funny that the celebration seems to have grown year after year, and I’m totally convinced it’s all about getting the average consumer to spend more.  But I don’t care.  I’m in.  Pour me a big fat margarita.

So this week will be all about Cinco de Mayo.  First up, gazpacho.  I know, I know.  Gazpacho is really a Spanish dish.  But I had all these lovely vegetables in my fridge, the star of which were some fresh fava beans.  So I am celebrating the Spanish influence on Mexican heritage with this gazpacho.  Plus, many of the veggies used were grown in Mexico.  So there you go.

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Have you ever prepared fava beans?  It’s a multi-step ordeal process.  First, you remove the beans from the pods.  Place the beans in a medium pan with boiling water and cook for about one minute.  Remove the beans and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking (and cool).

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Once the beans have cooled, you remove them from the waxy inner shell.

By the way, I love shrimp with gazpacho.  Inspired by this recipe, I decided that my version was begging for a quick-pickled shrimp or two.  You know how I love a good pickle.  I made a few substitutions, and the results are awesome!  Note: Do not decide to throw the sliced fresh jalapeno into the pickling liquid while it is coming to a boil.  I did this, and quickly poisoned the air in the kitchen.  The hubby and I couldn’t stop sneezing,coughing, and wheezing.  My throat and lungs still hurt.  Whoops!

Feel free to substitute other vegetables in this gazpacho.  Typically this soup is made with cilantro, but I used mint in its place.  Mint with fava beans is a favorite of mine, and I think it enhances the flavor of the beans in this soup.  I wish that had saved a few of the beans for garnish, because the green is such a pretty garnish against the tomato red soup.

You could also substitute tomato juice for the carrot juice if you prefer.  I used carrot, because I juiced it myself.

Some folks like to eat their gazpacho hot instead of cold.  To do this, just gently simmer the soup, instead of placing it in the refrigerator, until it is just heated through.

Spring Gazpacho with Fava Beans and Quick-Pickled Shrimp

Spring Gazpacho with Fava Beans:
1/2 c. fava beans, shelled
1 large tomato
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 green bell pepper, seeded
1 shallot, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 c. carrot juice
1/2 t. salt
2 T. olive oil
2 T. sherry vinegar
approximately 20 mint leaves

Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil.  Place shelled fava beans in the boiling water and cook for about 1 minute.  Remove beans from boiling water, leaving the water in the pan, and place in an ice bath for about 5 minutes or until cool.  Remove from the ice water and drain.  Remove the cooked beans from their waxy shell.  Set aside.

Score the bottom of the tomato with criss-cross cuts and place it in the boiling water.  Allow to cook for 1 minute, then place in the ice bath.  When cooled, remove the tomato from the ice water and peel off the skin.  Remove the core and cut the tomato into chunks.  Place the tomato in a blender.

Cut the green pepper and cucumber into chunks, reserving about 1/4 cup of each, and place them in the blender with the tomato.  Dice the reserved green pepper and cucumber and set aside with the fava beans.

Add the remaining ingredients to the blender.  Blend the tomato mixture on the chop setting for about 30 seconds.  Check for desired consistency and pulse a few more times if desired.

Pour the tomato mixture into a bowl.  Add the fava beans and diced green pepper and cucumber, reserving some beans for garnish if desired.  Mix to combine, then cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 4-6 hours or overnight.

Quick-Pickled Shrimp
3 cups water
1/2 c. white wine vinegar
1 T. mustard seed
1 T. whole peppercorns
1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and matchstick sliced
1 t. sucanat, or prefered sweetener
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

Combine water, vinegar, mustard seed, peppercorns, ginger, and sucanat in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add the shrimp and jalapeno slices.  Allow shrimp to marinate for at least 10 minutes, gently stirring twice.  Place shrimp and pickling liquid in a glass jar or bowl and cover.  Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

To serve, place gazpacho in a bowl.  Place 2-3 pickled shrimp on top and garnish with reserved fava beans if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Quick Pickles: {Snow} Peas and Carrots

I have the best intentions.  Weekly I order a bin of fresh, beautiful produce from Green Bean Delivery with plans to up my daily intake of fruits and vegetables.  Then life gets in the way, I eat carryout on the couch a couple of times, and I am left with task of making room in the fridge for my next weekly delivery.

This week, I found myself staring down some snow peas and pre-cut carrots languishing in the crisper drawer.  (The pre-cut carrots were not purchased from Green Bean, but were instead left over from a quick hummus run.  The bunch carrots in the shot above, however, are GB lovelies.)  With the refrigerator door wide-open, it occurred to me that I needed more pickles in my life.  A quick survey of the pickle shelf — yes, you read that correctly, an entire shelf — revealed jars of pickled cucumbers, peppers, olives, ginger, limes (my favorite Indian condiment), and tomatoes.  Not enough, I decided.

If you follow me on Pinterest, then you may know that I have already tried my hand at quick-pickled onions, beets, broccoli stems, and sugar snap peas.  With these recipes as inspiration, I prepped the snow peas and carrots for pickling.  In other words, I washed the snow peas and drained the pre-cut carrots.

Then my obsessive nature kicked in, and I removed all the tiny little stems from the snow peas.

To make both sets of pickles, I followed this basic recipe.  For the snow peas, I used rice wine vinegar, ginger root, shallots, fresh mint, and red pepper flakes.  The carrots were made with cider vinegar, fresh thyme, whole garlic cloves, and whole peppercorns.  I encourage you to play around with ingredients to use what you have on hand and what pleases your palate.

Quick Pickles
Ingredients
1 lb. produce of your choice, sliced into 1- or 2-bite-sized pieces if needed
2 c. vinegar of your choice (rice wine, cider, white wine, plain ol’ white…)
4 T. raw honey
1/4 t. ground or 1/2 t. whole dried pepper of your choice (peppercorns, red pepper…)
4 t. kosher salt
4 sprigs fresh, or 1 t. dried, herbs of your choice (dill, thyme, mint, oregano…)
aromatics of your choice, peeled and sliced (garlic cloves, sliced ginger root, sliced shallots…)

Directions
For firmer produce, like carrots or onions, blanch them in boiling water for 60 seconds, drain, and run under cold water to cool.

Place prepared produce in a quart canning jar, adding herbs and aromatics as you go.  Pack the produce as tightly as you can.  If you have some left over, it’s okay.  You will be able to fit it in later.

In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, honey, pepper, and kosher salt.  Heat this mixture until it begins to boil, then remove from heat.  Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the packed produce in the canning jar.  If you had any produce that wouldn’t fit before, you can probably fit it in now.  Place the lid on the jar and close.  Allow to cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before eating.

Quick pickles will keep in the refrigerator for about a month.

Just a little under 24 hours, I cracked these babies open.  Sometimes I have trouble following directions.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I have the best of intentions.  I had an hour between appointments today, and I convinced myself that it was enough time to come home, love on my dogs, take a couple shots for this post, and eat before driving the 30 minutes to my destination.  Ha!  Within minutes of taking the picture above, I was running out of the house with plate in hand.  I took bites at stoplights…and a few in-between.  This was made more challenging, since the Vegenaise and Organic Ville BBQ sauce were a little drippy on my Smoking Goose roasted turkey and swiss sandwich.  If you’ve ever had Rudi’s gluten-free bread, you know that there were also plenty of little holes from which the saucy goodness could escape.

Texting while driving is illegal in Indiana, as it is in many states.  I mention this, because eating this sandwich while driving probably wasn’t the smartest thing either.  But (dear husband, close your eyes for this part), I only almost hit one car, and that was while I licked my fingers…not while balancing the plate with my steering hand.

I might have also taken this shot while the car was in motion, but I waited until the next stoplight to write my comment and post to Instagram.  Law enforcement officers, please do not arrest me.  I won’t do it again.