Considering the amount of blogging we do here, it may come as a surprise to find out that only a small percentage of what we do ends on the website. Even after 10+ years I still don't think of the blog first when I'm cooking. Some days I simply put things together without thinking too much about it at all. Case in point, these pickles. After a lively debate about what to do with our cucumbers, we both forgot about them. They were cleaned and waiting in a large bowl in the back of the refrigerator, clearly visible whenever anyone opened the doors. Yet, somehow we both managed to not see them for almost a week. One day when I was cleaning out the fridge I finally registered the fact that the uncovered cucumbers were still in there, dying a slow death from dehydration. I pulled them out, discarded a few, and went to the workshop to locate some mason jars. Since we had half gallon jars I decided to chunk them up as Alex prefers, in the hopes that they would all fit in one. I layered the slices in the jar with salt, garlic cloves, black peppercorns, and crushed red pepper, and then filled jar up with filtered water. I figured that since I was making the pickles, they would be half-sours. I didn't weigh a thing.
When Alex came home and asked me how much salt was in the pickles, I shrugged and said several pinches. He was horrified, of course, and promptly opened up the jar to taste the brine. He shook his head, added more salt, and then proceeded to take care of the pickles, monitoring the fermentation, and opening the lid periodically and letting out the gases. They were properly bubbling withing 12 hours and I refrigerated them to slow things down at about 36 hours, give or take. They are going to be delicious in spite of my haphazard methods. It's just the way I cook. I love reading recipes but I rarely follow them. If I'm not working on a book (and even sometimes when I am) I am not so good about remembering to write things down. Fortunately Alex is very good about writing down his recipes (in a manner of speaking) and reminding me to write down mine. He knows that if he waits too long I will likely forget exactly what I've used and he tries to get a jump on things. So if you've ever wondered about something we've blogged about starting and never mentioned again, you can probably bet that I forgot to write it down. It's okay though, I always give you enough information to wing it. If you're not comfortable improvising, I can usually be persuaded to make it again and write down the recipe. Just let Alex know you're looking for it.
June 2, 2008
June 2, 2005