Friday, September 9, 2011

What To Do With a Ruined Batch of Pickles.

It happens to all of us.  I made sorry batch of pickles last month.  I read the recipe wrong.  I used way too much pickling salt.  It's the kind of thing that happens when you're in a hurry. 

In this case, I overlooked the fact that all that salt was for a presoak, followed by a rinse, then the pickling brine.  Imagine several quarts of puckered pickles staring at me like a bunch of old toothless men trapped in a jar. 

So I went down to my preserve pantry and brought up all the jars from the over-salted batch.  Now, what to do?  My family isn't crazy about these, and who can blame them?  But neither can I bring myself to throw them all away.  There must be something I can do.

Well, where there's a will there's a way!  Some years ago I found a pickle cookbook at a garage sale.  And what a boon it is for our family right about now!  After all, they're not ruined, they're just salty.  This can be adjusted while cooking something up.  I've "rescued" these pickles early enough that a good rinse will tame the nicely. 

So, I've grabbed the "pickliest" recipes, that I might rid myself of these challenging ingredients ASAP.  In keeping with point of this post, I share them with you, in case you find yourself in such a, er (I won't say it), predicament.

Pickle Puffs

1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
24 dill pickles

Blend cheese & butter.
Stir in flour, salt, paprika; mix well.
Place dough onto wax paper; form into 6 inch roll.
Dry pickles.
Slice cheese roll into 24 1/4 inch slices.
Wrap dough completely around pickle.
Place on ungreased baking sheet.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Bake 400° for 10-12 minutes.
Serve hot.
May be frozen unbaked.

This recipe reminds me a little of my Russian friend's pickle soup.  Although, hers is made with sauerkraut and pork.  It's very good!  I'm going to try this, we're fast-approaching soup season here.
Dill Pickle Soup
Serves 10

8 cups chicken stock
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 medium carrots, coarsely grated
2 cups potatoes, peeled, cubed
1 cup celery, sliced thin
5 coarsely grated dill pickles
1/2 cup milk
2 Tablespoons flour
1 egg
5 Tablespoon sour cream
salt and pepper
Finely chopped parsley
Finely chopped dill

Combine chicken stock, bouillon, cubes, carrots, potatoes, and celery.
Cook over low heat about 10 minutes, until potatoes are soft.
Do not overcook.
Add pickles, continue to cook 15 minutes.

In small bowl, beat milk and flour until smooth.
Stir in a small amount of soup into this flour mixture.
Return to soup pot, stirring until well combined.
Bring soup to boil.
Stir frequently until thickened slightly.
Remove from heat.

In small bowl, beat egg with sour cream until smooth.
Pour a small amount of hot soup into sour cream mixture.
Mix smooth and return to soup.
Stir smooth.
Keep warm but do not boil. (Or sour cream will curdle)
Add salt and pepper.
Garnish with parsley and dill.

Curried Chick Pea and Rice Salad with Sweet Gherkins
Serves 6

15 pickles
1 Tablespoon oil
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
15 ounces chick peas (garbanzo beans)
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 Tablespoon curry powder
2-3 green onion, trimmed & minced

Choose 6 gherkins for garnish & fan.
Set aside.
Slice remaining pickles small & even, reserving brine.
Heat curry in oil.
Add chick peas, reserving liquid.
Add rice.
Cook until rice becomes translucent.
Combine chicken stock with chick pea liquid and enough pickle brine to equal 2 1/4 cups.
Add liquid to rice.
Bring to a simmer.
Cover pan and simmer 15 minutes. (Or preheated 375° oven 17-20 minutes)
Toss with sliced pickles and onions.
Add salt to taste.
Mound into a bowl and decorate with fanned gherkins.
May add chicken or shrimp.

I made this two nights ago and it was a hit.  I did change a few things, however.  I roast my peppers and remove the skins.  I replaced the onion with chives.  I didn't use sweet pickles, but only because it was dill I was trying to use up.  I omitted the bouillon, vinegar, and garlic because I didn't feel they were necessary.  Lots of wonderful veggies in this recipe.
Ham Pasta Salad

8 ounces ziti pasta
1 pound cooked ham, cubed
1 large bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large red onion, chopped
15 sweet gherkins, chopped, juices reserved
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 1/2 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic minced

Cook pasta al dente.
Mix together pasta, ham, peppers, onion, pickles, and tomatoes.
In small bowl, whisk mayo, sour ream, beef bouillon granules, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, 1/2 cup reserved pickle juice.
Gently fold into salad.

Here's something different from Chef Andrew Zimmern.  Sounds like fun.  I have a few family members that I know would love to give it a try.
Makes 1 liter

1 bottle premium vodka (.750L)
1/2 cup dill pickle juice
1/2 cup dry vermouth
2 lemons
2 fresh, hot red chile peppers, split
8 whole star anise 'buds'
1/4 cup juniper berries

Zest lemons.
Place with split chilies in bottom of sterile 1 liter jar.
Fill with vermouth, pickle juice, juniper berries, and star anise buds.
Place in freezer 1 week.
Serve in chilled martini glasses with baby dill garnish.

We've got a homemade hummus here, with pickles!  Don't ya love it!  I think my family will.  Great way to amp up your veggie intake.  I love the roasted garlic idea.
Greek Pickled Pita
Serves 6

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large head garlic
1 medium zucchini
1 red pepper
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
1/4 cup dill pickle juice
24 burger chip pickles
salt and pepper
3 large pita pockets
alfalfa sprouts

Preheat oven 400°.
Separate garlic cloves, leaving skins on.
Cut zucchini in half lengthwise.
Cut each half into three flat strips.
Spread on oiled baking sheets.
Cut pepper in half. Remove seeds.
Cut each half into three strips.
Place on baking sheet.
Bake 5-10 minutes. (to soft and lightly browned)
Squeeze roasted garlic cloves out of their skins into food processor.
Add chickpeas and puree.
Slowly add pickle juice to a smooth paste.
Add pickles and pulse to chop and blend.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Halve pitas.
Add alfalfa, zucchini, pepper, & hummus.
Top with more sprouts.

My bigger fellas like things spicy.  I'll need to make this for them, but clearly mark it for myself and the youngsters.  I would call it an "Uff-Da Sandwich".  Can we buy watercress in Minnesota?  I'll use lettuce and serve it with a nice cold glass of milk.
Creole Egg Salad Sandwich
Serves 4

4 large eggs
4 Tablespoons finely diced celery
2 Tablespoons minced red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped spicy dill pickles
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 bunch watercress
8 slices whole wheat bread

Peel and chop eggs.
Add celery, onions, pickle, garlic, paprika, cayenne, vinegar, juice, and mayonnaise.
Blend well.
Add salt to taste.
Rinse and dry watercress.

Now, I do believe I'll be slowing down a bit while reading recipes.  But it was nice to have a ready-made topic for posting.

Happy pickle-eating, friends!

Pioneer Preserving Recipes (Continued)

Wisconsin Dutch

Up here, we've heard of Hassenpfeffer  (pickled rabbit), Smoked Tongue (beef tongue) and Broiled Squab (young pigeon), though I can promise you, most haven't eaten them.  Before my research, I didn't know exactly what some of it was.  But I did grow up hearing about them.  By that time they were mostly mocked as back woods fare.  However, from the same robust German kin come our recipes for Muskellunge (Muskie, freshwater fish), so many cheeses and sausages, and my favorite pickled herring.

These German "Deitch" came around 1839-1848 from northeastern Germany - Pomerania and Prussia, Westphalia and the Teuton low country.  And for these women, neglecting the care of her home and family was a mark of substantial inadequacy.

Pickled Beets
Makes 3 pints

4 cups sliced cooked beets
1 large mild onion
2 cups vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon caraway seeds

Slice beets 1/8 inch thick.
Slice onion.
Combine remaining ingredients and boil 3 minutes.
Pack beets and onion in clean jars.
Add hot vinegar to overflowing.
Let stand 24 hours before using.

Dill Beans
Makes 6 quarts

8 quarts wax beans
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 large stalk dill
3 bay leaves
3 grape leaves
2 quarts water
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup vinegar

Cook whole beans in boiling, salted water 5 minutes.
Pack in jars with next 4 ingredients.
Fill jars with boiling water, salt & vinegar.
Cover with dill and let stand 2 days.
Will keep about 2 weeks.

Elderberry Cordial
Makes 6 quarts

8 quarts elderberries
2 quarts cold water
4 pounds sugar
1 Tablespoon whole allspice
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
2 quarts whiskey or brandy

Stem and wash berries.
Cover with water and cook until very soft.
Measure juice, for each quart add 2 cups sugar.
Add spices, tied in cheesecloth.
Cook until thick.
Cool, remove spices and measure again.
Add 1 pint whiskey or brandy for each quart syrup.
Bottle and cork tightly.
Improves with age.

Minnesota Scandinavian

This is my heritage.  It's what I grew up with.  It's pickled herring, sweet pastries, lots of dairy, and lefse rolled with butter and honey. 
I've never tasted lutefisk, but I've been to the dinners as a youngster.  My young eyes gawking at the jellied white mass on the plates of many jolly blue-eyed old-timers.

(Sweedish Hardtack)
Makes 24

1 pint buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or other shortening, melted
1 teaspoon salt
7/8 teaspoon baking soda
Coarse rye flour

Mix ingredients to make thick dough.
Shape into 24 balls, dipping them into flour.
Roll very thin with peg rollin pin.
Bake 425° until browned, about 15 minutes.
These are very crisp and tender.
Stores dry for a week.

They would hang over the stove to keep longer.

About Me

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As long as I'm on this journey, rambling through life's exhilarating highs and trudging heavily amongst it's incapacitating lows, I might as well share whatever may be gleaned from my little bits of wisdom and my many missteps. No room for judgment from this broken mama. I'm writing from my heart: raw, open, messy, but saved. And I'm still thanking God!