Ok, so I’ll admit it. My first attempt at pickles was a big ole fail. After a few days of refrigeration, it was apparent there was something very unappealing growing in the bottom of the brand new jars I had paid entirely too much for at Sur la Table. SO…I decided $125 to take a lesson from the experts was an investment in my education (and would probably end up costing way less than my current method of trial and lots of errors).
Suzanne Griswold and Rachael Narins have made quite a splash within the food circles of LA. They are Chicks with Knives. Not only are they the creative force behind some of the city’s best secret dinners and cooking classes, but they specialize in pickles, often popping up in off beaten locations to blanket our town with their perishable canned goods (see also bacon jam—sinful).
It was a Sunday morning at Surfas, and I was ready to soak up as much info as I could, with visions of my perfectly packaged jars of pickles (à la Martha Stewart) ready to hand out to neighbors next Christmas. Well, the first hour alone was worth any price hesitation. Rachael gave us a very thorough run down of methods, common misconceptions (you shouldn’t pickle with your own homemade vinegar, and to think that was next on my list), and her favorite resources (The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich).
We partnered off and each got to make at least two different recipes, though we got to take home some of everything. My partner and I tried Classic Garlic-Dill Pickles and Spicy Mexican-Style Pickled Carrots & Jalapeño. Not only did we leave with new-found skills and seven jars of pickles, we also got a goodie bag filled with a canning kit, pickling spice and all the recipes. For more info on Chicks with Knives and to find out about their next pickling class, sign up for their newsletter. Here is a little peak:
The gorgeous goods: Spicky Mexican-Style Pickled Carrots & Jalapeño—Traditionally served as a condiment with Mexican food, but try chopping and adding to a green salad with sliced zucchini and crumbled feta cheese.
Classic Garlic-Dill Pickles (Courtesy of Chicks with Knives)
Yields: 6 cups
1 pounds Kirby cucumbers
1 pound onions, sliced thin
2 tbsp salt
2 cups white sugar
6 each garlic clove
2 tsp pickling spice
2 tsp dill seed
4 cups white vinegar (1 liter)
1 cup dill weed sprigs
Slice the cucumbers thin. Layer in to a colander with the onions and sprinkle each layer with salt. Let stand for one to three hours (Note-we only let them stand about 15 minutes in the class and they still turned out great).
Place the sugar, garlic, spices and vinegar in to a large non-reactive pan (such as stainless steel). Do NOT add the fresh dill. Bring to a boil. Add the cucumbers. Return to a boil and turn off the heat.
Pack the vegetables and fresh dill in to sterilized jars. Top with vinegar. Cool and seal.
Will be ready to eat in one or two days, but best about a week later. Will keep for a month in the fridge.