Tag Archives: pickled

pickled red onions

pickled onions finished

i am a fan of quick. and i’m not talkin’ highly processed or convenience foods. now, i’m not knocking busy folks who need to buy a pre-chopped onion every now and again, but for me chopping the onion is a process that takes me from an over-stimulating day to a place of zen. i’m a strange one that way. so what we’re talking about here is a quick pickles. canned, or water-bath processed pickles are a wonderful thing, but sometimes you lose quality and crunch factor with this method. plus you have to wait days to weeks for the pickles to be ready. if you have never done this, it is virtually impossible to slave over a hot canner, then wait up to two weeks to taste the results.

pickled onions raw

if you are a fan of grilled, smoked, caramelized, braised, broiled or roasted meats or vegetables like we are, you need to make some pickled onions. they are the perfect balance to the char or caramelization that occurs with any of the above cooking methods. i could also see this as the perfect companion to anything warmly-spiced (think cumin or cinnamon scented savory dishes, like the pork carnitas below), or anytime you want to add a brightness to a dish. this is such a simple way to punch up so many foods, i think i’ll keep  a jar of it in my fridge all summer long.

pickled onions on carnitas taco

pickled red onions (makes about 2 cups)

adapted from david lebovitz and simply recipes

1 large red onion, sliced thinly

1 cup white wine vinegar

3-4 tbsp granulated sugar, or to taste

2 bay leaves

1/2 cinnamon stick

5 whole allspice berries

5 whole cloves

5-10 whole black peppercorns

pinch of salt

in a small saucepan, heat vinegar, sugar, and spices to simmering. add sliced onions and simmer gently for 30 seconds. remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. place onions and pickling liquid in a glass jar. will keep and taste freshest in the fridge for up to a month.


Filed under appetizer, condiment

pickled grapes


i must apoligize in advance for another post about pickled foods. and clear up the fact that my love for pickling things is not due to any recent in change medical condition on my part. i simply love sour. i’m assuming i just have way too many sour receptors located on the surface of my tongue and they can never be totally fulfilled. yes, i have a history of drinking pickle juice. and yes, i eat pickled items straight outta the jar.


but THESE are different than all the others. these are special. these are exquisite. i know the idea of pickled grapes sounds strange, but this is a sweet brine (something i hadn’t even fathomed before!). you’re going to wanna use the freshest grapes possible in order to keep them crisp. no one likes a flaccid grape. or a flaccid anything. and be sure they are seedless. they should be fairly easy to find, but sometimes i grab seeded ones by accident because they’re next to the others. 


this will be a fun recipe to play with. you could switch up the brine, adding or deleting spices, vinegars, etc. next time, i may get all girly with it and use red wine vinegar and pink peppercorns. maybe for mother’s day?


pickled grapes (makes 2 pint-sized or 4 half pint-sized jars)

adapted from smitten kitchen, molly wizenberg

1 pound seedless grapes (red or black or a even a mix)

1 cup white wine vinegar 

1 cup granulated sugar (i used less-about 3/4 cup)

1  1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp whole black peppercorns

1 stick cinnamon for each jar you are using (i used 4 half pint jars, 4 small sticks)

1/4 tsp salt


rinse and dry grapes. remove from stems and cut off very tip of stem end of each grape. this allows the brine to go well within the flesh of the grape and infuse it with it’s loveliness. place the grapes in clean, dry jars. they do not need to be sterile-these are refrigerated pickled grapes. place the rest of the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat to boiling. stir a few times to be sure the sugar and salt have dissolved and remove from heat. i poured mine into another container to speed up the cooling process (and it had a spout to ease in filling the jars). when the brine has cooled to room temperature, pour over the grapes to cover. place lid on jars and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

we devoured them after about 20 hours of brining so i couldn’t tell ya how long they keep. gosh, they were so good with fresh goat cheese and some black pepper water crackers. even the 16 month old in our group could not get enough…thanks, eli!


Filed under appetizer, fruit, grapes

hot carrots!


if you’re anything like us, if it’s pickled, it’s better.  i’ve had this recipe bookmarked for a few years when my friend (and fabulous hairstylist) stacie was remarking that you just can’t get ‘hot carrots’ here in texas, like we had back in california where we grew up. i had almost completely forgotten about these beautifully tangy and mildy picante carrots found on the table of virtually every mexican restaurant in southern california. ninfa’s here in texas used to have them, then removed them for so-called ‘health department’ rules…oh, well. once you try them, you will find any excuse to pair them with whatever you are eating–they are super addictive.



hot carrots (makes about 8-10 half pint ball jars)

12-14 large carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4″ on the bias (see picture)

6 fresh  jalapenos, sliced thinly lengthwise

2 onions, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced thinly

5-10 whole garlic cloves, peeled

4-5 bay leaves

about a tbsp of whole black peppercorns

2 cups regular ol’ white distilled vinegar

4 cups water

1 tsp dried oregano


put all ingredients except oregano in a non-reactive pot and bring to a boil. make sure you have enough liquid to cover the vegetables, adding more water & vinegar in the same 2:1 ratio if necessary. simmer on medium high for a few minutes until carrots are crisp tender, about 5 minutes (a bit less done than you would normally like to eat them because as they sit off the heat, they will cook a smidge more). remove from heat and add oregano. cover with a lid and allow to sit off the heat until cool. put in jars, covered with the vinegar broth and give them away. or put ’em all in a big bowl and cover tightly if you’re selfish and want to keep them all to yourself (stacie!). you really don’t need to sterilize the jars if you keep them refrigerated–they’ll keep for about a thousand years this way. and they’ll get spicier as they become further infused by the peppers.


these are great on tortilla chips or crackers while you’re waiting for someone to cook you up some homemade enchiladas. or put ’em on some black or borracho beans. or sit at the counter and eat ’em straight outta the jar-you know who you are.


Filed under appetizer, mexican, side dish