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National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day: Peanut Butter & Pickle Variation

Peanut Butter & Pickle Sandwich

National Mustard Day (August 5)? National Split Pea Soup Week (the second week of November)? The volume of so-called “national food holidays” tends to make me uncomfortable in the same way that overly sentimental greeting cards do–the thought is largely inoffensive, but the meaning generic and diluted. (Though maybe not when it comes to National Margarita Day. That one I think I’d keep in regular rotation.)

I would have overlooked National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day today, except that it seems to have stirred up the conversation around the peanut butter and pickle variation and this is a sandwich I feel compelled to advocate for. It being my snack of preference as a picky-eater kid, I was honestly shocked to discover how many people think this is a dish entirely too gross to even consider tasting. For me, it carries the memory of sneaking in late from high school dates and hanging out in the quiet of the kitchen, all the ingredients laid out on the counter while I made my preparations by the dim glow of the stove’s overhead light. Inevitably, my mom would hear me clanking around and get out of bed to ask how my night had been. Then she’d shuffle back to her room, wondering aloud why I hadn’t bothered to eat properly while I was out.

Peanut Butter & Pickle Sandwich: Makings

Was my PB&P just a passing teenage infatuation? While for some reason I had largely abandoned this childhood sweetheart when I left Ohio, our reconnection was as delicious as I could have hoped for. A suspicious “what are you eating?” inquiry and taste bite request from my husband had him making his own before my plate was clean. Should you wish to take a pass on this sweet and savory treat, well, the more for us. But you won’t know what you’re missing.

Peanut Butter & Pickle Sandwich: Slices

Peanut Butter & Pickle Sandwich

Peanut Butter & Pickle Sandwich

rye bread (seeded preferred)
peanut butter (a sweet variety is best, for balance)
kosher dill pickle slices (though some prefer the sweetness of bread and butter style)
potato chips (thick ridged variety, if possible)

Toast the bread and spread both slices with a generous layer of peanut butter. Layer pickle slices over one slice and crush chips over the other. Sandwich together and slice in half.

Plate with additional chips and pickles if you’re feeling fancy; eat over the sink at 2 a.m. and don’t clean the crumbs off the counter before you go to bed if you’re feeling rebellious.

http://wonderlandkitchen.com/2013/04/national-peanut-butter-and-jelly-day-peanut-butter-pickle-variation/

rye bread (seeded preferred)
peanut butter (a sweet variety is best, for balance)
kosher dill pickle slices (though some prefer the sweetness of bread and butter style)
potato chips (thick ridged variety, if possible)

Toast the bread and spread both slices with a generous layer of peanut butter. Layer pickle slices over one slice and crush chips over the other. Sandwich together and slice in half. Plate with additional chips and pickles if you’re feeling fancy; eat over the sink at 2 a.m. and don’t clean the crumbs off the counter before you go to bed if you’re feeling rebellious.

Can’t Wait, Won’t Wait: Quick Spring Pickles

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The Preservation Kitchen. Canning for a New Generation. If reading material is any indication, this is going to be the summer of packing things into jars. And if not jars, then bottles.

Still, though I am perhaps past the desperate early-April rush to consume the first fresh greens of spring right now, this minute, I have neither the budget nor yet the patience to actually commit any of my market finds to long term caning storage–no matter how lovely the little spears would look lined up on my pantry shelf. Still, I was anxious to do something with all these recipes and glassware I’ve been gathering, so this weekend, I split the difference and did a bit of quick pickling with ramps and asparagus. I know I can’t wait 6 mos., but 24 hours I should be able to manage. More or less.

More than anything, I was out to try this quick pickled ramps recipe once I spied the inclusion of juniper berries, an ingredient I just happen to have on hand due to my adventures in mead making. I’ve already snuck an early sample with breakfast, and better find some restraint or they will all be gone by nightfall.

(Do check out Andrea’s entire “Where the Wild Things Are” series if foraging and herbs and such get your imagination fired. I get ridiculously excited when I see there’s a new post.)

ramps

ramps: pickle prep

pickling the asparagus

asparagus on ice

Pickled Ramps

Pickled Ramps: Bet you can't eat just one.

A Peck of Pickled Peppers

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Okay, not a peck, just a jar. Still, when Brian stripped down our one and only jalapeño plant and laid out all those bright green peppers on the kitchen counter, I was a little stumped. I had flashbacks to when my dad would proudly arrive in the kitchen carrying four or five baseball bat-sized zucchinis that had been hiding in our backyard garden. My mother would take one look at him and his harvest and order them all back outside. She wanted nothing to do with any of it. When Brian said he was looking forward to seeing what I was going to do with so many jalapeños, I was tempted to follow her example.

These peppers had been on the hot side of their variety (at least when compared with the half-rotting ones I tend to find in grocery stores), which was lovely when the harvest was coming in only a few at a time. This end-of-the-season bumper crop, however, was a little harder to wrap my mind around. We were just on our way out of town, so I pushed them all into a bag and hid them in the crisper drawer–a hot problem for another day.

Back home after a week on the road, the peppers demanded my attention. Preservation seemed the name of the game at this point, but frozen peppers never seem to work out for me (their texture is ruined by the freezing process, and I tend to forget to use them in situations where that might not matter). Having just finished the last of six jars of pickled green beans, however, this seemed a method our family was capable of putting to good use.

In addition, this week’s new-to-my-kitchen vegetable is the daikon. One of my favorite Waverly farmers was selling off bunches of them for a buck, so it seemed I had little to lose on the investment. Raw salads and slaws being low on my list as we cruise into the cooler fall temperatures, I decided pickling these was a good storage plan as well.

Pickled Jalapeño Peppers
from The Purple Foodie

330 g sliced jalapeños (I was a little shy on this weight once I’d sorted out a few bad specimens, so I just sliced and filled a sterilized pint jar and called it enough snacking heat for the household)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 T peppercorns
2 bay leaves
3 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
2 T kosher salt
1 T sugar

Wash and slice the jalapeños–carefully. Wear gloves and mind what you touch. I have had pepper-burned hands and do not recommend it (though if you do find yourself injured, pushing your fingers into some yogurt seems to help). Pack the pile of peppers (sorry, couldn’t help myself) into a sterilized jar or jars, as best suits your needs.

The Purple Foodie passes on a pickling tip in her recipe that she learned from Michael Ruhlman’s blog for determining how much liquid you’ll need in advance: once you pack the vegetables into the jar, cover with water. Pour it back off into a measuring cup. Discard half the water and replace the missing volume with your chosen vinegar for a perfectly measured 50/50 mix.

Once you have determined the amount of liquid you will need, add that and the remaining ingredients to a pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour this mixture back over the peppers, screw on the lids, and refrigerate for a few days (or as long as you can wait). This batch should keep a couple of months.

Pickled Daikon
variation on the Momofuku Vinegar Pickle base recipe

There are many cooks on the internet who are preparing a carrot/daikon pickle for banh mi sandwiches. That wasn’t really what I was after, so I decided to start with a basic rice wine pickle recipe and add my own spices.

1 bunch daikon, washed, peeled, and cut into thin sticks to fit your jar (I used a pint, and these proportions worked well.)
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
3 T sugar
1 T kosher salt
1 tsp. vindaloo seasoning or spices of your choice

Pack the prepared daikon sticks into a sterilized pint jar. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour this mixture over the daikon, screw on the lid, and let sit in the refrigerator for a few days before using.

Totally Impractical

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Yesterday, I bought a whole watermelon at the market.

This would not have been such an issue if I had not already purchased two full bags of produce. Or if I wasn’t counting on the bus to get me home. But these things happen. Dear Mr. Bus Driver who waited for me to sprint-waddle over to the stop before taking off, even though you were already pulling back out into traffic when you noticed me: I hope a cool breeze follows you all summer long for your kindness.

So, as I said, I made some purchases, got myself home, then broke training and cranked my air conditioner while I contemplated what to make. In the end, most of my construction work ended up in jars. More ginger beer, more yogurt, more watermelon juice (mixing this with seltzer is my new favorite drink, and I’m fully stocked up now). The piles and piles of baby cucumbers at the market demanded a batch of sweet pickles and the tomatillos, a cubanelle, and some of the super-hot garden peppers still hanging out in the freezer from last season went into a simple and lovely roasted tomatillo salsa verde. Wanting to put that condiment to use immediately, I stuffed the remaining cubanelles with rice, a couple of the tomatoes, and (avert your eyes) a meat substitution product (for the health and happiness of the husband).

Once the oven was on to bake the stuffed peppers, I decided I might as well make use of the already-steamy kitchen to do up the fairytale eggplants as well. Those were all sliced in half, dropped into a hot chef pan with a bit of water, and then finished with this awesome sauce of rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, sake, ginger, garlic, and a pinch of sugar and cornstarch. Six minutes from raw to such a tasty side dish: in this kitchen, you could even call that practical.

Prelude to a Feast

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Three Points Kitchen is hosting its first group dinner in D.C. this weekend, and the cooking has already begun! With hints of spring on the horizon and a Persian theme on the table, a few quick pickles have been mixed for the fridge, an elderberry short mead bottled, some yogurt and chutney made up, and a couple flat breads baked (I will try my best not to eat them before Sunday!).

I’ll put my knife down and pick my camera up throughout the weekend, and we’ll catalog the recipes when it’s all over. Meanwhile, an amuse-bouche to get things started. Here we go!