Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Precious Pikle-It

Now that we have finished running about between Missoula and Portland like bees buzzing between flowers, I can tell you all about my favorite kitchen "gadget" this year..... the Pickl-It from the wonderful People at Pickl-It.
I got a set for myself and my sister-in-law, - since we both are fermenting fiends.

A few years ago, I had gotten a Harsch Gairtopf crock (see earlier posts regarding sauerkraut making) because I was tired of skimming my 'kraut. Essentially, I love kitchen science, but I'm even more enamored of  accomplishing kitchen crafts with less oversight! The Harsch crock has a wonderful "burping lid" water lock system that allows you to leave your crock unattended for several days at a time while the fermentation beasties work in a safe environment. My Harsch crock is in almost constant use, and I would never give it up.

But there were still times when I wanted something smaller....for those tiny baby carrots, or the 3 small heads of garden fresh bok choy, or even just one quart of baby dills.
Here's Jon's approved 5-Star concoction:

Ginger Stuffed Baby Cucumbers
      adapted from The Joy of Pickling

Start with about 7-8 baby cucumbers, about 4-5" long.
Slice them, long-wise, not quite all the way through, 2-3 times on each cuke, and sprinkle a bit of sea salt along the insides of the cuts. Set them in a bowl containing 3 c. filtered water with 7 1/2 tsp. sea salt dissolved in it. Let them sit in there, at room temperature, for about 2-3 hours.

When you are ready to stuff the cucumbers, place the following in a shallow bowl (future "stuffing"):
     1  daikon radish & 1 med. carrot, sliced into matchsticks   about 1 1/2" long
     6 scallions, sliced lengthwise and slivered
     2-3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
    fresh ginger sliced into matchsticks in volume about equal to the carrots and daikon
Sprinkle these with another tsp. of salt and a tsp. or so of cayenne pepper flakes.

Drain the cukes, and reserve the brine. gently open cucumber and carefully stuff an assortment of matchsticks and slices in each of the cucumber cavities. Place the remainder of any stuffing in a bowl, and place the full cukes on top. Cover with a tea towel and let stand overnight or about 8-10 hours.

Finally, pack the stuffed cucumbers into the 1.5 ltr Pickl-it, sprinkle any remaining "stuffing" around them, cover with the reserved brine, place the weight on top to keep things submerged, attach the (water-filled) air-lock, and let stand at room temperature for 2-3 days before refrigerating.

The Pickl-it air-lock can be removed and a tiny rubber plug inserted in the hole, so that storage in the fridge is easy and not cumbersome.

These were a hit as our Fourth of July pot-luck contribution - we served them cut into about 1" chunks.

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