Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

Gabe and I had dinner at a Jewish deli in Minneapolis for the first time last week. We were frequent visitors at Zaftigs in Brookline, and I’m proud to say that I’ve eaten the as-tall-as-my-face pastrami sandwich at Brent’s Deli in Los Angeles. So it was borderline absurd that we’d made it eight months in Minnesota without a stop at Rye Deli.

Despite the fact that a crazy hailstorm rolled in and we had to grab our food and run– getting the car safely under covered parking just in the nick of time– it was a fantastic experience. And now I’m even more obsessed with trying Jewish recipes. Matzo ball soup? Check. Challah? Check. Next up? Pickles!

I was one of those kids who used to drink pickle juice for fun, so it was with glee and a slightly manic expression that I bounded through the grocery store carrying four ginormous cucumbers and declared for all to hear, “I’m going to make pickles!” Sometimes I can be embarrassing to shop with.

This recipe was super quick to whip up and easily multiplied. The hardest part was an agonizing two-day wait while the pickles cured. But then, bubbling with anticipation, I broke into a jar and Gabe and I tasted them for the first time. He looked at me with a sense of wonder breaking over his face and said simply, “You made pickles.”

Yes, yes I did.

Spicy refrigerator pickles

Spicy refrigerator pickles

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Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

This recipe is really easy to multiply! For each 16-oz. mason jar, you need the following:

  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced into spears
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbs. distilled vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. kosher salt

Place garlic and red pepper flakes at the bottom of the jar. Add two sprigs of dill and the cucumber spears. Make the brine by stirring together water, vinegar, and salt until salt is dissolved. Pour brine over cucumbers in jar. Top with another sprig of dill and tighten lid on jar.

Place in refrigerator and wait two days before eating. Enjoy!

Source: Very slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats.

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Cake Decor Galore

My lovely mother arrived last Friday for a weekend visit to Beantown. Apart from the usual touristy stuff, we hosted an afternoon cake decorating get-together for a handful of my girlfriends. Since my mom has mad skills and I do not, it was awesome to have her teach us how to do basket weave, cornelli lace, roses, swags, rosettes, and on and on and on. (It was also absurd how much powdered sugar and butter we went through. Yum.)

My mom’s on her way home now, but she left me with a big box of cake tips and a bunch of her guidebooks. So I basically want to spend the next week doodling with frosting. (Schoolwork and planning Thanksgiving dinner can wait, right?) I’m so excited about this whole new world that just opened up. Think of all the cupcakes and cookies and birthday cakes I can decorate!

Thanks to my mother for teaching us all, and thanks to Gabe for being such a good sport as we filled the apartment with sugar and chatter. (P.S. My boyfriend can hold his own– he makes a mean basket weave. I’m so proud.)

Spring Break Recipe Round-up

As soon as my little sis headed back to Minnesota, the temperature plunged and my textbooks beckoned. Spring break and 80 degrees were fun while they lasted.

Here’s a recap of all the yummy food we cooked during Erin’s visit. Some of the recipes will be posted in the next few days as I finish up papers and get organized. Enjoy!

Recipe Round-up:

My Little Protégé

My youngest sister Erin is here for the week and we’ve been busy cooking up all her favorite foods. (And doing touristy things like visiting the science museum. And the outlet mall.)

I promise I’ll post a recipe recap soon. But for now I’ll just share an adorable picture of Erin getting her hands dirty while making homemade pasta. I’m so proud.

Oles and Cannolis

The apartment seems so quiet, now that it’s no longer filled with giggling 24-year-old women. Erin, Rebecca, and I had a lovely weekend together, filled with reminiscences, deep conversations, good food, and lots of laughter. Gabe was a champ and made us pancakes for breakfast, enchiladas for dinner, and tomato sauce for our homemade pasta.

Besides cooking up a storm, we spent a fair amount of time wandering around Boston. Like any good hostess, I took the girls to Mike’s Pastry for cannolis. It was super exciting.

It was a lovely weekend, and I’m hoping to get some posts up soon detailing the goodies we made. Until then, here are the recipes (with links to other sites as needed). As soon as Gabe figures out an actual recipe for his enchiladas, I’ll post that too!

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Recipe Round-up:

See Food, Eat Food

Mariah, Grant, and I had dinner on Friday night with Mariah’s college friend, Tom.  He took us to a restaurant where he used to work and we enjoyed a delicious meal of fresh seafood.

The thing about seafood is that I generally find it tasty, but I’m a bit intimidated by its natural packaging.  I hate peeling and de-veining raw shrimp, and getting mussels out of their shells totally freaks me out.  Give me a skinned, boned fish fillet, and I can make a decent meal.  But there’s no way I’d ever crack open a crab leg or lobster claw.  Gross.

Despite my prejudices, on Friday night I experienced a first in a lifetime of eating seafood: raw oysters.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I picked up half an oyster shell, slurped the meat up, and swallowed it whole.  It tasted pretty salty and sort of like a pickle.  While it’s not a new favorite, I was definitely glad I had done it.

Plus, I felt super brave, even as I sat across the table from Mariah and Grant and watched the Minnesotans gleefully break apart and chow down a whole lobster.  I wasn’t gonna get near that thing.

"I'll get you, my pretty!"

P.S. There’s a short video of me eating the oyster, but I’d have to pay a lot of money to be able to post videos on my blog.  Just imagine me freaking out a lot and then exclaiming: “Oh, I survived!”

Sunshine and Staircases

My high school friend, Mariah, and her boyfriend, Grant, are visiting us this weekend.  Since I don’t have class on Fridays, I spent yesterday with them doing touristy things.  We followed the red brick path of the Freedom Trail, ate lunch in the North End, walked around downtown, toured the Sam Adams brewery, and ate a seafood dinner on the harbor.

Surprisingly, we managed to do all this after climbing the 294 steps of the Bunker Hill Monument first thing in the morning.

The view at the top was amazing, but my legs are punishing me today.  Next time I have a hankering for heights, I’ll take the elevator to the top of the Prudential Center instead.

What a beautiful morning!

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