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Quick Pickled Cucumber Tomato Salad

July 19, 2017
Quick Pickled Cucumber Tomato Salad Recipe |

I hate to say it, but I’m pretty sure my days of canning are over. Or at least on pause for a while.

I’m not opposed to doing it again, but I learned something pretty quickly after our big garden and endless canning motivation back in Kentucky – we can’t eat it all. Especially when it is jam, or jalapenos, or relish.

Salsa we did a pretty good job of polishing off, but the rest of it? It was just too much to have around or even to give away. 

These days my time is spent making small batches of jam in a saucepan and popping it in the fridge, versus a water bath for long term storage. Same goes for pickling – it is small batch quick pickling all the way.

Growing up we always had cucumber salad in the summer made with a sugar and vinegar dressing.  

I still make a similar version, but with a bit less sugar. Occasionally I throw in other veggies which is how this salad came about.

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Quick Pickled Long Beans with Lemongrass

July 29, 2015

  Quick Pickled Long Beans with Lemongrass | Fake Food Free

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve gotten away from canning. I used to be all about the jams and relishes.

Until I wasn’t.

And by that I mean until I had the pantry stocked with too many condiments than two people (and the occasional friend or family member) could possibly eat. 

So I’ve scaled back a bit. Only small batches, and as it turns out, a lot of quick pickling. I actually prefer quickly pickling. Yes, you have to eat the veggies within a few days, but you can make much smaller amounts and things stay crisp. Something I used to struggle with when water bath canning. 

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Pickled Daikon and Kohlrabi Salad

March 10, 2015

This tangy pickled daikon and kohlrabi salad makes a super simple side dish for spring!

 Pickled Daikon and Kohlrabi Salad | Fake Food Free 

I’m a big fan of pickled veggies. Asparagus, long beans, cucumbers, carrots — pickle it and I love it. Last year, I gave up on pickling for long term preserving. Meaning no water bath pickling, etc.

I just can’t seem to master the art of keeping things crisp, and the batches end up being too large for us to finish in a reasonable amount of time. 

So now I’m into quick pickling. A few veggies, a vinegar mixture, a couple hours in the fridge and a manageable amount is ready to serve. 

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Baby Yellow Potatoes with Smoky Sauce, Pickled Shallots and Bacon

January 29, 2015

These baby yellow potatoes are a recreation of an appetizer we had while dining out. They are served with a smoky sauce and topped with tangy pickled shallots and crisp crumbled bacon! The Baby Dutch Yellow Potatoes I recently received from Melissa’s Produce are the perfect size for this party snack or side dish.

Baby Dutch Yellow Potatoes with Smoky Sauce, Pickled Shallots and Bacon | Fake Food Free 

I’m not really a bar person. Brewery tasting room person, yes, but bar person, not so much. I’m talking about the kind where all the cool kids go. The places where you have to scream to speak with someone and get bumped so many times that you aren’t sure if you actually drank your cocktail or splashed it out of the glass. 

Truth be told, though, these places are usually pretty cool, with intriguing interiors and inventive drinks. I don’t like to miss out completely, so if I do go, I prefer to be there about 5:00 pm.

Yes, I know. Old lady. But this is also when happy hour specials are available so I call it me being frugal.

Don’t worry. I see it, too.  Happy hour specials could easily merge into the early bird discounts at the local restaurant and eating dinner at 4:00 pm. I may be on a downward spiral. 

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Javanese Carrot and Cucumber Pickle Recipe (Acar Timun)

August 5, 2014

This recipe for carrot and cucumber pickles remains one of my very favorites. If you like pickled veggies as much as I do, this cookbook needs some space on your shelf!

Javanese Carrot and Cucumber Pickle |

The first time we traveled to Southeast Asia, I completely missed a very important thing about the cuisine.

It’s all about the condiments.

I saw the little bowls of peppers, relishes, chutneys and sauces on our table and I tried one here and there, but it wasn’t until we returned and I researched recipes further that I realized I should have been much more adventurous! Now, I can make a complete meal out of the condiments alone. Sweet, spicy, tangy, pickled, fermented – you name it and I want it.

I’ve become that annoying person at the dinner table who asks a million question of the server. What is that? How is it made? What’s in it? I’ll take any little piece of information I can grab to help me find a recipe so I can make it at home later, or at least attempt to. I always feel a little intimidated because it never seems to turn out just right. But that’s probably because I haven’t really had a reliable resource for recipes. Until now.

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Spiced Balsamic Pickled Cherries Recipe

July 17, 2014
Spiced Balsamic Pickled Cherries Recipe |
Last Friday I loaded up on gorgeous Washington State cherries at the Whole Foods one-day sale. By loaded up I mean I bought 10 pounds. I am a sucker for specials on fruit, and cherries freeze well, so I convinced myself to add a few extra bags to my cart.
By Tuesday, I realized my cherry pitting hack of using a hard plastic straw wasn’t going to cut it so I broke down and bought a pitter. By Wednesday, they were all pitted and waiting to either be used or frozen.
I made a double batch of Kentucky Bourbon-Vanilla Soaked Cherries, but I still had about a pint left in the fridge. A pint that was decreasing at the rate of about one cherry per hour every time I opened the fridge and ate one.
I wanted to make something else with these cherries, but I really didn’t want a bunch of baked goods around. Then I spotted a recipe (via Pinterest) this morning for Spiced Quick-Pickled Cherries, which randomly ended up being from Whole Foods as well.


Spiced Balsamic Pickled Cherries Recipe |
I’d seen recipes for pickled cherries before, but this one convinced me to give them a try. It sparked an idea for my own version. I had some other spices on hand and I really wanted to use star anise because I love the flavor. I also wanted to try using some rich balsamic vinegar instead of white vinegar.
This recipe comes together very quickly, but that is only part of it. After you drown the cherries in the spiced, syrupy, vinegar goodness they have to sit in the fridge and you have to wait patiently on the other side of the door.


Spiced Balsamic Pickled Cherries Recipe |
It was hard work, but I tasted them every few hours because I wanted to know the minimum they could sit to get the best flavor. As a result, I suggest letting them soak for at least 12 hours before serving, and 24 would be even better. They tasted good after just a few hours, but the spiced flavors get stronger and more delicious as they sit.
I’ve been snacking on them straight from the jar, but the original recipe suggests serving pickled cherries with charcuterie and I think that would be an excellent way to use them. Cocktails and ice cream topping come to mind as well.


Spiced Balsamic Pickled Cherries

Inspired by Spiced Quick-Pickled Cherries
Makes: 1 pint
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
5 cardamom pods
5 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
¾ cup balsamic vinegar, or enough to fill the jar
1 pint fresh cherries, pitted
Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until all the sugar is dissolved the liquid thickens a little.

Add the cardamom, cloves, anise and the cinnamon stick. Stir, remove from the heat and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes.

Pack the cherries into a clean pint jar, leaving at least a 1-inch head space. Pour the syrup and the spices into the jar. You might need to push the whole spices around to help them fit.

Pour the vinegar into the jar to cover the cherries, leaving a 1-inch head space. Seal the jar with a lid and band. Gently shake it a bit to mix and coat all the cherries.

Place the jar in the refrigerator and give it a shake every few hours, or when you think about it. Let chill in the fridge for at least 12 hours before serving.



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Spicy Pickled Long Beans Recipe

September 11, 2013

I see them on every menu. On the appetizer page for restaurants that proudly serve housemade specialties. On the snack menus of every pub that serves craft beer. And as a half price small plate at happy hour.

Pickled vegetables.

In case you missed it, they are all the rage. I have to say that I’m fully embracing the trend. I absolutely love pickled foods.

I finally tried pickled ginger a few weeks ago because I had a great cookbook to review. But experimenting with other pickled veggies is something I just couldn’t seem to get around to.

I’d buy a head of cauliflower or some carrots and I’d think — I should try pickling those. It happened over and over again and each time I’d end up using the vegetables for something else.

It wasn’t until I picked up a pound of long beans from the Farmer’s Market that I finally found my motivation to get pickling.

I associate long beans with Asian food (as I think most others do, too). More specifically, I associate them with Thai food because the first time I ever used them was in the green papaya salad we made while taking a cooking class in Chiang Mai.

I’m not that big of a fan of green beans, and since long beans are similar, I haven’t branched out to buy any since that class.

But as you know, I’ve been jumping in head first with buying new and different ingredients in the East Bay. So after seeing piles and piles of them on tables at the market for the outrageous price of $1 per pound, I grabbed some.

That was sarcasm, by the way. There are few vegetables that are not worth $1 per pound to me. You wave a sign saying that over produce and I’ll buy just about anything.

So after the long beans sat in the fridge for a few days a familiar thought popped in my head — I should pickle those. This time I followed through.

I am so glad I did. They turned out so well! We finished an entire jar the second I opened them! Knowing the season is quickly coming to an end, I bought 3 pounds last Friday to make a few more jars to enjoy later in the year.

I used a modified version of Marisa McClellan’s (Food in Jars) recipe that was featured on Serious Eats. She recommends water bath processing the beans to soften their slightly tough exterior. The texture was perfect and I love that this makes them more shelf stable as well.

I modified the recipe by using ginger and a Thai chile as seasoning. The Thai chile was what made them. They were spicy and tangy at the same time. I knew I would want smaller pieces of the bean so I went ahead and cut them into small pieces before I packed them.

We’ve eaten them straight out of the jar and I’ve also been chopping them up to eat over Asian noodle dishes. It’s going to take some serious self control not to finish all the jars in a few weeks!

Spicy Pickled Long Beans

Modified from Pickled Chinese Long Beans by Marisa McClellan

Makes: 2 pint jars

1 lb. Chinese long beans (green or purple), cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4, ¼ to ½  inch pieces fresh ginger, peeled
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 Thai chiles
2 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
2 cups water
2 tbsp pickling salt

Pack the long beans into each of two sterilized pint jars. Add two cloves of garlic, two pieces of ginger, and ½ teaspoon of peppercorns to each jar. Cut a slit in the side of each of the chiles and place one in each jar.

Bring the vinegar, water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Pour half of the hot brine into each of the jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean, damp towel. Seal with a new lid and a band. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Remove from the water bath and set jars on a cooling rack. After one hour, check to make sure the jars have sealed. Let rest for 12 hours before labeling and storing. Let sit for at least 2 weeks before eating.


If you need help with safe canning practices, please check out the resources from National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia.

Japanese Pickled Ginger Recipe from The Joy of Pickling

August 19, 2013

   Japanese Pickled Ginger Recipe from The Joy of Pickling | Fake Food Free

Two of my favorite condiments are served beside sushi. First, it’s that pleasantly spicy wasabi. Second is the pickled ginger. I could eat that ginger on just about anything. It has crossed my mind that I could probably make it at home, but I have never searched for a good recipe. Fortunately, now I don’t have to because this time around a good recipe found me. 

All summer I have been browsing the pages of one amazing cookbook. It contains recipes for pickled everything! Or at least it seems like just about everything. The Joy of Pickling: 250 Flavor-Packed Recipes for Vegetables and More from Garden or Market by Linda Ziedrich

While you will find a huge variety of cucumber pickles, this cookbook goes well beyond the standard dill. Figs. You can pickle figs?! And peaches? There is even pickled pig’s ear should you choose to go there. There is also page after page of interesting condiments and sauces like Hot Orange Ketchup and Rhubarb Chutney
There were so many tempting recipes to try in this book, but I knew I finally had to give Japanese Pickled Ginger a try. The best part about many pickling recipes is that they are so easy to make. Top a few fruits or veggies with a liquid, seal and rest. A few days later you have a crisp, tangy snack or condiment. 
That is definitely the case with this ginger. Peeling and slicing takes a little time, but I had this recipe done in less than 30 minutes. Now that I have the ginger down, it may be time to start practicing the sushi. 
Japanese Pickled Ginger Recipe from The Joy of Pickling | Fake Food Free
This book has been out for a while now and I’m so glad that it finally caught my attention. I can tell it will become a well-used resource book for me every year. If you are spending late summer and early fall wondering what to do with all your garden produce, the chances are good that you can pickle it. This cookbook will show you how. 
Japanese Pickled Ginger Recipe from The Joy of Pickling | Fake Food Free
Japanese Pickled Ginger
©Linda Ziedrich 2009. Reprinted with permission from The Harvard Common Press.
Makes: About 1 Pint
From the book:
Use fresh young ginger for this pickle. Available in Asian markets, young ginger is pale, almost white with very thin skin and pink stem stubs. A mandolin may be useful for slicing the root. Your pickled ginger may turn out faintly pink, but it won’t have the hot pink color you’ll see in commercial versions of this pickle, that color comes from food dye. A traditional accompaniment to sushi, pickled ginger refreshes the palate and cleanses the mouth of fishy tastes
1 quart water
½ pound fresh ginger, sliced paper thin
1 teaspoon plus a sprinkle of pickling salt
1 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon light (usukuchi) Japanese soy sauce
Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan and add the ginger. Bring the water back to a boil and then drain the ginger well in a colander. Let the ginger cool.
Put the ginger into a bowl and sprinkle the ginger lightly with salt.
In a saucepan, bring to a boil the vinegar, the sugar, the 1 teaspoon salt, and the soy sauce, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Pour the hot liquid over the ginger, mix well.
Store the ginger in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. It will be ready to use in a day or two and will keep for several months, at least. 

Disclosure: This cookbook was sent to me for review purposes by The Harvard Common Press. I was not required to post about it and I received no compensation for doing so.