Monday, April 16, 2012

pickle girl is Pickleback

My sincere apologies to the few—but deeply committed—followers of this blog. It has been ages since my last post (a Cardinal sin, I know). What can I say? The folding of Gourmet during the Recession broke my heart, and with it, my passion for pickle girl slipped a recession of its own.

Since that October, I've kept busy by having a baby, renovating a historic brownstone (still happening), and becoming a publisher at a revolutionary media company.

In the meantime, there have been so many near-comebacks: I practically jumped off the couch when Portlandia made pickles pop culture; the book offers and almost-deals were a thrill, too; and the emails from readers all over the world melted me. Who knew there were so many of you? (Mom, you're not alone.)

But it took a night of serious drinking to reignite my fire.

In the buzz of a rare evening out, I was stupefied to learn that--a mere block from my office--April Bloomfield's liquid gold is the ultimate whiskey chaser. The Pickleback is the house drink at The Ace, and three of these had me scheming with colleagues to resurrect the pickle love. 

Stay tuned for a redesign, more original recipes, and updated, recurring columns such as, PicklePassport, Pickles in the News, and Chef Recipes.

Back to brine!

photo courtesy of

Monday, October 05, 2009

R.I.P. Gourmet

I really thought I would be spending my Monday morning recapping the wonderfully ridiculous International Pickle Day festivities. Instead, we were called into an emergency meeting to learn of Gourmet's demise.

It is with heavy heart that I share the news of Gourmet's folding--nearly 70 years after its inception. The mission of the magazine has always been to open readers' minds to culture through the lens of food.

Unfortunately, America prefers fast, cheap, and easy. Rachel Ray, Sandra Lee, Top Chef. The latest flashes in the pan are steering us towards instant this and 30-minute that. No style, no substance.

pickle girl is all vinegar on this sad day.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Chef Recipe: Andrea Reusing's Pickled Pumpkin

Happy October! This fall season brings a pickle worthy of its own theme song. When reported that One Ring Zero was composing a tune based on these pumpkin pickles by Andrea Reusing, I could barely dial farm-to-fork favorite, Lantern Restaurant, quickly enough.

Special thanks to Andrea Reusing of Lantern Restaurant, for sharing this pickled pumpkin recipe.

Pickled Pumpkin

Use small, organic pumpkins or squashes. Before peeling, taste their skins; if they are tender, they can be left on.

3 pounds pumpkin, cut into thin moons or chunks

5 fresh Thai chilies, split in half lengthwise
1 small piece of unpeeled ginger, thinly sliced
6 cloves peeled garlic
10 white peppercorns
2 quarts unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1 ½ cups distilled white vinegar
1 ½ cups mirin
2 ½ cups white sugar
½ cup kosher salt

1. Combine the brine ingredients in a non-reactive pan and bring the
mixture to a simmer.
2. When the sugar is dissolved, add pumpkin and cook gently, checking frequently, until the pumpkin is just tender.
3. Cool in liquid and refrigerate.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

pickle girl to Join International Pickle Day 2009!

pickle girl, and my kindred pickle spirit, Pickle Freak, will be in the "Resources" tent at the Ninth Annual International Pickle Day on the LES this Sunday!

Wear a costume and strut your salty stuff with the "big pickle" on the green carpet, then upload your photos to our flickr page!

From Grub Street:
What: Ninth Annual NYC International Pickle Day
When: October 4

Where: Parking lot on Broome Street between Essex and Ludlow

What’s New: “More free pickle samples ranging from India to Haiti, Malaysia to Brooklyn, and kosher dills from our very own LES!” Most exciting: There will be canning demos, pickles from the New York Science Barge, music from accordion trio Main Squeeze, and a parade complete with costume contest, though take note — costumes have to be “family friendly.”

Price: Free. More information here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

This just in, via today’s Tasting Table: Edible Manhattan will be celebrating its first year with a Fall Harvest Party this Saturday, complete with a dedicated Pickle Tasting Room! Pickle superstars Rick’s Picks, Horman's Pickles, and Brooklyn Brine Co. will be featured among the city’s other artisanal purveyors of the cheese, chocolate, and salumi varieties.

South Street Seaport (Fulton/South Sts.); buy tickets here ($40).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Pickles Next Door

A small dose of pop culture to get us through the week. To the serious foodies out there: I'm sorry. I couldn't resist.

Monday, September 21, 2009

End of Summer Garlic Conserve

An ode to fresh garlic on this last day of summer...

I’ll often pickle scapes, but this is the first time I have pickled bulbs (buying the soy-pickled variety from the Korean market doesn't count).

This adapted Paul Virant recipe for fresh garlic conserve (via StarChefs) is served with roasted marrow bones and wood-grilled bread. I may end up eating this with everything from bread alone to duck confit nachos.

Side note: Chef Virant is a pickle girl favorite.

1/3 cup olive oil or grape seed oil
4 1/3 cups peeled garlic cloves
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Champagne vinegar
2 heaping tsp. salt

Fresh Garlic Conserve:
1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until caramelized; add the sugar and continue to caramelize.

2. Deglaze with water and cook until the garlic is tender.

3. Deglaze the pan with the Champagne vinegar, add the salt, and remove from the heat.

4. Pack the garlic into sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath.

Pickles in the News: It's a Happy Girl World

Congratulations to my friends at happy girl kitchen co.! The Guardian voted their spicy heirloom tomato juice one of the 50 Best Foods in the World. Pick yours up at the Ferry Building farmers market or order online.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Pickle Passport: Sardella and Her Fella

We raced into Crotone with dreams of a three-hour seafood feast as reprieve from Calabria's oppressive heat. Sidelined by fishmongers slinging eel, sardines, and octopi, we talked into the siesta hours until every dining option was closed. Frankly, we could stand to miss a meal at that point.

This happy accident introduced us to sardella—Calabrian caviar—one of the most obscure flavors in Southern Italy. Keeping with the paradigm of simple Italian dishes, this paste is made of very few ingredients: salt, the region’s sun-baked pepperoncini piccante, and baby sardines, which are left to cure for six-seven months.

Actually, make that newly hatched sardines.

It’s a cruel world, but what can I tell you? It’s a delicious one too.

Sardella paste is sold from plastic buckets at weekly markets. My favorite pasta during this trip (this time I really mean it), was al dente spaghetti, finished in olive oil and sardella. It was at once sweet, salty, earthy. Six Euros of humble bliss.

We also ate simple crostini spread with sardella all over Calabria. Its boldness an arm wrestle with the toe's fierce Ciro wine. Sadly, this nuanced, umami flavor was not available in cans or jars for the trip home. What I would give for some right now.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pickles in the News: Man Defiles Pickle Jar to Make Bomb

This just in from The Badger Herald: man attempts to create bomb from pickle jar. Police thwart his plans, but the neglected victims of this story are the pickles. A snippet:

The pickle jar was on a bench behind Olson, containing batteries and other unidentified objects. A pile of pickles was sitting on the bench in the park, along with a liquid that was presumably pickle juice, according to the police report.

I hope they give this guy 25 to Life.