Saturday, March 13, 2010

pickled shallots

Back to pickling! I had this recipe bookmarked even before learning what this month's Can Jam ingredient was. We have a sort-of CSA at the farmer's market (we write them a check for $300 and get $400 in "store credit"). The farm that we have this arrangement with specializes in alliums, especially garlic. Their shallots are pretty great, too, so I used a variation on The River Cottage Preserves Handbook's pickled onion recipe to make these pickles.

Pickled Shallots with Red & White Wine Vinegars
adapted from The River Cottage Preserves Handbook & the Ball Blue Book

  • about 2.25 lb small shallots, peeled
  • 50g fine salt
  • 300ml / ~1.5 C red wine vinegar (I used a cabernet vinegar)
  • 300ml / ~1.5 C white wine vinegar (I used champagne vinegar)
  • 150g honey or sugar (I used honey)
  • 25g scrubbed ginger, cut into coins
  • 2 tsp allspice berries (I ended up substituting 3 tsp of pickling spices for the allspice, mace, and mustard)
  • 2-3 mace blades
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
(If you find you have trouble peeling the shallots - they can really be little buggers - try plunging them into boiling water for 20 seconds and then immediately plunging into ice water. They should then peel more easily... though they're still tedious to peel.)

Pour the vinegars into a pan with the honey or sugar, ginger, and all spices other than bay leaves. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to infuse overnight.

Meanwhile, put the shallots into a dish and sprinkle with the salt. Cover and leave overnight in the refrigerator.

Heat brine to a boil. Rinse the onions in cold water, drain, and add to brine. Simmer for 5 minutes. Pack into jars.

Pour hot liquid over shallots, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Allow pickles to mature for at least 6 weeks before eating.

yield: about 4 C (I ended up with 2 pt jars and 1 1/2 pt jar)

ETA on May 18, 2010: I finally tried the pickles - they're very tasty, and the perfect accompaniment to grilled hot dogs and burgers.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Monday: Sausages; Marinara Sauce; Polenta

Monday: Sausages; Marinara Sauce; Polenta

Monday's meal was similar to this summer one, except that I actually did take the time to make the polenta. For a while we ate this (or something similar) about once a week, but we've been eating so much other meat recently that I've been skipping it. Still, yummy comfort food is yummy.

I made the polenta a little looser than I often do, so that it stayed more porridge-like when it was re-heated for our lunches the next day.


  • 5 C water
  • 1 C polenta
  • ~ tsp salt
  • olive oil
  • parmesan
Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the polenta and salt, continuing to stir until the polenta no longer falls to the bottom of the pan when you stop stirring. Continue to simmer over low heat until cooked to your liking, 30-60 minutes. Stir in some olive oil and parmesan for flavoring and serve.
serves about 4