Here is a fun project to make quick pickles using fresh fruits and vegetables and a little vinegar. The process of quick pickling adds a super crunch and intensifies flavors but without all the salt and time-consuming processes of regular pickles. PLUS having these on hand eliminates food waste and stretches food buying days while adding a new flavor twist to many meals.
Pickles in cupcakes? This line came from my favorite children's book of all times, Warthogs in the Kitchen. This book taught math and generated an interest in cooking by having sloppy fun with warthogs in a kitchen. I am not sure I ever actually put pickles in cupcakes but I guess you could try it! UPDATE: I received so many requests for these cupcakes that I created a recipe for red velvet cupcakes using beet pickles and included a download for it below!
Recently I embarked upon a project to use fresh spring vegetables to make quick pickles. Quick pickles are easy to make because they just require a glass container, vinegar, and fresh veggies. No need for long canning times or the use of a lot of salt. I used very little salt in my recipe.
I made ten different kinds of pickles using a master brine solution, glass jars, and these fantastic flavor combinations:
- Carrot Ginger – use quartered, peeled carrots, and fresh sliced ginger. Eat these as snacks or make a little tapas appetizer plate as we show below.
- Asparagus Basil – use the spears of the asparagus with fresh basil leaves. Serve this as a chilled salad or side dish.
- Salsa – use halved cherry tomatoes, onions, hot peppers, and a little chopped cabbage. Use this as pico de Gallo for tacos and burritos.
- Cabbage Hot Pepper (for city tacos!) – slice the cabbage and marinate with rings of hot peppers. You can drain and use this masterpiece to top city tacos or fish tacos. It is also delicious on a sandwich.
- Beets – slice the beets very thin. Add a little red wine or use red wine vinegar for the marinade. These make a great side dish with any dinner.
- Garam Masala Cucumber – use freshly sliced cucumbers and 1 tablespoon of garam masala whole spices. We served these over ice cream, in drinks, on salads, in sandwiches, and as a garnish for many meals.
- Mushrooms and Thyme – use quartered mushrooms and fresh sprigs of thyme. These pair well with a roasted dinner.
- Cauliflower – remove the florets from the head of cauliflower and marinate them in the basic liquid plus black pepper, fresh oregano, and garlic powder. Add a little lemon zest. Serve as a chilled salad.
- Berry Chutney – use a mix of apples, berries, onions, and cinnamon. Add a little grated orange, too. These go very well with yogurt or over roasted poultry.
- Cabernet Red Onion – peel small red onions. Top with the marinade and then add a little cabernet sauvignon or other red wine. These make great appetizers with nuts and cheese.
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Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. But after learning that the quality of a croissant directly varies with how much butter it has, Judy sought to challenge herself by coming up with recipes that were as healthy as they were tasty.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.