Monday, August 5, 2013

R-Rated Pickles: Quick Gin Pickled Carrots & Zucchini with Rosemary

These are supposed to be a cocktail nibble.  They are best after about 5 days soaking in their gin-bath. And not to be shared with kids, because there is actually gin in them. Two of those  three statements are absolutely true. I can't vouch for the second statement, really, because I always start eating them within 3 days. Can't help myself. My third batch in a week, and there are only two measly carrots and a single zucchini stick left from the first one. Very little more of the second is left, and the third jar is intact  only because I really needed a good picture, and I did just make them today. They may be quick pickles, but I love them so much they aren't as quick as I'd like them to be ready to eat.

I call these pickles R-rated because they are so damn good, and with the gin, they're not for children. There is something like a happy marriage between juniper, which is one of the main flavors of gin, and rosemary, something cool and evergreen-ish in these pickles. A little spicy, a little sweet and a little martini like. Perfect.

Note: If you can actually get baby carrots at a farmer's market for these pickles, or grow them yourself, please do. Those things called baby carrots in bags at the supermarket are really big carrots that have been cut into tiny shapes on something the looks like a woodworker's lathe. Just cut some nice, full sized organic carrots into sticks if you can't find real baby carrots. Use either a regular quart canning jar, or if you have a cute 1 liter Weck jar like my pal Amy got me out in California, use that.  Just use something tall.

R-Rated Pickles:
 Quick Gin Pickled Carrots & Zucchini with Rosemary

R-Rated Pickles: Quick Gin Pickled Carrots & Zucchini with Rosemary

Makes 1 quart jar

4 or more real baby carrots depending on size, trimmed
2 young zucchini, each cut in 6 strips lengthwise
1 mild Anaheim or JalapeƱo pepper, in 1/2" wide strips
1  5"  fresh rosemary sprig
1 3" strip of lemon or lime zest
3 oz. gin
5 garlic cloves
1T whole black peppercorns
1T whole coriander seeds
6-7 dried juniper berries
1 T kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup white distilled vinegar
1 cup water

1. In a medium saucepan, put the peppercorns, coriander, juniper berries, salt, sugar water and vinegar. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Cover the pot and let stand while you prep the jar.

2. Place the garlic cloves into the bottom of a clean 1-quart or 1-liter canning jar. Trim the carrots, zucchini and pepper strips so that they are about 3/4" shorter than your jar. Pack the carrots, zucchini and hot pepper strips alternately into the jar, arranging for both aesthetics, and for even flavor distribution. The vegetables should come to about 1/2" from the top of the jar, packed tightly. Slide the zest, and the rosemary into the jar, and then add the gin.

3. Bring the vinegar mixture back to a boil, and skim out as many of the spices and add to the jar first, then pour the boiling liquid over the vegetables. It may not all fit, but scrape in as many spices as you can. Cover the jar, and let it stand on the counter until it reaches room temperature., and then refrigerate for at least 3 days before tasting. Should keep refrigerated about 1 month, although you'll have probably eaten them all within a week...
Now all I have to do is wait.

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