03 September 2014

Asian Pickles


We just love us some confiture here.  If you can can it, pickle it, ferment it and write a book about it, chances are we have it.  Here is the problem.  No matter how well it is packaged, the recipes seem to run together.  If you have seen one strawberry jam recipe, you have seen a strawberry/rhubarb, strawberry/raspberry, strawberry balsamic, refrigerator strawberry recipe.  Same with pickles: the is dill, refrigerator dill, garlic dill, dill heads, dill seeds, sweet dill and on and on.  Is there any wonder that people just love Karen Solomon's Asian Pickles.

Yes! Pickles, pickles everywhere and rarely will you utter the phrase, "oh I saw a similar recipe in _______."  (The previous statement reflects the fact that I am white and living in the mountains of West Virginia and the closest Asian ingredient we have is by La Choy, but I digress.)  Let's just say, when you have that moment when you ask yourself, "Do I really need another pickle cookbook?" we can answer a definite  -- YES!

For years my family canned pickles in big quart jars and tucked them in the larder. It was always a big process.  I didn't fully realize until much later that my family also made pickles every few days.  Little bits of veggies were always stewing in some sort of vinegar or brine and they never missed a meal.  The recipes in this book will not have you dragging out that gigantic processing pan as these pickles are brined and fermented instead of canned. The biggest problem is often the waiting period before they hit their pickle prime.  Luckily, many are ready to dig into in just a few hours. 

If there is a problem with this book, it is the fact that there are so many pickles one might want to make, that the whole idea of narrowing it down becomes daunting.  What shall I make first?????

This one caught our eye right off the bat.  Every year we grow beautiful long beans and every years someone invariably asks, "What do I do with these?"  We always gave the the "stir fry" option, but this recipe is absolutely perfect.  In fact, this will probably be the last year we share the beans now that we have this recipe.
Salt Cured Long Beans

10 ounces long beans, or 12 ounces green beans
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 (2/3-inch) piece ginger
2 small cloves garlic
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons soy sauce

Trim the beans, discarding the ends, and chop into 4-inch lengths. If you’re using green beans instead of long beans, be sure to cut off both ends of the beans (don’t just snap the stem) to allow the flavors to penetrate.

Lay the beans in a single layer in a flat, shallow dish. Cover them with the salt and let them sit for 2 hours, rolling them occasionally. Rinse the beans, discarding any extra salt or residual liquid, and pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel.

Mince the ginger and finely mince the garlic (or press it in a garlic press) and combine them with the sugar and soy sauce in the bottom of a clean, shallow container with a tight-fitting lid. Add the beans and toss them well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Your beans are now ready to eat, though you should stir them before eating. Kept covered, they will keep at least 3 weeks.

Now don't delay.  Grab a copy of this perfect pickle book for yourself and remember that it will make the ideal gift for Christmas.  (Hey Labor Day is over -- time to move on...)

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