Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Covid Cafe: Pickle Problems + Herb Oil

Hello chefs. I’ve probably made a hundred Mark Bittman recipes over the years. His approach to food is workaday easy and uber-reliable. Check his recipes here for lots of simple ideas.

So when I got his newsletter with a recipe for pickles he calls half-sours, a kosher pickle with no vinegar? I was ready to go (even though I love pickles in vinegar). Click here for the pitch.

Bittman's directions, easy enough...

“Dissolve a third of a cup of salt in a cup of hot water. Put that in a bowl with ice cubes to cool it down. Add a few cloves of garlic, crushed, and a couple of pounds of cukes, cut up. (Or not, or just halved, if small.) 

Cover with water and a plate if necessary to submerge the cukes. Let sit at room temperature until ready — sometimes as little as a couple of hours, sometimes overnight. Refrigerate and eat. Add more cukes to the brine until it tastes too weak, and then add more salt or start again.”

The pickles looked good but they were a disaster, tasting mainly like a salt lick. I rinsed them and put them in a jar with fresh water and they still reeked of salt. Where did I go wrong?

Back on the horse, yesterday I made herb oil. The herbs are thriving in our gardens--mint, oregano, rosemary, cilantro, and lemon balm. I chopped up a generous half cup, added to the stick blender container with olive oil and salt, and whizzed away.

 Art grilled lamb burgers and I brushed it on.

I even brushed some on my fingers it was so good.

When the burgers were done I brushed on some more. Can I freeze this for winter, to add to meats, soups, and eggs?


  1. This is a better recipe http://homehillfarm.blogspot.com/search/label/Dill%20Pickles the salt percentage is important as is cutting off the flower stub.