Refrigerator Pickles

by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong

Grandma had a sunporch that was nearly falling off the southeast side of her old farmhouse. Each year, after the late-summer cucumber harvest, a rickety shelf running along the ceiling of the sunporch was lined with jars of the most unnaturally green sweet pickles a child could imagine. The same nuclear green pickles could be found in the refrigerator, for the grandkids to help themselves to. It was not unusual to be playing ball outside each summer and notice the players on both teams had green-stained fingertips. When I ate my first hot dog in Chicago, I finally came face to face with another relish as green as Grandma’s. I was relieved to know my grandma wasn’t the only crazy green pickle maker in the nation. Thank you, Vienna Beef. I’m forever grateful.
Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Pickles, How To, Recipe, Whole Hog Cookbook
Green Grass Refrigerator Pickles
yields 2 quart jars

What You Need
4 large cucumbers, skin left on
2 banana peppers
1 medium white onion
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seeds
4 drops green food coloring (optional)

Step 1.

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Pickles, How To, Recipe, Whole Hog Cookbook
Slice the cucumbers and peppers into thick slices, and the onion into thin slices.

Step 2: 

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Pickles, How To, Recipe, Whole Hog Cookbook
Put the sliced vegetables in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Toss to coat and let rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

Step 3: 

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Pickles, How To, Recipe, Whole Hog Cookbook
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, celery seeds, and 1 cup water.

Step 4. 

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Pickles, How To, Recipe, Whole Hog Cookbook
Add the green food coloring, if using, to the vinegar mixture. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved.

Step 5. 

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Pickles, How To, Recipe, Whole Hog Cookbook
Transfer the cucumber mixture to 2 clean quart jars or other glass containers.

Step 6. 

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Pickles, How To, Recipe, Whole Hog Cookbook
Pour the brine over the cucumber mixture, cover, and refrigerate for 2 days before eating.

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Pickles, How To, Recipe, Whole Hog Cookbook
Pickles are ready to eat. They are best when eaten within 2 weeks.

Kool-Aid Pickles

by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong

If you have ever stopped at a roadside market along a Southern highway, these pickles are no stranger to you. Pickles floating in jars of a brightly colored brine are normally lined up at the cash register. These Kool-Aid pickles may seem odd at first, but once you bite into one you’ll appreciate the sweet and sour flavors. Let me just warn you, because no one warned me, your fingers may just turn the color of the pickle you’re eating!

Red Kool-Aid Pickles
yields 1 (90-ounce) jar

What you need:
1 (90-ounce) jar of whole dill pickles
4 packets Kool-Aid (I prefer cherry—it’s just how I roll)
2 cups sugar

What to do:
Drain the juice from the pickle jar and discard, leaving the pickles inside.

In a medium pitcher, combine the Kool-Aid, sugar, and 4 cups water. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour enough of the Kool-Aid mixture over the pickles in the jar to completely cover them. Put the lid on the jar and refrigerate for 1 to 2 weeks before eating.
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Mandarin Orange Prosecco Preserves

By Libbie Summers (adapted from my cookbook, The Whole Hog Cookbook, Rizzoli)
Photography by Chia Chong

If you have never made preserves, jams or jellies before, this is a great recipe to start with. The oranges make it tangy and beautiful and the Prosecco makes it fancy. Plus, if all else fails and it doesn’t set up for you the first time you can always spoon it over vanilla ice cream for and impressive dessert. No one will ever know. 

 


Mandarin Orange Prosecco Preserves
yields: 1 pint
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time:  30 minutes
Inactive Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: You need to have a little skill

What you need:
4 Mandarin oranges, very thinly sliced into rounds
1/4 cup freshly squeezed Mandarin orange juice (from approximately 1-2 oranges)
1/2 cup Prosecco
Granulated sugar

What to do: 
Sterilize a one pint canning jar, lid and band and set aside.

In a large non-reactive pot over high heat, add the orange slices and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow mixture to simmer for 10 minutes. Drain water and repeat the process.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add cooled slices and pulse just a few times. I like my marmalade chunky, but you can continue to pulse if you like yours a bit finer.

Using a kitchen scale, weigh the orange pieces. In a large non-reactive pot, add the orange pieces and the same weight of sugar as the slices weighed. Stir in orange  juice and Prosecco. Bring mixture to a boil and continue boiling until marmalade reaches the gel point of 220º F (approximately 10 to 15 minutes).

Remove from heat and skim off any foam. Ladle into prepared sterilized jar. Let cool 10 minutes and then refrigerate for immediate use. Process in a water bath for longer storage. Mandarin Orange Prosecco Preserves will keep refrigerated for 2 months.

Cook’s Note: If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test to see if the marmalade has set by placing a plate in the freezer when you start cutting the clementines. A few minutes into the final boiling with sugar, remove the plate from the freezer and put a small dot of marmalade onto the cold plate. Run your finger through the marmalade. If the mixture leaves a clean path where you ran your finger through and doesn’t come back together, your marmalade is done. If it does run back together, keep cooking and re-test again until it is set. 

  • Yields: 1 pint
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time:  30 minutes
  • Inactive Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: You need to have a little skill

Recipe courtesy of Libbie Summers and adapted from her cookbook, The Whole Hog Cookbook(Rizzoli 2011)

 

5 Interesting Ways To Use A Grapefruit

Recipes and Styling by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong, Cedric Smith
Assisted by Candace Brower
5 Interesting Ways To Use A Grapefruit
I could probably name 100’s, but I get bored after 5.
Find all the inspiration, recipes, and pro tips all week long on my blog!
A Food-Inspired Life, Five Ways To Use A Grapefruit, Citrus, Life Hacks, How To
1. A Food-inspired Centerpiece
For a chic centerpiece on the fly, always look to the beauty of seasonal foods! Here, grapefruit just picked from the tree (or bought at the store) lined up like soldiers down the table maked for a striking centerpiece to a dinner party. Don’t forget to include your inspiration in at least one course so to inform the meal. 
When berry season seems so far away, this simple sauce is the perfect substitute spooned over morning pancakes, French toast or a simple sponge cake for dessert. 
A last minute gift of smooth skin and wide eyes is only a few ingredients away. If you’re making it for a friend, do yourself a favor and double the recipe and give a gift to yourself. 
A full blown toast party. 
When you want to impress and get a little nostalgic at the same time this is the cake for you. This Grapefruit Meringue Cake is a Baked Alaska via Brooklyn –old school meets something pretending to be old school. Make one for every two people at your table to promote a little table talk! 

Grapefruit Sauce

Recipe by Brenda Anderson
Photography by Chia Chong
Styling by Libbie Summers

A citrus sauce I love to spoon over pancakes, French toast or a simple sponge cake!

3 grapefruits, 2 juiced and 1 sectioned
½ cup cane sugar
¼ cup butter
1 teaspoon flour

Directions:
In a medium sauce pan combine sugar and grapefruit juice. Whisk and bring to a boil and lower heat; simmer for 15 minutes. In a small pan melt butter and continue to cook until golden brown. Whisk in flour until smooth. Add browned butter to juice and whisk. Simmer 10 minutes. Sauce will be the consistency of thin syrup. Remove from heat and add grapefruit sections. Keep warm.