I woke at 4am a few days ago, and this is what came out of my mouth.
I frantically typed it in the “notes” section of my phone, along with something that says, “beets with skin on, fennel and apple” and some flight confirmation code that I used to check-in to the airport last week.
If it’s any sign of things to come, sleep is not looking very promising.
Since I began cooking as a means of income, there are some truths that are important to always keep in the forefront.
Use everything you can.
Get the most out of a celery stalk.
Use potato skins.
Keep the peels of garlic, onions, carrots and celery leaves for stock. Yes, the peels have the most flavor, usually.
Corn cobs make great stock.
I have become the master pickler at Woodlawn. It’s not something I was into before coming in to cook, but a mild interest. Mainly because I’m Southern and although pickles aren’t strictly Southern, they are important to the culture of preserving.
I used to can everything, but we went through them so fast, that I just decided to make big batches of quick pickles. Delicious, fast, easy. (And it’s Portland. We supposedly pickle everything. Fair enough.)
I say quick in the sense that you make a brine and let the veggies sit over night. But, you can also toss some radish with a little sugar and salt and get sort of the same effect.
At the end of the day, you’re left with lots of pickling juice. I’m a proponent of cider vinegar. I swear I could drink the stuff straight. Sometimes I do with a little honey, lemon and hot water. It’s good for you, so they say.
It’s sweet. It’s a little more pricey than straight distilled vinegar, but it’s good.
And since we are so close to getting our liquor license at the shop, I’ve been thinking of ways to use it.
Hence, the 4am epiphany where I thought, “Pickle juice! Bloody Mary! Yes!”
While this thought is obvious to most, my strong willed sub-conscious had obviously picked up on it before I could. Which is to say maybe id is a better cook than me. (Oh, see what I did there? Thank you C+ psychology degree.)
Then I began scouring the net for Bloody Mary recipes, coming along one that used pickled okra juice. And from then on, you can start building what it is you actually want.
If you do decide to start messin’ around with pickles, go crazy! Adding things like clove, anise, coriander and thai chiles — adds a whole new spectrum to your brine.
Give it a shot.
And maybe you too will be lucky enough to dream about the glories of pickle juice!
Happy picklin’, my friends.