You know some things I like about carrots?
1. This song and video.
OK, I actually LOVE this video. Why don’t I marry it? Well, uh, I hate to have to tell you this way, but…we’re registered at Crate & Barrel.
Oh, and I love that poor, nerdy lima bean!
How amazing is this song? National Carrot Day was February 3rd! Mark your 2011 calendars!
2. This guy:
I used to love to eat carrots and watch Bugs Bunny cartoons at the same time. While sitting incredibly close to the tv. It got to the point that my mom would just peel them for me when Looney Tunes came on. During the adventures of Pepe Le Pew or Foghorn Leghorn, I’d enjoy other treats. Like this.
Remember these? They were delicious. They didn’t have this packaging in ’79-’80 when I remember eating them, but this is the picture I found. Plus a pretty vocal contingent of people lobbying for Mr. William Wonka himself to bring back these delicious late 70s morsels. There’s a home for everybody on the intermanets! Anyway, these were better than your Butterfingers or your Whatchamacallits.
Anyway, when Bugs took the stage on the Looney Tunes, out came the carrots for Briggsy.
3. This amazing song:
The best song with the word “carrot” in the title? Yes.
4. This novelty carrot. I took a picture of this guy at an awesome community garden next to the lively year- round University District Farmer’s Market.
You know something that I don’t like about carrots? Something that I’m sure has been terrorizing the carrot community? As good as the above carrot day video is, is as horrible as is this individual. Ladies and gents, I give you Carrot Top.
Not to be confused with this guy.
I’ll wait while you watch the National Carrot Day video again, to cleanse your palates. OK, here we go.
For February’s can jam challenge, Doris and Jilly got to choose, and they chose carrots. I was psyched, and determined to top my performance from last month. First, I got tons of books from the library. Then I tried some quick refrigerator pickles so that I could experiment with flavors. I tried a Thai spicy carrot, and an Italian pickled carrot with celery, fresh oregano and olive oil, both recipes I found in The Joy of Pickling. I especially liked the Italian inspired one in salads. I also made a spicy dill pickled carrot, and an Indian spiced pickled carrot. Each had their own good qualities, but none were knocking my socks off enough to make me wanna can them.
Then I remembered the condiment bar at my local taqueira. We bring a tupperware to this place because we just can’t get enough of their various pickled spicy things–Double S slyly fills it with pickled onions, pickled carrots and jalapenos, and fresh radishes. That’s it! I want those pickled carrots, with slivers of onions and jalapenos! I will put these bad boys on tacos and nachos, and mix then into black beans for spicy beans and rice.
Now to find a recipe. There’s a lot of recipes for quick picked carrots and jalapenos, but I needed one appropriate for hot water bath processing. I checked here first, The Complete Book of Pickling. The author herself provided me with great advice, via email, about proportions and safety. Her book is an awesome, comprehensive, canning bible. My first canned batch didn’t meet my needs though. Not salty or spicy or tangy enough, and the carrots were too crispy. I had worried about pretty much the opposite of each of these problems. I’ll use them in beans and maybe tortilla soups, but I wanted something else for my tacos and nachos. So I (unwillingly, as we are also in the midst of painting the interior of the homestead, AND I wanted to watch the Olympics) gritted my teeth and started again.
I fear this song is quick becoming an anthem for my attempts at canning. Who knew that late 90s hip hop and canning could ever go hand in and? Me, stupid! Speaking of Aaliyah, have you heard The Gossip cover her “Are U That Somebody”? Great version. I randomly discovered it just sitting on my Ipod a few weeks back and have been loving it ever since.
I regrouped and I chose a new recipe. I did this with an understanding of the acid and vegetable levels required for safety. So once again, on the day before our recipe was to be blogged, I got started.
Mexican Inspired Pickled Carrots with Jalapenos and Onions
Adapted from Pati’s Mexican table
3 pounds Jalapeños. Sliced and seeded.
3 pounds carrots. Diagonally sliced and/or cut into planks, about 1/4 inch thich.
1 pound scallions. Cut into thin strips.
4 tablespoons kosher salt.
20 garlic cloves.
1/2 cup safflower or corn oil.
2 cups white distilled vinegar.
1 cup water.
1 teaspoon black peppercorns.
15 bay leaves. I used fresh ones from when I was here.
2 teaspoons dried thyme.
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano.
6 whole cloves.
1 teaspoon cumin seeds.
1 teaspoons brown sugar.
2 cups unseasoned rice vinegar.
1. Prep your jalapenos. Wash them. Then, put on your gloves. DO NOT SKIP WEARING GLOVES FOR THIS STEP! Slice them lengthwise then scoop out the seeds. It would probably be fine to leave some of them in too. Put them in the largest bowl you have available to you. Seriously. You’ll need it.
Taking pictures one handed whilst wearing gloves is hard!
2. Prep your carrots. Clean them. You could peel them, but I didn’t because I used organic carrots and scrubbed them really well. Cut off their tops and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices or planks or diagonals or whatever trips your trigger.
Cut to the scene of me at age 7, mouth agape, watching this commercial. Sitting too close to the TV again. It will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine. When I got the Atari 2600, my life was pretty much complete for the next several years. I still have plans to hook up an old Atari down in the Briggsy cave at the homestead soon. It won’t be the original though. Too many joysticks thrown in anger took its toll on ol’ Bessie.
Onward and upward!
3. Prep your onions. Clean them well, look out for hidden dirt! I just sliced then and I used the green parts. The recipe said to only use the white and light green parts. Live on the onion-y edge! Put them in the large bowl as well. I started with our biggest bowl, but that didn’t work. I ended up using my beloved crock that Double S got for me.
4. Add salt and stir well. Let this mixture sit for an hour or so. Go watch men’s figure skating, if applicable! Weir was robbed! I wish he would have done this song again! How awesomely gay is this?
But Evan Lysacek did rock it. I think he kinda looks like Ross from friends, but better looking, taller, and tanner. Anybody? Anybody?
Ah, the 90s. Remember when Jennifer Aniston was famous for acting?
5. Meanwhile, you get to do some blending. Put the white vinegar, water, all the spices (except the garlic) and the brown sugar into the blender and puree. Mine pretty much separated as soon as the blender was turned off, so blend again right before you add this to your veggies
6. Then get out a large and deep skillet. Pour in the oil and let it cook for a few minutes. Add the veggies, and be careful to reserve the juices at the bottom of the bowl.
Meanwhile, you should be sterilizing your jars and lids.
7. Next, let the veggies fry in the pan for about 6-8 minutes. Stir occasionally.
8. Then, add the garlic. I went heavy on the garlic, because well, garlic is awesome. I just randomly sliced it up a bit, so as to not have huge cloves in the pickle. Let it cook with the garlic for a few minutes more.
9. Then add the reserved veggie juice, the vinegar mix from the blender, and the rice wine vinegar. Let it cook for 7-8 minutes or until its at the consistency you want, keeping in mind you will be processing it.
10. Put the hot mix into the sterilized jars. Add enough brine to submerge the veggies. Leave 1/2 inch headspace.
11. Fill the jars with brine and cap. Hot water process for 15 minutes. For how to can, go here! Here’s what you get:
With this recipe, you run out of brine. I had to put a good sized tupperware of the leftovers veggies with very little brine into my fridge. I’ll probably just add some extra vinegar and use these in the coming days. These smell delicious when you’re cooking them and they taste good too. A lot like the pickled jalapenos that I wanted, but more complex, with a different array of spices. I realize this is pretty heavy on the jalapenos, which are definitely not in season in Seattle in February, but I got a good deal on them at a nearby fruit stand. I have some guilt about the lack of seasonality of the peppers though.
I’m going to let these sit and age for a few days or weeks before I enjoy them. I’ll update you as to the finished product. The ones in the fridge, though brineless, are tasty.