This has been a month of good intentions. Like when we bought all those jars and peeled all those tomatoes, and even bought those special tongs for removing scalding hot jars from boiling water, only to then freeze all those peeled tomatoes because they’d been sitting in the fridge for a week or maybe two (don’t judge me), and we finally admitted that we were never going to get around to canning them. Or like those no sugar, no flour “healthy cookies” I convinced myself would be delicious and good for you, which turned out “kind of passable,” or as John said, “something I would eat if I was very very hungry.” Great. And most of all, my intention to you know, post a recipe here, every so often. Simmer’s Fall Index is decidedly in need of some TLC.
It’s October already and, save for all this rain, usually my favorite time of year for cooking, eating, and plain old being. It’s not that we haven’t been cooking or eating (aka stuffing our faces) lately. We’ve been churning out pan after pan of apple crisp (John is corrupting me with his very bad habit of leaving a spoon neatly tucked under the plastic wrap on the counter for easy on-the-go crisp snacking.) We’ve been roasting all sorts of squash, eating it plainly with slated butter, and churning it into the most crazy-delicious fall ice cream ever. We even went mushroom foraging last weekend – our hike through Appleton Farms, however, yielded none of the edible glories (Maitakes!) we found last year, though we did find a proliferation of un- or questionably- edible fungi. Empty handed, we stopped off at Russo’s on our way home and bought a tiny bag of chanterelles to assuage our cravings.
What I’m saying is this: we’ve been celebrating the season for sure, just not documenting any of it for you. Selfish, I know. So, I thought I’d do a little sharing today. Starting with this recipe for Quick Pickled Dilly Beans. I was re-introduced to the joy that is Dilly Beans a few years ago by my friend Rebecca when she was working at Canto 6. A lover of all things vinegary, Dilly Beans were an easy sell for me – Rebecca’s were crisp and vinegary sure, but also so savory and richly fragrant with plenty of dill, garlic, and chili. It’s been a couple of years since I ate Rebecca’s beans and I’ve thought about them often since but, despite my good intentions, I never got around to making a batch myself. (I’m kinda lame when it comes to canning things, incase you hadn’t noticed.)
Until, last week, while staring at the world’s largest pile of green beans at the farmer’s market, inspiration hit. Quick pickled beans! No need to can anything – just stir it all together, cover, refrigerate, and start snacking! We’ve been eating quick pickles all summer, mostly simple salt and sugar cucumbers or radishes ala David Chang (one cucumber or one bunch of radishes + 1 tbsp sugar + 1 tsp salt = delicious), but also all manner of vinegar cured veggies to dress up burgers, salads, sandwiches, cheese plates, and the like.
I kept things pretty classic for the beans here, but you can easily use this recipe as a base for creating all sorts of refrigerator pickles – try daikon, turnips, carrots, radishes, onions, fennel, or cabbage with anise, cinnamon, coriander, fresh ginger, citrus or any other flavor you can dream up. You can also play around with the acidity and sweetness in this recipe to suit your taste – these are super vinegary (which I LOVE), but you may want to substitute water for some of the vinegar for a less acidic pickle or up the sugar for something a little more sweet. I recommend making quick pickles in small batches to experiment with different flavor combinations. Makes one big bowl of beans which will last several weeks covered and refrigerated.
For the Beans
2 cups white distilled vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar (or water for a less acidic pickle)
1 tbsp salt (or more to your taste)
1 tbsp sugar (or more to your taste)
2 tbsp mustard seeds
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced into rounds
1 medium bunch fresh dill, cut into 2 inch pieces
8 oz green or yellow wax beans, washed and trimmed
Combine the vinegars, salt, sugar, mustard seed, garlic, and jalapeño in a small sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Meanwhile combine the beans and the dill in a medium bowl or tub. Once boiling, pour the hot vinegar mixture over the beans. Mix and refrigerate at least 6 to 8 hours or up to several days.