Friday, August 31, 2012

Peter Parker Parked a Pick of Pickled Peppers

No, that's not it. But if I correct it I will probably find myself on Gregory Peck's IMDB page hours from now wondering how many more clicks till I'm reading about nazis (like that doesn't happen to you). But when I'm not wasting my life on the internet lately, I've been canning. Canning EVERYTHING.

It's been a bad year for bell peppers in our garden. They keep having soft spots or just not getting very big before starting to turn red. I'm hopeful that the end of the season will be better than the beginning. The consolation prize is that all the other peppers - jalapenos, cherry bombs, banana peppers, and cayenne - are producing like mad.  Which is great and all, but what do you DO with them? Pickle them, of course.

I started with a bunch of peppers and even more questions.

You'd understand the Spider Man reference if you'd seen the epic spiders I had to battle to pick these.

Now, I'm an experienced hot pepper pickler, but these are different. I wanted something that would be tart and yummy like peperoncini peppers, but since I didn't grow peperoncini peppers, made with banana peppers. First step is to cut off the top and remove the seeds carefully so you can slice the hollow pepper into rings. 

The gloves are because I'm crazy, not because the peppers are hot.
Just keep slicing till you get to this point. If you have a lot of peppers, you can run them through a food processor with a slicing disc (this is how I usually process jalapenos), but this time I just hand sliced them.

It wasn't a peck, but at times it felt like it was.

And now, the recipe!

  • 2 lbs peppers
  • Ball Pickle Crisp Granules 
  • 5 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. pickling salt (you can use regular salt, too, but the brine may be cloudy)
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced (Leave these whole and remove them before packing into jars if you don't like things garlicky. The flavor will intensify in storage.)
  • 1/2 cup of water
Bring the vinegar, salt, sugar, garlic, and water to a boil and simmer about ten minutes. Taste the brine! This is important because the peppers will only taste as good as the brine. You might need more salt or more water, according to your taste. You want it to be highly acidic and slightly on the salty side because the peppers will absorb much of the saltiness.

Meanwhile, boil clean jars for at least ten minutes, then dip lids and rims into boiling water. Pack sliced peppers (seeds and stems removed) into hot jars, adding about 1/4 tsp Pickle Crisp granules to each pint jar and pour in hot brine to cover. Press out any air bubbles, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Wipe rims, add lids and process for ten minutes in a boiling water bath. Remove jars and let cool completely. Check for seal.

And just like that - pickled peppers!

It made five pints of pickled peppers, with a very mild flavor. I like everything spicy, so I think next time I'll either add some crushed red pepper, or mix in a jalapeno or two. Even without that, though, I'm sure we will enjoy these this winter on sandwiches and in salads.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

All of this has happened before and will happen again.

It seemed like the right time to make a post. Life has been go go go as summer always is, but we have some wonderful memories to show for all the effort. Like... uh... okay it's pretty much been week after week of driving kids to various summer camps, sports camps, making sure they have 982374928374982734 water bottles to take with them to said camps and sporadically remembering to douse them with sunscreen before sending them off for the day. So the time for crafting is scant, but luckily there were all those pre-wedding crafts to get me through!

Second verse, same as the first. I needed shoes to go with my white dress, and while I had perfectly good shoes I could have worn, where's the fun in that? Fun, pinterest has led me to believe, equals mod podging glitter to things. SO HERE IS WHAT I DID!

Step one, find shoes:

I'm pretty sure all my shoes are from Target.

I liked them red, but honestly I never wear heels anymore (*gasp*), and even if I did, I have plenty of OTHER red shoes. I'd found this picture of more Kate Spade shoes and I was hoping for a similar effect, but for a lot less. 

Only $325!

Next comes the felt brush, the Mod Podge and the gobs of glitter.

Total cost of glitter? $2.75.

I didn't photograph the process, but it pretty much involved the same as the last shoes I glittered. Keep adding coats until they're completely covered. 

Sparklier and sparklier...

For the parts that were still red, I rubbed them down with gold Rub and Buff.

About $5 a tube, but I had a 40% off coupon.

Rubbed AND Buffed.

I thought about adding the bows and had glittery ribbon to do so, but in the end I decided that would just be too much. All set for the big day!

Well with a floor like that, what would look bad really?

Just the right touch of sparkle!

He's lucky I didn't do his shoes, too!

You can tell how he's totally thinking how glad he is to have a wife who mod podges everything with glitter, right? No? He's thinking about ducks? Ducks on a trampoline? 


Maybe I can mod podge them some glittery hats!