Toast and coarsely grind those pickling spices!
It's an added step that you might not have thought about, but it will do good things to those pickles. If you are just trying to get 'er done, it is what it is. But if you want to spend just a few extra minutes to bring out the potential in your spices and pickles, go for it!
For a half gallon jar of pickles (or two quarts), my default hard spice blend is 1 TBSP peppercorns or rainbow peppercorns, 2 tsp coriander seeds, 2 tsp mustard seeds (can be yellow or a mix of black and yellow), a few cloves, a few allspice berries. Lately I've become partial to adding a tsp or so of dill seed as well. I dabble with other hard spices like fenugreek or cumin seed if I'm making some mother changes, but it's not my go-to. (I normally add plenty of garlic, bay leaf and other tannin leaves, hot pepper or pepper flakes, and dill to make my kosher garlic dills, but these are not toasted or cooked in any way.) Take the hard spices and set them on a small pan on medium or medium-low for a few minutes... until they're nice and aromatic, potentially a little toasted looking but you don't want to burn them. I grind them with my mortar and pestle, not to a powder or anything but just until things start to get nicely cracked and broken up. If you don't have that, you can put them in a ziptop bag and go over them with a rolling pin.
Cucumber season is getting into full gear! If you want to check out my starter recipe for traditional fermented sour garlic dill pickles, just check the link in bio!
🍤🥬🧅🍅🥒🔥Pickly Po' Boy! Recipe link in bio. <swipe>
This thing was exploding with flavor. A generous serving of sensationally seasoned spicy fried shrimp on a butter-grilled hoagie bread, arugula, Roma tomato, red onion, and plenty of my homegrown / homemade garlic dill pickles. The sauce was a spicy pickle New Orleans - style remoulade which continues to serve me well on EVERYTHING. The recipe for that sauce (and the pickles) s in there as well.
Also linked in the bio linktree (scroll down a bit) is the FB group Rate My Sandwich where you can post your own amazing and dangerous sandwich creations.
New pickle, half sour, full sour. (This is ferment pickle lingo, not vinegar based.) The full sour is from last growing season and we're about to start the new season. Still crunchy! Now let's talk salt brine strength.
If you're just aiming for a new or half, I actually recommend a 3.5% salt brine even though my recipes usually say 4.5 - 5% salt brine... because I usually leave most if not all in the jar to go full sour and 5% is better for keeping them crisp and preventing spoilage. But it can be really salty tasting on a newer pickle. 3.5% will also allow it to ferment a little faster so you have that nice effervescence. If you prefer young pickles and don't plan to keep them long enough to get full sour, 3.5% is your friend.
And in all cases, supplementing with 1/4 tsp Calcium Chloride ("pickle crisp granules") per quart jar is a great way to maintain the most crunch possible without negatively affecting flavor. That said, if you normally do 5% and decide to try calcium chloride, I would reduce regular salt to around 4.5 to 4.6%.
You can find so many of my pickle recipes free on my blog Insaneinthebrine.com and many others in my two cookbooks linked in bio!
Milk Kefir-leavened bread
Swipe for morning breakfast of toast and butter...
Bread leavened with milk kefir (no sourdough starter). If you have kefir grains but no sourdough starter, or if you have both and are just looking to switch things up, it makes a very good bread. Previously I only did rye bread this way and this one was a test recipe; almost perfect, next time I think with some honey. The yeast in milk kefir is close to that of sourdough and does the same job; however in my experience it takes longer and does well at elevated temps around 85 to 90 (using a proofing mat).
This was a white bread:
•400g completed milk kefir (stirred the milk kefir back into a uniform liquid as soon as the curds and whey fully separated, and incorporated into the dough right away)
•500g organic bread flour
•50g whole wheat flour
•3 tsp diastatic malt powder (10g) optional but for milk kefir bread improves the rise
•Up to around a TBSP extra milk kefir added at the end of mixing to ensure any excess flour at the bottom was incorporated
1.) I did 4 sets of stretch and folds over a couple hours. The dough feels more dense and taut than regular sourdough, don't worry won't be a problem.
2.) Sat out with a damp cloth covering the bowl for around 4 hours
3.) Shaped and placed into floured 9" banneton, covered, refrigerated for around 14 hours
4.) Took another 4 hours on a heat mat 85-90°F
5.) Final shaping, scored, baked in a covered dutch oven at 485 for 20 minutes. (Was preheated at 500 for an hour.) Removed steam pan removed cover and baked at 465 uncovered for around 20 minutes.
malt powder: https://amzn.to/40zXFi
milk kefir grains: https://amzn.to/3TTl9N1
🐟🌶️🥬🔥Tuna Kimchi Jiggae (kimchi stew)
I usually make it with pork shoulder but get a large 12 oz can of tuna, you have something as easy as it is delicious.
Recipe for my pork shoulder version in the second (newest) Insane in the Brine Cookbook, linked in bio. Just swap out the pork shoulder with the canned tuna (drained) and you're set. Make sure your kimchi is well fermented too.
Progression of caprese sandwich from start to baked n melty. Bread courtesy of @hobokencafe_whitlock
•Local organic EVOO, balsamic glaze, S+P
•Baked at 350°F for several minutes
this is one of my favorite sandwiches and it was awesome, but I kept thinking I forgot something. The next day I realized I never put in my arugula! 😭😂
With all those leftover components from the Korean cheesesteaks I've been posting, I was well stocked to make this bibimbap for dinner On a bed of seasoned rice was:
•Kimchi, chopped (recipe on the blog, linked in bio)
•Pickled pepper kimchi ("Gochu Jangajji" recipe on the blog)
•Sauteed red pepper (seasoned with sesame oil, garlic and black pepper)
•Sauteed carrot (seasoned with sesame oil, garlic and black pepper)
•Chicken bulgogi (bulgogi recipe in first IITB cookbook, linked in bio)
•Seasoned spinach salad (Sigeumchi namul recipe on the blog)
•Topped with a fried egg, gochujang, green onion and sesame seed garnish
My amazing brother and I served up about a dozen of these Friday to some good friends. I had enough leftovers and love for this beast that I made it for my dinner again Saturday (minus the green onion and sesame seed garnish which disappeared). Both nights shown in the pics, plus the final photo is a chicken version I made for a no-beef friend. And if we had any vegan friends, I would have happily done a shitake + king oyster mushroom version too.
Would you want this at a pop-up? I really hope we can make it happen this spring and summer in the Atlanta / Marietta area.
Heres what went in:
•Hoagie rolls freshly baked by the masters at @hobokencafe_whitlock
•Gochujang Kewpie mayo
•Bulgogi-seasoned shaved ribeye (and shaved chicken thigh version), 5 oz per 5" hoagie
•Caramelized blend of onion, kimchi and Korean pickled pepper kimchi
•Option of White American and/or Easy Cheese
•Garnished with green onion and sesame seeds
•About a dozen assorted pickles and kimchis from my fridge, only a few shown here
PS- If you're still reading, linked in my bio linktree is Rate My Sandwich a group on Facebook I admin where you can share your own insane sandwich creations.