Pickle Making Contest And The Peck Slip Pickle Festival

Gherkins will be lurkin'.

Folks, this year NYC Pickle Day is going to be transformed into the Peck Slip Pickle Festival and take place at New Amsterdam Market on Sunday, November 13th.   As part of the event, there is going to be a first-ever home pickling contest, with five categories to enter.     There will be more information here in the coming days about the festival, but I wanted to get out the word on the pickle contest ASAP.    Contest entry rules are here.   And here:

Calling  Home Picklers and Home Fermenters !
Submit your entries under one of the following categories:

Best Cucumber Pickle
Best Spicy Pickle
Best Sweet Pickle
Best Fermented Pickle
Best Alternative Pickle

As evaluated by an esteemed panel of judges lead by Rick Field of Rick’s Picks.  The winner will receive a distinctive ribbon letter-pressed at Bowne & Co. Stationers and the title for best of category.

All entries are due by 12:00PM on Thursday, November 10 and may be delivered to any of the following locations:

NEW AMSTERDAM MARKET SCHOOL
(Monday – Friday, 10am to 6pm)
224 Front Street New York, NY 10038

NEW AMSTERDAM MARKET
( Nov 6, Sunday, 11am -4pm)
Near Old Fulton Fish Market South Street Between Beekman Street & Peck Slip

BROOKLYN KITCHEN
100 Frost Street, Brooklyn 11211

RICK’S PICKS GREENMARKET STALL
Union Square (Wednesday & Saturdays 9 AM – 3 PM
Grand Army Plaza (Saturday, 9 AM – 2PM)

RICK’S PICKS OFFICE
(Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm)
195 Chrystie Street, #602E New York, NY 10002

WHOLE FOODS BOWERY

INSTRUCTIONS FOR ENTRY SUBMISSION
1) Submit two jars (one for judging and one for display)
2) Submit your entry by 12pm November 10 to one of the above locations
3) Label each jar clearly with the following information:

Name
Address
Phone Number
email
category
(you may enter in up to two (2) categories)

Plating Pickles for Parties! Come Learn at Brooklyn Kitchen

Hey there pickle people and especially pickle party people… We’re teaching a class at Brooklyn Kitchen on November 10th about using pickles in interesting ways for holiday entertaining.   The class will also include a primer on how to make Phat Beets.

Phat Beets and goat cheese are a winning combo at holiday time.

There are still seats available… so sign up and come on down!

Five Years Ago

It’s hard to write and even harder to believe that my Dad, Dan Field, left us five years ago today.   He was only 68 when he collapsed in a room at a vineyard in Italy on vacation with my Mom.    Not a bad way to go, but why that had to happen when it did will never be something I can comprehend.   That first week in October 2006 was a big one for Rick’s Picks… we introduced Smokra to the world, and then my world changed the next day.   Dad has missed a lot, and we miss him more.

Daniel Field, captured in mid-anecdote.

My brother really got it right a couple of years back when he posted this tribute to Dad.   Here are the two of them on Easter Sunday several years ago.

Father and Son, looking like players in an Elmore Leonard movie.

Dad did not cook that much in our family… he usually left it to Mom, my brother and me.    He was known for Chinese beef, boiled eggs, and most especially, pickled green tomatoes, which he lovingly crafted each fall with the little green beauties that would emerge on creeping vines along the stone wall at our house in Vermont.   I made a small batch this year myself by way of tribute.    Here they are.

Dan Field's Pickled Green Tomatoes.

I’ve often said that it was the experiences I had as a child making pickles with my family that lead me into the craft and then the profession as an adult.    On a day like this, the normally-sweet memories are vividly bittersweet.   Here’s Dad’s recipe for Pickled Green Tomatoes, straight from an old email he sent me.

Pickled Green Tomatoes

Discarding any that have a tint of pink or orange, wash and pack cherry tomatoes in six pint jars, in each of which you have put:

(1.) 2 bay leaves

(2.) 1 teaspoon pickling spice

(3.) 2 cloves garlic

(4.) 1 dill head

(5.) 1 slice of onion

(6.) 1/8 teaspoon celery seed.

Bring to boil 4 cups water, 2 cups cider vinegar, 1/2 cup of kosher salt and pour boiling into jars.

No need for boiling water bath because the tomatoes are so acid.

The Art of Farming Heirloom Vegetable Auction is tomorrow!

We’re thrilled to be a part of the Art of Farming dinner and heirloom vegetable auction tomorrow night at Sotheby’s.   We made a special pickle just for the event… Sweet and Sassy Mixed Vegetable Pickles.    Tickets are still available… and the proceeds benefit GROWnyc and The Sylvia Center.

A special spice mix for an ultra small-batch pickle.

Here’s the recipe for the pickle… but if you want to taste it in all its glory, by a ticket and come out tomorrow night!

Sweet and Sassy Mixed Pickles

For the pickles:

3lbs kirby cucumbers
2 medium onions
2 large bell peppers (one red, one yellow if possible)
1 lb. carrots
2 oz Kosher salt
1 lb ice cubes

For the brine:

32 oz cider vinegar (5% acidity)
16 oz water
4 oz brown sugar (less if you prefer)
½ bunch lemon thyme
2 tablespoons pink peppercorns, cracked
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seed
2 teaspoons whole allspice berries, cracked
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted and cracked
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon ground cloves
4 bay leaves

  1. Rinse cucumbers in cold water.  Trim tips and slice the cucumbers into ¼-inch rounds.
  2. Peel skins off of onions and slice onions into ¼ rounds, then slice the rounds into half-moons.
  3. Combine the cucumbers and onions with the ice and salt and mix thoroughly.    Place in a refrigerator for at least one hour.
  4. Peel the carrots and chop into ½ inch chunks.
  5. Rinse the peppers and slice them in half to remove the seeds.    Cut into 1-inch squares.
  6. In a large stockpot, mix together the cider vinegar, water, sugar and lemon thyme.   Bring brine to a boil and then simmer over medium heat.
  7. Crack the pink peppercorns and the allspice berries using a mortar and pestle and combine with the fennel, bay leaves, yellow mustard seed and cloves in two cheesecloth bundles.  Cinch with butcher twine and add to the brine pot.
  8. Toast the coriander seeds over medium heat, shaking frequently, until a little wisp of smoke appears, usually about two to three minutes.    Set aside.
  9. Remove the bowl with the cucumbers and onions from the refrigerator and rinse the contents under cold water to remove the salt.   Place them in another bowl and mix well with the peppers, carrots and coriander seeds.
  10. Pack the vegetable mixture evenly into 2 half-gallon or 4 quart jars.
  11. Return the brine to a boil and pour the brine over the vegetables, making sure to completely cover them (you may have some extra brine).  If you want your pickles to be extra aromatic, steep the spice bundles for 30-60 minutes at a low temperature before bringing the brine to a boil.
  12. Screw the lids on to the jars firmly.
  13. Allow the jars to come to room temperature and then place them in a refrigerator.    The pickles will be ready to eat in 24 hours and will last for one month under refrigeration.

 

Notes on the vegetables: there are numerous varieties of heirloom cucumbers and kirbies that will be appropriate for this pickle.   Smaller cucumbers (1 ½ inch diameter maximum) are preferred as they will be less seedy and typically have more firm flesh.  What makes this pickle visually appealing is the play of different bright colors, which is why the red and yellow peppers are preferred to contrast the green kirby cucumbers.   If you were using yellow lemon cucumbers, you might want to substitute green bell peppers.

 

This recipe was adapted from one in Quick Pickles, by Chris Schlesinger, John Willoughby and Dan George.    A great book!

 

For more information about Rick’s Picks and to order pickles please visit rickspicksnyc.com and also check out the cookbook co-authored by founder Rick Field,  The Art of Preserving, available at our website and also amazon.com.  Another great book!

 

 

 

Welcome the Brinery, in all its Finery

Our friends at Whole Foods Bowery have converted their cheese cave into a pickle palace of the highest order.   We’ll be on hand for the launch party tonight and sampling our wares, and tasting those of our friends, including McClure’s, Sourpuss and Brooklyn Brine.   We’ve made a special pickle just for the occasion… Sweet and Sassy Mixed Pickles.   Please come on down to the Brinery at Bowery… we’ll be sampling up a storm under a big poster that looks a little bit like this:

Rick Field of Rick's Picks

Yours truly.

And here’s the recipe for Sweet and  Sassy Mixed Pickles.

For the pickles:

3lbs kirby cucumbers
2 medium onions
2 large bell peppers (one red, one yellow if possible)
1 lb. carrots
2 oz Kosher salt
1 lb ice cubes

For the brine:

32 oz cider vinegar (5% acidity)
16 oz water
4 oz brown sugar (less if you prefer)
½ bunch lemon thyme
2 tablespoons pink peppercorns, cracked
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seed
2 teaspoons whole allspice berries, cracked
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted and cracked
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon ground cloves
4 bay leaves

  1. Rinse cucumbers in cold water.  Trim tips and slice the cucumbers into ¼-inch rounds.
  2. Peel skins off of onions and slice onions into ¼ rounds, then slice the rounds into half-moons.
  3. Combine the cucumbers and onions with the ice and salt and mix thoroughly.    Place in a refrigerator for at least one hour.
  4. Peel the carrots and chop into ½ inch chunks.
  5. Rinse the peppers and slice them in half to remove the seeds.    Cut into 1-inch squares.
  6. In a large stockpot, mix together the cider vinegar, water, sugar, lemon thyme, mustard seed, fennel, cloves and bay leaves.   Bring brine to a boil and then simmer over medium heat.
  7. Crack the pink peppercorns and the allspice berries using a mortar and pestle and add to the brine pot.
  8. Toast the coriander seeds over medium heat, shaking frequently, until a little wisp of smoke appears, usually about two to three minutes.    Set aside.
  9. Remove the bowl with the cucumbers and onions from the refrigerator and rinse the contents under cold water to remove the salt.   Place them in another bowl and mix well with the peppers, carrots and coriander seeds.
  10. Pack the vegetable mixture evenly into 2 half-gallon or 4 quart jars.
  11. Return the brine to a boil and pour the brine over the vegetables, making sure to completely cover them (you may have some extra brine).  Screw the lid on to the jars firmly.
  12. Allow the jars to come to room temperature and then place them in a refrigerator.    The pickles will be ready to eat in 24 hours and will last for one month under refrigeration.

Notes on the vegetables: there are numerous varieties of heirloom cucumbers and kirbies that will be appropriate for this pickle.   Smaller cucumbers (1 ½ inch diameter maximum) are preferred as they will be less seedy and typically have more firm flesh.  What makes this pickle visually appealing is the play of different bright colors, which is why the red and yellow peppers are preferred to contrast the green kirby cucumbers.   If you were using yellow lemon cucumbers, you might want to substitute green bell peppers.

This recipe was adapted from one in Quick Pickles, by Chris Schlesinger, John Willoughby and Dan George.    A great book!

For more information about Rick’s Picks and to order pickles please visit rickspicksnyc.com and also check out the cookbook co-authored by founder Rick Field,  The Art of Preserving, available at our website and also amazon.com.  Another great book!

Pickles are the Big Idea

How did Rick get his Big Idea? That’s what the writers at Big Think www.bigthink.com wanted to know during their interview last week. Read on for the inside scoop on Rick’s career 180, and the surprising similarities between pickling and TV.

******

What’s the Big Idea?

What do TV and pickle production have in common? There’s really only one person you can ask, and according to him, there’s a lot of overlap. At the height of his television career, Rick Field was writing, directing, and producing for VH1 and PBS’ Bill Moyers. Today, he is a highly successful pickle entrepreneur.

Do not even think of those flabby, luminous yellow spears that delis sometimes wrap up with your sandwich, making the rye bread all soggy. As CEO of Rick’s Picks, Field creates and markets tastebud-bending products like “Smokra” – pickled okra with smoked Spanish paprika and chili peppers, and “Phat Beets”– aromatic beet slices with ginger, rosemary, and lemon. The company has grown from a single stand in a New York City greenmarket to a nationwide supplier to specialty markets like Whole Foods and Dean & Deluca (which still operates greenmarket stands). 

Is There Nothing This Man Won’t Pickle? 

Rick Field demonstrates the proper way to pickle Justin Bieber’s hair in order to preserve it for posterity: 
http://rickspicksnyc.com/pickle-anything/Ricks-traditional-Justin-Bieber-Hair-pickle-recipe

Why Pickling is Like TV Producing 

Rick Field: A good producer basically takes an idea, gathers a bunch of people around it and generates enthusiasm for it to create an excellent product. That sort of energy and organizing is also applicable to pickle making, except now the challenge is “let’s figure out how we can make 2,000 jars of pickled beets with 6 people in 8 hours for an affordable price.”

Making champagne on a beer budget: When I was in television I was always in environments where money was a challenge. It was always a question of “how do you make champagne on a beer budget?” For lack of a better term, I would say it’s a scrappy aesthetic that I had in television, which carried over to the work in pickles, trying to figure out how to maximize whatever we have and do it in a way that was very frugal.

You Can Get There from Here

About seven years before he left the TV business, Rick started pickling as a hobby – recreating family recipes from his childhood:
Rick: I realized that the basic equipment required to make pickles at home is very minimal. The barrier to entry is very low. You don’t need a $400 blender or a $9 million stove. A couple of pots and a couple of very inexpensive accessories and you’re good to go.

And so the first thing I did was to replicate these sort of locked-in-time-and-space, mid-twentieth-century family recipes that were fairly staid and highly traditional, but really fun and for me connected very actively and dynamically to a potent set of family memories and personal history.

Suddenly, in 2002, Rick found himself at a crossroads. Having lost his job with Bill Moyers, he realized that opportunities for similarly ennobling TV documentary work were few and far between, that his dream of making feature documentaries was a far-off prospect at best, and that he wasn’t getting any younger.

A Sign from the Pickle Deities


Then, Rick won a pickle contest – taking a blue ribbon in the Rosendale International Pickle Festival in upstate New York. Suddenly the 20 original pickle recipes he’d been perfecting in his kitchen – coupled with connections that would help him to secure a coveted spot in the Union Square Greenmarket – looked like an open door to whole new life.

Seven years later, Rick’s Picks have arrived, carving out a mini cultural niche of their own in the American culinary landscape. While they aren’t yet commercial on the scale of a Vlasic or a Heinz (and may never be, since most are made by hand with expensive ingredients), they’re convincing chefs and food lovers nationwide that pickled beets, beans, and okra have evolved beyond those dubious paperweights gathering dust on your Eastern European Grandma’s basement shelf.

Hey, Don’t Mess With My Grandma’s Pickles.
Rick: A lot of people, whether they are from Poland, from Louisiana, from Japan – in most corners of the world there is a very vibrant tradition of pickle making in some form or other and people really resonate back to that. I call it “the heritage piece” and whether it’s a cultural thing that they experienced in their homeland or a family thing, it’s powerful.

One of the interesting things about starting to sell pickles professionally was the fact that you have a lot of customers who try your stuff and say “Well these are very good, but they’re not as good as my grandmother’s, sorry.” And it’s hard to argue with Grandma.

Ppppp…Peas, Potatoes and Pepi Pep Peps!

          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Market Sugar Snap Peas & Roasted Baby Potato Salad w/ Pepi Pep Peps Vinaigrette

Ever looking for the perfect BBQ PDQ accompaniment or a cool lunch on a hot day?!?!  Try this fully loaded green market potato salad with its zesty Rick’s Picks Pepi Pep Peps Vinaigrette in lieu of Mayo. 

Union Square is abuzz with gorgeous summer vegetables.   I completely lucked out with the ubiquitous sugar snap peas.  The ones I found had a depth of sweetness that begged for a raw application. 

Very Important Side note: The vinaigrette makes a fantastic sauce for beef, chicken, or fish!!

The Ingredients – The Salad & Vinaigrette

1 c Rick’s Picks Pepi Pep Peps

¾ lb. Sugar Snap Peas

½ lb. Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

2 lbs. Baby Potatoes

1 Spring Garlic

2 Tsp. chopped Chives

2 Tsp. Fresh Oregano

3 Tsp. Fresh Thyme

½ c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A generous pinch of Red Pepper flakes

Salt

½+ c of crumbled Queso Fresco

The Method – The Salad

  1. Preheat oven to 425°
  2. Wash and dry Sugar Snap Peas, Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, Baby Potatoes, and Spring Garlic. Set aside separately
  3. Trim the ends and woodsy string from the Sugar Snap Peas:  Take a small knife trim the top of the pea and pull off the tough string that runs along the length of the pod.  Discard.
  4. Slice the Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes in half. Set aside.
  5. Slice baby potatoes in half. Combine potatoes with 3 Tsp. of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 Tsp. of Chopped Thyme leaves, and 1 Tsp. of Oregano leaves. Toss the potatoes and herb olive oil mixture with one entire stalk of spring garlic to coat.  Place them on a baking rack, or lined cookie sheet.  Place potatoes and garlic stalk on the center rack of your oven.  Roast for approximately 20 minutes. Be sure to check them at 15 minutes, as ovens vary.  Set aside, allow vegetables to cool.
  6. In a large Salad bowl combine trimmed Sugar Snap Peas, halved Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, roasted Baby Potatoes, 2 Tsp. chopped Chives, 1 Tsp. of Chopped Thyme leaves, 1 Tsp. of Oregano leaves.
  7. Dress with Pepi Pep Peps Vinaigrette top with Queso Fresco. 

The Method – Pepi Pep Peps Vinaigrette

  1. In your favorite food processor combine Pepi Pep Peps, 3 cloves of the roasted spring garlic, 4 Tsp. of Pepi Pep Peps brine, Red Pepper Flakes. Turn on your food processor, and stream in the extra virgin olive oil. Adding more or less according to taste. Finish with a pinch of salt.
  2. Pour vinaigrette in to a mason or reusable Rick’s Picks pickle jar to allow for individual dressing of salads!

Et Voilà, Your Salad has arrived!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cool Cucumber Soup…with Handy Corn!

Our terrific market maven Anna Bond shares her cool soup for the hot months ahead:

This soup harnesses Handy Corn’s sweet-and-sour complexity alongside the creamy tang of local yogurt to elevate seasonal vegetables and herbs into a refreshing soup that’s perfect for a light summer meal. No cooking required!

I bought my yogurt from Greenmarket stalwart Hawthorne Valley Biodynamic Farm (http://hawthornevalleyfarm.org/); all the other produce came from my Garden Of Eve Organics CSA box (http://www.gardenofevefarm.com/).


 

 

 

 

 

 

Handy Corn Cucumber-Yogurt Soup
To make Handy Corn bruschetta, grill or toast baguette rounds, brush with olive oil, and top with drained Handy Corn.

3 medium cucumbers (about 1 ¼ lbs.), stems removed, chopped into chunks
1 cup packed arugula leaves
1 scallion, white and green parts, chopped into large pieces
¼ cup fresh dill leaves
½ cup Handy Corn brine (about 1 jar’s worth)
1 ½ cups plain full-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Serve at cool room temperature, with Handy Corn bruschetta on the side. Enjoy!

Joanne’s Hotties Lamb Burger

Rick told me that the gang at Ricks Picks was going to be posting each day starting Friday with 7 different recipes using one of the pickles with one of the 7 ingredients:  strawberries, peas, chives and green garlic, rhubarb, lamb, oysters and yogurt.  This is a celebration of the Edible community. 

I wanted in so here is what I created, using lamb as one of the ingredients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

Grilled and sliced leg of lamb

Thin slices of goat gouda that will easily melt over sliced hot lamb

Mixture of Dijon mustard mixed with a few drops of Worchestshire sauce

A piece of Napa cabbage

Chopped handful of Hotties

Chopped handful of grape tomatoes

Soft bun

Cut the bun in half, scoop out the top half of the buns inside bread (makes for a better layered sandwich), slather the bottom half with mustard mixture, put in slices of lamb, top with gouda, top with chopped pickles, topped with chopped tomatoes and layer over a slice of Napa cabbage, put on the top…Voila.   Nice tasty sandwich with a good kick from the pickle.  Perfect lunch.

Rick’s Kool Gherk Mignonette: Brine-on-Brine Action

For our Eat, Drink, Local week challenge I selected OYSTERS as my featured local ingredient and KOOL GHERKS as my special pickle to pair with the ingredient.    I love the aroma and flavor of Kool Gherk brine… I take gentle sips as a digestif… and I knew it would make a great addition to a classically-styled mignonette sauce for oysters.    It’s true brine-on-brine action, with the naturally briny oysters getting a boost from the Gherk brine.   What is fun about this process is the experimenting, but you only get one chance so in my case I am recommending tweaks I’ll implement to my own recipe the next time I make it.   The “revisions” are what I’ve listed in the ingredients.     The oysters I used were Wellfleets (they were what I could get at the place I went to, and technically regional rather than local, but indisputably delicious).   I can attest to the fact that a great and cheap purchase is a high quality oyster knife.   Save yourself some puncture wounds, particularly if you are quaffing Negronis while you are shucking, as I was.

A classically-styled mignonette requires very little in the way of ingredients.

I got 18 oysters (enough for 5 folks to enjoy) and after shucking was careful to avoid spilling the liquor the oyster naturally produces.  Moist is good.    It’s advisable to make your mignonette ahead of time, ideally the day prior so the flavors can comingle properly in the fridge overnight.   But if you are working a la minute, the results can still be stellar.

Rick’s Kool Gherk Mignonette

2/3rds of a cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons finely-minced shallots
1 1/2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon Kool Gherk brine
1 Kool Gherk
1 3″ piece of fresh horseradish root (optional)

Pour the white wine vinegar into a mixing bowl.    Peel and mince enough shallots to have 3 tablespoons of finished, minced shallots (two good-sized shallots should generate enough).   If you are pressed for time or lazy, you can use a food processor to mince the shallots but it will only take a few seconds… otherwise you’ll have watery mush,   Crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle and add to the bowl.    Add the Kool Gherk brine.     Take one 3-4 inch Kool Gherk and mince it as finely as the shallots.   Add it to the bowl and whisk the contents.     Plate the shucked oysters on a bed of ice (a bit of seaweed makes a nice decorative touch if available) and put a small bowl of the mignonette in the center of the plate, along with a small spoon so your friends can spoon the mignonette on to the oysters.   As  an extra touch, shave some fresh horseradish with a Microplane zester so that it has the consistency of finely-grated Parmesean, and dust the oysters after applying the mignonette.

This is the best of nine not-so-great photos taken of what was a very pretty final plate. Blame the Negronis for the quality of the photography.

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