I stepped into the kitchen after spending hours in front of the television. I just couldn't take it anymore. I needed a break. From the fridge I pulled ingredients for dinner. I hovered over the stove and stirred, staring into a pot of stew. My thoughts brought me back to where I was when the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center occurred and the years it took before it felt normal to go into the City again. I wondered if it'd be that way here in Boston; if I'd do all I could to avoid Copley Square so I wouldn't have to be reminded of what happened. And would we see a change in people? Maybe a bit more camaraderie and compassion? Is it possible for us to take something out of this that will make our lives a little brighter?
Garlic Dill Pickles
8-10 (approx. 3 lbs) kirby cucumbers, rinse and dried 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar 1 1/2 cups filtered water 2 tablespoons pickling salt 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed fresh dill weed 2 teaspoons black peppercorns 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1. Wash the jars in warm, soapy water. To prepare shelf stable pickles, prepare a boiling water bath canner. Put the canning jar lids into a small saucepan with 3 inches of water and set to a low simmer.
2. Remove blossom end of the cucumbers. Cut into chips, spears or leave whole, depending on your preference.
3. In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, water and salt and bring to a boil.
4. Equally divide garlic cloves, a big hunk of dill weed, black peppercorns and red chili flakes between the jars. Add the the cucumbers to the jars and pack as tightly as possible without crushing them.
5. Carefully, pour the brine into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch of room from the rim of the jar.
6. Remove air bubbles from the jars by gently tapping them.
7. Wipe the rims of the jars and apply lids and bands (don't screw them on too tightly).
8. If making shelf stable pickles, lower jars into your processing pot. When water returns to a boil, set a timer for 10 minutes.
9. When the 10 minutes is up, remove jars from canning pot and allow them to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, check seals.
10. If you choose not to process your jars, let them cool before putting them into the refrigerator. Do note that your jars may seal during the cooling process. However, without the boiling water bath process, that doesn't mean they're shelf stable. Refrigerate them.
11. Let pickles rest for at least one week before eating.