Stuff and Nonsense: pickles and olives

Showing posts with label pickles and olives. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pickles and olives. Show all posts


Pickle Time!

I'd been hankering for a Vacu Vin Instant Pickler ever since I first saw one last year, but always managed to delay the purchase by reminding myself I didn't need another thing cluttering up my kitchen. And then I went shopping at Sur La Table one night after work, but before supper, so I was both HUNGRY and TIRED and my resistance to shiny things was dangerously looooow.

(Seriously, can't shop hungry. Or tired. Even if it's "just" a "quick stop" to pick up some on-sale melamine picnicware, I am bound to go all Bad Decision Bear and come home with some highly coveted, but not necessarily needful thing.

Like this a Vacu Vin Instant Pickler! Which is actually doubleplusknobsonAWESOME, by the way. I made slightly-sweet-yet-very-dilly refrigerator pickles earlier this week using a pretty basic Betty Crocker recipe as my base and they came out fab. I used farmers market pickling cucumbers, garden dill, and red onion, omitted the carrots, halved the sugar, and crammed in LOTS of fresh dill.

And the next day, I had perfect pickles. Crisp, dilly-sweet slices ideal for piling on sandwiches or snacking straight from the container. Was it the best $15 I've ever spent? Probably not, but I'm still so enamored with the Vacu Vin Instant Pickler that I'll be probably be making pickles every week for weeks to come so it will definitely earn its price tag.


Improv Challenge: Red & Green

I did think about making a red-and-green bundt cake for December's Improv Challenge but, aside from an egregious use of food coloring, I couldn't see what that could bring to the table. So I went savory and dye-free with this simple dish of chicken, tomatoes, and green olives! And capers! And fresh herbs! Which are also green!

Chicken Thighs In Tomato & Olive Sauce

Yield:4-8 servings
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 10 mins.
Cook time: 06 hrs. 00 mins.
Total time: 06 hrs. 10 mins.


  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced thinly
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 28 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes [Muir Glen]
  • 1 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup pitted green olives, quartered
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper, as needed
  • Additional fresh herbs for garnish


  1. Add the onions, tomatoes, olives, capers, and fresh herbs to the slow cooker insert.

  2. Nestle the chicken thighs into the tomato mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a few sprigs of thyme and oregano, if desired.

  3. Cook on low for 6 hours. Serve garnished with additional herbs.

The tomatoes, onions, and chicken will make more than enough liquid so don't even think about adding broth to the pot! The chicken comes out very tender and the sauce is very flavorful, although it is a little runny so feel free to thicken it before serving.


More Chard Goodness

Turns out sriracha does make my chard scramble recipe even better. I added a half teaspoon sriracha and two diced seeded tomatoes and, wow, it was delicious! (And two servings of vegetables at breakfast time is a pretty neat feat).

Spicy Chard Scramble

If you don't have chard, I'm pretty sure this recipe would work just as well with spinach.

Thanks to all the scrambles I've been making, I've finally amassed enough chard stems to make Bon Appetit’s easy "Sriracha Fridge Pickles" today. Based on the amount of chard I had and my general taste preferences, I tweaked the ingredient amounts somewhat.

Chard Stems

I chopped my stems into bite-sized pieces and dumped them in a glass storage container with a small, thinly sliced, onion.

Making Sriracha Chard Pickles

I mixed together 2 cups vinegar, 1 cup sugar, 6 tablespoons sriracha, and 1 tsp celery seed. Poured that over the vegetables, snapped the lid on the container, and gave everything a good shake.

Sriracha Chard Pickles

Then I put the container in the fridge and told myself to leave it alone for a few days rather than do what I usually do with fridge pickles -- obsessively check the container, wondering if pickle-ization is happening.

They should be ready for taste-testing on Friday ...