Hye Thyme Cafe: Lime Ponzu Pickled Cucumbers

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)


Friday, January 11, 2013

Lime Ponzu Pickled Cucumbers




I actually made these pickles back in November and had decided not to post them.  It wasn't that I didn't like them but rather that I didn't know how to describe them.  No, I still don't really know how to describe them. When doing my post-Christmas ginormous garbage run of broken-down boxes, packing peanuts and other recyclables, and random miscellaneous stuff remaining in the fridge once the leftovers had been demolished, I came to this lonely jar of pickles, sad and forgotten. Seriously, how many pickles can one chick eat?!  I did a pretty good job on them when I first made them, and went back for a few here and there after that, but then they got pushed to the back of the shelf where they sat ... and apparently continued to soak up flavor.

Because everyone talks about refrigerator pickles having a 2-3 week shelf life, I was pouring out the liquid to pitch them that day, and for some reason ate one.  I was very pleasantly surprised to note that not only were they still crisp, but the garlic they had been swimming around with had really seeped in.  So I ate another one, and then another, and then I contemplated hanging onto them but was nervous about them having been around for almost 2 months, well past their supposed expiration date.  They seemed fine to me, and I lived to write about them, soooooooo???

Here's the dilemma - what to serve them with?  I've just been snacking on them, but really, if you fed them to some unsuspecting soul alongside a sandwich or a burger, you might send them into apoplectic fits.  You know how gross it is when you eat/drink something you're expecting to taste a certain way only it doesn't?  You would be expecting a dill or bread and butter pickle, but your brain would warp trying to explain what was happening.  Then I had a thought (knock off the jokes wise guy!) - our crew likes to get together for Japanese Night on occasion.  We'll go full out and make the salad, miso soup, rice, sushi, tempura, sukiyaki, sake, and plum wine.  No, we don't make the sake or plum wine ourselves.  In any event, that made me think of when you go to a Japanese restaurant and they bring you a little something before your salad.  I'm not sure if it's meant to awaken your palate or is just a custom, but I'm thinking this brine might lend itself well to pickling thinner sliced cucumbers, maybe some carrot or even broccoli and serving it on Japanese Night!  :)

The Lime Ponzu is pretty much a lime-vinegar-soy sauce, so the pickles hit you first with tart, then sweet, and round out with that sort of umami soy taste at the end.  Curious?  Give them a try, and aside from just munching on them as a snack, let me know what you come up with as pairing options.


INGREDIENTS
6 pickling cucumbers
1 small onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic
1 t mustard seeds
1 c water
1/2 c white vinegar
1/2 c rice vinegar
1/2 c Lime Ponzu
1 T kosher salt
3 T sugar

Slice the cucumbers into chunky rings and place in a jar or covered bowl, along with the sliced onion, garlic cloves, and mustard seeds.





In a small pot, bring the water, vinegar, ponzu, salt, and sugar to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 3-5".

Depending on how crisp you like your pickles, allow the liquid to cool before pouring over your cucumbers.  I like my pickles crisp, so I wait until the liquid has cooled to the point where I can put my hands around the pot without it being too hot.  I do want it to have some heat to it to give the garlic and mustard seeds a wake-up call when they're first introduced.
















By the way, I did a recent post about covers and lids.  This would be another example.  I picked up that jar at the Armenian Bakery on one of my trips to Boston (it was full of Tourshi).  It had a metal top on it, but I couldn't for the life of me get the thing off and had to bang the crap out of it with the back of a spoon to break the seal.  I don't like the metal lids anyhow since they all seem to corrode over time, and I'm very sensitive to touch - don't get me started on microfiber cloths, dry dirt, Syrian bread or even peaches!  So I turned to my stash of lids.  Turns out the hard plastic top I had saved from a flimsy plastic bucket of Nonni's Biscotti fits perfectly on this jar!









3 comments:

  1. So curious! Chris, every time I come to your blog, I find something so intriguing. I had never heard of Lime Ponzu. Where do you get it? I simply love pickles.

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    1. I can't remember why I actually got it, but it was right with the soy sauce at the regular grocery store. I know I had something else in mind for it at the time but can't for the life of me remember what now!

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