I was making a Root Beer Pulled Pork the other night and decided I wanted to make some pickles to go along with it. I had never made pickles before, unless you count the Armenian pickled veggies I made once (Tourshi - kinda like Giardinera). These turned out delicious, with just the right crunch to them. On the pickle scale, I would say they're cousin to the Bread & Butter Pickle, with a touch of heat.
6-7 small pickling cucumbers
1 fresh jalapeno pepper
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c white vinegar
1/2 c rice vinegar
1/2 t celery seed
1 t dill weed
1/8 t salt
Slice the cucumbers into thick rings, and the shallots into thin rings, then toss them in a jar or bowl with 2 cloves of garlic and set aside.
Split the jalapeno in half and ponder your crew's tolerance for heat. I pulled out the center strip, but left some of the pith and seeds. If you are sensitive to heat, you will want to remove all of the pith and seeds. Put the jalapeno in a small pan along with the remaining garlic (I split them in half) and the rest of your ingredients.
Bring the whole thing up to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for about 5" before turning off the heat.
Here's your next decision ... how soft or crisp do you like your pickles? I like mine more on the crisp side, so I let the vinegar mixture cool for a while. I wanted it to be warm enough for the flavors to infuse, but not so hot that it cooked my cukes.
After it had cooled for a little while, I tossed one of the jalapeno halves and poured the rest of the pot over the cucumbers. When the jar was cool to the touch, I refrigerated it. That's it!
I had little plastic cups like you get at restaurants with some side items, so I filled a little cup with pickles to go on each person's plate. These were a huge hit, and I was immediately asked for the recipe, so that's always a good sign. ;)