Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dill: An Herb a Day

Oh dill, what do I do with you?  When I think of dill, I think of flavorless salmon sitting next to some type of dill and cream cheese mixture or a mayonnaise based potato salad with flies buzzing around it.  Nevertheless, I bought a dill plant earlier this year, and it has grown like crazy.  So here we are, lots of dill and very few good memories of recipes including dill.

I hate to start out this post on such a negative note, but I am afraid the negativity continues.  I really do not like pickles...I mean, it is such a weird food.  It's like a vegetable, with vinegar, and mysterious things floating in a jar?  With this said, when I think of the epitome of southern women, I think of a woman in a big, floppy hat that picks food from her garden and knows her way around a mason jar.  With all the negativity aside, I decided to create my own dill pickles.

Homemade Dill Pickles

I paired these crunchy, briney guys with a refreshing grilled chicken sandwich and baked fries.  It was a fantastic meal and my sweet husband was showing off his "gourmet" lunch the next day at work.

The key players: Distilled white vinegar, garlic, red chili flakes, salt, sugar, cucumbers, and of course, dill

I used my mandoline to cut these beautiful, wavy cucumber chips, but you could easily use a knife to cut 1/4 inch slices.  I bought 4 small cucumbers from the grocery store, and it made the perfect amount of chips.

In a small pot, add 1 cup of water, 1 cup of vinegar, 2 cloves of garlic minced, 1 TBSP of salt, 1 TBSP of sugar, and a pinch of red chili flakes.  Heat and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved.  
I knew we would never be able  to eat all of these pickles, so I separated the cucumbers in half to give to a friend, namely, my momma.  I roughly chopped 1/2 cup of dill fronds and placed over the cucumbers.

I poured half of the warm vinegar mixture over each of the cucumber batches, covered the pickles, and let marinate in the fridge for a few hours.

Mmm... the final product was so much more than I expected.  Basically, to compare store-bought pickles to fresh pickles is like comparing jarred applesauce to a fresh honey-crisp apple.  Fresh pickles are just on a whole 'nother level.  The pickles are crunchier, the dill flavor is not overpowering, and the garlic really shines.

As soon as we have a yard, I plan on planting a garden and officially entering the True Southern Women's Club.  Until then, I will bask in my G.R.I.T.S. status (Girl Raised In the South).