Ten years ago today my good friend Staley, who had spent most of early December helping me make gifts from the kitchen, took me out to dinner and, after several hours, asked me out. I can’t even say that this is our dating anniversary. Rather, it is the anniversary of use finally acknowledging that are friendship was something much deeper.
In honor of the wonderful, Johnny Cash-loving man I married, who eats vegan food with a smile even though he loves bacon second to me and our children (it was a sad day when I had to tell him the package of pulled pork he held hopefully in his hand was vegan), I would like to share one of my recipes, one that happens to be his favorite: Ring of Fire Pickles. I can’t say that I invented these–they came from an old cookbook that belonged to my grandmother (and has since fallen apart), albeit with some minor adjustments. These are simple to make and so tasty. I give them as gifts all the time and actually have people bring the jars back to me for refills.
While you can certainly make your own pickles, I don’t have that skill, so my version require premade pickles. Check with the pickle manufacturer to make sure they are vegan, but I find most Kosher dills work. I make mine with slices; you can also do spears or relish. These are amazing on sandwiches, tofu dogs, or just out of the jar (that’s how my husband eats them). Jar them up and give them away. Enjoy!
Ring of Fire Pickles
2 jars (32 ounces each) sliced dill pickles, spears, or relish (or, buy whole pickles and slice them yourself)
4 cups raw sugar
1 TBS hot pepper sauce (I use Tabasco)
1 tsp hot pepper flakes
Jars for storing pickles
One garlic clove for each jar, peeled
- Combine sugar, hot pepper sauce, and pepper flakes in a bowl.
- Drain the juice from the pickles. In a large glass bowl, layer 1/4 of the pickles, then top with 1/4 of the sugar-pepper mixture, spreading it to cover all the pickles. Add another layer of pickles and then a layer of the mixture, alternating until you have four layers. Do NOT mix.
- Cover the bowl and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Uncover the mixture and stir. Recover and leave for another 1 to 2 hours.
- Place a peeled garlic clove in the bottom of each jar. Spoon the pickles into the jar, making sure to include some of the juice. Close the jars and refridgerate for about 1 week before eating.
You can certainly break into those pickles right away; however, waiting a week lets the garlic kick in, making them even more yummy. If you really want to turn up the heat, slice up a jalapeno and place one slice in each jar.