This week is a special week because normally I would only post on Mondays (but I am enjoying this blog so much that it might happen more often). I am off from work because I have been hobbling around on crutches due to a fall on Saturday night. This morning I found some carrots languishing in my vegetable crisper so I decided to do something about them. I love pickles and we finished up our last jar last night on the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich so I carefully hauled out my big pot (which is not easy balancing on crutches) and started chopping. My inspiration, William Merritt Chase.

William Merritt Chase, Still Life with Pepper and Carrot, c. 1900
oil on canvas, 44.77 x 59.69 cm, Private Collection

William Merritt Chase painted in an Impressionist style and was part of the new wave European-educated American talent. His still life paintings were often against dark backgrounds and although he painted him throughout his career he was better known for his portraits of famous individuals from his time. His home and studio were filled with decorative object with which he composed his still life paintings and he even included miniature still life scenes within the larger portrait paintings (1).

Pickling is the process by when food is preserved in a brine which gives food a salty or sour taste. Pickles can be found in Asia, Europe, North America, and the Middle East and although the idea is the same, the process varies greatly from region to region. The process of pickling first originated as a way to preserve food on long sea voyages and for out of season use. Carrots are pickled all over the world and are often mixed with other vegetables. I added a beautiful orange chili to my pickle to give it some heat and to get a few pickled peppers out of the jar.

{Pickled Pepper & Carrots}

 

Adding a small orange chili adds a bit of spice and heat. Delicious when paired with a cold beer and served as a light appetizer. This recipe intends the carrots to be stored in the refrigerator and to be consumed within 8 to 10 days.

adapted from smitten kitchen
Yield: 4 servings

5 medium carrots, peeled, cut in half and then into wedges
1 cup water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup raw sugar
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon dill seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 small chili sliced
1 teaspoon fresh dill chopped

Place the carrots into a medium-sized pickling jar upon a wooden cutting board. In a small saucepan, add the water, apple cider vinegar, sugar, garlic, dill seeds, fennel seeds, salt and small chili and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer the mixture for two minutes and then remove from the heat. Pour the brine over the carrots and add the fresh dill to the jar. Cover immediately with the lid and let cool about 1 hour before storing in refrigerator. Wait at least one day before eating to let the flavors develop, store in refrigerator.