Monday, November 19, 2012

Honey Pickled Carrots

Both of my grandmothers were big proponents of relish trays on holiday tables.  When I was little, I would make a meal out of the sweet gherkin pickles and black olives that my Grandma Davis always had out.  I continue the tradition at our holiday table and this year I'm adding these lovely carrot pickles.  They are adapted from a recipe in the November 14, 2012 New York Times by David Tanis with a few changes.  I swapped the sugar in the recipe for honey, of course. Since honey is sweeter than sugar, I substituted 1/3 cup honey for the 1/2 cup of sugar.  And instead of making carrot slices, I just used a bag of baby carrots.  I also skipped the 6 dried red peppers Tanis's recipe calls for since my family isn't big on spicy foods.  These pickles are great without the heat, though next time I make them, I think I'll include that touch of zing.  My amazing great nephews, Samson (3) and Bohdan (not-yet-1) will be joining us for Thanksgiving this year and I'm hoping that they, too, will come to carry on the holiday relish plate tradition!

Honey Pickled Carrots
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 cloves
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon caraway seed
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
3 large garlic cloves, each cut in half
1 pound "baby" carrots

In a non-reactive (stainless steel) pot, combine the vinegar, honey, salt, cloves, bay leaf, caraway, coriander and garlic cloves.  Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a steady simmer and add the carrots.  Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes--you want the carrots to still be firm and slightly crunchy, but not raw.  Remove the carrots and spread out on a cookie sheet to cool.  Let the brine come to room temperature.  Put the carrots in a glass container and pour the brine over them.  There may be a bit left over. If so, be sure to scoop out any spices that might be at the bottom and add them to the jar.  Let the carrots marinate for at least 8 hours, refrigerated.  They can be made well in advance--up to four days.

Stay tuned for another make-ahead Thanksgiving dish:  delightful butternut squash rolls!

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