Quick-Pickled Celery: Cheap, Always in Season, Awesome
It's 105 outside today. I'm hot. Crabby. I can't afford the olive bar any longer because I will not spend the rest of my life here, a slave to jobs and location. But it's mind-meltingly hot out and all I want is something cold that explodes with vinegar. You know how we fix this ornery mood? We pickle!
1/2 c white vinegar
1/2 c water
1 1/2 T pickling spice (If you have it, great. If not, a bay leaf, a couple of whole cloves, a couple of whole allspice berries and a teaspoon or so of mustard seed. But if you have all of that in your spice pantry you really don't need a substitution for pickling spice because you're already a badass.)
2 t kosher salt
1 T sugar
dash cayenne pepper
2 c (about 4 stalks) celery, sliced into 1/4" slices
1. Simmer everything but the celery until the sugar and salt has dissolved and the bay leaves in the pickling mix start to rehydrate.
2. Cram the celery into a pint jar and carefully pour the hot mixture over. Top with water if needed to make certain all the celery is covered.
3. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Pickles will be ready after 24 hours but I won't judge you if you can't wait to start drinking the brine.
These are awesome out of the jar. They're awesome in a green salad. They'll be awesome in a random grain/random nut/lemon juice/olive oil salad. I nearly dropped the jar when I realized the awesome they could bring to a hopelessly old-timey sandwich.
Everybody has their favorite way of making egg salad, so I won't presume to advise you on this topic. For me? A boiled egg, a dollop of mayonnaise, a squeeze of mustard, and a few pieces of my new pickled friend cut into little crunchy, vinegar-y pieces. Toasted bread. Pepper.
Feeling better already.