Isn't this a pretty sight? Zesty jalapenos, crunchy carrots and fragrant garlic waiting for their fate to be sealed.
Ever since I left Houston, I have been trying to replicate the tasty pickled jalapenos, carrots and onions on the salsa bar at my favorite restaurant, Taco Milagro. *Sigh* I don't miss much about Houston, but the food I ate while there was top notch!
And while tasty, store bought pickled jalapenos just aren't the same.
So onward I push to replicate the flavor and texture. Some extensive internet research led me to Grady Spears, a cookbook author and restaurant owner in West Texas.
I was excited. As I made the pickling liquid I dreamed of the first fresh bite. Spicy and briny but with a definite crunch. As my nasal passages swam in the scent of vinegar, I dreamed of always having this "delicacy" in the house, of giving them as gifts, of being the toast of Nashville TN (well not the last one - it is harder to find "spice heads" here)
The veggies swam in their brine. They were poured into their new homes - the trusty Ball Jar (a story on that in a moment) and put in the fridge to "chill". Dinnertime came around and the jars were pulled out. The onions were great! Maybe needed a bit more sugar for balance, but good all the same. However I was (again) disappointed in my jalapeno attempt. They lost their heat. I'm not sure where it went, but it didn't stay where it belonged!
Back to the research!
A note on Ball Jars - The Ball brothers moved their glass company to my hometown of Muncie Indiana in the late 1800's where it remained until 1998. I was born in Ball Hospital. I graduated from Ball State University...you get the picture ;)
Grady Spears' Jose's Jalapenos
30 jalapeno peppers (about 3/4 pound)
25 cloves garlic
2 carrots (about 1/3 pound), peeled and cut on the diagonal
1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
*** I did the onions separately, using 6 onions and the same mixture***
3 cups cider vinegar
2 cups pineapple juice
2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
3 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Place the jalapenos, garlic, carrots, and onion in a large bowl. Pour the vinegar and pineapple juice into a saucepan and add the peppercorns, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, and salt. Heat the mixture to boiling.
Pour the hot liquid over the jalapenos, stir to combine the ingredients, and place a plate or the pan itself on top of the peppers to keep them submerged in the hot liquid.
Let cool to room temperature. Transfer the minute to a 2-quart with a lid. Set aside in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving.