My favorite gifts are usually handmade and personal. What makes them even better is when they are a gift that feeds me. I personally love to make pickles as gifts. When I made the radish pickles a few years ago for Christmas they were quite the hit. I decided to try new recipes for my Ramadan nuqsa. A nuqsa, is something usually a small gift you take to send to someone. In Ramadan, most people usually send some food from what they are cooking at home to their neighbors or relatives. So, while making my batch of pickles and confit, I’ve decided to set aside a few jars for the perfect nuqsa.
Spicy Quick Pickled Vegetables from Cookie & Kate
- ½ medium cauliflower, florets cut into small, bite-sized pieces
- 2 medium carrots, cut on a sharp diagonal into ⅛” thin rounds
- 1 small white or yellow onion, sliced into very thin rounds
- 2 medium jalapeños, sliced into thin rounds
- 6 garlic cloves, quartered
- 1 cup plain white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pack the cauliflower, carrots, onion, jalapeños and garlic into a quart-sized wide-mouth mason jar. Place the jar in the sink, since you’ll be pouring hot liquid into it soon.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, salt, honey, bay leaf, oregano and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer over high heat, then carefully pour the hot vinegar mixture into the jar. You should have enough to completely submerge the vegetables (and maybe a little extra). Tuck the bay leaf into the side of the jar.
- Let the pickles cool to room temperature (about 1 ½ hours) before gently tapping the jar to remove air bubbles. The pickles should be pretty well pickled and ready to consume at this point. If you’re not eating them right away, securely fasten the lid and refrigerate for up to a month.
Quick Pickled Onions recipe from Cookie & Kate
- 1 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar or additional white vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup or honey
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for heat)
- Pack the onions into a 1-pint mason jar or similar heat-safe vessel. Place the jar in the sink, to catch any splashes of hot vinegar later.
- In a small saucepan, combine the water, both vinegars, maple syrup, salt, and pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat, then carefully pour the mixture into the jar over the onions.
- Use a butter knife or spoon to press the onions down into the vinegar and pop any air bubbles in the jar. Let the pickled onions cool to room temperature (about 20 to 30 minutes), at which point they should be sufficiently pickled for serving.
- Cover and refrigerate leftover pickled onions for later. Quick-pickled onions are best consumed within three days, but they keep for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
Herby Garlic Confit recipe from Bon Appetit
- 4 heads of garlic, cloves separated, unpeeled
- A small handful of thyme sprigs, rosemary sprigs, and/or bay leaves
- 1½ cups extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 250°. Place garlic, herbs, and oil in an 8×8″ baking dish or a small saucepan. Cover with foil and bake until garlic is tender, 60–75 minutes. (You’ll have to pop one out of its skin to test it; it should be soft and jammy.) Let cool.
- Do Ahead: Garlic confit can be made 2 weeks ahead. Transfer to an airtight container and chill. Reheat over low heat before using.