This past week was rough. School started on Monday and it couldn’t come soon enough, except I now have to wake up at 6:15 am in order to make it out the door with two dressed and fed children. I am not a morning person, not at all, so I was barely functioning all week. I did however enjoy the quiet that came with the baby’s uninterrupted nap and some much needed morning alone time. By the end of the week I knew things were bad when I sent my hubby to pick up Dylan, and it turns out he didn’t get out until two hours later and I forgot to pack his lunch!
It seems like no matter what I do I’m always one step behind. It kind of feels like all I have to do is give one more push and the race will be over, but the race never ends. Just the other day I was looking for school lunch ideas on pinterest for a newsletter I do for my local moms group, when I got a case of the mommy-chef guilt. I usually pack him pb & j, veggies and fruit, and some goldfish. It’s practically the same everyday, nothing cute or artsy about it, and honestly it’s all I can muster that early in the morning. Sometimes I think, ” All that money that went in to culinary school and all I can make is pb & J?” So I asked Dylan (6yrs old) if he would help me plan his school lunches. I told him one day we could have veggie sushi, maybe another day hummus cucumber pinwheels, and another day noodles. He just kind of stared at me with a blank face. So I said, ” Or, we can just have peanut butter and jelly every day.” The boy responded with an enthusiastic yes, so pb & j it is. I proudly declare we will not be making any fancy school lunches this year!
The Recipe: Mexican Pickled Jalapeños and Radishes
This month is what we call in Mexico, el mes de la patria (patriotic month). It’s the actual month of Mexico’s independence. I still don’t know how we will be celebrating, but I finally perfected the Mexican pickled jalapeños recipe (jalapeños en escabeche). I was having trouble getting them to taste just like the canned ones. My favorite brand is La Costeña. I had used a combination of cider and white vinegar, and the problem was solved when I completely eliminated the cider vinegar. I water canned them, but you can make refrigerator ones, and skip the canning process. I chose to use radishes in this case, because we kept getting them in the CSA basket every week. The result was jar after jar of slightly pink hued jalapeñ0s. The jalapeños, radishes, onion, and carrots are infused with the flavors of fresh oregano and thyme. They are tangy, spicy, and just the right amount of crunchy. Enjoy!
Mexican Pickled Jalapeños & Radishes
- 1 lb Red radishes, sliced ¼ inch thick
- 1 lb. Carrots, peeled, sliced ¼ inch thick
- ½ lb Jalapeños
- 1 Onion, white large, sliced thinly
- 4 sprigs Oregano, fresh
- 3 sprigs Thyme, fresh
- 1 Bay leaf
- ¼ cup Olive oil
- 2 tbsp. Salt, kosher
- 5 cups White vinegar
- ½ cup Water
- Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a large pot to medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the onions and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the carrots, jalapeños, and radishes and let cook for 1- 2 minutes. Add the vinegar to the hot pot with the vegetables. (Be careful. When the vinegar touches the oil there will be some splashing.)
- Add the water, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, and salt. Let simmer for 8- 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, but not completely soft.
- While the vegetables are cooking, sterilize your jars by boiling them in water for 5 min. When your vegetables are ready, use canning tongs to remove the jars from the water, pouring the water in the jars back in the canner.
- Bring the water in your canning pot back to a boil. Pour the vegetables into the jars using a ladle and a canning funnel, but be sure to leave ½ inch of headspace at the top.
- Use a chopstick to release air bubbles by running it around the inside of the jar. Clean the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel. Put on the lids and screw the rings on until finger tight. Do not force it.
- Transfer the jars to the pot, making sure they are vertical and that there is at least one inch of water covering them. Bring water to a boil and process cans for 10 minutes.
- Remove jars from water and place on top of a wire rack. Let cool. You should hear a pop when the lids seal completely. Leave undisturbed for 6 hrs. If the lids are not sealed properly you will have to process them again.
- Remove the rings and store jars in a cool, dark place. Refrigerate after opening.
Recipe yields 4 pint jars.