Thursday, February 14, 2013

Positive Ponderings on Sweet Pickle Relish

Last month I posted a simple question on my Facebook profile. Did my Facebook friends prefer Sweet Relish or Dill Relish? Nothing scientific, and they were free to respond any way they wished, being they had to write the answer out.

There was no particular reason behind the question of than that I was out of relish earlier that day, and the store I went to only had Dill Relish on sale, for whatever reason.

I purposely didn't post my preference so as not to sway people's responses. After a couple of days, a half dozen of my friends had stopped by to answer.

Ignoring the one "Depends on the situation," I was surprised to see that all, but one, favored Dill Relish.

Based on that un-scientific poll I must be in the minority when it comes to relish, as my relish of choice is Sweet Pickle Relish. (And to give a free plug, my jar of choice is Mt. Olive No Sugar Added Sweet Relish).

There's something about that cloyingly sweet pickle goodness that adds just the right touch to a burger or coupled with plain yellow mustard takes a liverwurst and sourdough sandwich to a whole new level!

* * *

Looking back, I'm thinking my love of sweet pickles goes back to my childhood. Every Christmas Eve the family would get together to see what Santa brought that night, and prior to the annual paper ripping we'd have a big spread of all sorts of good things to eat.

Sitting amongst the salami, cheeses and dips, was usually a small bowl filled with those mini sweet gherkins that come in the four inch tall jars. If you planned ahead of time, and chilled them in the fridge, they'd seem extra firm and crunchy when compared to the soft insides of even the freshest dill pickle.

Strangely most of the family bypassed the pickle bowl, which was fine with me, as I eagerly grabbed four at a time with each visit to the table.

A week later, we'd do it again; this time to ring in the New Year, which was one of the few chances for the little ones (my sister and I) to stay up past Midnight!! Helping us pass the time before the clock struck Midnight was Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians. (This was before I knew it was all tape delayed for us on the Left Coast).

Later on my mother took up canning. One of the things she tried her hand at was pickles. They were dill pickles, including some with hot peppers and garlic to give them a kick! Probably long last their prime, but I have a couple cans lurking around for sentimental sake. Nothing like freshly canned pickles. (Though I couldn't convince her to make sweet pickles!)

When I was in junior high (Go Albany Cobras!!) we had a teacher who's favorite saying was, "Relax, and have a pickle!" Most of the kids thought this was either odd, or funny. Not sure why as it made perfectly good sense to me.

* * *

I leave you with my Go To recipe for Tartar Sauce.

Last year I found I was making a conscious effort to eat more fish, especially on Fridays (I'm not Catholic, but I used that practice as an excuse).

It was usually Van de Kamp's Beer Battered Fillets, so it came with breading, which meant it naturally needed Tartar Sauce to complete the dinner. After buying jar after jar of premade sauces, I decided I could do better…AND cheaper!

(makes a little over half cup)
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Sweet Pickle Relish
1 Green Onion (minced)
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. dried Dill Weed
Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Thoroughly mix all ingredients and cover with plastic wrap.
Allow to chill in the refrigerator for a couple hours for the flavors to blend. Ideally overnight.

The type of citrus juice really isn't important. I've actually made it with Lime Juice or Meyer Lemon Juice, fresh from my backyard tree. Both of these options aren't nearly as sour as the traditional lemon. (Not sure I'd try Orange Juice though).

After a little tweaking I'm pretty happy with what I came up with. Should you decide to make it yourself, I hope you do too.

* * *

Sharing a love for pickle relish today on Valentine's Day instead of something romantic like chocolates or fine red wine? I ask "Why not?" After all, some people (myself included) it's just another day.

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