Kestrel (my wife) has been on a food preservation kick recently - she gets like this when the seasons start to change. Late spring and summer are times for pickles and other hand-type snacks, and she tried out several new recipes which "came of age" tonight.
First up, a spicy carrot pickle. You see this a lot in Mexican restaurants... at least, if you go to places more sit-down than Taco Bell. Basically, you pickle carrots (usually sliced rounds, but we used peeled baby carrots) and peppers (normally jalapenos sliced lengthwise; we used those, yellow bell pepper strips to add a bit of sweetness, and a habanero - no points for guess what that adds!) along with some spices in vinegar - let it age in the refrigerator for two weeks or a month, and it's ready to go. The verdict: quite nice, with about one to one-and-a-half more stars of heat than what you normally get in a restaurant. A month was enough to soften the outer layer of the carrots, but they still had a nice, crisp crunch to the tooth.
Next, a sweet onion pickle. Basically, slivered white onions with various spices in a syrup. Again, it came out very tasty, with a bit a crispiness. I think it needs perhaps another two to three weeks in the refrigerator, though - it tastes like it could use a little maturing. Still good, but it'll improve as it goes along.
And finally, cowboy candy. Another syrup-type pickle, this time using jalapeno rings and a number of spices - cumin, cayenne, garlic, and cilantro... basically, the spices for chili-making. The stuff you get in the stores isn't bad, but let me tell you this, starting from fresh makes a difference. I'm somewhat of a chili-head - or as they consider it locally, a lunatic. To me, the cowboy candy carried by places like Trader Joe's is good as a topping for toast or the like. Well, this stuff, after a single jalapeno slice, made the inside of my ears itch and my scalp break out in a sweat! I'll tell you this for free, this is going to counter any sinus issues...
All in all, three fairly successful experiments. Yum!