I looked at her photograph for about three full minutes and then thought to myself..."I want something that looks like that in my refrigerator!".
Now, two tricks to this. One trick is figuring out if the recipe is easy enough to be reproducible given the bounds of my somewhat limited patience in combination with my similarly limited kitchen skills set.
The second trick is to see if my results are not only photogenic, but photogenic in such a way that I can capture it with my entry level digital camera and just past entry level camera skill set.
For starters, this recipe is dead simple once you assemble the ingredients.
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
4 sprigs of marjoram
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 to 2 pounds chillis (or enough to fill whatever vessel you're using)
Now I am thinking ahead. Depending on how these taste, this represents a potentially gorgeous Christmas gift for those who have tasties for hot stuff. This took me maybe three quarters of an hour start to finish (not counting time to stage photos and yes that may be hard to believe that I actually do try to stage these shots so stop your snickering. At least I try.).
If I did decide to try a large batch of these for gifts and planned ahead in order to get several additional varieties of pepper plants started in our garden this Spring, it ought not be a horribly expensive process.Especially if replacing sherry vinegar turns out to be acceptable flavor wise.
Two final bits. First, turns out peppers are buoyant as all get out. You may have a bit of gentle rearranging to do by slightly tilting the jar to get most of the peppers to stay below your liquid level. I found using the stick end of a wooden spoon helpful here. The little peppers simply want to float up to the top and stay there unless you can get them trapped under the larger varieties. That might be addressed next go-round by using a smaller jar. Without so much head space the peppers will not have room to bob about.
Last but not least, while I am happy with my photos and think they do my pickled peppers justice, I am certain even if somehow Ruhlman's wife Donna did see this post she will not be losing any sleep over the competition. The Bragg's/sherry vinegar combination I used is slightly darker than whatever they used in that photo posted to Ruhlman's blog. I think this recipe will tolerate the use of various vinegars gracefully. Champagne vinegar pickled peppers? Why not!
I will be back with an update in a few weeks to let you know if the flavor of these peppers lives up to their appearance. Meanwhile they will be classing up my refrigerator and prompting a smile every time I glance at them through the open door.