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Recipes that appear in Idea Alley have not been tested by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Candy Weaver, barbecuer extraordinaire of BBQr's Delight, shares this recipe for pickled Vidalia onions.

"One of my pickle fans suggested this! She's been pulling the onion bits from Bread & Butter pickles to use on fresh purple hull or other peas."

Pickled Vidalia Onions

5 pounds Vidalia onions, peeled, cut in half-inch rounds

1/3 cup pickling salt

3 cups white vinegar

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon mustard seed OR 2 teaspoons dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 teaspoon peppercorns

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Put onion slices in large bowl and sprinkle salt over top. Put ice cubes on top as well. Cover and hold in refrigerator for 2 hours or so. Prepare jars and lids for water bath canning. For complete instructions for preparing a water bath canner, visit arkansasonline.com/613canning.

In a large pot, bring the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, turmeric, celery seed, ginger, peppercorns and pepper flakes to a boil. Rinse onions thoroughly then pack in prepared jars. Spoon hot brine over onions until 1/2 inch from top. Clean rim of the jar before setting lid and ring on top. Process in water bath for 5 minutes. If jar doesn't seal, store in refrigerator.

Makes 5 pint jars.

I made [this] often during the '80s, I believe, then not often because I was concerned about the nightshade veggies. I just made it again last week and enjoyed it with no apparent problem," writes Linda Concoby.

Concoby notes the herbs and spices are versatile. She skips the coriander, cumin and bouquet garni and adds a bit of oregano.

Ratatouille

1 medium eggplant, cut in large cubes

Salt

¼ cup olive oil, divided use

2 medium onions, sliced

1 red bell pepper, quartered, seeded, sliced

1 green bell pepper, quartered, seeded, sliced

½ teaspoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons dried basil

1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed

Bouquet garni, (bundle of parsley, thyme and bay leaves), optional

Ground black pepper, to taste

3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, sliced

Sprinkle the cut eggplant pieces with salt and let stand 30 minutes to draw out the juices. Rinse with cold water, dry on paper towels.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Fry onions until soft but not browned. Add the remaining oil, dried eggplant cubes, bell peppers, spices, garlic, bouquet garni (if using) and ground black pepper to taste. Cover pot and cook gently on top of stove or bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) for 30 minutes. Add tomatoes, stir well. Cover. Cook additional 20 minutes or until all vegetables are tender, but not mushy. Discard bouquet garni, taste for seasoning, and serve.

Next week: Green tomato cake, tomato-basil pasta and jalapeno popper grilled-cheese sandwiches.

Send recipe contributions, requests and culinary questions to Kelly Brant, Idea Alley, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, P.O. Box 2221, Little Rock, Ark. 72203; email:

kbrant@arkansasonline.com

Please include a daytime phone number.

Food on 06/13/2018

Print Headline: Appease pickle fan with Vidalia onions

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