Perhaps due to strong drink and excessive hot sauce intake my taste buds have began to die as I approach the ripe age of 34. I am thinking this because it seems that I like to be clobbered over the head by the flavor of my food lately. I have no use (or patience) for bland, milquetoast fair... Give me pickle-y, spicy, sour, salty things all day long!
Due to these strange cravings my diet seems to be morphing into something not unlike the menu of a seedy, 1920s, jakey bum, dive bar (consult this vintage menu I saw at the Allen St. Pub not so long ago). Most recently I have been stuffing my maw with homemade pickled eggs and sausage...
Who likes pickled eggs and/or sausage? I have found that a lot of people dismiss these items with a summary, "ew." But I think that a lot of people should reevaluate their stance on these venerable pickled foodstuffs. I thought we were in the middle of some sort of pickling renaissance for Job's sake... What's more, pickled eggs & sausage are easy to make and are low-cost/high-reward in my opinion.
The eggs are especially easy. For a half-gallon jar -- hard boil and peel about 18 large eggs. I like the flavor malt vinegar imparts so I throw some of this into the mix. A pint and a half of white vinegar and one pint of malt vinegar should be enough to cover the eggs. Then add a tablespoon of salt, a bit of dried hot-pepper, and some pepper corns. I begin to eat these the very next day. I enjoy how the flavors continue to develop over time and I am usually done with this quantity in about a month.
For the pickled sausages you can pick any sort of cooked sausage that you enjoy. I used some homemade venison kielbasa this time. Make a brine with 2 cups white vinegar, 1.5 cups water, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, some chopped onion, and whatever pickling spices you enjoy (I like a lot of mustard seeds in there personally). Boil that up, pack sausages in your jar, and use as much of the brine as you need to cover it up. Pickled sausages need about 2 weeks in the brine (I store them in the fridge) to get the correct flavor.
There you have it. Throw a nice length of sausage and a halved egg on a plate with a goodly hunk of sharp cheese (a little mustard too) and you have a meal fit for a king (or a jakey bum)!
It is also worth noting that the deer and pork in that sausage lived/died in Upstate NY, as did the chickens that crapped those eggs, as did the cows who gave the milk for the cheese. So this is a great, locally sourced sort of home crafted plate of food if that is the sort of thing that tickles you...
So I recommend that pickled eggs & sausage be separated from the ol' timey bar-snack stigma attached to their name and that the whole pickling community embrace them with open arms! They really are a very tasty treat. Go grab a beer and a plate of this and tell me I'm wrong.