Pickled Red Onions


Juliet Glass, Communications Director

These easy pickled onions add flavor, crunch, and color to just about any savory dish. We love them with hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and tacos, tossed with salad greens and a simple vinaigrette, or folded into potato salad.  Put them in a mason jar, and they make a nice hostess gift. These will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks, but good luck keeping them around that long! 

Makes about one pint.

3/4 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoon salt
2 whole peppercorns
4 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
1 large or two small red onions, peeled and sliced into rings

Place all the ingredients except for the onions into a small sauce pan. Bring to boil over high heat.  Working in two batches, place onions in pot, return to boil, and cook for 3 minutes. Remove onions and spread out on a plate to cool. Repeat with the second batch, placing them on the plate to cool. Turn off heat and allow the onions and the brine to each cool completely. 

Once cooled place in a pint jar and store in the refrigerator. They can be eaten right away, but if you wait a few hours the color will deepen to a bright pink and the flavors with develop nicely. 

Amanda Cook-Pilkerton, Pastry Chef, Centrolina

Amanda Cook-Pilkerton is the pastry chef at Centrolina, Amy Brandwein’s dual-concept Italian restaurant and marketplace in CityCenterDC. Cook-Pilkerton most recently led the pastry department at the acclaimed Cookshop in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood. Cook-Pilkerton’s new position at Centrolina marks a return to her hometown, where she previously worked alongside Eric Ziebold as the pastry chef at CityZen. Cook-Pilkerton began her restaurant career at Roberto Donna’s celebrated Galileo. She received a pastry certificate from L’Academie de Cuisine, where she graduated with honors, and also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science and Technology from Virginia Tech. More at: centrolinadc.com


One 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
Half vanilla bean, scraped or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup whipping cream, soft whipped

Graham crumbles:
1 stick (4oz) cold butter, cut up
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt
Dash vanilla extract

Raspberry Sauce:
1 pint raspberries
1 tablespoon, or more, sugar
Lemon juice, to taste
Salt, pinch

Freshly sliced peaches and raspberries, to taste

For Mousse:
Beat cream cheese with sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add flavoring, salt and lemon juice. Fold in soft whipped cream. Scoop into serving dishes and chill until serving time

For Crumbles:
Combine all together in mixer with paddle attachment until crumbly. Spread into a lined baking sheet and bake 350F until golden brown and fragrant. Cool completely, break up into bite sized pieces

For Raspberry Sauce:
Combine all together in a blender or use a stick blender until puréed. Add more sugar if necessary. Strain to remove seeds and chill until ready to use. 

To Serve:
Top cheesecake mousse with fresh sliced market peaches and raspberries, raspberry sauce and graham crumbles
Adapted from smittenkitchen.com

These pickles are a FRESHFARM staff favorite. If you aren’t a garlic fan, you can omit this ingredient. We like them on sandwiches, chopped up and added to a salad, and straight from the jar!

Makes approximately 1 quart

8 larger or 10 smaller firm, fresh Kirby (pickling) cucumbers

2 garlic cloves, peeled

3 teaspoons kosher, coarse or pickling salt

1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1/2 cup white vinegar

Wash cucumbers and slice them very thinly, at least 1/8 inch. This is a great job for a mandolin, if you have one.

Either crush the garlic with the side of a knife or slice it thinly (the latter gets you more garlicky pickles).

Put 1 teaspoon salt and 1/3 of the dill in bottom of a one-quart jar, add half the sliced cucumber and garlic. Sprinkle an additional teaspoon salt and 1/3 the dill on top of cucumbers. Add remaining sliced cucumber and garlic and the last teaspoon of salt and the rest of the dill.

Pour the white vinegar on top, close the jar and give it a few shakes to begin distributing the ingredients. The liquid level will look low at first; over time the salt will draw out the moisture from the cucumbers and form a lovely pickle brine.

Put jar in the fridge and shake it once or twice over the next few hours.  You can eat them within 1 or 2 hours, but they are ideal after 8 hours.  They’ll keep in the fridge, submerged in their brine, for 3 weeks.