Round 2: Spicy Pickled Carrots and other cliches

It occurred to me that I’ve neglected to catch you up, dear readers, on my goings on.  I forgot to mention that a few months ago, as the last requirement to finish my culinary program, I began working at a wonderful upscale Pasadena restaurant that mixes seasonal fare with a bit of fusion.  I served as a prep cook and manned the garde manger station during dinner service (where I prepared cold foods, salads, appetizers, and desserts).  I also started working with the restaurant’s catering element for large off-site events.  I actually loved my job — the fast paced orders, serving the customers, hearing them praise my dishes, working with the chef de cuisine on tasting menus and collaborating on new dishes, and just being in a commercial kitchen with other cooks  — only the late nights and weekends were killing both me and Big N.  We quickly learned that restaurant life was mutually exclusive to my other jobs as part-time attorney and full-time mommy.  So when my externship was up, so were my days at the restaurant, though I do miss it.  In November I graduated culinary school, with honors I might add, and am now a classically trained cook.  Yippee!

And while I’m sharing, Fin is going to be a big brother.  Yup, we’re expecting, again.  Though my little kidney bean is due in August, it hasn’t yet sunk in that I’m going to have my hands very full very soon.  In the meantime, I’m working on my next big project but haven’t quite figured out which direction to go.  Do I become a private chef and cook in my clients’ homes for their fancy dinner parties?  Do I start a little baking business?  Do I get another job in a restaurant or bake shop that allows me to work in the daytime?  All questions for which I have zero answers, at the moment anyway.

Which brings me to pickles.  I lost 5 pounds working at the restaurant.  I called it the restaurant diet, which entailed 12 hour shifts standing on my feet, very hard sweaty manual labor in a steamy kitchen, absolutely no time to eat.  So now that I’m starting this pregnancy with a weight deficit, I have a little wiggle room to have some fun.  Bring on the ice cream, and the pickles, and all the other cliches because this time around I’m going hog wild (I’m even going full rebel mode and eating sushi, don’t judge).

I’ve always loved pickles.  You can pickle anything and I’ll eat it.  Pickled eggs? Reminds me of Beijing, sure.  Pickled purslane?  Looks like a weed but I’ll eat it and love it.  Pickled bacon?  I’ll try anything once.

Spicy pickled carrots

This week I had a hankering for those spicy pickled carrots you can find at good taquerias.  Kidney bean needs his/her veggies.  Plus I bought too many carrots and Fin has decided he’s not eating them anymore.  The carrots are easy to make and take about 25 minutes, plus refrigeration time because warm pickles aren’t my fave.  Simply boil your vinegar and water, add the spices, then the carrots, and simmer until the carrots reach your desired al dente-ness (I still like a little crunch to mine). 

Now that I have a nice big jar in my fridge, I’m eating them with everything.  Try my recipe, below.

Joke all your want, pickled anything + preggers = happy me.

Spicy Pickled Carrots

Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Meal type Condiment, Side Dish, Snack
Region Mexican


  • 1 lb Baby Carrots (Peeled, cut in half lengthwise)
  • 1 1/2 cup White Distilled Vinegar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 tablespoon Juniper Berries
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Mustard Seeds
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Black Peppercorns
  • 3/4 oz Chiles de Arbol (Dried, available at Mexican markets)
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander seeds


  • 1/4 cup Vegetable oil


Feel free to substitute regular carrots, sliced about 3/4" thick, for the baby carrots.  Also, this seems like a lot of chiles, but don't worry too much.  The carrots have a nice spiciness to them, but won't be so spicy that you can't eat a bunch.  Unless of course you have no tolerance for spiciness, in which case I think the title of this recipe will cause you to move on anyway.   If you don't want them to be too spicy, take the chiles out before you put them in your storage jar.

Inspired by recipe from Ninfa's in Houston, available here, but I adapted this recipe to my liking.


Add water, vinegar, oil, and dried chiles to medium pot. Bring to boil. Reduce to medium and boil 5 minutes.
Add all spices and boil on medium for another 5 minutes.
3. Add carrots and garlic cloves, making sure liquid covers all carrots, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until carrots reach desired tenderness. Check to make sure you added enough salt and adjust if necessary.
4. Cool and store in sealed container. Will keep in the refrigerator for one month.



  1. Beautiful blog and congratulations on everything!

  2. I’m glad I found this recipe, I was trying to make pickled veggies but I just couldn’t find the right recipe, thanks for sharing!

  3. Thank you Hillary!

  4. Thanks Beti! Let me know how your carrots turn out!

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