Stereotypes are hard to eradicate. Just because I am originally from Russia, many people automatically presume that I am partial to a shot of vodka. They couldn't be more wrong though. I don't drink neat vodka, and have a vodka cocktail once a decade only. When we invite people for dinner, like my husband's colleagues, they would often arrive with a bottle of vodka, just because they heard of "the Russian wife". They must be sorely disappointed because I never drink it. The last time we received a bottle of vodka was from a very charming couple, and I didn't want to disabuse their notions, thanked them profusely but offered wine at dinner time. Now I have a bottle which I am going to use in cooking. It is a great ingredient in curing salmon, or adding to the pickling liquid. One of my favourite recipes for roasted tomatoes also includes vodka among its ingredients.
Just the other day, I made several jars of tomatoes pickled with vodka. It doesn't use a huge amount of vodka, just 50ml, and you cannot taste it in the finished result.
The recipe I use is supposed to fill in one big 3L jar and be enough to pickle up to 2kg tomatoes. I don't have a jar this big, so I used 3 Kilner style jars, and had a bit of pickling liquid left over.
700g red tomatoes (baby plum variety)
250g yellow tomatoes, baby vine variety
6tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic
1 red sweet pepper, diced
for the pickling liquid:
60g granulated sugar
30g apple cider vinegar
1tbsp pickling spice (for example, Bart)
2 bay leaves
1 litre of water
Wash the tomatoes. Chop the dill and dice the pepper, discarding the seeds. Put 2tbsp of chopped dill per each sterilised jar, add a couple of cloves of garlic. Pack the tomatoes inside quite tightly.
Prepare the pickling liquid by mixing the salt, sugar, vinegar, pickling spice, bay leaves and water, bring to boil. Once the sugar and salt dissolved, remove from the heat and add vodka. Let it cool completely before adding to the jars with tomatoes. Close the lids.
These tomatoes will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
You can eat them the next day, they will be mildly pickled, or what in Russia is called "malosol'nye" lit. salted-a-little. The longer they stay in the pickling liquid, the stronger the flavour is.