Talking Bloody Marys + Pickle Plates

On Sunday, March 15th, I was invited by Northwest Veg to give a presentation on one of my very favorite things: pickle plating.

Pickle plate circa March 2014's Northwest Pickle Tour
Pickle plate circa March 2014’s Northwest Pickle Tour

Now, you should know as a farmers market devotee and new community garden cohort (farewell, 4 years on the wait list!), I pickle by the season. So, when I think about pickling things I like, I immediately start to contemplate what pickles should be skewered on my Bloody Mary, which is obviously alongside a glorious brunch. And when you start thinking about the orchestration of a pickle plate, vegan or otherwise ⸺ there’s got to be a cheesy element to snack on, as well. Bringing all of this together (mild cashew allergy be damned) and realizing that this demo was planned for a Sunday evening at a dry space, I brought along my virgin Bloody Mary mix, two organic, homemade refrigerator pickles, some smoked Yukon gouda-style dip (which is something I smoke my own potatoes for in a stove top smoker and make about once a year, ever-tinkering with the recipe), plenty of crackers and a hopefully endearing PowerPoint presentation, if I do say myself. Fast forward to Sunday’s event, and I’ve got to give it up for my lovely assistants, Jules and Cindy, and everyone whose devotion to vegan potlucks helped them brave the earlier wind storm and consequent power outage. Bye-bye PowerPoint. Hello, winging it! ♡♡♡

On top of that, one of my fingers was seriously wrapped up and healing after a glass jar exploding in my hand the week before (due to a non-pickle related jarring incident,I assure you).

So here I am, two weeks later, resurfacing after busy weeks at work (with two conferences approaching, one for Hatch and one being a certain VVCIII ! !), typing up pickle recipes as the weekend unfolds and I gear up for a week of meetings, tacos and VegFesting in Austin.

Behind the scenes

If you happened to attend (Thank You!) or just have questions about the realm of Bloody Marys and seasonal pickling, feel free to email me at

Pickled Cauliflower with Meyer Lemon & Coriander Seeds


  • 2 heads (any color) cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • 2 cups water
  • 1.5 cups white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup organic evaporated cane juice (aka sugar)
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 4 organic Meyer lemons, sliced thinly into rounds
  • 1 small shallot, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 15-20 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 5 dried red chiles
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • a few sprigs of fresh dill


  • Bring a large pot of water of a boil. Parboil the cauliflower for 3-4 minutes. Strain well, rinse with cool water, and move to a large glass bowl.
  • Add the coriander seeds, yellow mustard seeds, peppercorns, garlic, crushed red pepper, chiles, shallot, dill and lemon slices to the bowl.
  • In a saucepan, bring the water, vinegar, sugar and kosher salt to a boil.
  • Let the brine cool a few minutes, slowly pour over what you have in the bowl, and stir a few times.
  • Let the bowl contents come to room temperature and add to a 64 ounce mason jar, or 2 separate 32 ounce jars. Top with more room temperature water if needed. Close well and refrigerate for 3-4 hours to chill before serving.  Best if enjoyed within 2 weeks.
Here’s Jules prepping the skewers for the evening. via @donna__noble on Instagram

Pickled Celery with Rice Vinegar & Cumin Seeds:

This is a little play on the standby Bloody Mary garnish: ye olde celery stalk


  • 1 bunch of celery, cut into 2-4 inch pieces
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds (optional: toast beforehand in a dry skillet)
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 cups rice vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons organic evaporated cane juice


  1. Place the celery and spices in a 32 ounce jar, pressing down a bit if needed.
  2. In a small saucepan, boil your brine of vinegar, water, kosher salt and sugar. Let cool a few minutes, carefully pour over the celery, and bring to room temperature (do not seal yet, but you could place a towel over it).
  3. Chill for 3-4 hours before serving. Best if enjoyed within 2 weeks.

Here’s my go to Rather Pickled, Rather Spicy Bloody Mary recipe:

Hot Heirloom Bloody with Thai-infused vodka

Here’s everything you’ll need & more:

  • 5 ounces of fresh or store-bought tomato juice
  • 2.5 ounces infused vodka*
  • ½ tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
  • good dash of vegan-friendly Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ ounce pickle juice
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • squeeze of chili garlic sauce/Sriracha, to taste
  • pinch palm sugar
  • kosher salt, smoked paprika & ground pepper for salt rim
  • slice of lemon or lime
  • pickled goodies
  • skewer
  • straw

First up, the salted rim:

Combine a good pinch each of kosher salt, smoked paprika and ground pepper on a flat plate. Rub the edge of your glass with lime or lemon, dip well in salt around all sides, and feel free to stick into your fridge or freezer while you mix your drink.


Shake everything with ice, pour over chilled glass with even more ice, and garnish with lime/lemon, pickled veggies and add more hot sauce as desired. Stir often with your straw, particularly if you’re using frothy, fresh tomato juice here.

*During my demo, I subbed fresh red beet juice for vodka. Highly recommended! Or you know, mix the two!


birthday bloody!

Head here for my go-to Bloody Mary vodka infusions.

Okay, here ya go: download my presentation Jess @Northwest Veg 5-15

Here’s a link to the presentation in PDF form.


  1. Awesome write-up! I looove Bloody Mary mixes. Recently, I tried LAVA Bloody Mary mix ( and it’s sooo good. Perfect spiciness too imho and love that they use non-gmo tomatoes. I finally got my cravings satisfied lol 😀

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