Phew. It was a bit of a hard weekend, friends. Not all bad of course. I went to the movies with some friends, caught a yoga class, and hunkered down with the crossword and many cups of coffee (for me that is). But I also dealt with pharmacy drama, inflamed sinuses, and a light emotional melt down culminating in lots of tears and my second frozen pizza in as many days. Luckily the pharmacy is re-ringing my prescription, my face feels a little less like a frozen water balloon today, and my very patient husband is well, very patient.
It just goes to show that not everyday is going to be sunshine and lollipops. So what do you do when you feel kinda crummy but want to manufacture some “fake it til you make it” type light in your life? Normally I’d say bake something, but I’m trying to limit my sugar, butter, flour intake for a hot second. So instead of chocolate explosions, I’m going to go in an entirely different direction and suggest pickles. Pickles? I know you’re thinking that’s completely lame and you’d much rather be eating pizza — why doesn’t she write more about pizza? But hear me out. They are fast, easy, tasty, and even if they don’t brighten your day immediately, they will definitely brighten your salads, soups, sandwiches, stir fries etc. Also if you really want, they’re quite good on pizza. So the question is, did these fix MY sourpuss? Actually yes, I think they did. Perhaps it was just having an active distraction, or maybe the satisfaction of simply MAKING a thing, or maybe it was just time for my mood to swing back to normal – who knows? But now I have zingy, slightly sweet pickles, and that makes me happy.
No Cook Vietnamese Style Pickles
Servings: LOTS Time: 15 MINUTES ACTIVE, PLUS WAITING TIME Source: ADAPTED FROM WHITE ON RICE COUPLE
These are no cook and Vietnamese in style, like the pickled carrot and daikon that you get on a banh mi. You can use a variety of vegetables here – I normally go for carrots, cucumbers and jalapenos, but I’d like to try raw beets next. Taste the brine on its own before you commit, because you might like your pickles sweeter, or saltier than I do. It should taste sharp, but pleasant to you. Also, this recipe make a lot of pickles, you can easily cut these quantities in half or less. Once you get used to making a brine that you like, you don’t even really need the recipe. Just keep tweaking the solution until you’re happy with it, and then make sure you have enough to completely cover whatever veggies you’re using. Oh and btw this just scratches the surface of pickle-dom(?). There are far more extensive resources out there to pour over if you are interesting in all things pickling. But for now simple, K?
1 lb of any combination of veggies sliced thin or cut into matchsticks
4 cups warm water
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon fine salt (double this amount if using kosher salt)
1/3- 1/2 cup cup distilled white vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar, (start with 1/3 cup and taste the mixture. If you like it more tangy/vinegary, add few more tablespoons of vinegar)
In a large bowl, mix water, vinegar, sugar and salt till everything is dissolved.
Place vegetables in a clean, sterile jar or glass container and pour over brine to cover the veggies.
Cover jars/containers and refrigerate for about 3 days (you can totally use them after about an hour, but they do improve with some time).
Pickles can last for about 3 weeks in the fridge.