Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pep talk and pickles

Pep talk
I was going to post this to a friend on Facebook, but thought that it's good advice for anyone else who may be going through rough times:

Be good to yourself: there are lots of external forces (people, institutions, etc) that are always trying put you down and pull you down. You need to be your own best advocate, and fight your self-destructive tendencies, so you can fight their destructive tendencies.


I don't recall if I've ever posted the recipe for tsukemono, a Japanese pickle, before, but since I've had a lot of requests for it, I'm going to post it.  Many thanks to my dear friend, Grace, who gave me her mom's recipe.  I've modified it for sodium content, and added notes on how else we've changed it, but it's pretty much the same recipe otherwise.


1.5 C water
1.5 T salt

Bring water and salt to a boil (we actually just heat up the water slightly in the microwave so that the salt dissolves easier, but we don't boil the water so we don't have to wait as long for it to cool back down again).

Slice cucumbers to 1/4 inch thickness. (Hubby then puts the slices into a big container of ice water; this helps to keep the pickles crisp.  Let the slices sit in the ice water until the salt water has cooled down.)
Drain the slices, and cover them with the salt-water brine.  Leave for 1.5 hours.  Drain and rinse.

1.5 C water
1/4 C rice vinegar (use regular if you can't find or don't have rice vinegar)
2 t sugar
1 t MSG (we don't use that at all)
ginger, grated - use as much as you like to taste - Grace uses 1 t ginger paste
garlic, sliced - use as much as you like to taste
red pepper, crushed - use as much as you like to taste

Bring water, vinegar, sugar, and msg to boil and then let cool (again, I'd microwave it just enough to easily dissolve the sugar).  Put the sliced cukes into a jar* (or jars).  Add a few slices of garlic, grated ginger, and crushed red peppers in each jar.  Pour the vinegar brine over the cukes to cover.  Refrigerate.  May be eaten the same night.

Here it is, in the fridge:
 And peering into the jar of green goodness:

*Jars - we usually use Ball jars for canning, but with making refrigerator pickles, we love the Weck jars. 
German-made and with the cutest shapes, they're as much a work of art as they are practical.  We get ours from Lehman's Non-electric, but if you live in Vancouver, you can get them at Gourmet Warehouse on Hastings. The Wecks have rubber gaskets and metal clips. Apparently you can do regular canning with them, but hubby doesn't want to because the glass lids won't pop down like the metal ones do, and he wouldn't know if it'd sealed properly.

We have two different sizes/shapes, but I'd collect them all if I had the money!
Hubby also made refrigerator dill pickles, but I personally prefer tsukemonos.  :)  Have you canned pickles yet this summer?

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams