Howdy. We hope your holiday weekend was a good one. After the deluge we had in New England on Friday, we were pretty stir-crazy by the time we left the house on Saturday for a walk around Dorr’s Pond. It’s two miles roundtrip to Livingston Park and the loop around the pond is a mile so we did 3 laps and got 5 miles in before some World Cup watching commenced. This summer has been a little overwhelming when it comes to sports watching. Derek is enjoying the World Cup, I am happy that Le Tour de France started on Saturday and we’ve both been watching Wimbledon. All this watching of sports really cuts into our time spent actually participating in sports!
A stash of wild berries we found in the park.
Derek also tried his hand at making bagels for the first time this weekend, and while many of them were kind of ugly ducklings, they were very delicious. I ate three for dinner on Saturday night. It’s important to carb load when you plan to spend HOURS in front of a television watching professional athletes burn calories. I supplemented with some vegetable soup that I made on the dreary 4th, so it wasn’t a completely irresponsible dinner.
I also made some spicy pickled cucumbers and radishes this weekend. I use a modified version of a Mark Bittman recipe and I’m mildly addicted to them. Derek is likely rolling his eyes right now since I don’t think I’ve ever used a recipe without modifying it. See my recipe at the end of the post.
We talked about checking out the Manchester fireworks, but we were both a little leery of the crowds. I ended up watching them via the Manchester peregrine falcon webcam. It was a pretty good view, but the falcon didn’t stick around to watch with me.
Spicy Asian Style Refrigerator Pickles
A modified version of Mark Bittman’s recipe from How to Cook Everything
Makes: 4 Servings [Or one. I like pickles and don’t typically share unless I make a triple batch.]
Time: At least one hour
“Spicy East Asian pickles are traditionally served in small portions with an assortment of other pickled or fermented items along with meals. I love them for their hot, salty, and slightly sweet flavors. Other vegetables you can use: radish, jicama, celery, cabbage, kohlrabi, cauliflower, turnips, or summer squash.”
1 pound Kirby cucumbers or vegetable(s) of your choice.
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons chile-garlic paste
2 Tablespoons Sriracha [I’ve added this ingredient because I love it. I think you could easily just use Sriracha and add in some fresh garlic if you don’t have any chile-garlic paste.]
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons dark sesame oil [I’m not sure I actually use this much. Maybe add in a tablespoon and taste to see if you want more]
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar [I also added vinegar to the recipe because I think all pickles need a little vinegar.]
[Note: I usually end up upping the Sriracha, soy sauce, and vinegar amounts as I go to make sure I have plenty of pickling liquid. I basically mess with the ratios as I make it. I like to live on the edge.]
➊ Wash the cucumbers well, scrubbing them if they’re spiny and cut into ¼” thick slices. Put them in a colander and sprinkle with the salt; toss well. Gently rub the salt into the cucumbers with your hands for a minute.
➋ Lay a plate over the vegetable mixture while it is in the colander and weight the plate with whatever is handy: a few cans, your teakettle filled with water, or a brick, for example. [Really Mark Bittman? You have a BRICK handy in your kitchen? Fascinating.] Let rest for about 30 minutes (1 hour is fine). Rinse the cucumbers, pat dry, and put in a bowl.
➌Toss them with the mixture of ingredients listed above and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container, packing the cucumbers so the liquid covers them, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
Pro tip: If you eat a lot of Talenti Gelato, the plastic containers make great containers for these kinds of pickles.