George and I belong to a gourmet group with three other couples. Four couples is the perfect number; the host provides the menus, recipes and entrée, the other couples select from an appetizer, desert and side dish. Until recent;ly we have been skipping around the culinary world with each host picking any meal that struck their fancy. This year we decide to add a little more structure to our dining experience and explore the cuisine of one country for an entire year. Tonight, however, we are making and exception to the rule.
One of the couple lived in Japan for a while. So tonight our dinner menu features recipes from the Land of the Rising Sun. Tonight’s menu include Tofu Mushroom soup, Pickled Vegetables, not sure what the entrée will be, and sliced fruit for dessert. I opted for the Pickled Vegetables and am so glad I did. I made the recipe yesterday as the vegetables have to sit in the pickling brine for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight. If I have the opportunity to make things ahead of time I jump on it. Should the recipe not turn out I can try again with time to spare. I am happy to announce that my Pickled Vegetables turned out really well. So well I have already made notes on the recipe for other serving suggestions. The only modification I made is reducing the amount of salt. And while the recipe says it takes 10 minutes to prepare – count on at least 30 minutes. I don’t know anyone who can slice and dice all of the ingredients in 10 minutes – unless you have help! Here is the recipe:
- 4 leaves of green cabbage
- 12 oz cucumber
- 2 stalks of celery
- 4 oz carrots
- 1 mild onion
- 2 inch cube of fresh ginger
- Pickling sauce: 4 tsp salt, 1 cup rice vinegar, 2 tbl sake, 2 tbl mirin and 1/2 cup water. Blend the ingredients and set aside.
- Cut cabbage leaves into 1 inch pieces, set aside. Peel and cut cucumber into bite size pieces, set aside. Cut celery into bite size pieces and set aside. Peel carrot and cut into thin oblong pieces set aside. Peel and cut onion in half. Thinly slice the onion and set aside. Peel the ginger and cut into thin strips.
- Place the vegetables in a large mixing bowl. add the pickling sauce and stir to combine. Place a plate, slightly smaller than the mixing bowl, on top of the vegetable and pickling mixture. Weight down the plate with a bowl or pan filled with water. Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours, preferably overnight. Drain the vegetables before serving. Leftover vegetables can be stored in the refrigerator.
I’m really excited about tonight’s dining adventure. George and I make sushi on occasion. With pickled vegetables we may be making that sushi more often!