Sauteed Shishito Peppers with Miso and Ginger from 'Preserving the Japanese Way'

Chile adds a bit of heat to this first excerpt from Preserving the Japanese WayTraditions of Salting, Fermenting, and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen (Andrews McMeel, August 2015) by Nancy Singleton Hachisu

Shishito Peppers sauteed with Miso and Ginger (Shishito no Abura Miso) 

Serves 6

Shishito peppers are all the rage in Northern California and easily obtainable. I love them charred in oil, served with a sprinkling of salt, but the salty, earthy miso treatment here complements the bitterness of the peppers. A bit of heat from the chile and pop from the ginger make this a can’t-get-enough dish. Padrón peppers can be substituted, but omit the chile, as Padróns are plenty hot on their own.

4 or more teaspoons sake

4 teaspoons brown rice miso

¾ pound (350 g) shishito peppers

1 tablespoon organic canola oil

1 small dried japones or ½ arból chile pepper, torn in thirds

2 teaspoons slivered ginger


In a small bowl, mash the sake into the miso. The resulting paste should be loose enough to slurp around the peppers, so if your miso is unusually stiff, splash in a bit more sake.

Leave the stems intact on the shishito peppers, but snip off the discolored tips of the stems to refresh. Heat the oil with the dried red chile pepper in a large wok over medium heat until the pepper turns bright red. Throw in the shishito peppers and toss to coat with oil. Scatter in the ginger and toss gently for several minutes, until the peppers start to jump and pop and small blisters appear here and there on their skins. Remove the pan from the heat, scrape in the miso-sake mixture, and stir quickly with a flat wooden spoon so the peppers are coated evenly but the miso does not burn from the heat of the pan. Slide into a serving bowl as soon as the miso is incorporated, since the peppers will deflate and lose some vibrancy if left in the hot pan. Serve with drinks before dinner or alongside Soy Sauce–Soused Steak (page 111).

(Recipe reproduced from Preserving the Japanese Way: Traditions of Salting, Fermenting, and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen by Nancy Singleton Hachisu/Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC, August 2015)

Heat Up Your Vegetarian Dip with Salsa Verde from Sol Cocina Chef 'Salsas and Moles'

Heat up your vegetarian dip with this recipe from Salsas and Moles,  Fresh and Authentic Recipes for Pico de Gallo, Mole Poblano, Chimichurri, Guacamole, and More (Ten Speed Press, April 2015) by Deborah Schneider of Sol Cocina...

Salsa Verde (Cooked Tomatillo Salsa with Cilantro and Jalapeño)

Makes about 3 cups

Native green tomatillos are the most widely used base for salsas throughout Mexico. They have a tart-sweet taste that greatly enhances other flavors. The most common is the green tomatillo, but cooks love to use tiny purple tomatillos de milpa (milperas), and yellow tomatillos are prized and expensive.

This typically simple salsa verde will become a staple in your repertoire. At the store, choose firm tomatillos with their papery husks intact. Before using, remove the husks and wash off the sticky film under cold running water.

6 medium tomatillos, husked and washed

1 clove garlic

1⁄2 white onion cut into 1-inch chunks

1 large jalapeno or serrano chile, stemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 teaspoon kosher salt

10 sprigs cilantro, stemmed


Place the tomatillos, garlic, onion, jalapeño, and salt in a 11⁄2-quart saucepan. Add just enough water to barely cover the tomatillos and quickly bring to a boil over high heat. Boil the vegetables until the tomatillos have softened and the tip of a knife can be inserted, about 5 minutes; do not overcook.

Drain off the cooking water and transfer the contents of the saucepan to a blender, along with the cilantro leaves. Pulse the salsa until smooth. You will still be able to see some seeds, along with flecks of cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.

Serving Ideas: Spoon this salsa onto anything and everything— eggs, simmered or grilled meats, tacos, quesadillas, or huaraches (masa cakes) with beans and cheese. This is the salsa used to make classic chilaquiles verdes as well as elegant, rich enchiladas suizas: corn tortillas stuffed with chicken and cheese and bathed in tart salsa verde and rich Mexican-style crema. Salsa verde is also the base for chicken or pork chile verde. 

(* Reprinted with permission from Salsas and Moles, by Deborah Schneider, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, Photographs copyright © 2015 by Maren Caruso

Salsa Cinco de Mayo Away with Mango Habanero Salsa from Sol Cocina chef 'Salsas and Moles'

Salsa Cinco de Mayo away with this recipe from Salsas and Moles,  Fresh and Authentic Recipes for Pico de Gallo, Mole Poblano, Chimichurri, Guacamole, and More (Ten Speed Press, April 2015) by Deborah Schneider of Sol Cocina...


Makes about 1 cup

The sweeter the fruit in a salsa, the hotter the chile has to be, and honey-sweet ripe mango is best matched with searing-hot habanero. But if habaneros are too hot for you, try substituting a minced serrano chile. I sometimes vary this salsa by including a couple of small mint leaves or a leaf of basil, minced and stirred in at the last moment.

1⁄2 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced into 1/4 inch pieces

1 tablespoon finely diced red bell pepper

1 tablespoon finely diced red onion

1⁄4 teaspoon very finely minced habanero chile

1 and 1/2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lime juice

2 teaspoons white vinegar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 sprig cilantro, stemmed and minced

1/2 Roma tomato, diced into 1/4 inch pieces (optional)

1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)


Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and taste. Season strongly; if the mangoes are not too sweet, you may want to add the 1⁄4 teaspoon of sugar. If you happen to have any leftovers, stir then taste and adjust the seasoning as desired before serving.

Serving Ideas: This classic salsa is good by itself, but it is a perfect complement to seafood of any kind. Try adding it to a green salad along with some diced cucumber and a light vinaigrette.

(* Reprinted with permission from Salsas and Moles, by Deborah Schneider, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, Photographs copyright © 2015 by Maren Caruso

Side Ideas, Jack Be Little Pumpkin and Polenta Souffle from 'Farm Fork Food' by Eric Skokan

Need side ideas as in side dishes that is, here's  a vegetarian option from Farm, Fork, FoodA Year of Spectacular Recipes Inspired by Black Cat Farm (Kyle Books, October 2014) by Eric Skokan of Black Cat, a Boulder (Colorado) farm to table bistro.

Jack Be Little Pumpkin and Polenta Souffle 

Roasted heirloom pumpkin and a ragout of mushrooms fill a soufflé dish, which is topped with a soufflé made from polenta. With the addition of Parmesan and sautéed Brussels sprouts, this entrée is a showstopper. The Jack Be Little pumpkins are themselves a fun stand-in for a basic soufflé dish. Other possible varieties include acorn, delicata and dumpling squashes. If those are not available, butternut squash makes a fine substitute.

Serves 4

8 Jack Be Little pumpkins
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion, sliced
¼ cup minced garlic
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons softened butter, plus more for sautéeing
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1¼ cups cornmeal or polenta
1½ cups whole milk
4 bay leaves
½ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
3 cups Brussels sprouts, separated into leaves


Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Cut the tops from the pumpkins. Remove and discard the seeds and pulp from the cavities. Dress the pumpkins and tops with 1 tablespoon of the oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until tender and beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large sauté pan over high heat, combine the mushrooms, onion, garlic and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the pan to remove any browned bits. Add the butter and thyme, season with salt and set aside off the heat.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the cornmeal, 1 quart water and milk, stirring very well to hydrate the cornmeal. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to low. Add the bay leaves and cook, stirring often, until the mixture is very thick and the cornmeal is very soft. Add the cream and nutmeg, season with salt and stir well. Transfer the polenta to a large bowl and let cool. Add the egg yolks and mix well to combine.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the whites into the polenta mixture in thirds without overmixing—a few loose streaks of egg white is fine.

Divide the mushrooms and onions among the roasted pumpkins, filling the cavities. Top with the polenta mixture until the pumpkins are full.

Bake until the polenta is set and the soufflés have risen, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over high heat, sauté the Brussels sprouts in a bit of butter until the leaves just begin to color, about 6 minutes. Season with salt.

Divide the pumpkins among four dinner plates. Garnish with the Brussels sprouts and pumpkin tops and serve immediately.

(Recipe reproduced with permission from Farm, Fork, FoodA Year of Spectacular Recipes Inspired by Black Cat Farm -Kyle Books, October 2014- by Eric Skokan, Photography: Con Poulos)

Creole Spiced Slaw with Sweet and Spicy Jerked Cashews, from 'Caribbean Potluck'

To Trinidadian Chicken and Rice, add this spiced slaw from Caribbean Potluck (Kyle Books, May 2014) by Two Sisters and a Meal Suzanne Rousseau and Michelle Rousseau and you have the foundation of an island themed dinner.

Creole-Spiced Slaw

We made this dish for a fabulous island-themed rehearsal dinner that we catered in the Hamptons for our great friend, television personality Robyn Moreno. None of the guests was from the
Caribbean, although we did have a few Tejanos and they simply loved the island flava! This cool
summer slaw is spicy-sweet perfection with any kind of barbeque—from burgers to ribs to chicken.


Serves 6

For the Sweet and Spicy Jerked Cashews

1 and 1⁄4 cups raw cashews
2 teaspoons jerk sauce
sea salt
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar

For the Coconut Sesame Dressing

juice of 6 limes (about 6 tablespoons)
1 stalk lemongrass, tender inner part only, smashed and finely chopped
1 stalk scallion, chopped
2 tablespoons honey, preferably Jamaican
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1⁄4 teaspoon minced Scotch bonnet
1⁄4 cup canned coconut milk
6 ounces white cabbage, thinly shredded (2 to 3 cups)
6 ounces red cabbage, thinly shredded (2 to 3 cups)
1⁄2 medium red pepper, cut into matchsticks
1⁄2 medium yellow pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 red chile pepper, seeded and finely sliced into strips
1⁄2 red onion, thinly sliced
1⁄2 cup thinly sliced strips fresh pineapple
1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and cut into thin strips
1 medium ripe papaya, peeled and cut into thin strips
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh mint, chopped
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
toasted grated coconut (optional)

Creole Spiced Slaw


1. To make the sweet and spicy jerked cashews, preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, toss the cashews with the jerk sauce and a little salt. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast until golden, about 5 minutes.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and let melt; when it begins to caramelize, add the roasted cashews and toss to coat well. Spread the cashews out onto a
baking sheet lined with waxed paper to cool. Roughly chop.

3. To make the coconut sesame dressing, in a blender, combine all of the ingredients and whizz together. Season with salt and pepper.

4. In a large bowl, combine both cabbages, all the peppers, the red onion, pineapple, mango and papaya. Season with salt and pepper.

(* Recipe excerpted from Caribbean Potluck by Suzanne Rousseau and Michelle Rousseau -Kyle Books, May 2014- Photography by Ellen Silverman- all rights reserved)

Luscious Hefeweizen Braised Pork Belly, Brie Mac Cheese, Cilantro Glazed Carrots, More than 'Meat and Potatoes'

Following in footsteps of cowboy classic dinner of New Mexico Red Chile and Coffee Crust Tri-Tip from  Meat and PotatoesSimple Recipes that Sizzle and Sear (Clarkson Potter, July 2014) by Rahm Fama, here's a beer soaked dish.

Hefeweizen Braised Pork Belly with Brie Mac And Cheese and Cilantro-Glazed Carrots

Serves 6

Pork belly is uncured, unsmoked bacon. No wonder. It’s unctuous, flavorful, and very easy to cook. Don’t be put off by the amount of pork needed; the meat shrinks dramatically as it cooks. Be sure to use a cast-iron skillet to sear it first so the little bits of crusty pork left in the skillet can be made into the luscious sauce with Hefeweizen (a wheat beer). It packs a spicy, citrusy kick and cooks into a lovely glaze for this tender cut. The mac and cheese is surprisingly delicate and a cinch to whip up, perfect with the light, bright glazed carrots.

Hefeweizen Braised Pork Belly

 4 pounds pork belly
 ½ cup chopped white onion
 ½ cup chopped carrot
 ½ cup chopped celery
 2 12-ounce bottles Hefeweizen beer
 1 cup chicken stock
 1 bay leaf
 1 sprig fresh thyme
 Peel and juice of 1 orange
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 220°F.

2. Set a cast-iron skillet or large heavy sauté pan over high heat and sear the pork, fat side down, for 5 minutes, then flip and sear the second side for 5 minutes, creating a thick brown crust on both sides. Transfer the pork to a plate and set aside.

3. Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the pan and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the onion is golden brown. Stir in the beer, scraping all the dark nubs off the bottom of the pan, then stir in the stock. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and orange peel and juice.

4. Put the pork belly in a roasting pan. Add the vegetables with the cooking liquid. Cover the pan with plastic wrap, then cover the plastic wrap with aluminum foil. Braise in the oven for 3 hours.

5. Remove the pan from the oven. Peel off the foil and plastic wrap and set the pork belly aside.

6. Place the pan on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Using a ladle or wide spoon, scoop out and discard any fat that has collected at the corner of the pan. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes to reduce the liquid by half. Season with salt and pepper.

7. To serve, cut the pork into 6 squares and drizzle with the sauce. Pass the additional sauce at the table.

Brie Mac and Cheese

 1 teaspoon salt
 1 pound elbow pasta
 3 cups whole milk
 1 white onion, chopped
 1 teaspoon whole cloves
 ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
 6 ounces sourdough bread, sliced and toasted
 5 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
 ¼ cup chopped scallions, both white and green parts, for garnish

1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the salt and the pasta and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and set aside.

2. Put the milk, onion, cloves, and nutmeg in a large saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the stove and set aside for 15 minutes to allow the ingredients to steep.

3. Strain out and discard the onion and cloves and pour the milk into a blender. Cut or tear the bread into pieces and add to the milk. Puree the bread and milk into a creamy slurry.

4. Put the cooked pasta in a large pot, add the milk-bread slurry, and set over medium-low heat. Slowly whisk in the Brie, one piece at a time. Serve garnished with the chopped scallions.

Cilantro-Glazed Carrots

 1 pound baby carrots
 2 tablespoons olive oil
 2 tablespoons honey
 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Put the carrots in a medium saucepan with water to just cover. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the carrots are just tender-crisp. Remove and drain.

2. Add the olive oil and honey to the saucepan, set over medium-high heat, and cook for 1 minute, or until the honey begins to brown.

3. Add the carrots and toss to coat. Remove from the heat and toss in the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

(* Reproduced with permission from Meat and Potatoes, Simple Recipes that Sizzle and Sear by Rahm Fama in collaboration with Beth Dooley-published by Clarkson Potter,July 2014- Photography by Jennifer May...Thanks to Blogging for Books for Review Copy)

Cowboy Classic Dinner, New Mexico Red Chile and Coffee Crust Tri-Tip from 'Meat and Potatoes'

After growing up on his family farm in New Mexico, Rahm Fama conquered the table. In Meat and Potatoes, Simple Recipes that Sizzle and Sear (Clarkson Potter, July 2014), Southwest is obviously an influence that shows in his cooking. He also gives us advice on how to select a good cut of meat, cook it, slice it, serve it...and a variety of side dishes that will be great on their own.

His grandmother's cooking permeates this story.

Now grab your cast iron skillet and give a shot to 1 of the 52 recipes from 'Meat and Potatoes'. It will make you hungry for more of the book.

New Mexico Red Chile and Coffee Crust Tri-Tip with Creamy Corn-Blue Polenta and Caramelized Cipollini Onions


Tri-tip is often overlooked, but it’s flavorful and inexpensive, and the favorite cut for this cowboy classic. Traditionally this steak would be cooked in a cast-iron skillet over an open campfire under the stars. For the spice mix, I prefer the New Mexico red chile powder for its intense heat and smoky flavor, but use one you like. It’s important to cook the meat to medium—130°F, no more, no less—to rest to allow the juices to be reabsorbed back into the meat. Recalling the dishes of my youth that were seasoned with “corn smut,” a mushroom that grows on corn, I use blue cheese in polenta to give it an authentic Mexican kick. The cipollini onions are mild-tasting, easy, and showy.

They’re fine made a day ahead and reheated before serving. Serve the onions on top of the polenta
with the meat arranged on top.

New Mexico Red Chile & Coffee Crust Tri-Tip
 ½ cup New Mexico red chile powder
 ½ cup finely ground coffee
 ¼ cup brown sugar
 1 tablespoon salt
 ½ teaspoon black pepper
 3 pounds tri-tip roast
 1 tablespoon olive oil
 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


1. Toss together the chile powder, coffee, sugar, salt, and pepper.

2. Pat the meat dry. Massage the mixture into the meat. Put in a large resealable plastic bag and
allow it to come to room temperature.

3. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Heat the oil with the butter in a cast-iron skillet or a large ovenproof frying pan set over high heat. When it shimmers, sear the meat well, 5 minutes per side. (It will look as though it’s burned, but that’s from the coffee.) Put the skillet in the oven to finish cooking the meat, 3 to 5 minutes.

  1. It should register 130°F on an instant-read thermometer.

  2. Remove and set on a rack over a platter or baking sheet and let rest for 15 to 30 minutes. Then carve against the grain.

Creamy Corn–Blue Cheese Polenta

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 small white onion, chopped

  • 6 cups whole milk

  • 1 13-ounce package instant polenta

  • 4 ounces blue cheese

  • 2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen, thawed

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • ¼ cup diced scallions, both white and green parts, for garnish 

  1. Melt the butter in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat and sauté the onion for 8 to 10 minutes, until light brown.

  2. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the milk. Bring to a simmer and gradually add the polenta in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly. Continue cooking and stirring the polenta for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it reaches the texture of a thick porridge.

  3. Fold in the blue cheese and corn. Season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with the scallions. 

Caramelized Cipollini Onions

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 18 to 24 pearl onions (about 8½ pounds), peeled

  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary

  • 2 cups chicken stock

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

  1. In a cast-iron skillet set over medium heat, melt the butter.

  2. Sauté the onions and rosemary for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions become a rich caramel-brown. Add enough stock to cover the onions and the rosemary, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Remove the rosemary sprig.

  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the onions with their sauce over the polenta to serve. 

Meatandpotatoes cover

(* Reproduced with permission from Meat and Potatoes, Simple Recipes that Sizzle and Sear by Rahm Fama in collaboration with Beth Dooley-published by Clarkson Potter,July 2014- Photography by Jennifer May...Thanks to Blogging for Books for Review Copy)

Umeboshi and Umezu, Pickled Plums and Pickled Plum “Vinegar” from 'Asian Pickles'

After Sixties housewife style 'Oriental Pickle', here's third and last recipe excerpted from Asian Pickles (Ten Speed Press, June 2014) by Karen Solomon 


If I had to pick one pickle that best represents all of tsukemono, this one, said to be among the oldest, would certainly be it. How can I begin to describe my love for umeboshi? Their flavor is truly like nothing else on earth— tart, puckery, salty—and when I have them, I eat them every day. They just make me feel good, and I swear that nothing is more effective for an upset stomach. I apologize in advance for asking you to find such an obscure ingredient as ume (see page 191) or mature but unripened apricots. If you can find them, though, you should absolutely make this.


2 and 1⁄2 pounds ume or mature but unripened apricots, washed
1 cup kosher salt
15 to 20 red shiso leaves, either fresh or preserved in salt (optional)

Pickled plums

Place the plums in a 1- to 2-gallon vessel made of ceramic, glass, or food-grade plastic and cover them with water by 2 inches. Cover with a weighted plate or a plastic bag filled with water to keep them submerged. Let them soak 8 hours or overnight.

Drain the plums and return to the container, sprinkle with half of the salt, and toss to combine. Sprinkle the remaining salt evenly over the tops of the plums. Cover the plums with a drop lid—a pot lid, plate, or plastic container lid the right size to fit inside the pickling vessel without touching the sides. Place 2 and 1⁄2 pounds of weight (cans, rocks, or whatever is suitable and handy) on top of the drop lid. Cover the top of the container loosely with a clean cloth to let air flow in but keep out insects and debris. Store at cool room temperature in a dark place.

Check the plums after 2 days. Liquid will have started to form in the bottom; this is umezu (plum “vinegar”), a very desirable substance for seasoning, pickling vegetables, and marinating. Leave it where it is for now—the ume need this precious liquid. Stir the plums every couple of days for 2 to 3 weeks, replacing the drop lid and weights each time, until they are completely covered in liquid. If tiny spots of mold form on the surface, remove them with a clean finger or a paper towel and discard.
If you’re using the shiso (which will color the plums and lend them its flavor), lay the cleaned shiso leaves evenly over the top of the plums to cover completely, then press down firmly. Either way, replace the lid and weights and leave in the cool and the dark for a couple more days.

Once the plums are covered completely in their own brine, remove the drop lid and the weight and cover the plums loosely with a lid or kitchen towel, allowing for some airflow. Return the vessel to its cool, dark place and allow the plums to continue to brine for an additional 1 to 4 weeks, tasting once a week, until they have reached the level of puckery tartness that you desire.

When the umeboshi are fermented to your satisfaction, drain and reserve the umezu and store it in a pouring bottle at room temperature. Use anywhere you’d normally use vinegar (being mindful that additional salt won’t usually be necessary) or soy sauce. The umezu will last almost indefinitely. If you like, you can add more red shiso to the umezu to enhance its color and flavor.

Spoon the plums and the shiso leaves into clean jars with secure lids; cover and refrigerate. Share with your friends. Kept refrigerated, these plums will keep for at least a year—until the next ume crop!

Note: Mashed up with sugar and seltzer water in the bottom of a tall, icy glass, umeboshi make a wicked “lemonade.”

Umeboshi and Umezu for Tokyo Thursdays # 289

(* Reprinted with permission from Asian Pickles by Karen Solomon, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2014 by Jennifer Martine...)

Sixties housewife style 'Oriental Pickle', Sour Celery and Red Pepper from 'Asian Pickles'

From sweet Pickled Pineapple from Asian Pickles (Ten Speed Press, June 2014) by Karen Solomon we move to Sour Celery and Red Pepper.

"I don’t want to offend anyone with old-fashioned words, but I think of this as a relish tray–ready, 1960s-housewifestyle “Oriental Pickle.” It could just be that copious amounts of celery conjure those images for me: the vegetable has been typecast with tuna salad and blue cheese dip for far too long. I think it is a sadly unsung vegetable hero, particularly when peeled. But I promise you that all the tangy, sweet, salty, savory flavors of Chinese food are here, with a refreshing crunch."



1 pound celery, trimmed, leaves removed
2 teaspoons peanut oil
8 ounces red bell peppers, cut into long, thin strips
Pinch of kosher salt
4 teaspoons sugar
1⁄2 cup Japanese soy sauce
1⁄2 cup distilled white vinegar
1⁄3 cup cool water
1 teaspoon black sesame oil

Sour celery and red pepper

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the tough strings from the celery, then slice it at an angle, ¾ inch thick. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper and salt and sauté until the bell pepper softens and blackens in spots, 7 to 8 minutes.

Add the bell pepper to the celery, along with the sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, water, and sesame oil and stir well. Your pickle is ready to eat, but the flavors will become even better if you wait until the next day. To store, place in canning jars or containers with tight-fitting lids and evenly distribute the brine. (Don’t worry if there doesn’t seem to be enough liquid at first; in a day’s time, the liquid level will rise significantly.) Cover and refrigerate; this pickle will keep for at least a month.

(* Reprinted with permission from Asian Pickles by Karen Solomon, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2014 by Jennifer Martine...)

Pickle Sunday Brunch with Hot Pickled Pineapple and Peanuts from 'Asian Pickles'

Pickle your Sunday Brunch with Hot Pickled Pineapple and Peanuts from Asian Pickles (Ten Speed Press, June 2014) by Karen Solomon...

Pickling fruit is a frontier in a world of vegetable dominance, but pineapple is one of the best of the sweet fruits for the job: it’s firm, naturally acidic, and sweet. And peanuts (or any kind of nut, really) also play nicely in the pickle bath, lending a bit of heft and chew, and plumping up all pretty-like in the jar. The chile just brings it all together, and its red flecks pop against the yellow fruit. Serve this as an appetizer or a side dish, and keep this recipe in mind when you can’t eat a whole pineapple straight away. Note that if you must, you can substitute drained canned pineapple chunks, but fresh is really much better.



1⁄2 cup raw peanuts
1 clove garlic
11⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons chile sauce, such as Fermented “Cock Sauce” (page 156)
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1⁄2 cup distilled white vinegar
11⁄2 cups chopped fresh pineapple, in 1-inch cubes

Hot pickled pineapple

Place the peanuts in a small skillet over medium heat. Scorch them, shaking the pan, for about 5 minutes, until blackened in spots. Set aside to cool.

Finely mince the garlic or put it through a press. In a large wood, glass, or ceramic bowl (plastic will scratch and retain odors), combine the garlic with the salt. Use the back of a sturdy spoon to mash the garlic and salt together into a paste. It will take a couple of minutes to get it smooth. (Of course, if you have a mortar and pestle, you can use that instead.) Stir in the chile sauce, anchovy paste, and fish sauce until well combined. Stream in the vinegar and mix well.

Add the peanuts and pineapple and mix to coat completely, then spoon everything into a 1-pint jar. Don’t worry if there isn't enough brine to cover; the fruit will yield more of its juice as it sits. Cover tightly and let it sit for at least 1 hour before eating. This pickle, stored in the refrigerator,
will continue to be delicious for 2 weeks.

(* Reprinted with permission from Asian Pickles by Karen Solomon, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2014 by Jennifer Martine...)