Japanese Pickle Encounters

  Yesterday, taking my "Harumi's Japanese Home Cooking" in hand, I set off for the kitchen in an attempt to make some tsukemono - or Japanese pickles. Please note the word attempt.
  I followed the recipe in the cookbook, using the suggested amounts of cucumber, carrots, and cabbage. I then put salt, sugar, and sushi vinegar in with the mixture. Here was my first mistake. Until now, I had thought that rice vinegar and sushi vinegar were one and the same. (I know some of you reading this are rolling over the floor in fits of laughter right now.) Well, as of this morning, I now know; my friends, sushi vinegar and rice vinegar are completely different types of vinegar. Woops.
  Anyways, the recipe said to place the vegetable and other stuff mixture in a container, and to place a plate on top with a weight on it. Now, here's me thinking, "Why place a weight on top of the plate? I think it's heavy enough to stay on by itself.."
  Second mistake. I did place the weight on top of the plate as instructed, but apparently, you are supposed to apply pressure to the vegetables while they are pickling. Thus, I am guessing, I was supposed to place the plate right on top of the vegetables themselves, with a weight on top to add pressure. I believe that this was due to unclear instructions in my cookbook, not my own lack of common sense - but that could have played a part in it.

  Well, this morning I fixed myself a bowl of rice and put a few of my newly-made pickles into a side bowl with some katsuo bushi and soy sauce as recommended. I will say that they were quite good - except for the cabbage, which was still a touch too strong - though they didn't taste anything like any pickles I've ever come across. For that matter, they probably weren't even pickled.
  I read that tsukemono technically can be made with just salt and pressure, so I believe I'm going to add a bit more salt to my mixture and then try applying pressure, and see how it turns out by tomorrow. I think I'm going to remove the cabbage pieces though - somehow they just didn't hit it off very well with my taste buds, which are normally quite lenient as to which foods they allow into my mouth.

  Off to exercise my impressive (cough cough) Japanese culinary skills one more time - please wish me luck.



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