My refrigerator shelves are one knock away from an avalanche. I have plastic wrap-covered bowls of leftover sorghum stacked precariously on top of pickle jars. I’ve snatched a falling jar of precious pine nuts from mid-air at least twice. (Side note: I once snatched up a free-falling baby by the ankle. That was a relief.)
I have a hard time finding cooking inspiration when my fridge is jam-packed with leftovers to be consumed by yours truly. And to tell you the whole truth, every time I find myself cooking a family-sized meal, I hear a little whisper of a worry in the back of my head. “I hope I don’t cook alone forever,” it murmurs.
Growing up, I always enjoyed the creative aspect of combining different ingredients in the hopes of a delicious outcome. I didn’t formally take it upon myself to learn how to cook until after college, though. At the time, I was working as a waitress and reading books about the food industry and nutrition. I wanted to eat well and couldn’t afford to eat out all of the time, so I decided it was time to learn how to cook for myself.
That was the perfect stage to start cooking—if I’d had others to feed at that time, I would have resented the obligation and felt insecure about my limited skill set. Cooking had always seemed like a form of domestic defeat but I found cooking for myself to be empowering. Independence! Self sufficiency! Hell yes!
It’s been about six years since I started cooking. Over the years, I’ve grown more confident in the my abilities and I’m now at a point where I would welcome some company in the kitchen. My ideal cooking partner would be tall, handsome, intelligent, kind and hilarious with strong muscles—I mean, a healthy appetite. I need help with these leftovers. And the dishes, pretty please. Sometimes I worry that I’ve missed the right opportunity or that I’m impossibly picky or maybe I’m just not in the right place…
Quick Pickled Radish Tips
Today I’m sharing my new favorite condiment since my refrigerator is already whispering to me about all the family-sized meals in there. I’ve been putting radishes on everything lately because they lend a lovely bite without overpowering other flavors like, say, raw onions can. Their pickled counterparts pack a spicier, vinegary punch. These crisp, spicy radish pickles are super easy to make and liven up everything from tacos, burgers, salads, toast, sandwiches and more.
I don’t know what took me so long to try making quick pickles—they’re so simple and easy to make. I finally experimented with them a couple of months ago (as evidenced on Instagram), after reading the nth reference to quick pickles in Bon Appetit. I ended up pickling all of my leftover produce that day. The radishes and red onions competed for top place. Pickled carrot ribbons are awesome, too.
The nice thing about quick pickles is that they’re ready almost right away, but beware that boiling vinegar will stink up your kitchen. I’ve learned that the thinner you slice the vegetables, the sooner they soak up the flavors of vinegar and spices. I caved and bought a mandoline for such tasks—it makes super thin slicing quick and easy, but it’s also a good way to lose a fingertip. A sharp chef’s knife works well, too. Quick pickles keep well for a few weeks in the refrigerator, which is enough time for this single lady to polish them off.
Watch How to Make Spicy Quick Pickled Radishes
Thanks for reading, and please let me know how these pickled radishes turn out for you in the comments!
On a pickling kick? Don’t miss my quick-pickled onions, peppers and veggies! You might also enjoy my fresh jalapeño relish recipe, and these delicious refrigerator pickles.