Whenever Brent leaves home for work, I find myself actively trying to keep busy. I plan more. I make an effort to leave the house more. I try to be more normal, more social. I also leave my dirty clothes all over the floor until the day before he arrives, when I gather the trail from my bed to the bathroom and jam them into the washing machine. I let the dog sleep on his side of the bed, and I eat cereal straight from the box for dinner. On paper, I've got it together, but I'm actually a real mess.
When preparing the onions for pickling, the key to getting nicely shaped, thin onion slices, is with a mandolin. A sharp mandolin. If you own a dull mandolin, the onion will just smash up against the blade shooting onion juice into your eyes, which will amplify the already intense crying situation happening. The first mandolin I received was a wedding gift. It was great for a year, and now it is dull. It's basically just collecting dust in the cupboard. The second one I received as gift for doing a photo shoot. It stayed sharp for about 2 weeks, and is now collecting dust with the other. The third one I just purchased online a month ago for 25$ (the best $25 I have spent on kitchen gear), and I'm pretty sure that one day I am going to slice off my hand with this thing. I don't even like to operate it after a glass of wine. It's terrifying but very effective.
I love having homemade pickled onions around the house. They are a perfect topping for sandwiches, fish tacos (or any tacos for that matter), veggie dogs, veggie burgers, and salads. They taste especially good with a little olive oil and sea salt potato chips from Trader Joes. This recipe is slightly sweet, a little tart, and has a lot of pretty fantastic flavors from the spices. Two cups will usually last around 2 weeks in this house. We become a little bit obsessive if there are pickled onions in the fridge. They are just that good.
PICKLED RED ONIONS
makes 2 cups
|2 small or 1 large red onion, peeled|
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 1/4 cups white vinegar
1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
Using a mandolin, slice the onions into thin rounds or half moons. The thinness is a matter of personal preference, but I like to slice mine very thin (the second thinest setting on the mandolin).
In a medium sauce pan, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Place the sliced onions into the water and boil for 10 - 60 seconds. The longer you boil, the less pungent onion flavors (sulfur compounds) you will taste in the finished product. Remove the onions from the water and place into an ice water bath for a few minutes. Drain, and squeeze off the excess water. Set to the side.
On medium heat, toast the mustard seeds, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan, until they become aromatic, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic clove, vinegar, granulated sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring to ensure that the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat.
Place the onions into a mason jar, and then pour the pickling liquid and spices over top. Let cool on the counter before refrigerating. Just before refrigerating, add the olive oil, cover with a tight fitting lid, and then store in the fridge for 2 - 4 weeks. If there are signs of spoilage after 2 weeks, discard.