Brent is out of town on business. He left on Sunday and is returning this Friday. The day he left, I tracked his flight the whole 2 hours and 5 minutes from Seattle to San Francisco, like a crazy person. I hugged him tight before he left and told him how much I loved him. I thought about all of those people who have loved ones missing on the Malaysian flight 370. I think about those people every day. It seems to be consuming me lately. I find myself watching the same stories on loop for like 5 hours a day. I pray that they are all safe and that we find them soon. Sometimes, when my mind starts to wander, I find myself trying to come up with theories that mostly involve plot lines from dramatic tv shows, because this is how I deal.
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.
The day before he left, we got some front row tickets to a soccer game. I knew there would be some sort of veggie dog situation involved, so I agreed. I really could care less about any sports-related thing, so he has learned to work it from the right angle and leave me a trail of treats from our house to the stadium, and then more food related things to follow. We arrived at the stadium 30 minutes late (of course, that's our nature). Seattle was playing Toronto, my new town versus my old town. People were really excited, screaming things that didn't make much sense to me - profanity and soccer related terms. As soon as we arrived I ordered a beer (because that's what you do when you watch sports related things, I've learned), and then went on a quest for a veggie dog. My mission was sidetracked when I noticed a big sign for 'The World's Famous Garlic Fries', and if it's got 'World's Famous' in the title you've got to try it. Later in the evening I regretted my decision to consume 1/2 cup of raw garlic, but that doesn't really matter, because those were literally the world's best garlic fries.
After the game, a full day of recovery, and then Brent leaving for a week, I decided that I needed a game plan, and it needed to involve veggie dogs because my craving was still lingering. I had been meaning to make some pickled onions since the new year, and I thought this to be the perfect opportunity. Pickled onions are one of my favorite condiments. I first discovered my love for them after moving to the West Coast and discovering that they make a perfect addition to a fish taco. I then decided to try them on everything, and it's been all pretty positive.
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 a 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.
Before Brent left, I created a list of things to accomplish: 1 - make fig newtons 2- make pickled onions 3 - get the dog's hair cut 4 - buy a bathing suit and 5 - go skiing. There are really only 3 things on that list that I am really excited about. So far, I've got the dog's hair cut and made pickled onions, so it's going to be a busy next couple of days before he returns.
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.
QUICK 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
Using a mandolin, slice the onions into thin rounds or half moons. The thinness is a matter of personal preference.
In a medium saucepan, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Place the sliced onions into the water and boil for 20 seconds. 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. 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. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and then store in the fridge for 2 - 4 weeks.