AVERY’S BLOOMINGTON BITES:
COMPLIMENTARY PAIRINGS – DAIKON & CARROT PICKLE
Sometime about a year ago, my dad and I stumbled into what almost instantly became a tradition: we woke up early one Saturday morning, pulled our bikes out of the garage, and biked to Cincinnati’s downtown Findlay Market. I remember that first bike ride as incredibly grueling– there is no way to get either to or from Findlay Market without going up several large hills– but for all its inherent difficulty, there was also something about the bike ride that found my dad and I up again the next Saturday, ready to do it all over again.
Partly, it was being out in the beautiful early-morning summer weather, watching the sun highlight the trees, watching the streets of our city come to life. It was the invigorating pumping of our legs, the victorious burn of cresting a hill and the thrill of coasting unstoppably down. It was the pleasure of pulling into the farmer’s market, of being assailed with delicious scents and row upon row of glowingly ripe fruits and vegetables. It was the taste of lemonade and iced tea, or a fresh pastry from Skirtz and Johnston, or a scoop of local gelato. It was loading up on a week’s worth of produce and fresh bread (or if not quite a week’s worth, at least enough to make the thought of the hot uphill bike ride home bearable)! But mostly, it was the time we got to spend together, not always talking but always in conversation, our bikes weaving side by side, our smiles widening at the sight of a particularly sumptuous oatmeal raisin cookie (our mutual favorite), or simultaneously catching sight of a beautiful bank of clouds over the horizon. In the course of our Saturday mornings we not only visited the market, we took photos of Cincinnati’s gorgeous churches (opening photo), explored the banks of the Ohio river, and even biked over to Kentucky– just to get a different perspective.
Another favorite collaborative past time of ours is trying any new restaurants that pop up around the market. Recently, in early celebration of Father’s Day, we stopped at Pho Lang Thang for lunch. Pho Lang Thang is a Vietnamese noodle shop, serving up characteristic tureens of noodles and soups but also––as we discovered to our delight––a uniquely Vietnamese sandwich called Banh Mi. Having arisen as a result of the French colonization of Vietnam, Banh Mi typically consists of roast beef (though the one we tried had tofu instead!), with a peanutty pickled daikon and carrot slaw, all sandwiched between slices of French baguette. Between the soft baguette, the crunchy carrots, and the sweetness of peanuts in contrast to the spicily marinated tofu, the sandwich was a perfect education in complementary pairings––rather, I like to think, like me and my dad. Happy father’s day, Dad––let’s all make our own daikon and carrot slaw to celebrate! And don’t forget to serve with a sweet Vietnamese coffee, iced with condensed milk!
DAIKON & CARROT PICKLE
New York Times
Time: 15 minutes, plus 1 hour’s marinating
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
- 1 pound daikon radishes, each no larger than 2 inches in diameter, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar.
- Place carrot and daikon in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and 2 teaspoons sugar. Knead vegetables for about 3 minutes, expelling water from them (this will keep them crisp). Stop kneading when vegetables have lost about 1/4 of their volume. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water, then press gently to expel extra water. Return vegetables to bowl, or transfer to a glass container for longer storage.
- In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar, the vinegar and 1 cup lukewarm water, and stir to dissolve sugar. Pour over vegetables. Let marinate at least 1 hour before eating, or refrigerate for up to 4 weeks. Remove vegetables from liquid before using in Banh Mi.
Yield: About 3 cups.
All Photos courtesy M.R. Smith & A.O. Smith