"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.
If you do a lot of pickling of various vegetables, you know how frustrating it is when that one last tomato or those two pieces of bell pepper simply refuse to be stuffed into a jar with their fellows.
The solution is to have several kinds of vegetables going on at the same time - bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, garlic. Once the bulk of pickling is done, gather up the remaining odds and ends and stuff them in a couple of jars together. The pickling solution is the same as for the other veggies - 3 cups of water, 2-1/2 cups of vinegar, 1/4 cup pickling salt, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, mixed and boiled. Other things to add to the jar prior to pickling are entirely up to your taste. My favorites include: pepper corns (2 per small jar), garlic (1 clove), bay or cherry leaves, several sprigs of dill and parsley.
The pickled veggie mix you end up with is what I call "salad in a jar". Once it's had time to sit, you can mix it with a bowl of store-bought or home grown lettuce and sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese and olive oil for a delicious salad, with some good coarse bread on the side.
Or you could dump it into a pan - complete with its brine - and cook it down until almost all of the liquid is gone. At the same time, prepare some angel hair pasta, until it's almost ready, then drain it and throw it into the pan with the veggies, mixing thoroughly. The pasta will absorb the rest of the brine, acquiring that nice tang but without the sharpness of the straightforward pickles. You can top it with white or red pasta sauce, or simply with some shredded cheese and serve it up for a simple, delicious, and nutritious meal.