Wednesday Morning

At 7:53 Wednesday morning, I took the photo over here on the left. I’ve read that many bloggers prefer taking their pictures in the morning light, but I must admit that I wasn’t thinking about the sunlight. All I could think about was my lunch. It had been the third day in a row of the exact same thing and I could have eaten it all week. The day before, my lunch only lasted in the work fridge until 10:30, then I had to go and get it. So I’ve decided it’s time for a new category on Cheap Beets: My Lunchbox.

Lately, I’ve fallen into bean salads. I soak a cup of beans overnight in a bowl on the counter, cook them in the pressure cooker, and once they’ve cooled down, store them in the fridge until I need them. Of course, you could just open a can of white beans and be done with it.

That cup of beans was enough for three separate lunches for me, so whenever you are ready to make this — it can be packed the night before — I’d suggest using about six ounces of beans.

To those beans, depending on the season, toss in what veggies you have lying around, about a quarter of a cup. Maybe some halved cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, or some steamed broccoli. On top of that I added about a quarter of a red onion which I toasted in the toaster oven at 400F for 8 or so minutes, as I’d learned from Abby’s amazing Tarragon bean salad.

But on top of all that — and what had me digging out the camera at that hour — I draped these zucchini pickles. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with these when I saw the recipe, but I knew they had to be made. Sweet, sour and salty, these chartreuse pickles would work well on a burger, meat or veggie. I had seen these tossed by their creator, Jason Neroni of L.A.’s Osteria La Buca, with radicchio (which he soaked to take out some of the bite), mint, parsley, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and olives.

The dressing for the whole bean, veggie and roasted onion salad was a very simple vinaigrette, two parts olive oil to one part red wine vinegar, a chopped clove of garlic, pinch of salt, teaspoon of agave nectar, shaken with a dash of mustard to emulsify.

Bread and Butter Zucchini Pickles

From The Tasting Table, which adapted this recipe from Jason Neroni of L.A.’s Osteria La Buca


1 zucchini, sliced into 1/8 inch-thick discs (a mandolin works best for this)

1 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon turmeric

1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds

1/4 cup salt

Place the zucchini in a heat-proof, lidded container (I use a cleaned out pickle jar, as a matter of fact)

In a medium saucepan, combine the white wine vinegar, sugar, 1/4 cup salt, turmeric and mustard seeds and bring to a boil. Pour the hot mixture over the zucchini slices. Cover the container and refrigerate the pickles overnight.

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14 thoughts on “Wednesday Morning

  1. I love hearing about what people pack for lunch…this is a great category!

    It’s so nice to have beans and/or grains ready to go in the refrigerator to toss with vegetables. I’m really frustrated by my daughter’s current refusal to eat this kind of thing. She will refuse, for instance, to eat lentil soup if it has visible carrots in it, but either lentils or carrots are ok. Aaargh!

    The pickles sound delicious, too.

    • Hi Robin,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I’m not sure why, but my mom had a pretty easy time with me and my sisters in the food department. I wasn’t a huge fan of radishes when I was little, but I was munching on artichokes at age 2. I think it’s a great sign that your daughter eats lentils, period. I have a friend whose daughter currently only eats cold, white foods. Goodness knows what my imaginary future children will refuse to eat.

    • I’m so happy you came back and id’d yourself, so now I know who I am responding to. I just got out the Zuni cookbook to take a look for myself. The biggest differences are that Zuni calls for cider vinegar and dry mustard, but all the other ingredients are the same, including the yellow mustard seed, although I see she says to crush them. Ms. Rodgers (I feel like I’d be a little too palsy if I called her Judy) describes these as “day-glo,” which is right on the money. She also says that the basic recipe can be found in older editions of Joy of Cooking, so now I’m off to do a little more digging through my cookbooks.

  2. I can’t believe I missed this post–and I even somehow missed the Tasting Table email (I’m on their list too–we frequent the same virtual haunts, don’t we). I am going to try this–zucchini is one of those foods I am always looking for more uses for (often because many recipes leave me cold as the zucchini ends up so waterlogged). I have made the Zuni Cafe ones a while ago and forgot about them, so this is (1) a good reminder for me and (2) a good variation to try! (We have a similar bookshelf as well, it appears).

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