Richard Stein is an avid gardener and great cook with a terrific voice for radio. He lives in Tacoma, Washington, and I’ve had the good fortune of being on his KPLU food show, which he hosts with award-winning food journalist Nancy Leson. Their sarcasm and banter is infectious and entertaining. The three of us recorded in studio once and had to contain our laughs and giggles.
When the banh mi book came out, Stein (as we call him) commented on VWK that he was putting a cucumber pickle into his homemade Viet sandwiches. I was intrigued but shelved the idea because of a lack of time. But my curiosity reemerged when I started seeing pickling cucumbers appear at the farmer’s market. One of the most important parts of pickling whole is freshness. Start with firm, fresh ones and you’ll be rewarded with crisp crunch and refreshing flavor.
So while Stein, Nancy and I were trying to schedule a lunch date for when I was in Seattle, he brought up the pickles again. Not a dummy, I asked for the recipe and picked up a bunch of pickling cucumbers on a Saturday morning, threw together the pickles in about 30 minutes and then left for a week for my Pacific Northwest events. When I returned home, the pickles were done. Well, sort of done.