Are every woman’s two best summer pals. The kind of friends you forget to call once the season’s over, and almost, regrettably, forget they exist by the time it starts over again. Then you call them like it’s their job to hang out with you, all at once. Poor young pickles and cold sesame noodles! You don’t ever bring them out with you unless you’re going to a barbeque. You are so very selfish.
To their credit, these summer friends are great snacks all year round. They’re so easy to prepare and you don’t need to have hardly anything but a few essentials on hand, and cucumbers. Of course, these two side dishes don’t need to be served together. I’ve been eating a lot of the sesame noodles lately with a simple romaine salad on the side to make a more complete meal. The pickles can stay covered in the refrigerator for days, and are good for snacking. As the name would imply, they taste great young – at just a half hour into brining – but the longer you leave them in your fridge, the more pickled they get.
6-8 kirby cucumbers (preferable to regular, larger cucumbers), peeled, quartered lengthwise, and chopped into 3-inch logs
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
4-5 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
Dash of sesame oil
Mix wet ingredients and toss with cucumbers and garlic, coating evenly. Cover and refrigerate.
Cold Sesame Noodles
½ box spaghetti, cooked and chilled
2 tablespoons Asian sesame paste (can best be substituted with peanut butter if unavailable)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1-2 scallions, chopped
Blend sesame paste (or peanut butter) with soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil into a smooth paste. Stir evenly with cold spaghetti and scallions only just before serving, or else the noodles absorb the sauce if left out too long.