Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sichuan Pickled Cucumbers (Page 909)


  • Date: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 -- 9pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Recipe Rating: B

This recipe didn't quite meet the Active-Time-of-15-minutes-or-less criterion that I have been using the last couple weeks, but with an Active Time of 20 minutes, I figured I could make an exception. To start this recipe you take either Kirby cucumbers or a seedless cucumber (I used the latter), cut it into wedges and remove the seeds. You then salt these cucumber wedges, let them sit for 20 minutes, then rinse. The cucumbers are then tossed with a mixture of sugar and rice vinegar. To finish the preparation, you then heat sesame oil in a wok until smoking, toss in some grated ginger, dried and seeded hot chiles, and Sichuan peppercorns, and stir fry for one minute. After this oil mixture has cooled, it is tossed with the cucumbers and the whole thing marinates for up to 4 days. The pickled cucumbers were prety good, but quite different from what I expected. With all the hot chiles (and the warning in The Book that the longer they marinated the spicier they would be) I figured that after two days in the refrigerator these would be too much for my sensitive-to-spice palate. But in fact, they were hardly spicy at all. Perhaps the hot chiles I used weren't the right variety, but my suspicion is that seeding them just took most of their kick away. I didn't mind the dish not being spicy, but if spicy is what you are after you may want to leave some of those seeds in. In fact, the flavor of the dish was rather mild in general. Despite the strongly flavored ingredients -- rice vinegar, ginger, Sichuan peppercorns -- the dish mostly tasted like cucumbers in sesame oil. I like cucumbers. I also like sesame oil. And the two flavors go together nicely. So, I am not complaining, but I had expected a dish with more complexity and punch to it.

This recipe isn't online.

Today was a big day for me -- my doctoral thesis was published! (Well, not my thesis itself, but a paper I wrote based on my thesis work.) I got my Ph.D. in June 2007, and I submitted this paper for publication last fall. These things take awhile though (at least in math...) so a turn-around of a year between submission and publication is actually pretty fast. The title of my paper: The R(S^1)-graded equivariant homotopy of THH(F_p). (If you have ever wondered why I don't talk more about the specifics of my research on this blog, perhaps that title will give you a hint!). In any event, a lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into that project (ok, maybe not blood...), and even though I moved onto other research projects long ago, it still feels good to have that project done and the paper now published! Yay!

It's funny how calm I feel about it now -- when I was in graduate school there was certainly a period of time when I worried that my dissertation would never get done, my thesis would never be published, etc... I think these feelings/concerns are not uncommon for Ph.D. students. But here I am, happily on the other side: Ph.D. in hand, and now my thesis in print! That's worth celebrating -- I think I will have a beer!


vero said...

That's huge! Congrats.

Liz C said...

Wow, Major props! And I think the fact that you've been speaking at the AMS conventions is pretty cool, too. I actually belonged to the AMS for a couple of years when I was a student.

I feel sad that I can no longer even begin to understand what your paper might relate to. 17 years ago, I might have almost been able to grasp it. Oh well.

Teena said...

Thanks! Yeah, it was an exciting moment for me!