The tabletop pickle pot: It's fun just to say it, and for those who don't speak Japanese, easier than pronouncing "shokutaku tsukemono ki."
The small plastic container makes quick pickles of cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, eggplant, burdock root, radishes, matsutake mushrooms ... an endless variety of tsukemono. Traditionally, vegetables for pickling were placed in wooden or ceramic tubs, weighted down with large stones -- no room for those in the kitchen. Instead, the lid of the pickle pot is fitted with a screw attached to an inner plastic plate that gradually forces liquid from salted vegetables placed in the container.
After a matter of hours in the refrigerator, the result is crisp, refreshing, briny pickled vegetables.
Pickle pots are widely available at Japanese grocery stores such as Mitsuwa and Marukai in Los Angeles. Manufacturers and prices vary. Also online at www.amazon.com, $29.95.
-- Betty Hallock