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the beauty of this life: a fund for jennie

Recipe: vietnamese pickled vegetables

When Jeremy and I were a young couple, we would on rare occasion have dessert for dinner and giggle to one another that this was a perk of being an adult. I defined adult by age. I had no idea what adulthood really meant. I didn’t know loss. I didn’t know illness. I didn’t know that people would disappoint in times of crisis. I also didn’t know that there were those who would carry me through the toughest days with their love and support.

seek the rainbow in the storm

Today, I try to walk through life ever-present… to appreciate the beautiful moments be they the hug of a small child, an exquisite landscape, tucking my hand into Jeremy’s back pocket as we walk, hiking into the mountains, stroking Kaweah’s soft floppy ears, sharing a meal with a friend.

at dinner with jennie in sonoma valley (november 2009)

Sometimes beauty arises where you least expect it – like all of the peanut butter pies that the food blogging community posted per Jennie’s modest request after her husband tragically passed away two weeks ago. Or in this, my favorite tribute to Jennie and Mikey by my dear friends Todd and Diane.

a fund for jennie
Thanks to the efforts of Shauna and Maggy, we can offer some longer term support. Maggy, Erika, and Aimée have launched Bloggers without Borders and one of their first assistance projects is a fundraiser for Jennie and her girls. Many bloggers are participating by holding auctions and sharing the news. As part of this blogging community and as Jennie’s friend, I’m doing my small part to help and to get the word out.

I’m sort of raffling off two of my 12×18 inch photographs (matted to 18×24 inches, all archival materials) to two winners who will be drawn at random. I say sort of because it’s one ticket per person, but you are of course welcome to donate more than the cost of a ticket if you are so inclined. It’s about helping Jennie more than anything else.

Here are the rules:

1) To enter, donate a minimum of $10 to Bloggers without Borders (donate via the button below) AND leave a comment on this post sharing what you find beautiful in life.
2) This raffle is open to everyone.
3) One entry per person, please.
4) Deadline to leave a comment is 12:00 pm (noon) extended to midnight, Mountain Daylight Time on Monday, August 29, 2011.
5) Winners will be chosen at random from the comments and verified with Bloggers without Borders.
6) The winners are to select a photo of their choice.
7) The photos will ship anywhere (at my cost).

Or if you want to donate, but don’t want to enter the raffle – that’s perfectly fine too! Either way, thank you for your kindness and your generosity.

click this button to donate to a fund for jennie at bloggers without borders

Donate to Bloggers Without Borders

a few of the photos the winners can choose from

There is a recipe too since these wonderful people and this incredible community are a part of my life because of food. In fact, I wouldn’t have known about nor made this recipe if Diane hadn’t introduced me to banh mi, the delectable sandwich of her people made with baguette, pâté, cilantro, a protein (pork, ham, etc.), pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, and mayonnaise. I determined that I needed those pickles. So I made them myself a while back (as you can tell from the henna tattoos on my hand). [NOTE: I pickled cucumbers with the daikon and carrot, but I don’t add cucumbers anymore because their excess liquid dilutes the pickling power too much.]

typically daikon and carrots, but i added the cucumbers too


Surely there is a connection between my love of pickles and my love of sandwiches seeing as they keep one another company. I’m discovering that pickling vegetables is not only quick and easy, but a lovely homemade treat to enhance my sandwich experience.

mixing the vinegar with the sugar and salt

pouring the liquid over the vegetables

Diane’s recipe said something about best results and waiting five days. Heck with that, I was too impatient when I had all of the components for banh mi, so I waited an hour… and it was awesome! These pickles are tangy and sweet with just the perfect crunch (Diane and I are fans of crunchy food – we have entire discussions about this). I think my next attempt will have to be these Vietnamese caramelized pork belly banh mi. I just drooled on my desk. That’s embarrassing…

ready, set…


Vietnamese Pickled Vegetables
[print recipe]
from White On Rice Couple

1 lb. daikon, peeled and julienned

1/2 lb. carrots, peeled and julienned

1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
 or white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar (or more, to taste)

2 tsps kosher or sea salt

1 cup water

Make sure the vegetables are fairly dry (pat them dry) so they don’t dilute the pickling liquid with excess water. Combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, and water together until the sugar dissolves. Place the vegetables in a jar large enough to fit them all and pour the pickling liquid into the jar so that all of the vegetables are submerged. Store them sealed in the jar in the refrigerator for 5 days for best flavor. (I was too impatient and cracked them open after an hour – they were great).

73 nibbles at “the beauty of this life: a fund for jennie”

  1. a fund for Jennie Recipe | Guilty Kitchen says:

    […] Use Real Butter: Two fine art prints (raffle) […]

  2. Maggy@ThreeManyCooks says:

    What I find beautiful today is this community – friends reaching out across the blogosphere to help someone we love and care about. Jen, your prints are absolutely breath-taking. Would love to hang one of these in my home!

  3. Jane Emson says:

    Oh, what beautiful pictures.

    I’m not a blogger. I’m not a cook. But I’ve been reading Shauna’s words for a few years now and she inspires good poeple to do good things, I think. The number of people who have come together on Twitter, and elsewhere, to help someone they care about is inspiring too. I have donated and I hope this helps.

  4. jenjenk says:

    gosh, jen…these prints are breathtaking!!

  5. Jenny says:

    What I find beautiful today….life. I’m going to make a donation now for the raffle.

  6. cat says:

    People reaching out to other people. That is what I find beautiful today. And thank you for reminding me of some of the many, many people who have helped to carry me through my dark times. It is my privilege today to be able to reach out to Jennie, someone I know only through the love-filled words of others. Very cool.

  7. Kath says:

    Nourishing other people is a beautiful thing! I made my donation. One person’s donation may be small, but added to countless others it becomes huge.

  8. Jenn says:

    I agree… Life is beautiful today.. donated before I saw this. Hopefully it will help.

  9. Von says:

    Nature is beautiful and so is kindness. I just donated.

  10. Kitt says:

    Friends are beautiful.

  11. Reggie says:

    Where are we without our friends? They are the anchor of our lives!

  12. Susan says:

    Anything that reminds us of the connection between all of us. Today, that’s come from reading about all the creative ways people are helping.

  13. MJC says:

    Thanks, Jen for doing this. I just left my first grandson, a newborn, in Miami. The most beautiful thing in thhe world is the sound a newborn makes when he/she snuggles into your shoulder.

  14. Melissa | Dash of East says:

    The love and care that the food community shows to friends in time of need is beautiful. Friends and family are the most beautiful things to me.

    Just donated to the fund, every little bit helps, right? :) Thanks for doing this Jen! And as always, your prints are stunning! I’m in love with the sea turtle photo.

  15. barbara says:

    beauty is nature, what we see and observe around us.. the creatures, the plants ,the people, the spirit surrounding us

  16. Alyse says:

    Life- I find this life so dear, so exquisite, so fragile, and so sublime. It is beyond beautiful.

  17. Winnie says:

    I made a donation…it’s the first of many I will make to Jennie, and I am also trying to figure out how else I can help (by auctioning something…just not sure what). I drove 4 hours to take my daughter to the beach today- it was beautiful to be there with her. ps Your photos are incredible.

  18. Margie says:

    A friend that sees you through the thick and thin of life…..the most beautiful thing in all this world.

  19. Lilian says:

    thanks, jen. i was very happy to donate to jennie – i don’t know her but have been grieving for her family since i heard the news.

    today, cool air after rain is beautiful. and your photographs are amazing.

  20. Kim says:

    What is happening on your blog is beautiful. Friends and strangers reaching out to another person with prayers, thoughts and donations. And your photographs are beautiful.

  21. Janet says:

    I find community — that web of connections that we weave through our lives — beautiful.

    Community is where you make it, and you are doing something important to make community in the food blogger world. Bravo.

    And thanks for sharing your photos. They remind me of what is important.

  22. Marin says:

    I find the links in life beautiful. Like when FB and Twitter showed me so many of my friends already knew each other, independently from me. The world is supposed to feel smaller when that happens, but I always feel like a big burst of light and a fresh breeze just blew into my day and a whole new vat of possibilities opened up.

  23. Susan/@latenitepho says:

    Happy to donate to such a good cause.
    There is beauty all around us.
    I find incredible beauty in your photography, Jen.
    My best to Jennie and her two girls.

  24. Carrie says:

    I’m not a blogger, just someone who likes food. I’ve been amazed following this story and the outpouring of support on various blogs I follow (and have discovered new blogs in the process). My heart goes out to Jennie and her daughters.

  25. katie says:

    I find that there is beauty in almost anything – it just depends on how you look at it.

    I think your art is beautiful!

    I’ve made my donation… thank you for participating.

  26. kaela says:

    Such glorious images, Jen. I don’t know how I would pick just one! But I am happy to donate to the cause, and happy to be entered in the drawing. Thanks for everything.

  27. Manisha says:

    I’d like to be entered in the raffle, please! And, if I win, you can hand it to me over lunch, which will be on me. Cos you rock!

  28. Rucy says:

    How wonderful to see community banding together, when someone needs support, makes my heart sing! I’m just awestruck by your photography and I’d like to be added to the raffle (eyes-crossed-for-luck).

  29. Grace says:

    The love my sister has for her children, my rock steady marriage, the way that first really chilly Autumn day feels, life is beautiful.

    Jennie’s love for Mikey is beautiful. Her willingness to share her journey through this with all of the food blogging community is nothing short of remarkable. I was happy to make the peanut butter pie and I was happy to donate to this fund.

    Sometimes, I find the blogging world beautiful, too. What a wonderful thing to do for Jennie and the girls. Thank you for giving us a way to help them.

  30. Gidget says:

    All you pictures are just beautiful and also what you are doing for Jennie is beautiful.

    What I find very beautiful is watching the hummingbirds in my backyard with my spouse and a glass of wine.

  31. love on the interwebs, love the one you’re with | neat but with a twist says:

    […] to Bloggers Without Borders – A Fund for Jennie all across the foodie community.  Some of my favorite foodie bloggers gathered together virtually to place items for auction in order to raise money to […]

  32. Christina DV says:

    I just donated (my third for the day). I just keep seeing all of these amazing things people are doing for Jennie and her family and I can’t get enough of this. We are very lucky and we know it, so we try to help others in many ways throughout the year. I think it’s a beautiful thing to do for someone in need. I’m always amazed at how much folks dig dip to help others.

  33. Cindy says:

    What I find beautiful is our shared humanity. I too love how strangers come together to help Jennie & her daughters through this tragedy. I know in some small way, we’re all working to make things better for them and even perhaps for each other.

  34. Manggy says:

    I think selflessness and sacrifice are the most beautiful things of all. Being there for one another. (And, nowadays, becoming more and more rare.)

  35. Christine says:

    Had to wait until pay day but it was my pleasure to give a little to help Jennie. We lost my sister in law at 26 due to a drug interaction and then a childhood friend at 27 five weeks later. It’s hard and it doesn’t make sense. I am in awe of this community. How wonderful people can be.

  36. Sherry says:

    What I find beautiful today? My family, the lovely morning outside and your warmth towards a friend in need. This is a generous and kind way to reach out to many people.

  37. Lee says:

    I think selfless is beautiful, especially that sense of selflessness that is so profound that we start to see that there really is no difference between ourselves and others.

  38. justina says:

    enjoying life even during hard times is a beautiful thing.

  39. suz says:

    Thanks to all of you for reminding me that there are so many things that are beautiful in life.

    The first things that came to my mind are a good drive along a beautiful road with the sun on my arms and the wind blowing through the car, partner by my side and dog in the backseat waiting to go for a run in the woods or the beach or where ever!

    It’s nice to be reminded that even when things are really tough, there’s beauty going on in the world around us.

  40. coleen says:

    What do I find beautiful? The mischievous grin on my boy’s face when he walks out from his nap (way too early), the way my daughter snuggles into me when she’s sick (or well), the glorious summer days here in WA, and the grace that is extended to me–by God, by friends, by family.

  41. Ute says:

    I have a hard time coming up with something that is beautiful in life. Things can be beautiful. Life – just is. Sometimes heartbreaking. Sometimes awe-inspiring. Sometimes tedious. Maybe the most beautiful thing is the ability to find laughter, eventually, even in some of the bad moments.

  42. TheKitchenWitch says:

    What a deal! I am so entering this raffle. What I find beautiful: the soul of this food community.

  43. salena says:

    beauty for me is living in the moment and being aware enough to appreciate the seemingly insignificant moments of everyday life with my husband.

  44. Linda says:

    My new grandaughter, born this morning in New Zealand, joining my 3 other beautiful grandchildren is beauty to me.

  45. jenyu says:

    Thank you, all of you, for sharing and for donating to Jennie’s fund. You guys are the best. And yes, every little bit helps. Thank you so much. xo

  46. Kay Swatkowski says:

    Jennifer, I would like to contact you about using one of your pictures on my blog. Thank you.

  47. Virginia says:

    I’m so disappointed I saw this post too late! Something about your pictures always leaves me breathless & wanting to frolic through woods. Or move to Colorado, so I can see everything for myself…I discovered your blog earlier this summer, and it’s made me appreciate snow so much more (:

    I love your recipes, and your photos. Something I find beautiful in life — that so many people have come together on this community (I almost started crying at work when I saw how many blogs posted about making a pie for Mikey, even people who didn’t know him). and that I personally have someone in my life to share my love of food and nature with (:

  48. Oh Monday. « raudette says:

    […] Art . A beer tasting party . Gorgeous chunky cardigan . Step 1 to great banh mi: pickled vegetables . Glamorous headpieces . Homemade service . The best macarons in the world . Beautiful furniture […]

  49. Dinner Partying it up – Japchae (Korean glass noodles) « cynthesizing food and fun says:

    […] (Korean glass noodles), chicken fried rice, mirin and honey sweet potatoes, bean sprout kimchi, pickled vegetables, and stuffed peppers with Thai curried […]

  50. things i’ll do after 3pm this friday. | ballardtobrooklyn says:

    […] 2. Make these Vietnamese Pickled Veggies […]

  51. Lea says:

    Cannot wait to try this recipe (found on Pinterest) and more so, CANNOT wait to come back to spend time with your great blog. Thank you for sharing your world with us all.

  52. Quick Vietnamese Pickled Veggies « Crunchy Can Feel Good says:

    […] dill grosses me out.  But I love vinegar and could literally drink it by the glass.  When I found this recipe by Use Real Butter I knew that it would be the perfect way to start […]

  53. Devo K says:

    I made a batch of this using kohlrabi, carrots and a couple hot peppers. They were a huge hit. Next batch will be carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, and a couple hot peppers

  54. pickled memories of the summer sun « Butterfly Press says:

    […] project vietnamese pickled vegetables Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  55. Snack Attack | The Official Stork Craft Blog says:

    […] Vietnamese pickled vegetables: While I can’t say that I have had any cravings for pickles and ice cream, I have noticed that I have been partial to sour foods.  This is another recipe that I think I will put on the “to try” list. […]

  56. Rose says:

    when pickling you are ALWAYS supposed to use PICKLING SALT not sea salt or table salt, it is sold at any grocery store where the salts are.

  57. jenyu says:

    Rose – this isn’t pickling as in canning, IF YOU READ THE RECIPE you might have picked up on that.

  58. Ginny says:

    Wow….tried your Vietnamese veggies….wonderful. I also did cucumbers and onions. Love love love this recipe. Had the cukes/onions on a hotdog and it was great. Thanks so much!

  59. Jeff says:

    This looks brilliant! I’d love to have those stored up in the fridge! How long can you store them for?

  60. jenyu says:

    Jeff – I think you can store them for a month. I’ve had them in my fridge as much as 2 months and they were fine.

  61. Quick Pickles for a Quick Post :: Lydia's Flexitarian Kitchen says:

    […] started with this pin I found on Pinterest.  From the original recipe, I came up with these proportions for the […]

  62. Katie says:

    Would it mess anything up to use less sugar? I’m thinking 1/4 Cup. I have to limit my intake.

  63. jenyu says:

    Katie – you can try it. Not sure how it will taste.

  64. Saturday Six #73 - Misadventures with Andi says:

    […] Jennie of In Jennie’s Kitchen, who has recently suffered the loss of her husband.  Jen shared her thoughts on it and demonstrated to me the powerful nature of the blogging community while also sharing a […]

  65. Amber says:

    Is there a way you can, can these veggies?

  66. jenyu says:

    Amber – I think canning would destroy the vegetables (because these pickles are crunchy – and canning would cook them into mushy things).

  67. ButteryMuffyn says:

    So, my son eats tofu Banh Mi for lunch fairly often and is always telling me to try them – I found this recipe through Pinterest and I gotta tell ya, I was eating these veggies straight away. How the heck can you wait days, these are soooo good! Thanks for the recipe.

  68. Thai Chicken Wrap | Dame with a Whisk says:

    […] Banh Mi (recipe adapted from […]

  69. Elena says:

    Unfortunately your recipe is not for PICKLED but for MARINATED veggies…. there is a huge difference in health benefits in those two different types of the food. Pickled food, also called fermented, only uses salt and natural process of fermentation to grow a probiotics. Marinated food, though also very delicious, on the other hand just imitates pickled food taste, but does not provide the same nutrition value.

  70. michelle preston says:

    Oh my gosh u guys, if u dont like the way the reciepe is made , then move on!!! No one is forcing it down your throat!! This is just a receipe, there are no critics checking to see the “nutritional value” of the receipe.. The comment section, isnt for u to complain about nutritional value, there are hundreds of receipes on Pinterest that lack nutrition value, and no one is writing on their blog about it being unhealthy. Hate when people just “fish” for things to argue about.. Be grateful u HAVE the resources to find receipes, or you would be in a bookstore, or the library, or spending 100s of dollars on cooking magazines..JUST SAYIN!! Thank you for the receipe!!!

  71. Marinated Vegetables » unikatissima's says:

    […] but it’s too much fuss for me to make it myself. That’s why I was so glad to find the marinated vegetables: it’s fast and easy to make them and as yummy as the others :) I made mine with kohlrabi and […]

  72. Deann says:

    The beauty I see in this world is the loving care of a charge nurse whom you’ve met for the very first time offering to pray with you and then taking the lead in praying with you while your Mom is in a high blood pressure crisis and may not live through the night. (She lived.)
    I will be forever grateful to Amber for her compassionate care of me and my Mom.

  73. Julie says:

    I needed a rush rush “pickle” for bitmap and didn’t have time to dissolve sugar and wait for it to cool. I used agave and it was wonderful.

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