Instant Japanese Style Cucumber Pickles


This is based on a recipe I found on the Just Hungry blog for Instant Tsukemono (Japanese Pickling) Seasoning Mix.

  • 3 asian cucumbers (or 1-2 long english cucumbers, seeded, or 2 slicing cucumbers, peeled & seeded)
  • fresh ginger root (approx 1 tbsp shredded)
  • fresh lemon juice (about 1 tsp to 1 tbsp)
  • sea salt (a pinch or two, to taste)
  • fresh green shiso leaf, chopped fine (I used 6 medium sized leaves)
  • toasted sesame seeds (I used about 1-2 tbsp)

Cut cucumbers into quarters lengthwise. The asian cucumbers I used are approximately 3/4 to 1 inch diameter. If you’re using larger-diameter cucumbers, cut into sixths or eighths. Cut diagonally into 1/8 inch slices.

Add shredded ginger. You can manually cut into matchsticks, or use a cheese grater. I used a benriner mandoline. (Time-saving tip: just shred a couple of chunks of ginger all at once. If using within a few days, save in your container of choice. If saving for longterm use, put in a plastic zip top bag, expel most of the air, flatten the mass of shredded ginger then score into 16 squares with a chopstick. Freeze, then just break off as many squares as you need for your recipe.)

Finely chop the shiso leaves. If you don’t have fresh shiso leaves, you can use yukari gohan mix but reduce the salt in the recipe. If you don’t have access to shiso _anything_, use another aromatic herb. Just note that it won’t taste as “Japanese”. Keffir lime, basil (Italian or Thai), mint all work well.

Add the salt and sesame seeds, mix well. Adjust seasonings to taste.

You can eat it immediately, or you can let it sit for awhile to let the flavours mingle.

Other options:

This isn’t really a pickle as much as it’s a savory salad. It works well with substitutions. The basic idea is a carrier vegetable, something salty, something sour, one or two aromatics, and optionally something sweet. I also usually add kombu (kelp) powder for umami, and sometimes a bit of honey. Adjust proportions of the seasonings depending which flavours you want to dominate. Here are some ideas for alternate versions:

  • Other vegetables: substitute in zucchini, grated carrot or beet, red bell pepper instead of the cucumbers
  • Other flavours: oregano or basil (or both) & zucchini, black pepper, cracked mustard seeds, crumbled feta instead of salt, vinegars or lime juice instead of lemon. Tom yum paste. Tumeric and/or cardamon. Honey. Remove sesame from most of these.

If you want to avoid the liquid that gets drawn out of veggies by the salt, cut them down to size and then sprinkle with salt. Mix well and let sit in the fridge for 1-3 hours. This will draw out the water. Drain and rinse well, then drain again. Mix in the other ingredients; you may have to adjust the salt in the final recipe.

Chicken Ginger/Cardamon Salad on Sweet Potato Noodles

Chicken Ginger/Cardamon Salad on Sweet Potato Noodles
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 (lunch)


  • Ground Chicken (about 350g)
  • 1 Zucchini, juleinned (or are those large matchsticks?)
  • Optional: 1 Small Carrot, grated
  • 1 Fresh Lime, juiced
  • Ground Green Cardamon 1-2 tsp
  • Fresh Ginger, (about 1/4 cup grated)
  • Salt to taste
  • Sweet Potato / Yam Noodles (about 250g)
  • Olive Oil (I used extra virgin, about 3 tsp)

Prepare/cut all the ingredients.

Mix the chicken with 1 tsp cardamon and half the lime juice, and about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt.I did this while the water was coming to a boil, and let it sit for all of about 5 minutes.

I started cooking by bringing a pot of water to a boil for the yam noodles since they take the longest.

Once the noodles were in the boiling water, I heated up my wok on medium heat. (Yes, I know that wok cooking usually requires super high heat. I’m using it more as a semi- nonstick frypan.) Add olive oil (I used about 3 tbsp) and shredded ginger. Fry for about 30 seconds then add the chicken. Mix around so the chicken doesn’t clump up. There should be enough moisture in the chicken that it will cook in its own steam, uncovered. Once the chicken is cooked, add in the zucchini. Stir fry until it begins to soften, then add the carrot. I only added carrot to give the dish a bit more colour variety. Adjust seasoning (salt and cardamon) and mix it well, then remove from heat. I cooked this on a single-burner induction hotplate so I just turned off the heat.

While I was working on the chicken/zucchini stirfry, I kept checking the noodles for doneness. When they were done, I drained them and portioned them into bowls without rinsing. After that I mixed the stirfry again and then laid it out on top of the noodles. Finish by pouring on the rest of the lime juice.

Other Notes:

  • I cut the zucchini by hand; carrots and ginger with a Benriner mandoline slicer using the medium comb.
  • This was supposed to be lunch for two people, but neither of us was able to finish; it would probably feed three.
  • This can be served hot, cold, or lukewarm. I didn’t time the cooking perfectly so the stirfry was done before the noodles. We had lukewarm stirfry on hot noodles.
  • From start to finish this took about 30 minutes, not including cleanup time.


Flight is a new series of sixteen digital images that I am exhibiting for the first time at Mysteria Gallery in Regina from July 8 to September 5, 2009 as part of my solo exhibition Crossroads and Flight.

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New Series: Transit and Transience

I’ve hinted at this series a couple of times lately, and even posted a picture of a piece-in-progress last summer. Transit and Transience is a new series of large-scale digital images I began in 2007. Below is a gallery of the nine images I’ve completed, followed by some background information.

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Visual Arts Summit (Ottawa, November 2007)

This article is long overdue for posting here on my blog. It originally appeared in the CARFAC Saskatchewan Newsletter in January 2008. It’s the final version I submitted to my editor, so there might be a few rough spots. My raw notes for the article weigh in at about double the length of the article. Please let me know if you’d like to see them.

Visual Arts Summit

November 25–27, 2007 in Ottawa, Ontario

The Visual Arts Summit, a gathering of over 450 individuals representing a cross section of the visual arts in Canada, was held in Ottawa at the end of November. The conference featured two and half days of discussion and events designed “to bring Canada’s visual arts sector together.” This was the first time in over 40 years that such an event had been organized.

The main purpose of the summit appeared to simply be to get the various interest groups within the sector talking to each other in an attempt to find common ground. This is in contrast to the usual order of business, where each group tries to get as much as they can in a competition for scarce resources.

The immediate outcome of the summit was the creation of a Collective Agenda for the Visual Arts, a document which outlines the goals and aspirations for the sector. This agenda will be covered in greater detail elsewhere in the newsletter, but the opening statements bear repeating:

Art is the face of Canada.

We, as artists, curators, collectors, dealers, educators and supporters, are united to enhance the opportunities for Canadian art to be created, seen, understood and enjoyed. We came together in the largest gathering of the visual arts in our history, to proclaim the critical role of the visual arts in an innovative and compassionate society in the 21st century. We know what is needed: we call on the governments, nations and peoples of Canada to join us in realizing our potential.

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There is no morning-after pill for internet idiocy

I don’t really have time to elaborate, but the title of this post came out of my mouth today in a conversation about online behavioural standards. We were talking about youthful indiscretions (not mine), digital cameras (not mine), and online social networks (not mine), and the combination of which can be embarrassing and/or incriminating. As you can guess from the “not mine” declarations, we were talking in abstract terms, of course.

I’ll repeat the phrase to satisfy my ego. It wants me to win a round of the great internet catchphrase generation game, and this is one statement of the obvious I haven’t seen before: There is no morning-after pill for internet idiocy.

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ArtTomorrow (Winnipeg, November 2007)

This article originally appeared in the CARFAC Saskatchewan Newsletter in January 2008. It’s the final version I submitted to my editor, so there might be a few rough spots. My raw notes for the article weigh in at about double the length of the article. Please let me know if you’d like to see them.

ArtTomorrow forum on the future of contemporary art institutions

November 1–3, 2007 in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Art Tomorrow took place in Winnipeg on the first weekend of November 2007. It was hosted by Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art. The speakers included a high-profile cross section of artists, arts workers, and academics, some with deep roots in Winnipeg, and others from abroad.

The intention of Art Tomorrow was to bring together national and international experts to talk about the research, presentation, and documentation of contemporary art. At its heart, the conference was a very public kickoff to the process of defining the future of Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art. There was a great deal of discussion of Plug In’s role—in the Winnipeg art community, nationally, and internationally—and talk about various options for a radical change in direction for Plug In. These included the possibilities of a partnership with the university, Plug In perhaps buying, renovating, or building a permanent space, and various ideas about financially self-sustaining business models.

Each of the two days of the conferences was packed with panels, special presentations, and group discussions. The first day’s topics were mostly about history and context, and the second day examined civic planning, infrastructure, and education. While the overall focus of the conference was on the institution and its various roles and strategies, the idea of the artist and artwork as a key part of the institutional mandate was never far from anyone’s mind.

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Husk: Chapbook Launches June 18

Last year I wrote about Cryptic Species, a proposal for a chapbook collaboration with Lia that we had proposed to JackPine Press. That proposal was accepted, and we got to work. We delivered the finished product to JackPine in May.

After a punctuated evolution, the final title is Husk, and we think it’s a beautiful object. If you would like a copy, click here for availability and purchase information. If you want to skip straight to the pictures, click here.

Lia has posted all the information about the launch and garden party being held in Betsy Rosenwald & John Penner’s Garden (734 7th Avenue North in Saskatoon) at 8pm on June 18, 2008. I’ve given enough information to get you to the launch, but click here for the post on Lia’s blog if you want to find about the other two books being launched that night.

Read on for a description of the finished piece, and information about the edition size, availability, pricing, how to buy a copy, technical details, as well as a sneak peek at some of the interior pages.

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