I was planning to write off this marinated vegetable salad as another one of Anya von Bremzen's inspiring but not quite thought-out recipes. The instruction say the salad is ready to eat the day after you make it—well, no. I think Anya forgot about the “marinated” part. I sampled the salad at 24 and 48 hours, and it tasted like cabbage sprinkled with salt and vinegar. Then life got in the way and I shoved the salad to the back of the fridge and forgot about it. A week later, eureka! It finally tasted the way Russian homemade, pickled vegetables are supposed to: briny, sweet and sour, with a tingly zing. (The recipe still required some tweaking--see my instructions below. For one thing, the amount of brine Anya has you make was not nearly enough to cover all the vegetables.)
-Finely chop 1 medium head of cabbage; mix with 1 tbs. kosher salt in a large bowl and let stand for 1 hour.
-In the meantime, make the brine. Combine 3/4 c. water, 3/4 c. white vinegar, 12 whole black peppercorns, and 1.5 tbs. sugar in a saucepan; bring to boil, then turn off the heat. Let cool. (I had to make another 1/2 recipe of brine to cover the vegetables.) When the liquid is cool, add 2 tbs. sunflower oil to marinade.
-Squeeze the cabbage with your hands so it releases water; drain as much water as possible. Combine with a thinly sliced: carrot, 3 red peppers, 2 white onions, and 2 green tomatoes (I left these out). Toss with 3 peeled garlic cloves and 2 dried, hot chili peppers.
-Toss the vegetables well with the marinade. Let stand 1 hour, then put into clean 2-quart jars. I didn't have extra jars, so I put the vegetables in a big soup pot and simply covered it with a lid.
-The vegetables will need to marinate in the fridge for a few days; start tasting around day four. Eat with chopped dill or parsley. This salad is great with roasted chicken, pork or beef, and it’s also good on its own as an appetizer.