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Monday, August 31, 2009


This is sort of, de facto, a food blog. So in the spirit of that, I thought I'd post this little film I just got from one of Kate's folks. It's actually that person's relative-by-marriage's nephew. Where ever it came from, it seems to be fresh.

It's called sannakji in Korea, and it seems like it's the equivalent of eating oysters. It's popular among some martial artists and like oysters, it seems those who eat it believe it imbues some potency upon consumption. It's also apparently a struggle trying to eat a live octopus. Some reading I've done on it noted that it was sometimes a serious problem with folks who've had to much to drink. The beast is of course trying to survive, so they fight on the way down. They need to be thoroughly chewed else they could gab a hold on the way down and choke their diner. That's one of the reasons it served on chopped seaweed and with sesame oil. The seaweed helps to prevent its suction cups from attaching to the plate. And the oil helps hinder its ability to attach inside your mouth. Here's a National Geographic flick on the dish.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thanks, Yard!!

You know how when your cat likes you, (s)he will leave you mice, bunnies, birds, etc. as "gifts"?

Well, I think our yard likes us. Unbidden, it keeps leaving gifts of food for the family.

First there were the morels last year. Then this year we found Truffles while harvesting potatoes. This week it was a bunch of oyster mushrooms growing on a dead elm tree in the yard. And a large amount of sulfur shelf mushrooms down the street, this time sans poison ivy!

-the pickle lady

p.s.: still have beets, broccoli, cauliflower, corn to put by...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A new record in "putting by"

The picklelady is tired from making 5# of sauerkraut, 1/2 gallon pickled blueberry, 1/2 gallon pickled tomato, 1/2 gallon mixed turkish pickle, 1 gallon sweet pickle with dill, 2# dried fruits (blueberry, cherry, banana, plum), 10 quarts of frozen blueberries, 6 pints of spiced blueberry jam. Also started the 10-day process of making Glad's Pickles, an old-fashioned fermented sweet (1 1/2 gallons).

This marks a new record in the amount of food I've put by in a single day, I think. I'll update with recipes and reviews later. For now, a movie and a beer, then bed!

Dewey Web

Originally uploaded by toekneesan

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The pain and the Ecstasy...

It's not a secret-- I love to pickle things, cook them, freeze them, can them, eat them.

My "friend" Vicki gave me her harvest of pickling cukes that had grown to enormous size (like 3"x8") while she was on vacation. Not one to look a gift food in the mouth, I happily accepted her offer. What I got was approximately 50 lbs of cucumbers, picked 4 days ago and kept in the fridge.

I added those to the 10 or so I had from my garden and the 3 from my CSA box today, and ended up with too much work to do in too little time.

Then I went blueberry picking tonight and got about 1 1/2 gallons of berries to put by. Plus beets, broccoli, corn, cauliflower, green peppers, potatoes, onions, carrots, and cabbage in the fridge waiting to be put by.

Although I dearly love a challenge, ACK!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Julie and Julia

What a wonderful movie. We laughed, we cried, we got hungry! This movie should be rated X for being food porn!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Short-brined dills-- by Picklelady

Much experimentation this season with lacto-fermentation. How long, what container, whole vs. sliced, what spices added to the brine..........

So this brings me to posting my recipe for short-brined dills.

Brining the cukes overnight in saltwater gives them a slight fermented taste, but nothing like true fermentation. I think the subtle difference the brining makes really makes these pickles stand out.

Ok, here it is.

  1. cukes, sliced or speared. Cukes should be FRESH, picked that day, preferably. European varieties should have their spines rubbed off, but no need to do so with the weak spines of most traditional cukes. the blossom ends can harbor bacteria, so I slice them off (just the skin). I usually slice off the skin of the vine ends too, just because that part is a bit tough. Use any pickling cukes, and in a pinch eating cukes can be pickled, they're just not as good.
  2. Layer the cukes with pickling salt and ice cubes in a bowl. place a weight on the top (I use a dinner plate), and let them marinate overnight, 12-24 hours is best.
  3. Here's where your personal tastes come in: I don't rinse mine, but lots of people do. Anyway, whether you rinse or not, drain the cukes well.
  4. now stuff them in a jar, or jars. Fill the jars about halfway with cukes.
  5. add a wild grape leaf, or a couple of sour cherry leaves, or an oak leaf. The tannins in the leaves help keep the pickle crisp.
  6. add a handful of fresh dill per quart. (heads are ok)
  7. add some garlic (I use about a head of garlic for a half gallon jar of pickles)
  8. add other spices to taste. I use peppercorns, cumin seeds, mustard seed. You can use pickling spice, onion juice, cloves, bay leaves.... the list is endless. experiment to see what suits you best.
  9. Fill the rest of the jar with brined cukes. Leave an inch at the top, minimum 1/2 inch.
  10. bring to a boil in a nonreactive saucepan: 1 part vinegar to 1 part water, add pickling salt if you like (I use 1 pinch of pickling salt for every 2 cups of water). Fill the jars with the vinegar brine, close with 2-part lids.
  11. Put your pickles-to-be in the fridge for a week, then eat them. They'll keep a couple of months, but they won't last that long!! This year I tried sealing some of the jars in a pressure canner (10#, 25 minute for quarts), but I haven't tried those yet.
Happy Pickles!