I’ve embarked on Adventures in Fermentation Episode 3, and decided to pickle some green beans. I used the basic brine pickle recipe from Sandor Katz’s Wild Fermentation, but my seasonings included bay leaves, green peppercorns, and cumin as well as the standard garlic, dill, black pepper, and mustard seeds. I started them three days ago and they’re already tasting pretty good; I’ll keep you updated.
I’ll be camping for a week, something I’ve very much been needing. I’ll return next Monday, hopefully with good things to report.
To help me Get (Weird) Things Done, I’ve taken to using The Big Picture. This is a task management online service that provides a friendly visual interface for projects, tasks, and subtasks. It’s not perfect yet by any stretch of the imagination, but it has been useful.
Also… I found someone nearby with Egyptian walking onion starts! Hopefully I’ll pick those up tomorrow morning.
I have used the nasturtium capers in a pasta and a potato salad, but didn’t get around to posting about them. Here’s how I used them in a salad dressing:
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried parsley
1 t fresh chopped chives
1 clove garlic pressed and minced, and the juice thereof
2 T lime juice
2 T nasturtium capers
1/4 t or to taste cracked green peppercorns (which I picked because I thought they’d make a nice pairing with the nasturtium capers, but your favorite pepper blend will do)
I combined the buttermilk and sour cream with a whisk, then added the lime juice. I pressed the garlic clove over the mixture and then minced the remains as finely as I could and stirred them in, but you could probably food process it if you have one of those. Then I added the spices and whisked those in, and finally the capers. The order doesn’t matter much but that’s how I did it.
This is a tasty variation on a ranch dressing theme that can be used as a dip or spread too. It can be thinned with water or lime juice or thickened with a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise depending on your application. This was tasty on a green salad, even better in pasta salad with veggies. The nasturtium capers provide little bursts of salty, peppery crunch.
I’ve been absent from Kerrplunk for a couple of weeks, partly because I’ve been moving to a new home. I have moved from a fairly large two-story flat I shared with three other people to a backyard cottage semi-studio (more on that in a moment) attached to a regular house in which two other people live. I haven’t actually given up total space—in fact, I’ve gained a bathroom, a larger kitchen, and even a supplemental outdoor “kitchen” (more on that in a moment) and some gardening space. But the size of my bedroom has approximately halved, much of the remaining space taken up by furniture that came with the new place. So my long-standing interest in the tiny house movement is serving me in good stead.
The rest of this evening, in fact, should be spent organizing and putting stuff away. I’m a stuff-lover in recovery. I unloaded a tremendous amount of stuff before my move. Still, I have an enormous pile of sentimental objects, old papers, and might-be-useful-somedays that somehow made the cut to put away in sensible places, something I’m not, as a rule, very good at.
So what’s the space like? Read more…
I think it’s a common experience for people with blogs that if you go any length of time without blogging it gets much harder to sit down and write a post. So I’ll do a quick update and hopefully get things rolling again for more regular posting.
For the last few weeks I’ve been busy moving. Actually, I’ve been busy thinking about getting ready to plan to start the process of moving. I gave myself a month overlap in order that I wouldn’t have to move all at once, which has led to putting off working on moving until the last couple of weeks, which will lead to moving all at once, no doubt. I’ve been downsizing, but not as quickly as I’d like.
I’ve been keeping an eye on my pickles, and they are done. I can report that the grape leaf in the jar does help keep them crisp, even in the awful fluctuating weather we’ve been having—and the attic room I’m still inhabiting is definitely not the place to maintain an even, cool temperature for pickling. So any crispness at all is a positive sign. The jar without the grape leaf is not in particularly good shape. On the other hand, the pickles themselves are far too salty to eat straight, owing to my brine measurement mishap. They could use a good soaking in plain ice water for about three hours before eating. Ice water will help keep them from going soggy while the excess salt is being soaked out. I did get some mold at the top of the jar after two weeks, but nothing in the brine or on the pickles themselves.