Running/ Skijor equipment

Running/ Skijor equipment

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FOOD! refrigerator pickles

I made these today.

I don’t love pickles, not really.  Something about dill pickles just doesn’t suit my palate.  Dill itself I think is quite divine, but dill pickles don’t interest me at all.  Bread and butter pickles (I think this is the type, the sweet ones?), on the other hand, I do like these.  Which are basically the same as refrigerator pickles.

All summer long I’ve been splitting a CSA share with a friend.  Every week we’d get something different – lemon cukes, edamame, kale, thyme, what-have-you.  More than anything else though, we got BEANS.  Every damn week, BEANS.  Green beans, wax beans, I don’t know the exact nomenclature, but there were OODLES of them.  And I loved to eat them, but I wasn’t creative enough, and got bored, and a lot of beans went to waste, unfortunately.  The whole time though, I was thinking how great it would be to pickle them! But it seemed too daunting, and so I didn’t.  I think I’m a little scared of canning because of something I read in a book once about botulism, maybe in East of Eden, or similar.

But, I digress. Refrigerator pickles, on the other hand, so easy!  I found a few recipes, like this one, and just adapted it, because some of the recipes I found seemed like they wanted to be fancy and I just wanted the most basic one I could find.  No fanciness of ingredient for me, just a plain old McDonald’s burger, thankyouverymuch. Also, I had this big old jar, so I adapted for the size of the thing.

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 cups cucumbers (pickling cukes are great, but no need to discriminate), thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 cups vinegar (I used 4 cups white, 2 cups apple cider to cut the tartness)
  • 3 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoon celery seeds

Prep:

Place cukes and onion in a gallon jar.  Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Carefully pour liquid into gallon jar and refrigerate.  Let chill 3-4 days.  Pickles can be kept for up to 6 weeks.

Voila! I tried mine after they’d been in the fridge for about 12 hours.  The cukes were still very raw and crunchy, but the flavor of the wash tastes about right, so I’m excited to test them again in a few days!

Are you a pickler, or a canner?  Leave your tips in the comments below!

liberty, luna, and the pursuit of pistorius.

Two things today.  Well, maybe 3.

1. Happy Fourth of July!

Interesting.

2. Full moon!  Yesterday at 12:51pm.  I couldn’t sleep, which got me to thinking about why we associate so much cray-cray with the full moon.  I couldn’t find anything substantive (which is sort of a given, considering it’s all very woo-woo anyway), though I did familiarize myself with the myth of Luna (Latin), aka Selene (Greek), à la Edith Hamilton‘s Mythology:

Endymion the shepherd,
As his flock he guarded,
She, the Moon, Selene,
Saw him, loved him, sought him,
Coming down from heaven
To the glade on Latmus,
Kissed him, lay beside him.
Blessed is his fortune.
Evermore he slumbers,
Tossing not nor turning,
Endymion the shepherd.

Basically, we have the crazy-town, love-obsessed moon-goddess Luna, smitten with the shepard Endymion, who she turns into Rip Van Winkle, so she can gaze upon him nightly, eternally.  And this, in a roundabout way, might give insight why the condition of lunacy is so named, if Luna was the goddess, and the moon’s phases are intrinsically connected to menses, and the goddess was cray…  If, then.  If you follow my line of reasoning.  Which may be faulty and disjointed after a sleepless, moonstruck night.

3. Lastly, a friend posted this amazing story about Oscar Pistorius, a double-amputee who will compete on South Africa‘s Olympic track team.  This snippet is thought-provoking:

Pistorius, 25, was born without fibulas and had his lower legs amputated when he was 11 months old. He runs on carbon-fiber blades known as Cheetahs, which have stirred international debate over whether they give him an unfair advantage.

It’s a little mind candy to play with.  A double-amputee.  With carbon-fiber prosthetics.  Yes, the material is probably superior to the good ol’ human leg, but is it an advantage?  Discuss.

Oscar Pistorius

…and returned, a marathon finisher.

After 18 weeks of training, it’s all over, and I crossed the finish line!  Not that I really doubted I would, I was more uncertain in what condition I’d cross it.  I want to do a whole recap, because I feel like this training, this process of the 18-week marathon training, has had a profound effect, but it’s more than I want to go into tonight.  I have yet to experience the 2nd day post-marathon, and as most would agree, that’s the day the toll of exertion is exacted, so sleep must be imminent.

wagon wheel, 1st ed.

Happy Friday, friends!  Here are some nuggets (or nougat, if your taste buds swing that way), that I’ve happened upon during this week’s frolicks amidst the interwebs. 

The 5 Creepiest Urban Legends (That Happen to be True)

Cracked is one of those horribly wonderful sites that ropes you in with some random Facebook post (in this case 6 Great Old-Timey Comics for [Traumatizing] Kids) and then keep you sucked in by peppering each and every page with lists of stupidly innocuous things that for some reason you MUST find out about right this very second.  I found 5 Creepiest when I navigated over to their Horror section, seems like it might actually be worth a read.

Radiolab : Crossroads short

I love me some radiolab.  Topics are usually pretty obscure but well researched, and the production is kind of campy and odd, so it makes for a fun and experiential listening experience.  Perusing podcasts this week to facilitate my morning toilette (which, in French, means getting ready, and not anything gross or poop-related), I came across this short which piqued my interest ginormously.  The subject is Robert Johnson, a 1920s Blues musician who, initially, was really, really bad.  Until, that is, he sold his soul to the devil.  He is still considered today to be one of the best Blues guitarists who’s ever lived.

Outside Mag + Gluten-free feature

And, heading back into the known world… I’m pretty sure pre- and post-race festivities (read pasta feed and beer gardens) are not nearly as fun for gluten-free runners they appear to be for the non-allergic counterparts.  It’s been an interesting challenge to find advice suitable to my needs, to the extent that I basically stopped trying, and just rely on my Clif and Luna bars to get me through.  This article (Are You Too Sensitive? The gluten-free movement isn’t just a fad. It could be the performance boost you’ve been missing.) popped up in an email and, while it’s a bummer that more and more peeps are becoming sensitive/allergic to gluten, it does make me happy that there’s more exposure and thereby more info available.

Pre-run eating, quelle PITA.

In case you’re wondering, I’m basing the quelle above on my belief that pain, in French, is douleur (and I’m totally not even bothering to look this up right hyeh), which would make PITA (aka pain-in-the-arse) feminine, necessitating an appropriate, um… ah, I don’t have any idea what form of speech or whatevs that would be.  Rejoinder?  Nope.  It’s quantifying something.  Again, not looking it up, yo.

Back to the original point: trying to figure out when and what to eat before runs makes me want to stab myself in the groin with an icepick.  It really doesn’t, but it’s fun to think about, isn’t it?  Yes, yes it is.  Anyhoo, this is a good post to check out if you want some suggestions about how long in advance to eat stuff if you’re doing a long run, or a shorter run, or what-have-you. Basically, I think it all comes back to this: eat a Clif bar.

1 space after a period. It’s a real thing (and yet it feels so wrong).

This is a real thing.  It’s not just laziness.  And yet… I simply DO NOT WANT to do it.  It’s in my make up to double-space after the full stop!  Yes!  I did learn to type on a typewriter!  It was in a dingy old classroom at Harding High — on green typewriters, I’m almost certain of it!  Alas, I must move with the times.

And finally, in honor of 2 beautiful babies born to friends this week, a bit of Monty Python irreverence:

le dread anniversaire.

I started thinking about this day at the beginning of April.  Taking a cue from good friends, I even thought about planning something fun, something nostalgic like renting out the planetarium my class visited in 5th grade, when Tony something-or-other and I fell in [brief] love sharing a seat together on the bus.  But I got busy, and I didn’t share the idea with anyone, and so time passed and I kept thinking how I needed to plan something for my birthday, and how it was sneaking up on me, but that it was on a Monday, and what could there be to do on a Monday? but that I should really plan because the day was going to be here sooner than later and if I didn’t have plans I was going to start feeling really sad and maybe a little blue about my birthday and…

Guess fucking what?  I didn’t make any plans, and I feel a little fucking blue.  Amazing, isn’t it?

I say this very tongue-in-cheek, but while we’re at it, I may as well throw out all the eff-bombs and get the pity party out of the way.  This day, more than any other, I hate being fucking single.  Whoo.  Deep breathing is happening now.  I am breathing in pure positive posi-fucking-tivity, and I am breathing out all the dark, ugly juju that has been festering since 4:42pm today, this very afternoon.

There!  Feeling so much better.  Just to reinforce, let’s revisit my favorite John Lennon snippet.

 

kombucha experi-fermentation, every now-and-then

Happy Friday!  I’ve been been mildly absorbed in my new fermentation adventures (NEW and IMPROVED!  Now with KEFIR grains!), and the butch hasn’t been doing a whole lot this week.  In part, I realized round about Wednesday, because there wasn’t any food in the larder, the cupboards were bare.  I courageously took a sip yesterday morning and confirmed that it was leaning more toward vinegar than is desirable.  I brewed up a fresh batch of sweet tea and added it into the mix.

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Sorry for the mash-up, still working on a system to get things from the phone to the computer, whilst maintaining date/time info.  And… yes, I was too lazy to walk upstairs to get the USB cord this morning.

kombucha experi-fermentation, day 5

I just scrolled through the images since last week, and my goodness, does a good experiment make me so happy!

A few changes made today.  While I was at work I came to the realization that the batch needs to be in a warm, but also dark place, which is counterintuitive a moi.  This morning, I briefly toyed with the idea of leaving a light on when I went to work, to give off more heat.  I couldn’t for the life of me figure out where would be a good spot, until I realized that the batch can still be in a place that’s lighted, but simply covered up like you would do with a birdcage.  Duh.  So I changed the location yet again, but I think this is going to be a good spot for the batch to grow and prosper.  It seems to have flourished even in the scant hours since I moved the jar.

AM check: cloudy with separate, but peaceable, colonies.  PM check, united and formidable!

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13.

Alicia on the brain this morning!

Alicia Keys / Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready)

FOOD! Claudia Roden’s Orange and Almond Cake

Picture

Several years ago, I worked at a funny little place in Minneapolis, right on the shores of Lake Calhoun.  A “museum of electricity in life,” The Bakken was filled with unique characters of all manner of philosophy and background.  In fact, looking back on it now with the perspective of a novelist, this place was rife with quirky personalities ready-made for fictionalization.Anyhoo, one of my favorite people there was the archivist/ research librarian.  She was a total foodie, but had recently diagnosed with diabetes, and so was largely deprived of her favorite pastime, cooking.  She had a large collection of old cookbooks, and when she found out I was gluten-free, she dug up a ton of recipes for my perusal.  One of these was a recipe for a type of cake originally made by Sephardic Jews.  I suppose this was a first realization that there were wheat-averse traditions out there, and that there were ways of eating GF that aren’t simply about substituting regular flour for GF, but looking at it in a completely different way.

Today is the first time I’m trying this particular recipe, though I’ve made a similar cake multiple times.  The two things about this recipe which are a bit putzy are: 1. the springform cake pan (easy to find, but perhaps not something found in the average kitchen), and 2. pulverizing the almonds (I like to mix the almonds with the sugar in the food processor, that way the almond doesn’t get too sticky in the container).


  • Claudia Roden’s Orange and Almond Cake
  • TOTAL TIME: 3 hours (2 hours unattended)
  • COOK TIME: 1 hour
  • PREP TIME: 2 hour


Ingredients:

2 large oranges
6 eggs
1/2 pound ground almonds
1/2 pound sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preparation:
1.  Wash the oranges and simmer them, unpeeled, in water to cover for 2 hours. Cool, cut them open and remove the seeds. Puree the oranges in a food processor.
2.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3.  Beat the eggs in a food processor or large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, including the orange puree, and mix thoroughly. Pour into a buttered and floured cake tin, with a removable base if possible.
4.  Bake for one hour, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the tin before turning out.

YIELD:10 servings

NOTE: This is a very moist cake and goes especially well with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, plums, apricots and nectarines.