September 27, 2009

Sassy Beans

I've got a weakness for pickled vegetables. So, when I received a big bag of green beans I knew I had to track down a recipe to pickle them.

I adapted a recipe I found from the wonderful blog :food in jars:. This site is inspiration. The recipe in question, was itself adapted from another source. So Easy to Preserve.

I cleaned, prepped, measured and cut the beans and then packed them in the jars. Now, the packing part was a little crazy making cause my green beans weren't particularly straight.

Due to my orderly nature (issues, I know) I had to have them perty. But then due to my frugal nature (issues, I know) I couldn't waste the extra bits. So, in the end, I had a variety of prepped jars.

Here is the recipe.

Pickled Green Beans (aka Dilly Beans)

2 pounds green beans, trimmed to fit your jars
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 teaspoons dill seed (not dill weed)
4 cloves garlic
2 1/2 cups white vinegar (5%)
2 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup pickling salt (use a bit more if you’ve only got kosher)

Prep your canning pot by inserting a rack to keep your jars off the bottom of the pot, place pint jars in (wide-mouth pints work best here. A 12 ounce jelly jar is also nice, as it’s a bit taller than a standard pint and makes for less trimming) and fill it with water. Bring to a boil to sterilize while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
Wash and trim your beans so that they fit in your jar. If you have particularly long beans, your best bet is to cut them in half, although by doing so, you do lose the visual appeal of having all the beans standing at attending.
Combine vinegar, water and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. While it’s heating up, pack your beans into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace (distance between the tops of the beans and the rim of the jar). To each jar, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 clove of garlic and 1 teaspoon dill seeds.
Pour the boiling brine over the beans, making sure to leave that 1/2 inch headspace. Use a plastic knife to remove air bubbles from jar by running it around the interior of the jar. Wipe the rims and apply the lids (which have been sitting in a small saucepan of water at a mere simmer for at least ten minutes in order to soften the sealing compound) and rings.
Process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath (remember that you don’t start timing until the pot has come to a roiling boil).
These beans want to hang out for a least two weeks before eating, to thoroughly develop their flavor.

The beans were finished on the 13th and we're now 2 weeks out. Drum roll, please......

They're delicious. They still retain a snap and the cayenne has added a delightful sass.

I now dub them Sassy Beans.

September 23, 2009

Creepy Crawlies


They're everywhere this season. What is the deal. These cute little guys have grown up and they're getting scary.

Here in the Willamette Valley there seems to be an excess of the eight legged beasts.

Now, I'm not normally one to complain about these fly catchers but I've walked into one too many spider webs while walking to the front door.

Okay, I'll admit the artistry of the web is amazing. I'm not so amazed at the circular pattern. I'm more amazed at how that spider gets from one side to another in order to anchor the web.

Spiders have skills.

September 20, 2009

San Juan Style

Our summer holiday on Lopez Island mid August was all I hoped. Family, relaxation and adventure. Okay, the adventure part was a little tame I admit.

Top 10 memories from Lopez Island:

1. The Island Wave
2. Sunfish (as opposed to Starfish)
3. Crabbing attempts
4. Walks in the woods
5. Sitting back in the lounge chair
6. Meditteranean Fish Stew
7. Self serve ice cream in the Lopez Village Store
8. Kayaking
9. Boys playing in the sand
10. Bike rides

Oh wait, one of my most favorite things were the sunsets. As you can see.....

Here are a few:

I'm planning on going back next summer.

September 13, 2009

My Remington Rand

My new toy. Love it.
So do the kids.

Well, I haven't visited foodandbooksandstuff for a while. I missed it. Daily life sometimes takes over.
Yesterday, I popped over to the neighbor's garage sale. I'd never met this neighbor, two doors down, as they don't spend a lot of time out of doors.
Interestingly, my neighbor was someone who had volunteered for an area I coordinated at the Salem Art Fair this last July. Interestingly, one of my last blog posts was during the Salem Art Fair. Interesting or cosmic weirdness?
The neighbor and I chatted and laughed about the coincidence. Then I spotted it.

I'd been looking for an old typewriter at the urging of my youngest but was always put off by the expense of the wonderful machines. But, there, on the other side of the driveway, hidden behind some recording devices of old, was the tell tale carrying case of a vintage portable typewriter.
The neighbor's husband explained it had been his brother's while in college and was passed along to him. It's been sitting, waiting, for me.
I don't know how old it is. My brief foray into research on the brand - Remington Rand - suggests that it is unlikely to have been made post 1955.
I'm in love.
My other spoils from the garage sale include: Records; Orson Welles' "The War of the Worlds," a Tom Jones album for my pal Trice, two "Remember the Golden Days of Radio," which include vintage radio broadcasts, from comedy to news, and finally Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly." I also bought a grab bag of vintage office supplies which included an old stapler, a single hole punch and a Cross pen.
All in all a lovely haul.

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