Hello from here, where we are making pickles and eating homemade fudgesicles and hosting meetings with our dolls at tiny tables. (The smalls, that is. Topics covered so far: Getting Rid of Pollution and How to Draw a Perfect Pig with Flowers on a Farm). 

So far we can report: lacto-fermented garlic dill pickles are not as easy as we want them to be. We made a big crock, it started out well, bubbling and fermenting away. We moved it to a cool place downstairs, but then it grew a white film of mold. Also, despite the fact that we added oak leaves to add tannins and hopefully keep said pickles crisp, they're not. We read about all this and have two takeaways: we think we should have used smaller, whole pickles instead of spears, and we think next time we'll do them in smaller batches in glass jars, because according to someone's Jewish grandma if you ferment them in the light near a window the UV rays (check to see if modern windows are blocking UV rays?) will kill said mold. In the meantime we're eating refrigerator pickles, because they're foolproof and fast, but DANG! our winter lacto-pickle consumption is off the charts high and getting expensive, so we're hoping to do better soon. 

The refrigerator pickles we are making come from my neighbor Sarah, who in turn found them on Smitten Kitchen. They are called Easiest Fridge Dill Pickles, and this is 100% true. There is not much to them: you slice up a few cucumbers, throw them in a jar, and shake them up with some white vinegar, salt, dill, and garlic. You wait a few hours. You devour them with egg salad and hummus and bread on the beach, and you pat yourself on the back for planning such a delightful lunch. You drink a beer and go swimming. That's as hard as it is. 

While we're on the topic of easy summer recipes that use up things there are too many of in the garden, you should also make this.  It's a Zucchini Parmesan from Martha Rose Schulman over at the Fake News NYT, and it uses only five real ingredients and tastes delicious. Basically you roast zucchini with olive oil and salt until it's a bit tender but also crispy, and then you layer it in a casserole dish with tomato sauce and Parmesan, bake it again, and eat it up. I thought my mom was leaving some sneaky hard parts out when she told me those directions, but actually it's as easy as that. My kids tried to hate it but ended up loving it, so thank you mom and Martha Rose Schulman. 

Before I leave you: filed under Somehow Both Surprising and Not, conservationists in the Antarctic discovered a fruitcake that is from the Scott expedition, and they think it's basically totally edible. Yup.

See you soon.


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hari said...

Elspeth's foray into pickle-making illustrates the nuanced art of fermentation, with challenges countered by refrigerator pickles' simplicity. Her endorsement of Martha Rose Schulman's Zucchini Parmesan underscores the allure of uncomplicated dishes that elevate garden surplus into satisfying meals, resonating with both ease and flavor.

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