Friday, August 23, 2013

What to do when you are assaulted by cucumbers: Refrigerator Pickles

I've already mentioned that I have been a horrible urban farmer this summer. Really, this is the worst I have ever treated the garden - I vow next year to not be such an asshole and take some time with the garden. There is a bigger conversation lurking here about mindfullness and slowing down and enjoying life and not always being on the go - that is something I will have to tackle in the winter, when I'm dreaming of having my garden and smacking my forehead over and over again about the fact that I had a backyard full of herbs that I completely ignored for three months.

I know this scenario will play itself out more than once, most likely all winter.

I did however have one great afternoon where I was home to enjoy the cucumber porn that was playing out in the back yard. I decided to play with the cucumber and see what different combinations I could make for cucumber pickles. I took a basic brine recipe which was about 4 cups of white vinegar and 3/4 of sugar. I combined the two and boiled over medium heat just until the sigar dissolved - with the brine ready I began to think about different combinations to put in the jars, trying to utilize my fresh herbs.

Jar 1: Lemon Thyme, Sage, Peppercorn, Mustard Seeds
Jar 2: Rosemary Tarragon, Lemon, Peppercorn Mustard Seeds
Jar 3" Dill, Peppercorn, Pickling Spices
Jar 4: Cinnamon Stick, Star Anise, Allspice Berries and Clove

I filled the jars with quartered cucumbers and then the fillings, poured the hot brine over the cucumber to the top of the jar, sealed then and stuck em in the fridge and basically forgot about them unti a couple weeks ago when I tried Jar #3 and you know what. THEY WERE AWESOME.

I haven't tried the other jars, but I do plan on trying them soon - so stay tuned.

If you have a favorite refrigerator pickle recipe, please share it - cucumber, asparagus, beans, what ya got?


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Farm to Table - Rat-at-too-eeeee

I'm lucky this year. I've been treating this garden worse than if it was a red headed stepchild. Said stepchild must be stubborn as all get out becuase even with the miserable treatment it is turning out vegetables left and right. Tasty gorgeous vegetables. Maybe even too many vegetables considering I got this from Chris last night.

"Do you know I'm eating on average a cucumber a day?"

I hadn't noticed, probably due to the fact that he's been getting the same treatment as the garden as of late.

Last night was the first night in I have no fucking idea how long that I was actually home, not exhausted and had the urge to get in the garden and make something for dinner. Why haven't I been doing this all summer? The answer to that probably lies somewhere between too much work and way too much wine. Way too much wine. And then some more wine.

So last night I grabed 5 or 6 of the heirloom tomatoes, a couple of the eggplants, a few zucchini and an assortment of herbs and just had at it with them. I didn't follow a recipe, I just winged it, which I am enjoying more and more. Here's what happened.

Olive Oil
2 Onions - diced, sauteed until translucent
2 Eggplants - chopped - added to the onions when they were translucent
2 Zucchini - copped - added to the eggplant soon after
Vegetable broth - I added about a cup at this point cuz things were starting to stick to the bottom of the pan
5-6 Heirloom Tomatoes - chopped - added to the pot
Basil, Rosemary, Tarragon, Oregano, Thyme, Parsely - all chopped and added to the pot

I let it get all bubbly and aromatic then added a little grated Parm cheese and then served it over tiny little pasta balls.

It was good. Very good. I know this because at the first bite Chris pushed his bowl over to my side of the table and said. "This is good, try it."

And then, at the conclusion of his third bowl he said "Fuck, that shits good."

Rating = Damn Good

Thursday, July 25, 2013


So, you take this.

And then your garden does this.

And you get this.

I didn't have time for a recipe, so I just to the garden grabbed a bunch of things, pulled the fish from the fridge, and boiled some pasta. This is pretty much how it went.

1/4 red onion
crushed garlic
those got all ovey dovey in a little bit of olive oil and buttah.

then I tossed in
1 zucchini cut on a bias
2 heirloom tomatoes cut into big chunks
2 bass filets cut into big chunks
1 sprig of fresh tarragon chopped
a few splashes of rice vinegar
a few hearty splashes of white wine

When that got a smelly and beautiful and created it's own juice I topped it off with fresh chopped parsely and another sprig of fresh tarragon chopped, and some grated Parmesan cheese.

I mixed it with whole wheat pasta.

In the middle of eating Chris stated. "this sauce is awesome". And it was, so much so that I think he did in fact go back for thirds, the first two helpings were eaten in a civilized manner, out of a bowl, the third helping he just moseyed on over to the stove and ate straight out of the saute pan. Caveman.

Damn Good!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sooo... Whatcha Doin

I thought it only fair to write a little "what the fuck I've been up to" post. Since I went all AWOL on everyone for nearly a year and a half.

So here goes.

Went here twice. The only thing that sucks about Aruba in February is putting your pastey (sp?) white ass into a bikini, even worse when you're Irish because soon your pastey white ass will be pastey in some areas and red and burned to shit in others. I do suggest that you try the Aruba Ariba drink - but perhaps not four of them in an hour on your first day - that wasn't bright.  
Also went to Monterey by the Sea, Carmel and Paso Robles Wine Tasting. This is us getting our buzz on, I mean having lunch at Justin Winery which is awesome. A bit of advice though if you are going to make the trip from Carmel to Paso, you will experience about a 50 degree chance in temperature. It was about 50 when we left Carmel and about 100 when we got to Paso.

We also went to London. I've been dying to go to the Tower of London ever since I read The Other Boleyn Girl (and then every other Phillipa Gregory book ever written). This was our first major trip in which we drank more beer than wine. Here is us at the Tower with the Tower Bridge in the background.

Oh, and can't forget this lovely fellow. Everyone loves a little crack with their beer.

In sad news, we lost our first boy. He was such an amazing cat, pet, friend. The house is just not the same without him. We love you Vladimir.

In good news we rescued this amazing guy from Indiana. He has been such a great addition to our family, he's no Vladimir, but Royce has a personality all his own and we just asolutely friggin love him.

And in even bigger news. I became an aunt again, and helped bring this little one into the world. If by helping you mean, acted as a comedian the entire time my sister was in labor, and then nearly shit my pants while she had an emergency ceasarian, then yes, I was a tremendous help in this effort. Where is my aunt of the year award?

So much more has happened, but these were the hightlights. Recipes soon. I promise.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I can't quit you - the return of Urban Drivel

The other day my neighbor said to me, "I really miss reading your blog, you're really quite funny".
He said this to me as I was heading out for a run, and all through the next hour of running I couldn't help think about how much I missed blogging, or better put, this blog.

I tried to start a new one, but I guess my heart wasn't in it. My heart is in this one. So here we go again. I hope all the readers who once followed me will continue to do so. I hope I can keep up the recipes and the funny stories. I hope I continue to write, I hope you continue to read.

Here we go.