- Date: Saturday, August 14, 2010 -- 3pm
- Location: East Lansing, MI
- Kitchen: Our House
- Dining Companions: Matty, Teri, and Spencer
- Recipe Rating: A-
I found concord grapes at the grocery store a couple weeks ago, which motivated me to make the Concord Grape Jam from The Book. I figured that if I was going to drag out the boiling water canner and start sterilizing things anyway, I might as well make two canned recipes on the same day. Recipe number two was this one. I started by slicing some Kirby cucumbers and onions and tossing them with canning salt and crushed ice. I weighted the mixture down and let it sit for several hours. Meanwhile, I sterilized jars for the pickles. I combined cider vinegar, maple syrup, water, mustard seeds, pickling spices, turmeric, red pepper flakes, and more canning salt and boiled. I then drained the vegetables and packed them into the jars. I filled the jars with the hot brine, then sealed and processed them in the boiling water canner. I let the pickles stand for a week for the flavors to develop. These pickles were tasty! There are a lot of pickled things in The Book and I can definitely say that this recipe is my favorite of the ones I have made so far! The pickles came out very nice. They were sweet but not too sweet. Crunchy. Delicious. I'm not really a pickle person, but even I liked them! For a nice, standard, sliced sandwich pickle, this recipe is very good.
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The first week of the semester is over now and all in all I think it went pretty well. It is amazing how much more oriented and on top of things I feel now as compared to just one week ago! I certainly wouldn't say that I have yet settled into my routine for the semester, but I have a solid grasp on what needs to happen week to week and how to do it. My class is going well so far -- my students seem very nice, friendly, and on top of things. I have no complaints!
One of my projects for the long weekend is to decorate my office a bit. Everyone who stops by comments that it is a little sad looking. It's true, the current contents of my office are: a desk, a table, three chairs, a metal bookshelf, a metal filing cabinet, a chalkboard, my fancy new computer, and various papers. I did bring a few other key items: I have a tiny fridge which is currently stocked with yogurt, carrots, apples, and muesli. I also have a supply of sea salt, balsamic vinegar, and dark brown sugar. Just the necessities. (At the moment there is also a haiku about instantons on the chalkboard, courtesy of my special gentleman, but sadly that may have to be erased soon.) I am plenty equipped to work and eat lunch, but the space isn't the friendliest. Truth be told, I have never decorated any of my previous offices. Sure, I had a couple pictures on my desk at IU but that was the extent of it. I always knew I would soon be leaving so I never felt compelled to invest the time to, say, paint my office. It's strange to think that I could be in this office for the next five years, or longer. After so much moving around it is difficult for me to internalize that we will likely stay here for quite some time. It would definitely be worth it to put a little love into the decor of my office. I actually have two offices at the university, and both of them are currently in the same sad state (one of them slightly worse than the other -- it doesn't even have the fridge or the sea salt). I hope to make a little progress on at least one of my offices this weekend!