27 June 2011

Making Pickled Okra

I love pickled okra—is that a Southern thing? I don't know, I don't care...I love it! So when I came across some lovely okra at the farmer's market the other day, I decided it was time to try my hand at making my own. I have made pickles before based on this recipe, and they turned out pretty good. But this time I did it a little differently. I will admit that I cheated a bit and bought a little packet of Dill Pickle Canning Mix that I found at the grocery store as the base for the flavor. It is essentially all of the seasonings you could put together yourself (salt, dill seed, etc) but I have a history of not using enough seasoning in things, so thought this would be a good place to start. If you go this route, it will make two regular sized jars worth of pickled goodness.

You will need:

2 Ball jars with lids
Okra; about 20-24 pieces
(If you want to make pickles, you will need about 14 small pickling cucumbers. Cut off the ends and spear)
Ball Kosher Dill Pickle Mix
Mustard Seeds
Whole garlic cloves
Fresh sprigs of dill

In a saucepan on the stove combine 2 cups of water, one cup vinegar, and the contents of the Dill Pickle mix packet. Heat until boiling. Rinse the okra. Once the liquid comes to a boil pour the liquid over the okra and let it soak until it reaches room temperature. Takes about 30 minutes. Pour a layer of mustard seeds into the bottom of the jars (About 1 tablespoon, depending on your taste). Place the okra into the jars alternating the direction of each piece. Leave enough room to cram a few whole cloves of garlic and a few sprigs of dill in between the pieces. Pour the room temperature liquid over all the contents in the jar leaving a little room at the top. Seal them up and put them in the fridge! Done! You can dig into the jar the next day, but they will definitely be better if you can hold off for a few weeks.

Some of you may be more traditional with your canning and pickling, so no judgement! Actually, if you are, any advice is welcome. I choose to go with the quick method because I won't be keeping these long enough to need to store them. I also like this approach because it is not as intimidating. Perfect activity for a quiet Summer evening!

Clean jars and wash okra

Soak okra in the liquid for 30 minutes
Stuff jars and pour liquid over all the contents
Store in the refrigerator for 3 months,
but mine don't make it that long!

14 June 2011

there is a light and it never goes out...

There is so much today that I want to say about Eric. I have been "writing" this blog in my head for months and cannot seem to piece all of it together, so have decided to keep it simple. The day I met Eric he told his co-workers he had just met the girl he was going to marry. He told me this a few weeks later on our first date. He was so sure of this and there was no waivering. I loved that he was never afraid to feel exactly what he felt and to express it with no holding back. There was some part of him that was so in tune with a bigger picture that he never really questioned it. I can definitely say I have never met anyone like him or have been seen so clearly by someone. Loved so clearly by someone. He brought this intensity to everything, and at the risk of sounding crazy, I can still feel it. Some souls vibrate and he is one of those.

As much as I have battled with wishing that things are not as they should have been, I surrender to knowing that they are. I can only surrender to that because of faith and because there have been little signs along the way that feel like E reminding me of this. I can now understand that at the core of everyone there are key characteristics that now matter what we experience in life, or battle with, or even when death finds us, will we lose. This is what I believe was/is at his core: kindness, openness, love with no boundaries, joy, playfulness, and creativity. That is what I believe he still is. There is this whole other thing happening around us that we are missing every day. To understand this or to even just consider this, will allow you to live a different life. I have never experienced anything like this past year. But, I can actually say that about every year I had with Eric. I learned more about life and love and myself than I had in the 25 years before knowing him. I am and will forever be grateful. "There is a light and it never goes out..."

Eric was a beautiful writer and there are loads of poems, essays, and lyrics that I am constantly coming across. I have stumbled upon the following bit of writing in various places over the past year, and after much research into where it came from I have settled on the belief that it is his. It goes like this:

"It says here that you completely changed, that you floated up into the sky without all that dead dead weight and took your place among the stars. I catch pieces of your shine from time to time. I catch pieces of you from time to time."

This says it all. I miss you E, I love you. It has hard to believe you have been gone a year. There is a void that many of us feel because you held a part of our hearts. What a life, what a soul.

10 June 2011

on the road, but not to bonnaroo

Bonnaroo is this weekend, and as always Nashville is a buzzing! I do love that this festival is right down the road. There is a great roster of artists this year and as much as I hate to admit it, I am glad I will not be there! Actually I say that because instead of braving the hot sun, camping, and having a constant film of sweat on me for three days, I will be at the beach!! While I expect it to be hot there too, there will be a giant ocean and a pool to jump in and cool off. I guess I will have to rely on my ipod for those moments I want to pretend I am there hearing all of the wonderful music. So for today, here is a list of the artists I would be trying to catch if I were there. For all you festival go-er’s, have a safe and happy Bonnaroo!

Beirut "Scenic World"

Low Anthem "Ghost Woman Blues"

I have been loving some Hayes Carll lately...and will post more of his stuff on another day, but here is a funny little song for today.
Hayes Carll "Another Like You"

My Morning Jacket "Circuital"

Dan Auerback "Trouble Weighs a Ton"

02 June 2011

eric spang photos

I love these two photos by Eric Spang. Especially the blonde boys rolling down the hill.
Makes me think of Summer. And being free. And happy.

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