I’ve been on a pickling kick this summer and in fact, I’ve pickled more food this year than ever. It started with these preserved lemons and moved on to sweet pickles, sour pickles, blackberries and I even have a jar of brandied cherries tucked away; jams and jellies are also stacked in the pantry and I may even try my hand at a bit of sauerkraut this fall.
I’d say I’ve been pretty lucky in the food-allergy department; in fact, I’d say that I’ve enjoyed being able to experience whatever foods were on the table for most of my life. I’m not sure if it’s because more people have food allergies or if I’m simply more aware – but the statistics of folks with some sort of food restriction is staggering: 15 million people suffer with various food allergies, an estimated 30 percent of our overall population are gluten-intolerant and I am in the 1 in 100 category who navigates the world of celiac disease.
The Professor and I are in the midst of a minor bathroom renovation at the moment; thank goodness it’s a teeny half-bath in the Master bedroom because the plumbing and wiring in a house that is nearly 100 years old is enough to give both of us heart palpitations and make our eyes cross – no junction box for a light fixture, no baseboard trim, no framing for plumbing that comes straight up through the floor from the basement – all in an area that measures approximately 5 feet by 6 feet – barely enough room to change your mind. I’m just thanking the gods above that we’re not dealing with a bathtub – silver linings, you know?
Januarys can be rather dull; while September ushers in bushels of apples, cider and doughnuts, October pays homage to the pumpkin. November we plan menus around family and turkeys (albeit there are times when one cannot make a distinction between the two) and December conversations center around words like: ho-ho-ho, hanukkah, cookie, celebration, party, gifts and cocktails among others. And after the letdown of ‘Happy New Year’ on January 1st . . . well . . . January can be rather dull.
While I love a great pastry for breakfast and occasionally dessert, when it comes to snacks, I tend to land on the side of salty. And while there are a plethora of cookbooks on the market for all things sugary and sweet, the field is much smaller when it comes to savory. Salty Snacks by Cynthia Nims, is a book that feeds America’s love affair with salt.
We spent most of 2012 either traveling, shooting video and photography, or hanging out in the kitchen. Here is a quick list of just a few of our favorite discoveries along the way:
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Musical pairing – Mama Told Me by Three Dog Night
Whenever we travel, I love perusing the grocery store isles to check out the local brews. We really don’t drink much, but we can’t help but savor the heart and soul so many artisans are putting into the brewing craft. Even with Debra needing to go gluten-free, we have been pleasantly surprised at the variety of gluten-free beers and ciders. Cider is naturally gluten-free and ranges from very sweet to very dry with a wide range of taste characteristics.
Debra and I are excited to be participating in the Verizon Wireless Savvy Gourmet program and over the summer, we’ve been able to “test-drive” the Motorola™ XYBOARD 10.1 tablet. From email, web browsing and social media to a slew of other apps from the Google Play Store, this tablet has something for just about everyone. But today, let’s talk video!
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Musical pairing – The Name Game by Shirley Ellis
We met in a somewhat unorthodox way. Cheryl was a panelist at a conference and I happen to sit in on her session about writing; funny, smart and articulate, I was an instant fan. Later in the day, we found ourselves sitting together at a table listening to a different group of panelists . . . actually, we were trying to listen to what was being said . . . but apparently, the two attendees also sitting at our table felt the conversation they were having was more important.
I stand in front of the meat counter looking down at all the shrink-wrapped, Styrofoam platters of meat . . . other shoppers, their carts laden with frozen dinners, ketchup, peanut butter and laundry soap, move in and around me. I am glued to the stained and dirty white tile, shifting from one foot . . . and then to the other whenever someone reaches around me for a package . . . tossing it into a cart with the speed of a Christie’s auctioneer selling a rare painting . . .
Musical pairing – Recipe for Love by Harry Connick, Jr.
Is it a muffin or is it a cupcake? I don’t really know the answer other than to say that I’ve heard, ‘if the batter is baked in a liner, it’s a cupcake, if it’s baked directly in the tin without a liner, call it a muffin’ . . . I have no idea if it’s true and not that it really matters because as The Professor says, ‘I never met a sweet I didn’t like!’ . . . which explains the missing extra muffin from the tin . . .