Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pickling and Home Decor

Please go say hi to my twin, Carrie, if you get a minute. She's the mother of my cute nephew, Caleb, and she's in the process of growing another offspring.

I was going to post about my vintage books for "Vintage Thingies Thursday", too, but I realized that I don't have the publishing dates for the books here at work so that post will have to wait until tonight or tomorrow.

I do, however, have some pictures to share. The first is of the curtains in our living room. I was going to attempt to give you the full shot of our living room so you could see the entire picture, but I'm an absent-minded person and forgot about taking more pictures. When I was talking to my sister-in-law about the curtains, she asked where I got them. That's when I realized that they came from 3 different places. The shears are from Target (the ones I loved from the Sunday circular), the tab panels are from Lowe's, and the double curtain rod and hardware are from Fred Meyer.
We initially bought a double curtain rod from Target but when we got home we realized that the decorative end would be too big for the space. Meaning that the curtain would not cover the entire window because the decorative end would stop it from reaching all the way to the edge. We took that back, along with a chocolate brown colored tab panel that we bought at Lowe's so I could see what it would look like. Horrible, that's what. The curtains look better during the day when the light is shining through, but when I tried to take a picture it was too dark for you to really see anything.

D hung up the curtains, as he does everything else. He won't let me touch a nail and hammer. For this reason, every picture in our home is straight.

Last Saturday, as I mentioned, I drove to my in-laws' house to do some pickling with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. I'll share with you how this all got started. Last June, my mother-in-law gave D & me a jar of her homemade pickles from August 2007. We literally consumed the entire jar in one sitting. That's the story of how we came to pickle last Saturday.

My MIL bought 37 pounds of cucumbers for SIL and I to pickle with. Initially, I think we just planned to stuff the baby cucumbers in the jars and have whole pickles. As it turned out, the baby cucumbers weren't so "baby" after all. So, SIL and I decided to cut them into chips and spears. The smaller whole pickles we stuffed into the jars, but for the most part we sliced them up. I imagined myself a few months from now with a jar of the pickle chips in my lap just eating away. I sliced them nice and thick for maximum flavor and crunch.

So, we pickled. I was over there by 10am and didn't leave until after 4pm. It was nice to have some girl time - all the guys were doing their own things. D was painting our deck at home, my father-in-law was at a woodworking show, and my SIL's husband was with my FIL.

I'll share the recipe with you because they really are the best pickles I've ever had. They're very zesty (2 dried red peppers) and flavorful.

I ended up taking home 19 jars which we are storing in our garage until they have "marinated" long enough to eat. My MIL told us "the longer the better", and that they'll probably need at least 3 months before they have "marinated" long enough to be tasty and crunchy.

Zesty Dill Pickles
4" pickling cucumbers

1/8 t powdered alum
1 garlic clove
2 heads fresh dill
1 (to 2, depending on how "zesty" you like them) dried hot red pepper

1 c coarse-med salt (i.e coarse Kosher salt)
3 qt water
1 qt cider vinegar

Wash cucumbers. Let stand in cold water overnight. Pack in hot sterilized jars.

To each quart add above spices.
Combine last 3 ingredients. Heat to boiling.
Fill jars with the brine and use a butter knife to push out the air inside the jar...move it around the inside of the jar between the cucumbers and the glass. Seal the jars with lid and ring. Immerse the sealed jars in water and when the water comes to a boil, count 15 minutes. Remove jars and let cool completely. Best to let them sit uninterrupted for 12-24 hours.

That's about it for today. I want to leave you with a few pictures of the trip we took to New England last year. I'd love to go back there again and spend more time in Boston and just leisurely driving around the countryside.

The first photo is of Louisa May Alcott's home in Concord, MA. The second photo is of the lake where the film On Golden Pond was shot. The third and final photo I took at one of our hotels - Grand Mountain was beautiful.

P.S. When I make my first batch of Maple Oat Nut Scones for the season, I promise to post the recipe. Maybe.

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7 comments commented:

Mainly a midwife said...

Beautiful photos. I miss New England. I miss the colors.
Love the pic of the two chairs.
Can't wait for that scone recipe!!

Weeksie50 said...

Those photos are fabulous.
I have never canned anything..
It looks like you guys had fun..

Anonymous said...

I have been wanting to can but have never done so. Your post has given me inspiration - thats a lot of pickles!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Your vacation pictures are gorgeous! Fall takes so long to arrive here in South Carolina. And I'm so ready!

Here I am, knee deep in muscadine grapes, and now I want to can pickles after seeing you do it! It looks fun. And I love a crunchy pickle.
Maybe next year!

foreverfoldinglaundry said...

Those pictures are gorgeous! I've always wanted to visit New England in the fall. It's on my bucket list. =)

Micah said...

OH, your pictures are go gorgeous. I just want to be there more than anywhere else in the world!!! Wow! We were supposed to take a trip to see Luke Douthitt (do you remember him?) and his wife Shannon (Luke is Brad's cousin) up in Hershey, PA (Luke is doing his resedency there) next month, but we cancelled because of the kiddos. Now I'm regretting it...

LOVE the curtains!! Great job picking them out! (even without your Mom's help ;).

I really, really despise pickles, so I probably won't be trying this recipe ;)

Liz said...

1. I adore those New England pictures. I could really use the inspiration since we're sweating here in the south.

2. I'm super impressed with the pickle canning. Wow.