Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Here is some smily rust for you!
(Seen in Susquehanna Depot, NY State, on an old Erie railroad box car, which had seen better days. More photos from this place in my photostream.)
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Most times I don't care if people can tell the difference between a cow and a deer, a bee or a wasp, or a crow and a turkey vulture, but when authors and publications that are very particular on being accurate in one area don't even bother to check the ID on other things they write or talk about, it really bothers me. Such as food magazines that proudly distinguishes with fancy words between the top and bottom of a pig, different varieties of kale ('grönkål'), and have different words for types of Italian vinegars depending on the region they come from. If you are that picky, and pride yourself on it, as a publisher you should check everything and ask the experts when you enter new zoological and botanical territory.
Here are two recent examples:
On Bon Appetit's website there is a blogpost about what to do when you get a fly in your soup at a restaurant. Good post, interesting comments, however... the accompanying photo is of a soup bowl with a... guess.... a CIKADA (they are also called locust). A giant cikada, obviously dead and spread out with its wings in a very unnatural position to resemble a monster fly. I have to ask my family dipterist (that is fly guy) if there even are that big flies in the real world. But still, why not just say it is a cikada in the soup? The photo is from istockphoto and the photographer said it wasn't a fly, but that wasn't clarified by Bon Appetit, who bought the right to use the photo. It is like saying you are looking at a pork chop when in fact you are seeing a bison or reindeer steak.
Second example was a recent article in New York Times about the world-famous restaurant Noma and its chef René Redzepi, who cooks with local (= Aal of the Nordic countries in fact), sometimes wild, ingredients such as wild beach plants, reindeer, wild roses, and puffin eggs. With the article is a photographic slide show of some of the dishes and ingredients, gorgeous photos, but with some big errors in the descriptions. The small fuzzy flower buds of the 'oxel' tree (whitebeam in English) was renamed "axel" tree by NY Times. Rose hips ('nypon') turned into rose petals. And a photo of the local pine cone is described as a thuja cone (photo on right, different thuja species look a bit different, but never like a pine). These things matters, not only do they miseducate but in the case of the thuja, you do not want people to go out there and chewing on these toxic plants. Especially not if you are pregnant, since the toxin can cause miscarriages. I am sure the Danish chef knows what he is doing, but the journalists weren't getting it right, and yes, NY Times have been notified, but not fixed the errors yet.
It is impossible to know personally all the correct names of the 1.7+ million species in the world, but I think we should at least try to get it right as far as we can. Or maybe I am too picky.
(Thuja cone photo by Luis Fernández García, Creative Commons license, on Wikimedia)
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Things are happening along the New Jersey shore - birds are flying, eating, feeding, swimming, diving, attacking, sleeping, and breeding. Here is a photo by Bill Lynch of two Forster's terns at Brigantine, a great birdwatching place. Enjoy!
Friday, July 16, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I have to admit that I never thought there would be stamps about garbage disposal ('sopor'), but there is. And from Denmark of all places. Relevance to this blog? There is garbage pickup at our house tomorrow, and since LA is at Astronomy Science Camp this week it fell on me to get the garbage can to the road. I took the opportunity to wash about 8 waste baskets and garbage cans from the house with the garden hose, a step in the right direction of getting a cleaner house. I found these stamps while I was looking for stamps on the theme 'sweat', because we are having a horribly humid day here in New Jersey. Did you know that we sweat calcium and magnesium, and even small amounts of lead? Hot and humid weather... not fun. I can feel the metal being excreted through the pores...
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
So far this year I have made 18 pints of pickles, that is about 9 liters. And I also made half-sour pickles that are whole cucumbers fermented in salt-water for a week and then eaten directly, and they turned out to be really good! I don't think they will last long in the fridge. (Click on photos for larger images, all on my Flickr account.)
For the first time in my life have I canned the American way, which means that you have special glass jars and lids that are processed in either boiling water or steam to sterilize the content after the jars have been filled. The jars are called Mason or Ball jars, and are really easy to use. These jars were invented in the mid 1800's, and I think it is amazing I never saw them in Sweden. So smart design! After sterilization you can store the canned food at room temperature (but lower temp is better).
The lids have a rubber area on the inside of them (orange), so you heat the lids (simmering, no boiling), and then put them on the top of the jars with screwtop metal band to hold them not too tight in place. During the sterilization, extra air will come out through the lids and after the boiling, when the contents cool the jar will be sealed along the rubber edge and under negative pressure. You replace the lids each year, but can reuse the glass jars and the metal bands that hold the lids in place during sterilization. If you find a jar that doesn't have a properly sealed lid you shouldn't eat the content, they might have spoiled and be contaminated with bacteria. So you want to hear the 'pop' when you open a new jar.
Making the syrupy brine to pour over pickles - water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and some dill stems for flavor.
Cleaned jars are filled with homegrown cucumbers and waiting to be filled with hot brine.
Pickles can be either long spears or slices. PP prefers spears, I love slices, so I made both.
For the first time we got a real harvest of red currants this year, and they were delicious. I made red currant jelly (röda vinbärsgele) of most of it. My grandmothers used to serve red currant jelly with Sunday beef roasts.
Red currant jelly is made from red currant juice. You boil the fruit and then strain it to get the juice without the skin and seeds. Then you boil the juice and add sugar so it gets a jelly like texture when it is cold - this step took much longer than I expected. This picture shows the jelly at a full roaring boil.
At the same time, the jars were sterilized in boiling water. I used our pressure canner for this and for the boiling-water sterilization of the filled jars, but without the heavy steel lid.
Filled small jars (1/4 pint, ca 1 dl) with red currant jelly, ready to be sealed with lids and metal bands.
The closed red currant jelly jars are put into the water bath to be boiled for 10 min.
Red currant jelly - finished! Heaven in a jar.
- Hot dogs with sauerkraut, relish, and mustard (varm korv med surkål, bostongurka, och senap)
- French fries (pommes frites)
- Fried onion rings (friterade lökringar)
- Fried zucchini sticks (friterade squashbitar)
- Hamburgers (hamburgare)
- Ketchup (ketchup!)
Mmmm, very yummy, but the onion rings were a little too thick. The french fries were great, and had the skin on them, the best way to make them.