Monthly Archives: April 2016

What’s cooking

Nothing. Nothing is cooking in this post, because I have a new fermentation project instead! I got some kimchi starter from my mom over Easter weekend. Kimchi, in case you’re wondering, is a fermented cabbage product similar to sauerkraut but different. (It’s an east/west thing: I think kimchi is Korean and sauerkraut German – but my food geography is fuzzy at best)

I started with the simple kimchi recipe from The Kitchn. In fact I decided to follow it very closely since this is my first try. The big change was that after I’d packed everything in the jar I added some juice from my mom’s kimchi. This is a basic microbiology principle, instead of just letting it sit and hoping the right bacteria take hold adding raw kimchi juice inoculates the cabbage mix with some bacteria that I already know make good kimchi.

I made a couple of small substitutions as well. I swapped out the daikon radish for carrots and I left out the red pepper flakes. I also took their suggestion and used seaweed flakes instead of fish sauce to add umami flavor. The author recommends this as a vegetarian alternative. I was just a little weirded out by the idea of fermented fish products.

I let the jar ferment for five days, tasting it every day. The kimchi had that fermented bite by about day 3 and the extra two days it was more a fading of the fresh cabbage flavor that I noticed. I’m sure the flavors will continue to meld in the fridge.

kimchi

Now I just need to decide what I’m doing with all this kimchi besides eating it as a side dish with the occasional sandwich. Luckily it keeps long-term in the fridge.

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Maple Open House

Maple Open House weekend. A chance to drive all over Vermont, visit neighborhood sugar houses, and drink large quantities of maple syrup. Well, that was past years. Windsor doesn’t love her car seat, so more recently we’ve gone to just a couple of them. That was just as well since half the sugar makers weren’t even open. The maple season is wacky. (I mentioned that recently, didn’t I?)

sugar house

Saturday, at least, was seasonably cold, sunny, and generally perfect for maple weekend!

hello donkey

Also perfect for making friends with the donkey

horsey

And the pretty draft horses.

And I had a chance to take some scenic photos

lamp post

and some close ups

hitching post

Saturday was the right day to get outside, because Sunday was cold, rainy, and then snowy. We stayed inside, made soup, and had a lovely quiet weekend.

Still in progress

Hi, how you doing? How’s the weather where you are? Weather isn’t just a topic for small talk here, maple syrup season is big business and when we don’t have enough snow (we don’t) the trees don’t make as much sap. And when we don’t get the cold nights and warm days (we aren’t, it was 62F overnight) the sap doesn’t rise and fall the way it needs to for sugaring. In short the weather is seriously bipolar and while it doesn’t affect me personally, I can feel it in the community.

It’s also the opposite problem from the one we had back in 2013 when I was trying to arrange a photo shoot in the Sugarbush of Sterling for the Saccharum vest. These photos? With the model shivering and the snow in the background:

2016-04-01_09-25-31

They were taken the second week in April. The sap had barely begun to run, and when it finally warmed up it went too fast. I can tell you, the sugar makers of New England are not pleased with this climate change thing.

Ok, but all that was depressing enough, lets have a peak at my vest in progress to cheer us all up:

2016-04-01_09-25-31

You can barely tell, but I’m done with the tree branch chart. From here on the back is simple 2×2 ribbing which creates the canopy of the trees. I’m also ready to divide for the fronts, so I’m hoping from here it’ll be smooth sailing. Maybe I’ll have a finished vest by the end of the KAL (which is 4/8, not 4/1 – phew)

I also want to show off my button hole modification. Instead of toggles or multiple buttons I decided I wanted one big button for closure. So instead of using the leaf eyelets as they are I modified one leaf:

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Instead of a pair of YOs I worked a double yo paired with a k3tog on the row before. Then I just knit the two loops of the double YO to keep the stitch count the same. I still don’t know which of my singleton buttons I’ll be featuring. I’ll let future-Becky decide that.