Sunday, April 30, 2017

Making Stink

Last week I attended my second class presented by the UCCE Master Food Preservers. Remember the previous class was called "All About Citrus"? This class was "Fantastic Fermentations!". As soon as I walked into the classroom I was hit by a variety of pungent odors. I thought to myself, "Oh hell no, this ain't going to happen."

I've lived with Mr Sensitive Nose, aka The Man, long enough to know there would be no fermentations - fantastic or otherwise - experimented in our home. Let's just say I use teeny-tiny amounts of aromatics in my cooking (if at all) and the rest of the time the garlic and onions are stored, hermetically-sealed, in the refrigerator outside.

As the class progressed my initial thoughts were reinforced by comments bantered about in the classroom: "We had to put the sauerkraut outside under the deck while it cured", "gassed off", "place in a well-ventilated location", "bubbling is good", and my personal favorite, "use cheese cloth instead of a tight-fitting lid otherwise it could explode".

Coincidentally, I was recently introduced to my first Kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). My co-worker had killed her "Baby" and her friend had dropped off a new starter for her. I was clueless about the huge brown mushroom-looking thing and curiously poked and fondled it while she talked about Probiotics and making fizzy Kombucha tea. When she got to the part about keeping it fed I lost interest; I don't need any more pets to feed.

At the end of the two-hour class, before we headed back out into the fresh air, we were gifted a gallon-sized glass jar with a glass lid. Very cool. I've always wanted a miniature Hawaiian Cracked Seed jar to fill with leftover bits of sheepy-smelling yarn.

It was an interesting class. Even though I won't be making my own stinky foods I do enjoy the taste of Kim Chee and Sauerkraut. On the way home I stopped at the Asian market and bought one spice packet of Noh's Kim Chee mix, and the already fermented: Aloha Shoyu and Maru-Hi Brand Miso paste. No mess, no smell, easy-peasy.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Out and About: California Central Valley

Southeastern San Luis Obispo County
Carrizo Plain National Monument
April 2, 2017

Last week The Man and I took a leisurely Sunday drive on the Suzuki V-Strom motorcycle to see the spring wildflowers in bloom.


From Santa Margarita we headed east on Highway 58. It wasn't long before we began to see splashes of color in the nearby hills.

From Hwy 58 we turned right onto Soda Lake Road and entered the Carrizo Plain National Monument. The Monument was established on January 17, 2001 by President Bill Clinton.

Today the Monument boasted an abundance of color - the hills, the flat lands - everywhere you looked seemed to be carpeted with flowers.

The wildflowers were attracting swarms of people.

This was unlike the other times The Man had been to the area. In the past he's usually the only visitor.

Soda Lake, normally a dry lake bed, shimmered blue along the wetlands. (When the lake water evaporates, white deposits of sulfates and carbonates that look like baking soda, will be left behind.)

It was a spectacular day for a 2-Up motorcycle ride. It was well worth it to see the Super (albeit a bit crowded) Bloom.