Thursday, July 24, 2014

25 year marriage SAVED.

It's that time again!!  As we are loading cucumbers in our car to head to Food Gatherers, I thought I would repost one of my favorite stories from last year.

 I recently heard a statistic that stated couples that had been together for a long time had fewer arguments than newer couples.  For anyone who has had a long marriage, this is hardly a news flash.

After all, if something hasn't been settled by now, it's certainly not going to be settled by yelling at each other (again), so life goes on, and the differences of opinion get avoided, when possible.

So what does this have to do with the gi-mungous pile of cucumbers and pickles in the picture???

Flash backwards a couple of summers when we first put in our giant kitchen garden.  It was awesome!!  Then the prolific gardener I live with, did his thing.  And the produce started coming in bushel baskets.  I'm not kidding.

So here is where the arguments started.  It seemed every time I left the kitchen, he would sneak out to the garden, and bring in a huge basket of vegetables.  Whaa?

"What am I supposed to do with those???" I asked-- to no one, (because by now, he was as far away from me as he could get).  In defense of my favorite gardener, I guess he had done the hunting and gathering, and now it was my turn.  Except I only knew how to hunt and gather too.  Problem.

Every inch of the refrigerator was stuffed with produce, and I was about ready to start sneaking it on our neighbors' doorsteps in the dead of night-- like in some Garrison Keillor story.  And I especially learned to dread cucumbers!!  Now I like cucumber salad as much as anyone-- but really.  How many cukes can one woman eat?

But we've had our fair share of creative problem-solving through the years, so first, we learned the age-old skill of canning.  It is actually kind of fun, and since the extended family enjoys anything pickled, we're off to a good start.  We have successfully pickled carrots, peppers, yellow beans, green beans, onions, beets, and of course pickles.  It's not particularly hard if you follow the directions-- if you want to try it, the only book you need is The Complete Book of Home Preserving, brought to you by the Ball Corporation.  It answers every question, and has recipes for everything you would possible can.  See it here, buy it at Nicola's!

But alas, the "burpless" cukes that we like best, cannot be pickled.  (Sweet Success, by Burpee, if you're interested.)  So they kept showing up, 10 lbs at a time.

Just when we were on the verge of D-I-V-O-R-C-E, (don't worry kids, just kidding....) we came across THE ANSWER.  One of our very favorite charities, is Food Gatherers.  They have a stellar rating with the folks who rate charities, (top 1%)-- and they are happy to take extra produce, and put it to good use.   In 2013, we gave 52 lbs of dukes to the "plant a row for the hungry" program, and we both have a smile on our faces, after visiting.

So drop off your extra produce, volunteer, and keep an eye out for the date of Grillin' 2015-- the most fun fund raiser of the year!!
You can't miss their entry...

Friday, July 4, 2014

Zingerman's Deli

Olive oil and vinegars-- ask for a taste!
 It was time to make pizza, and we were out of pepperoni, so we decided to head to Zingerman's for the good stuff.  My strategy for eating fattening or basically unhealthy foods is to buy the highest quality, and (hopefully), eat less of it.  If you are used to the tiny slices of the pepperoni you get sealed in plastic from  the grocery store, you really must try the real thing from Zingerman's.  The slices are bigger, and are deliciously spiced, with fennel overtones.

Fantastic cheese case
You can ask for a taste of anything before you commit to it, so you are in a no-risk proposition.

Zingerman's staff seems delighted to share tastes of their wonderful offerings, and are very knowledgeable about everything they sell.

Zingerman's also has a well-deserved reputation for being expensive, so smaller quantities keep the price in the reasonable range, as well.  While we were there, we also bought some Ursinger's German hard salami (nicely smoked, and made in Wisconsin)-- which is one of my personal favorites.  One slice of good salami can completely wake up a turkey sandwich!!

There is a reason that the international food writers love Zingerman's.  If you don't know why, maybe it's time for you to visit!