Happy New(ish) Year!

24 Jan

So it’s 2012!  Yes, you can call me Sherlock and say “No shit.”  2012, wow.  Isn’t this kinda like when it turned 1999?  Everyone was all like, what references are now going to be available to me when I want people to know about the extent of my partying?  Well, people who like to make jokes based on shared cultural norms, what about end of the world jokes, or say, terrible end of the world movies starring a slumming it John Cusack?  We’ll see, I guess.  Scary religious types, can you help me here?  Is there a rapture coming up I’m not aware of?  Don’t let the Mayan calendar people steal your spotlight!

Anyway, I’m back for 2012 with an attempt to blog a bit more about subjects other than xmas music.  I guess I’m learning that I like, nay require, structure in order to make myself blog.  History shows that I like blog challenges and/or blogapaloozas.  Well, those challenges that don’t involve making meat into various gels and purchasing hog casings.  Yep, I tried Charcutepalooza last year, but I never made it past March.  But I learned how to make good old all ‘mmercun bacon as well as Canadian bacon and corned beef.  That’s kinda all I needed to know anyway.  Although I still like to learn to make my own hot dogs.  As my dad used to always say, we’ll see.

So my pal Grow and Resist recently alerted me of some new blog challenge for 2012, and I figured, what the heck.  I did (and loved!) the Can Jam back in 2010 and it kept me blogging all summer long, when all I really wanna do is drink beer in the yard and watch my tomatoes grow/not grow.    The first is called Cook It 2012, hosted by the blogger over at Grow It Cook It Can It.  Hey, I do each and every one of those things referenced in that blog title!  So I figured I’d join!  The goal of the challenge is to learn new kitchen skills and techniques throughout the year.  Sweet!  I signed up!  And you can too, blog or no blog, if you wanna, no big whoop.  The first challenge is pasta making.  I’m on it!  Check out the awesome pasta dish Grow it Cook It Can It made here.  It was near lunchtime when I read this post originally, and there may have been some drool.  Just sayin’.  So stay tuned for my attempts to follow along with that challenge.

The second challenge is hosted by the blogger at Tea and Cookies.  She’s also looking to get ambitious and learn some new skills in the kitchen.  I’m in!  First up is something that I wanted to do throughout 2011 but never got around to: making my own sourdough starter and bread.  Sourdough might be my favorite bread, but unfortunately I have never managed to bake a loaf of it myself.  Shame.  I have tried and given up on several starters in the past.  This time, I’m gonna do it.  Stay tuned for that as well.  I’m gonna get my foodie uncle’s favorite starter recipe!

You’ll also hear more about my gardening exploits this year.  The garden did pretty well in 2011–lotsa tomatoes and cukes and garlic, and really, what else do you need–and I’m hoping to up the ante this year.  Namely, I’m looking to finally have some success with potatoes, carrots and beets.  Little help?

So what else.  Well, when I was blogging about xmas songs last month, I promised y’all some year end roundups that I never got around to.  So, with no more further delay, here are some things I liked in 2011.

Gourmet camping!  I’ve heard some talk about glamping, but I just can’t call it that.  And that’s not what it is!  We still sleep in a tent (with pillows and an air mattress!), we just don’t eat shit like candy bars and hot dogs.   How about fancy camping?  Gourmet camping?  You know, camping where you bring more fresh herbs and housemade pickles than hiking gear and lanterns.  Where you plan where you’re going to get good fruit for preserving rather than where you can rock climb.  In 2011 we combined our camping with a shit ton of fruit picking that we then processed into deliciousness that we are enjoying right now: dried cherries, homemade maraschino cherries, dried and canned peaches, fruit infused vodkas, and so on.  Double S and I camped the shit out of 2011 and are gonna do the same this year.  I’ve talked about my cooking escapades while camping before, yes, but we enjoyed camping with a renewed vigor this year.   And no, I’m not gonna tell you our favorite spots or sites, cuz I’m selfish like that.

Fruit picking while camping! Here: (incredibly cute) cherry picking!

White tube socks!  Wow, do you guys realize how comfortable quality white tube socks are?  Are they still called tube socks?  They don’t have stripes on the calves are anything, but that’s what I called them growing up.  Anyway, nothing says I’m Staying In For the Day/Night, And I Like It! like tube socks.  Plus, nothing allows you to slide down your hallway as gracefully as tube socks either.   Screw you, ex girlfriend who convinced me to stop wearing white socks back in 1999.  They’re comfy as eff!  I can’t wear argyles or smart wools all the time.  Added bonus when you wear them with shorts and house shoes!

Baseball!  Now y’all don’t understand this if you’re not from the greater St. Louis area, but if you’re from the Lou you will be a Cardinals fan.  Baseball will just matter to you, because its everywhere.    Even if you actually happen to leave the greater St. Louis area (rare!).    It’s just an ingrained thing.  At my family’s Christmas celebration this year, we all tuned in to the REPLAY of game 6 of the World Series that was broadcast on Christmas day, because that’s just how psyched St. Louisans were for the Cards this year.  And we cheered!  And we talked about the chills that said game still caused to spread down our spines.  My aunt, who I had just asked to postpone her questions about how I was doing because they were about to show a key play, had to ask Double S incredulously if there really was a team in Seattle.  (Answer: Not really).  My aunt proceeded to ask Double S who she rooted for, as if she was meeting a gnome or troll from a faraway land with no Cardinals baseball as an instant point of reference.  Which was a bonus for Double S because, being Norwegian, she loves the shit out of the creepy trolls that are a part of her culture.  I’m more like Troy from Community when it comes to trolls.

Double S doesn't mind!

Anyway, a quick recap of just what the Cardinals did in 2011, for the uninitiated.  The Cardinals were 10½ games back in the wild-card race on Aug. 25. They were still 8½ games back with 21 games left. They were three games out with five to play. And four times they faced elimination in the postseason.  They played the best team in baseball and the World Series favorite Phillies in the division series, and won.  They played the Brewers, first place in the their shared division, and won.  By the way, I watched both series while sipping mai tais in Kauai.  Best sports watching ever!

They played the Texas Rangers in the World Series, also heavily favored and with Dubya and Laura cheering on the Rangers in the stands.

In your faces, Dubya and Nolan Ryan!

And won.  In game six of the World Series they were twice down to their last out, last strike.  Hometown hero David Freese twice kept them alive, in basically a story that every kid who ever played sports dreamed of.  A fan posted a video on You Tube that has basically the same epic, sweeping orchestral music that plays in my head when I think about those moments in the game.  Plus the goosebumps and slightly misty eyes.

I’ve always loved the Cards, and it was the 2011 miracle comeback season that reminded me how much.

Magical!

Refrigerator pickles! I kind of fell off the canning wagon last year, but I fell into a deliciously awesome vat of refrigerator pickles.  I didn’t blog much this past summer, but the bonus is that I now have a list of tried and true fridge pickle recipes to share with you all spring and summer long.  Later the same day as I originally wrote this I was alerted by some pals on Facebook of this.

And this:

We sure can!

Yep, it hits close to home. This past summer I made the following fridge pickles: sugar snap peas, tomatillos, okra (fucking awesome, bt dubs), regular old cucumbers three ways: fermented (natch!), with vinegar, and cucumber kimchi pickles, nasturtiums, garlic scapes, pearl onions, and prolly more that I’m forgetting.  Check it!

Turnips that I pickled into Lift, a traditional Lebanese pickle. I'm gonna blog about them this year, so prepare to be dazzled.

Pickled garlic scapes. Double S said the following about this picture: "Wow, this looks like their senior picture!" Isn't Double S great?

Nothing grows in the Pacific Northwest like peas. So I pickled that!

Traditional fermented pickles. Always a classic.

Katy Perry!  She just gets me.  Nah, but I did love “Last Friday Night (TGIF)”  She has headgear in the video!  Just like my girl Double S did back in the day!  True story!

Dogs!  I really really want one.

I'll have this kind!

My cat The Bear.  Just because he continues to be awesome.

Teevee!  We’re still in a golden age of good tv.  In 2011, we had no Mad Men.  Me mad!  But it’s back March 25th!  Counting the days!  In 2011, we still had the comic awesomeness of Community and Parks and Recreation.  And if you’re still not watching Community, eff you!  You’re the reason it’s not on NBC’s schedule this winter.

This is all your fault.

Chopped continues to be my go to cooking show where viewers can actually learn about cooking rather than manufactured drama.  Although, speaking of, I still like Top Chef.  Up All Night and New Girl and promising new comedies.  I tend to to be the overlord of our Netflix/Seattle Public library dvd queue, so I organize what we’ll watch during tv downtime.  We’ll typically binge on some acclaimed tv that we never got around to watching.   In 2011, Double S and I watched Deadwood.  So recommended, especially if you wanna see an awesome Calamity Jane and wish you used the word “cocksuckers” more than you currently do.   Do not be put off by the fact that it is a western!  Speaking of westerns, Justified had an amazing season and one of the best villians in Mags Bennett that I’ve seen on tv.  We also binged on a little seen show from 2008 called Swingtown, about life in the Chicago suburbs in 1976.  We watched it in April and still refer to the characters and (awesome!  (see below)) music therein.    Friday Night Lights came to its conclusion, and yep, it is one of the all time greats.  My heart is full but my eyes aren’t clear due to my tears!

"Television: Teacher, mother, secret lover!"

The music of the 1970s!  In case you’ve never read a word of this blog before, I’ll tell you something new: I love 80s music.  But I had never got into much 70s stuff till 2011.  I was born in 1975, mmkay?  My newfound appreciation kinda started when I watched the above mentioned underrated and cancelled too soon one season show from 2008 called Swingtown this past Spring.  Recommended!  Then I started downloading and getting 70s stuff from the library.  I’m not gonna front that I was getting into Led Zeppelin and all that.  Meh, not interested.  I’m talking pop and soul and country rock and adult contemporary.  Saturday in the Park by Chicago!  Jackie Blue by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils!

Ladies and gentlemen, from the great state of Missouri. The Ozark Mountain Daredevils! See, they look like today's hipster bands, but without all the whining about being 25 and adrift.

I Just Wanna Stop by Gino Vannelli!  Freddie’s Dead by Curtis Mayfield!  Crazy Love by Poco!   I love this one.  It reminds me of being 5 in my parents car, heading home to watch Looney Tunes and Laverne and Shirley reruns and the Electric Company.  Check out this trippy Hanna Barbera interpretation of “Crazy Love.”

Songs of the 70s were the soundtrack to our fancy camping this year.  Full circle!

Ok, that’s it for now, friends.  I hope your 2012 is treating you right.  Come back soon for some actual food blogging!  You know mixed with Huey Lewis videos, lolcats and 80s nostalgia.

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2 Responses to “Happy New(ish) Year!”

  1. Kaye February 1, 2012 at 6:14 PM #

    I’m going to check out the challenges that you’re taking part in! They look like they will stretch my few abilities. A friend and I are doing this together – just in case you’re interested: http://theoccasionalchef.blogspot.com/2012/01/2012s-challenge-vx4.html.

    And, Double S is correct. That jar of pickled garlic scapes is about the purdiest thing I’ve seen since, well, the O3 jam that I made last year (orange zest, orange pulp, and triple sec). It tasted pretty good, too!

    • ohbriggsy February 4, 2012 at 11:10 AM #

      hey kaye! good to hear from you again! yeah, check out the challenges. i’m still struggling with my sourdough starter. im never sure when/if they are ready to use. i made pasta last week, so i have to post about that. and i’ll check out the challenge you mentioned…

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