Monday, August 22, 2011

R is for Radio

For someone who has the tv on a lot, I don't really watch a lot of tv. In fact, I mostly sleep to tv.

But I'm a radio junkie. I like it because you can DO things while listening to the radio. TV, TiVo, Netflix, movies-you have to sit and watch. But I get a lot done while listening to the radio-gardening, cooking, cleaning, writing.

As I write this I'm listening to the Mike Nowak Show on WCPT (Chicago Progressive Talk) my single venture into AM radio. Mike's a lot of fun, and I learn a lot, and he tweets, allowing me to pretend I know a celebrity (if you define celebrity as "my mother would be impressed", since Mike's a pretty regular guy). I've put in a lot of gardens, and made a lot of pickles, while listening to Mike.

The rest of the time, pretty much, being a knee-jerk liberal, I listen to NPR, which stays in the background while tapping the consciousness every now and then with fascinating insights and info.

And my guilty pleasure? Mainstream country music alone in the car on late night drives.

Here's what I made while listening to Mike this morning.

Cucumber-plum honey pickles
Cukes & yellow plums, about 3 plums for every medium cucumber. (I used 7 cukes and a quart of plums, yielding about 8 cups of cut fruit)
Mildly hot peppers (to taste)

For 1 quart of pickling juice:
juice of 2 lemons
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 -2 cups water
1/4 cup kosher or pickling salt

Bring the juice to a boil, simmer for about 10 minutes. While it is simmering, peel, seed and slice the cukes, pit the plums and cut them into bite-size pieces (I actually use a scissor for this). Pour the hot liquid over the fruit, and refrigerate overnight. Pack into jars, with the fruit just covered with liquid, and put in a hot water bath to seal (35 minutes fully submersed at a rolling boil). Properly canned, these should be shelf-stable, although I refrigerate anyway, just to be safe.

If you have any leftover juice, save it for the next batch!

This makes a mild sweet-and-sour pickle, with a lovely peachy color.

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