So, I’m done with the HCG diet, down to a solid 126 and pretty pleased overall. I was afraid I’d shoot right back up once I was off both the appetite suppressant and the hormones, but just like the brochure said, my body will adjust to it’s “new normal.” Even so, I’ve been a little afraid of eating anything not on my original “approved list.” After a month of suffering – plus a marginally large outlay of cash – I don’t want to ruin my hard-earned success. I’ve been pretty careful about what I’m eating. Plus, we’ve had a lot of activity at the house lately, and I have not done a whole lot of cooking. Besides, Axl’s been on an extended stay in New York City before going to Toronto for a few concerts. He’s eating just fine right now.
First of all, for those of you who live outside of Phoenix – it’s been hot here. Unbelievably, insufferably, hot. This past weekend we hit 121 degrees. That is not a record, believe it or not, but it is hotter than I can recall since the early 80′s. We sent out an APB to every person we knew and told them to come over and get in the pool. No party, no festivity, no occasion. Just get in the water. This is survival, folks. We supplied as much liquid refreshment as we had available; people brought random food items with them (a bunch of grapes, a handful of kale, six pounds of Italian sausage) and we suffered through it. We floated, we drank, we kept each others heads above water. Naps were taken, dogs fell in the pool, bathing suits were discarded. ( Nothing like banding together as if it were the last hours on earth.) By dusk Sunday evening, the worst was over and everyone was safe to go back home. We made it through.
My kitchen was relatively unscathed during the weekend’s activities, but we had a lot of food left over. Both Paul and I brought home bags of cherries which went largely uneaten. A dozen or so cucumbers were still hanging around as was a big bag of lemons. A friend brought over the remainders of her CSA box, and inside were two lemon cucumbers. I had never seen or heard of them, but I instantly knew what I would do with them. Pickles!
I’ve recently learned how to preserve foods and when I get a bounty of vegetables I am trying to keep them from going to waste before we can eat everything. Over the past couple of days, I’ve been preserving as much of the foods as possible so nothing goes to waste. I found recipes on the internet and in magazines, but do not want to post them here as canning is a science that can go very wrong if done improperly. Since I am famous for tinkering with ingredients I have no desire to publish something that may end up giving someone botulism. (Interestingly, I have no issues giving my friends the final canned product. )
Here’s what I’ve done so far:
Boozy Cherries – Pitted sweet cherries are cooked briefly in a mixture of maple syrup, whiskey, orange peels, cinnamon sticks and vanilla, then poured into jars and canned in a water bath.
Garlic Dill Pickles – Persian cucumbers and lemon cucumbers are sliced and packed in jars. To each jar I added a tablespoon of mustard seed, one crushed garlic clove and one wee dried chili pepper. Vinegar, salt, sugar, dill and celery seed are boiled until sugar is dissolved, then poured into the jars. Canned in a water bath.
Preserved Lemon and rosemary – Lemon ends are trimmed and then quartered. Seeds are removed and then begin smushing them in jars with salt sprinkled on each layer. Stuff fresh rosemary sprigs in the jar and add lemon juice if needed to cover all the citrus. Refrigerate and add more lemon juice if necessary.