Sunday, July 28, 2013

Kitchen Floor Therapy

The first time my kids saw me on my hands and knees, with a bucket next to me, wiping the floor.....they asked if someone had puked :). Now, they know to leave me alone when they see me wiping.

When I ditch the mop, and get back to my roots, either:
1. I am bonding with my Oma. She lived, and I grew up, in an old browstone. There were 10 apartments in her building, and each week one apartment was responsible for wiping down the stairwell. Yep, all flights of stairs and entry lobby. And don't you DARE not do it! My Oma was a neat freak. When she got older, I would take over her wiping when I visited. I would also wipe her floors where she did not have rugs.  I never used a mop until I got to the U.S., we did it with a bucket, and a rag :). Her picture hangs in my kitchen, and she is watching me with a smile on her face. I think we could have done surgery on her floors.

2. Need thinking time. When I scrub my kitchen floor, I think. The kitchen is "my place". It is the heart of the house, this is where I brew & stew, and this is where I go to ground. When I scrub that floor, I don't listen to music or talk, I just silently scrub & ponder.

When I am done, I feel happy. Yes, my knees hurt, as I am not 18 anymore, but it doesn't matter. I have tried to meditate for many years, completely failed. This is how I meditate. If I really need some grounding and simmer down time, I do the whole house (this is when the family flees).

I use hot water and vinegar, and throw in some essential oils and a few sprigs of rosemary. My favorite scents are rosemary, peppermint, lemon, lavender, or today I used Super Immune, a mix I purchased :). The EO's clear my mind as I scrub.

Before the floor dries, the dog trapses across it to say hello, and at least one child will instantly poof away if they don't immediately get some water or food. It is never ending :).

I always finish with a happy sigh and an ice cold brew. Perfect ending.

Much love,

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Squash is taking over the world, are you ready?

Fresh from the garden :)
This year I thought ahead, and planted only TWO squash plants :). Plus, I chose a mediterranean squash (sounded mysterious :)...), and a spaghetti squash instead of our standard zucchini & yellow crookneck. I know I will get both left in anonymous baskets on my front porch not too long from now.

The funny round squash is already bursting. One day I will go out and there is nothing, and the next day there will be a few of fabulous little green pumpkin looking surprises.

I love to ferment, and when I googled, sure enough, I found a Lacto-Fermented Summer Squash recipe. If you’re wondering what to do with it all why not ferment it which improves flavor, digestibility, and keeps for months in cold storage. Quick & simple too, my favorite. And friends, this is what you are getting for Christmas & Yule, as my magic squash plants are promising with lots of flowers......

Lacto-Fermented Summer Squash from
(original recipe here)

  • 1-2 medium sized summer squash, cut into 1/2″ chunks (just enough to fit in a quart jar)
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • a few sprigs of flowering cilantro.
  • a couple of mesquite, oak, or grape leaves (to keep them crunchy)
  • 1 quart of filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt

  1. Combine water and sea salt, stir well and set aside.
  1. Add the crushed garlic and one sprig of flowering cilantro to the bottom of a quart jar. Fill jar halfway up with chunks of summer squash. Add a bit more garlic and cilantro and fill the jar with squash chunks up to 1-2″ below rim.
  1. Pour salt water brine over the squash. At this point you want to weigh the squash down in order for it to remain below the level of the brine and ferment evenly. This isn’t an ideal solution, but I like to use a narrow-mouthed lid in my wide-mouth quart ferments. Just press it down until enough brine covers it that it weighs the squash down. You could also use a cabbage leaf or a cleaned rock.
  1. Cover tightly with a canning lid and ring. Allow to sit out at somewhere near room temperature, ideally 60-80 degrees. Check your jars and burp them every 12 hours or so by loosening the lid and allowing some gas to escape.
  1. Let ferment 2-5 days, depending on temperature and then transfer to cold storage (refrigerator, root cellar, etc.).

P.S. If you are in the need of grape leaves, and live in Sacramento, I am happy to share. I have LOTS. Not sprayed either :). Stuffed grape leaves is next....