Archive for June, 2009

It’s summer time and my thoughts turn to pickles. I’m a pickle fiend, right next to my olive obsession. I’ve learned how to make successful pickles. Not fermented pickles, I don’t have a cold, cool place for that happen, but I do make refrigerator pickles.

"B&B" PicklesI adapted a recipe from Alton Brown‘s Good Eats show. I used a locally grown English Cucumber, red onions, and garlic. I would have used locally produced apple cider vinegar, but I didn’t pick some up. I used a 60/40 mixture of sucralose and sugar, to make it diabetic friendly, but you could use just sugar if you like. So let’s start:


  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 4 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups sucralose and 3/4 cup sugar or 2 cups sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pickling spice

Thinly slicing vegetables is an art. That’s why they made the mandolin. I use a cheap plastic one I got at from my dad’s girlfriend. It’s made of white plastic, it’s got notches to hook it over a bowl, three depth settings, a julienne insert, and two sided grater. And it works like a charm. I’ve sliced my thumbs and fingers on that sharp blade more than once. A mandolin is easier to clean than a food processor and you can slice on the bias, which is what I did with the cucumber, to get longer slices. I still tear slicing onions on the mandolin. 

After you slice  them up, combine the onion and cucumber slices, along with the garlic cloves, in a clean spring-top jar. Don’t use a plastic one. Glass is totally non-reactive and is easier to clean than plastic. Make sure the garlic cloves are in the middle of the slices. This will make sure that they get thoroughly pickled.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. After it boils, simmer for 4 full minutes to wake up the flavors of the spices.

Slowly pour the hot pickling liquid over the garlic cloves and the onion and cucumber slices, completely filling the jar. Allow the pickles to cool to room temperature before topping off with any remaining pickling liquid. Refrigerate.

You can eat these in two to three days. Yum!

This is a sustainable recipe because except for the salt, spices and sugar, you can source all the other ingredients locally. You can adapt this recipe by pickling peppers with the cukes or just pickle peppers. This is the first of several picklings I’m going to do this year, and I’ll be sourcing apple cider vinegar from a local cider press to be more sustainable. When pickling cucumbers come into season, I’ll be getting my pickle jars ready to go.

And this is both fun and empowering. You’re not tied to the grocery store for all your condiment needs. You can do it your self, just like we used to do a 100 years ago. Next on my self-made list: Ketchup!


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In the online Atlantic Magazine’s The Daily Dish article Taking Up Space, writer Richard Florida posted the following photographs which illustrate the amount of space taken up by different kinds of transit – bicycle, bus and car:

Image via SUNY Stonybrook Department of Geosciences (h/t: Ian Swain, Martin Prosperity Institute).

 According to the article each transportation footprint is:

  • Bicycle – 90 sq. m for 71 people to park their bikes.
  • Car – 1000 sq. m for 72 people to park their care (avg. occupancy of 1.2 people per car).
  • Bus – 30 sq m for the bus.

Some food for thought…

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Bastyr University’s 11th Annual Herb & Food Fair

When: Saturday, June 6, 2009
Time: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Where: Bastyr University Campus Grounds
Theme: “Sustainable Nutrition and Healing”
List of Events: Download the schedule of events.
Web Site:  Herb & Food Fair

Description: Bastyr University announces its 11th annual Herb & Food Fair- “Sustainable Nutrition and Healing”, to be held on Saturday, June 6, 2009, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Growing every year, this FREE annual event has educational and fun activities for the whole family. Healthy lifestyle vendors, public talks and lectures, cooking demonstrations, guided herb garden and reflexology path walks, live music and much more are scheduled throughout the day for all to enjoy.

Keynote speakers include Richo Cech, a village herbalist, plant explorer, author and owner of Horizon Herbs, which is “sowing seeds worldwide for the benefit of people, plants and the planet.” Richo is the author of the widely acclaimed and quoted Horizon Herbs Growing Guide and Catalog, as well as Making Plant Medicine, Growing At-Risk Medicinal Herbs, and The Medicinal Herb Grower. Karen Jurgensen is a chef instructor at both the Seattle Culinary Academy and the Quillisascut Farm School, as well as a mercenary cook and a restaurant consultant in Seattle. She founded the Seattle chapter of Chefs Collaborative (a.k.a FORKS) and is actively involved in local food politics, the regional Food Policy Council, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, Les Dames d’Escoffier and Slow Food’s RAFT project.

Getting There: A free shuttle will run every 30 minutes from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from the Kenmore park and ride, located at 7346 NE Bothell Way. Limited parking is available on campus for $5.

For more information: Call 425.602.3107. Bastyr’s whole foods cafeteria will be open for those who wish to purchase vegetarian treats and other food vendors will be available onsite at the fair.

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A story in USATODAY.com talks about how the residents of Clark South Dakota created a new General Store after the older, franchise store was closed by the parent company. A store that is more responsive to the community’s needs because it is own by the community.

[M]ore than 100 people in Clark have purchased $500 shares to finance the opening of the Clark Hometown Variety Store. The store will take the place of the Duckwall store, which was one of 20 underperforming stores parent company Duckwall-Alco Stores of Kansas closed in 2005.

“We had no place in town to buy a pair of shoelaces or buy socks or underwear or any of those things,” says Greg Furness, a shareholder who runs the local funeral home. Residents, he says, had to make a 40-minute drive — sometimes in treacherous winter conditions — to Watertown every time they needed supplies.

This is a great example of a community banding together to provide themselves a service, in this case a general store, that a large franchise deemed unprofitable. So how does this mesh in with the sustainable lifestyle? Well, for one, a community owned store has to answer to its stockholders, the people who invested in it. They have a say in the type of products that the store sells, and they can ask that the store sells locally sourced products. It may mean higher prices for goods and services, but at least the community has a say.

For more information about how to start your own community-owned business, check out the BigBoxToolkit PDF file: How to Launch a Community-Owned Store.


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