The Life and Projects of An Avid Hobbyist

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lemon Pickle-Second Place


All is well post-Irene.  Lots of water and spotty power outages.  My tomato plants took quite a beating in the post-storm winds.  I've spent the day cooking and sewing.
This recipe won a second place ribbon in the 2011 NJ State Fair.  Enjoy! ~ksp
Lemon Pickle-Done

Indian Lemon Pickle

12-18 lemons scrubbed and patted dry
½  cup salt
¼  cup chili powder
½  cup sugar
3 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida or hing powder
2 limes

1 gallon hermetic glass jar (bought mine at The Container Store)

1.     Slice off either end of the lemon and dice them into ½ inch squares.
2.     Place the diced lemon in a large bowl. 
3.     Roast the chili powder, sugar, turmeric, fenugreek and black mustard on medium flame for about 4-5 minutes .  Grind until fine with a spice grinder or a pestle and mortar.
4.     Add kosher salt and hing to the spice mix and liberally sprinkle liberally over the lemon pieces.  Toss the lemons with the spice mix to evenly coat the lemons.
5.     Once the lemons are completely covered, transfer them to the glass jar.  It may look like the jar will overflow but the contents will eventually settle.
6.     Shake the jar about to help the powders get to as many lemons as possible.
7.     Add the juice of 2 limes. The jar must be placed in the sun to cook slowly in its warmth.
8.     Give it a good shake as you put it out and bring it in each day. Your pickle should be ready in about 2 months when the peel has softened and is no longer crisp.
9.     Before serving note if the liquid is runny.  If so, pulse ¼ of the pickles in a food processor or blender until coarsely ground.  Add mash back to the larger batch.
10. Wipe rims of jars and seal immediately with still-hot lids.  Process in hot water bath (½ inch headspace) for 15 minutes in sterilized jars; adjust for altitudes.
Yields eight ½ pint jars.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Semper Paratis**

As I have previously chronicled here on the blog, I was once a Girl Scout; a Brownie to be more specific.  I learned many things including the need to stay prepared for any eventuality. As we in the US Northeast prepare for hurricane Irene, I'm doing a bit of preparing myself

Courtesy of
FEMA provides lot of information to prepare us for natural/unnatural disasters a three-step guideline. In addition to preparing myself and my home, I had to get my crafts ready.  See how a hobbywhore prepares:

Step 1: Build A Kit
In addition to having bottled water and prepared foods, I prepared myself to craft in a loss-of-power situation. I pulled out this trusty plug-in rechargeable flash-light.

Get one!
Step 2: Make a Plan 
I pulled out my wheel and some Polwarth fiber from Headley Grange's etsy shop.  In addition, I prepared and got pulled out my hoop and my hand quilting tools. This red, white and blue log-cabin wall hanging is a wall hanging that I machine-pieced about 3 years ago for a class at City Quilter.


I will finish basting it, choose a design and get to quilting in Irene's wake.

Step 3: Be Informed 
I have a battery-operated radio in case I lose electricity and/or internet. 

I urge everyone to prepare yourself and your loved one's for emergency.  To all my friends and loved one's in Irene's path, please be safe and be smart.  ~ksp

** semper paratis - while this is a slogan of the US Coast Guard, I learned it from (my four year Latin teacher) Sr. Joan.  She would be so proud of me.  

Friday, August 26, 2011

Red Streak-NJ State Fair Re-cap

I put several items in the NJ state fair this year; five in the canning competition and one in the quilt competition.  All-in-all, I won a total of four ribbons - three second place (red) and one first place (blue).


I was most happy with the lemon pickle previously shown here and a blueberry chutney that I developed using a spice combination with Bengali origins.  I will share both recipes here at a later date.

Thanks for my dedicated taste-testers (I don't taste when I cook) and kitchen helpers.  I couldn't ribbon without you. ~ksp

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Love Hot Sauce!

Hi all...long time.  I know. Have I ever told you how much I love hot sauces?

Hot sauce holds a special place in my and my family's life.  There are rights of passage and traditions revolving around hot peppers and spicy food.  For example, as a child, you could use hot sauce on your meals/food after your 13th birthday (I used to sneak Goya hot sauce out of the pantry when no one was looking). As a teenager learned to make the best buffalo wings that you've ever tasted.  My father's grandmother even developed a recipe for "hot barbecue sauce" that is a sworn family secret and is quite spicy with a nice burn.

Its a mix of peppers, spices, vinegars, mustard and catsup and it packs a huge punch...

Here it is in all its glory...

Gaga's Sauce

I served it with a rotisserie chicken as part of a larger spread of state fair wares and it was a huge hit.  In the coming weeks I'm going to try to make an approximation of it from scratch, with actual roasted mustard seeds and slow-cooked (homegrown) peppers...I plan to put it in the NJ State Fair next year.  Since it'll be a variation of my great-grandmother's recipe, I'll be able to publish it and she (hopefully) won't see fit to haunt me from the spirit realm.

I love commercial sauces too.  Top of the list are Grace's Habanero sauce and Rooster (sriracha) Sauce and I think this loverly poster sums it up. ~ksp