My favorite books when I was a girl were Laura Ingalls Wilder’s, Little House books. I had the complete set and I read them again and again. I also loved the television series and watched weekly to see who would be blinded next. I was always very intrigued by the things the Ingalls family had to do to survive, but growing up a city-girl, I never had to do many of them. That’s one reason I love my garden – it makes me feel like a Prairie Girl, even though if I had to rely on it for sustenance, I’d starve. As I wrote in earlier posts, two of the things I’ve taken up that have helped me deal with my empty nest and have small adventures on a regular basis, are gardening and cooking. Today’s adventure combines them both.
A couple of years ago, I had a bumper-crop of cucumbers and I canned jars and jars of pickles. It made me feel like Laura Ingalls and my Great-Grandma Molly all in one. This year, I have a bumper-crop of green beans. We’ve eaten green beans a half-dozen ways recently, but I also had enough to make pickled green beans. I had a great time spending a Sunday afternoon in the kitchen, pickling my green beans, and my industry made the house smell nice and vinegary and spicy.
I used a Martha Rose Shulman, NYTimes recipe for pickled green beans. I substituted Red Wine Vinegar for the called for Sherry Vinegar, because I couldn’t find it at my local Reasor’s and I didn’t want to drive to a specialty grocery store. Finding appropriate substitutions, and
adapting recipes, is one of the things that makes cooking a creative adventure for me, and the pickles still taste delicious. These pickles don’t require a pressure cooker, and they were ready to eat within a week – just in time to share them with my family at a get-together. It’s hard to go wrong with an adventure you can eat and that makes you feel nostalgic in the best possible way.