Update: My stolen handbag, and the lovely people who found it and gave it back to me

Two kind people contacted me today to return my purse to me. The woman I met today, her father, and her sister were out for a walk late yesterday and saw my bag tossed aside. They gathered my things and used the information they found to contact me. Thank you, Elyse and Frank, and the other lady I didn’t get to meet! You are what’s right with the world!

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Original post: Lost & Found post on Craigslist: My handmade bag was stolen early yesterday evening on Redwood Road 

Early yesterday evening, someone stole my purse out of my car while I was hiking, between 4:30 and 6 pm. My car was parked at the Big Bear Staging Area on Redwood Road in the Oakland hills, where Chabot and Redwood regional parks meet. I think I mistakenly left the car unlocked, and someone reached under the seat, under some clothes, and grabbed it

I’m hoping that whoever stole it may have discarded it soon after, when they find that there was no cash, ID, credit or bank cards, or anything else of particular value in it. The only things in it are of personal value: I hand made my bag, and the wallet/pouches inside it, from favorite vintage fabrics, and there are receipts and other things that I would like to have back too if possible

If you find it, I would be so deeply appreciative if you’d contact me! Here’s my Craigslist lost & found posting:
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/laf/4293754167.html

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Homemade Kimchi

 Yes, I’m still hooked on pickling things. This time, I’ve pickled cabbage, Korean-style.

I started with a brine, less salty than usual because I added lots of fish sauce, which is very, very salty. I also used oodles of pepper flakes, garlic cloves (cut in quarters), fresh ginger slices, a little simple syrup (dissolved sugar), and green onions. I didn’t measure, only eyeballed and tasted the brine as I adjusted it. I did count the squirts of fish sauce I put in: 25 each jar. Each squirt is the amount that come out with one shake of the bottle. This might be too much for some, but I love fish sauce.

The jars are filled only half full, of course, so there’s plenty of room for the cabbage.

I didn’t really follow a recipe, although I read several to get a sense of what’s usually done to make kimchi. I also depended on my memory of how other kimchis tasted and the ingredients I could see as well as the flavors I detected, especially in the style that’s sold very fresh and lightly fermented in a brine.

Before I prepared and spiced the brine, I cut up a head of nappa cabbage and thoroughly rinsed it, and let it soak in salty water for an hour, as several recipes suggested. (I’m not sure this step is necessary for this style of kimchi. I did it anyway since it also seemed a good way to make sure the cabbage was nice and clean.)

When the brine was all ready, I packed that cabbage in tightly, and it turned out I had exactly enough room for one head of cabbage in these two large jars.

Kimchi bubbles up quite a bit as it ferments, so I placed the jars in a casserole dish to catch the overflow. Also, make sure all the vegetables are pushed down below the water line, so they don’t mold. I found that those little glass Fire King custard cups are perfect weights for this purpose if the veggies won’t stay down on their own. The lids stay open as it ferments for three or four days at room temperature. I covered the jars with a kitchen towel to keep the dust out.

The kimchi is delicious, fresh-tasting and spicy! The fish sauce has a funky smell which some find pretty nasty, but it bothers me no more than the stinky-foot smell of tasty cheese. The only changes I would make: more ginger, and a little more sugar to round out the flavor more, the amount I used was too little for so much brine.

Swig a Pig!

Blind Pig Brewing Company Pub Glass

I just bought this pub glass the other day at Urban Ore, and while I recognized the name ‘Blind Pig’ as an IPA that Russian River Brewing Company makes, I wondered why it said it’s from Temecula. I showed the glass to my sister’s boyfriend, who is a beer geek in the best sense  of the term (not like this), and he told me that yes, it is the same Blind Pig, but it moved to Russian River.

So as I was drinking my coffee out of the glass just now, I was curious and looked into the story, and found that the brewery this glass came from closed in 1997 when one of the co-owners, Vinnie Cilurzo, left to become a brewmaster for Russian River Brewing Company. He’s famous for making some of the most innovative and delicious beers to be had.

So anyone, just a fun tidbit of beer history with my late morning coffee.

Pickled Beets

Homemade Beet Pickles

So I promised you about a week and a half ago that I would get back to you on that batch of fresh dill pickles, to tell you how they turned out.

Well, right about the time they were ready four days later, I came down with a nasty chest cold, and ever since then, my sense of taste has been nearly entirely gone. They turned out pretty tasty, my husband said, save for one thing: I hadn’t thoroughly dissolved the salt in the water, it turns out, so the top pickles were not very salty, and the bottom ones were too salty. I took the too-salty ones and put them in a jar with plain water, and the next day, they were just right. So, lesson learned: that salt don’t mix itself.

Anyway, as I also mentioned last time, the leftover brine from a jar of pickles can be used again, and this time, I took that brine (after mixing it well!) and filled it with lightly cooked beets, sliced onions, and black peppercorns. I refrigerated them for four days.

So here they are, and they turned out pretty tasty, so far as my stuffy self can tell, and my husband likes them. They’re just the right saltiness and tenderness, and what a pretty color too!

He does suggest that I don’t use dill for the next batch of beet pickles, because he thinks that the dill taste predominates too much over the beet taste. I’ll have to take his word for it for now!