First Blush, Home from the Fight and Something Simple

The roses started to bloom.  The very first blush of spring.  It seems everyone we know had to weather a storm this week.  Tuesday at 1am all our best laid plans went out the window, when we rushed our dog, Theodore Roosevelt to the emergency room because his tummy had twisted.  After hours of surgery and two days in the hospital he is home and on the mend.  The hubs was the hero who saw what was happening and took action, I was a crying mess at the very thought of losing this wonderful animal we keep in our house.  This is Teddy’s second brush with death,  we adopted him with a bullet lodged in his chest.  Watching him sleep now, the adrenaline and tension that entered my body that early morning is finally starting to dissipate.

With the handsomest dog we know on frequent medication and a strict diet as he recovers, it has been a week of going slow and paying attention.  I have spent the week looking at ordinary things from every angle, appreciating the magic of reality.  We spend so much of our lives going fast, it can be difficult to slow down.  How to Cook Your Life, a documentary about Baker and Zen Buddhist Edward Espe Brown of Tassajara Bread,  likened this constant speed and endless to dos  to a sickness of our times.  With that thought in mind my more elaborate pizza dough, pickled beans and gardening 101 would have to wait.  But when Theodore took a nap I took to fermenting.

Fermenting is all about assembling simple wholesome ingredients and then…waiting.  Depending on what you are making waiting can sometimes be days, weeks or even months for microbes to come and work their slow bubbly magic.  I am currently waiting for Sage Brined Garlic.  It is pantry staple in our house, we use these pungent fermented cloves in salads, meats, sauces, etc.  I love to eat them straight from the jar and with a few rattling in his antique cocktail shaker my husband makes a hell of a martini. It’s one the easiest thing I know and it felt good to do something simple with my hands and occasionally look over every now and then to see Teddy slumbering safely, alive and full of magic.

Sage Brined Garlic

What you need:

Sprig of Sage

Several bulbs of Garlic

Filtered Water

Sea Salt

Jar

Cheesecloth

What you need to do:

Make brine.  A brine should mimic the salinity of sea water, this is why I especially like to use sea salt in fermenting.  A good starting ratio is 1/2 tablespoon for every 1 cup water.  Taste it, add more salt or water till it tastes salty.  It should not be so salty so as to make you cringe.  Peel garlic and pull sage leaves from sprig.  Stuff garlic and sage into jar of your choosing.  Your jar should be able to hold the quantity of garlic you are preparing, I like to make several random sized small jars at once so I always have some on hand to give as gifts.  Pour brine over garlic and sage, this may cause the garlic to float.  Add more garlic till it is packed.  Cover opening with cheesecloth, secure with rubber band and leave out on your counter at room temp for 1-4 days.  Every other day pull the cheesecloth aside and press the garlic down into the brine with your finger tips.  You will begin to see tiny bubbles along the garlic as the fermentation begins.  Once you see an abundance of tiny bubble, screw the lid on your garlic and put them in the fridge.  Enjoy them in everything. plucking from it as we need it.  So easy, so delicious.

Note:  Garlic will keep for 6-8 months, but ours is eaten long before that.  Don’t be alarmed if your garlic turns a turquoise blue, this sometimes happens as a reaction to copper in your water.  Harmless and quite beautiful.

I don’t know what we’d do with out him.  He is a wonder dog.

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