Pickles I Adore You




My friend Elizabeth Andoh lives in Japan where she writes books, teaches classes and documents her love of food and cooking. Last year we made a connection in Japan for a nano second. We had brief, but quality time together at the TedX Austin conference a few months ago.  At her invitation I took the Megabus to Austin. The conference theme was FEAR<Less. Elizabeth made a thoughtful and powerful presentation you can see on YouTube if you click on the link below. To my delight, she posted a response to my pickle post. This morning after a trip to the Farmer’s Market, I used her technique to prepare Moroccan Style Pickles modified from a recipe on the  Bon Appetit website (http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2010/05/pickled_carrots_moroccan_style).

From all that fresh produce I created the evening dinner menu: beets for roasting, sauteed beet greens, edible flowers with arugula salad and mint for tea.



From: andoh@tasteofculture.com <andoh@tasteofculture.comDate: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 Wish,wish,wish you could come back to Tokyo for the pickle workshop in june!  for now:Next time you want to make a spicy, sweet-and-sour quick-pickle try salting the veggie first, it draws out unwanted bitterness and excess moisture, and makes the veggie more porous and therefore able to absorb other flavors later. You can do all that I describe below inside a heavy-duty resealable bag (instead of traditional Japanese pressure-applying equipment). When the veggie begins to sweat gently begin squeezing. Let the veggie sit in the brine created for at least 10 minutes, better 30 minutes. Drain. Add salt-wilted veggie to freshly made (still warm) sweet-and-sour sauce (1 part vinegar, 1/4 part sugar or other sweetener, pinch salt) in a glass jar. If you have some kombu to add to the vinegar mixture as you heat it up (stirring, to dissolve the sugar) it will taste even better. let your veggie marinate/pickle at room temp for 20-30 minutes to add spiciness add dried chili pepper, or black pepper corns, or sansho pepper corns (but NOT the powder) to the jar… or add some ginger juice (made from freshly grated ginger) then lid tightly and refrigerate. Most veggies (carrots, radishes, cucumbers, eggplants, squashes) will keep for 10 days to 2 weeks… though usually eaten before then!Enjoy! And come back to visit!!!!Best,

Elizabeth Andoh,

A Taste of Culture
Tokyo, JAPAN







Toni Morrison, Matchmaker

Screen shot 2013-06-01 at 3.41.09 PMIMG_3266








Asking a writer, “What is your all-time favorite book?” is like asking a mother to name her favorite child. About 5 years ago when I was asked this question, I didn’t hesitate. Without taking a breath, I answered, “Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison”. Within 15 seconds I got a marriage proposal and two years later I was married by a ginger haired, female judge in the Iowa City Public Library, a place where you could check out framed works of art and children could play in a child sized house made of books. How is that for impact on your life? That’s why I’m considering taking the trip back to Stockholm, Sweden for the Anniversary Symposium on the works of Toni Morrison October 18 – 19, 2013 at Sodertorn University.

For more info contact: morrisonsymposium2013@yahoo.se

or go to the website:  http://webappl.web.sh.se/toni_morrison_symposium


Who Knew?

Who knew I’d find myself at a Time Gate Convention of dr. Who & Star Trek fans at a Holiday Inn in Atlanta? Surreal.  I was there for a high school graduation…it was an accident. The elevator opened onto another world populated by unusual creatures and strange familiars.So much fun meeting characters in costume and touring the game rooms & talking to authors. I plan to watch my first episode of Dr. Who very soon.

Entering a new world....

Entering a new world….



The Way We Cook: Portraits of Home Cooks Around the World (James Oseland) is a gorgeous glossy coffee table book filled with photos of people preparing and enjoying food.  You can almost hear the crackle of the crunchy fried pork chops, smell the delicious aromas of the spices used and feel the joy you see on the faces of the cooks and the people they feed.  Sitting in my sunny yellow kitchen, this book is a passport to pleasure.

The same day I checked out The Way We Cook from my local library, a friend in Japan sent me a package of my favorite flavor: YUZU! Yuzu powder with sesame seed and Yuzu paste added to rice, noodle dishes or soup  makes me feel beautiful inside. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit. The flavor of the juice is tart and tastes like a lemon crossed with a mandarin orange. The menu at my house this week will reflect the fusion of the text and the taste of yuzu.

Most Saturday mornings I roll out of bed and walk to the nearby Farmer’s Market. I’m always happy to see bearded Ben with his large bundles of collard greens that look like huge church fans; Amanda and Marie ready with hugs and offering jars of wildflowers, crispy pink radishes, bitter braising greens and other produce they have planted and harvested on their farm; among others.  I like knowing who grows my vegetables. I was inspired to make my version of Japanese pickled vegetables with my market purchases.


Pickled Vegetables

1 pound carrots cut in matchsticks

1/2 pound radishes cut into matchsticks (or use daikon)

3 Tablespoons sugar

1 Tablespoons of salt

5 Tablespoons of rice vinegar (or white distilled vinegar)

(optional: dash of sesame oil and two dashes of sansho)

2 cups warm water (Make sure there is enough liquid to cover the vegetables)

Dissolve sugar and salt in warm water. Let cool. Add vinegar and optional ingredients. Place vegetables in a jar. Pour liquid over vegetables. Store pickles in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Left overnight the flavors will marry. Serve alone, add to a green salad or a sandwich. A friend recommended this quick spicy pickle: Thinly slice a seedless cucumber and place into a plastic bag. Add rice vinegar, sugar, salt, rice vinegar and red pepper flakes and water. Close the bag and squeeze gently for a few seconds. Let chill for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator.


Shay Youngblood Micro Reading Sat. 11 May at 5pm

Book Swap

The Reading Room will host a Book Swap on Saturday, May 11 from 4 to 9 pm. The private nature of reading will be turned over to become public in this participatory event designed to encourage conversation about reading. Swap out your discards for something new while enjoying cocktails and micro readings every hour on the hour by local literati. Shay Youngblood micro reading at 5pm.  The Reading Room is located at 3715 Parry Avenue in Dallas, TX. For further information: Karen Weiner 214 952 4109        www.thereadingroom-dallas.blogspot.com




Where in the World Are You?

When I heard about the explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the first thing I did was call my people in Boston to make sure they were okay. They were, but I was nearly speechless with sorrow…again. On 9/11 I was living in New York when the twin towers fell. I arrived in Tokyo 10 days before 3/11. This morning I woke up to the news that there had been an explosion in a town called West, Texas. I got a call from my people across the country and around the world, wondering how close I was to the blast. I explained that this town was where I had stopped many times to get gas, take a bathroom break and buy delicious kolaches to snack on. It’s about 2 hours from where I live, the halfway mark on the road to Austin. “I’m safe.” I said

When tragedies occur we immediately think of our loved ones who may be in harms way. When they are safe we give thanks. For all the people who lose their loved ones it is an unimaginable heartbreak. Our collective grief binds us all. Today I am remembering the friendly faces and outstretched hands offering me a fresh from the oven golden delicious kolache in the tiny town of West, Texas and give thanks for those who are safe.


Confessions of a Book Junkie and Library Groupie


new book cover by Annette Lawrence

Confession: I’m a book junkie and a library groupie. So, what could be better than having a new book published? Having 9 books published! I’m late to the party, but I’m ready to dance. As of today 9 of my books are available through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. It was a bit scary, I was more than a little ambivalent and it was empowering. Ultimately I believe self-publishing will allow me to move forward with exciting new projects inspired by my life-changing, amazing four-month adventure in Japan. More on my Japan adventures in the coming months.

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