I'll give an update on the wild yeast levain and the breads I've made with it soon but right now I have pickles on the brain, so I thought I'd share.
Raise your hand if you love Grandma's sweet pickles. Raise your hand if you used to eat them plain (while drinking Grandma's iced tea) in the summer time for a snack while visiting the farm. (ok, Laura and I might be the only ones raising our hands on that one.) And finally, raise your hand if you think that store-bought sweet pickles just can't compete.
I'll finally put my hand down now to type, but I love Grandma's Sweet Pickles with a passion and so long ago I asked her for her recipe. It's a photocopy from some magazine - not sure what one, but it's not exactly a family secret recipe or anything, but I still wanted to make sure I had her real recipe, for someday when she stopped making them (She did a few years ago. I guess at 80 she's allowed to 'retire!')
I was intimidated to try them for many years... 14-days! So much work! And I didn't have a "1-gallon" stone crock like the recipe called for - what would I use instead? Finally a good friend in Madison (Hi, Sarah!) who loves sweet pickles as much as I do and is fearless in the sewing room (anyone can make your own wedding dress, that's easy, but she made her husband's suit!) convinced me that I should really try them that they couldn't be that hard.
And she was right, they really aren't that bad. I went to a restaurant supply store in Madison and got a food-grade plastic bucket that works great for making pickles two weeks of the year and for holding Claire's toys the rest of the time. And except for 30-60 minutes the first day to wash the cucumbers and get things ready, an hour on Day 7 to cut the cucumbers, and around 2-3 hours on Day 14 to can them, the daily work is really only 10-15 min (and you don't do anything days 2, 4, and 6!
I had intentions of typing up the whole recipe for here, but looking it over, I realize that would be crazy. There's so much detail in the instructions that I wouldn't want to lose. I'll scan it into a PDF and if anyone wants it, just email me, send me a message on facebook, or leave your email address in the comments to this post.
If you love Grandma's pickles, there is only one way to get them now - make them yourself!