Monday, August 11, 2014

Instant Pickles, Beach-Rock Rainbows, and Endless Summer

Man, oh man. Even as I write this, I'm watching maples leaves flutter and drift, watching the plums darken and blush, watching a roly-poly woodchuck fattening up. ("I really like the blobby animals," Birdy just announced from the window. "Woodchucks and manatees. You know. The fatties." Me too.) This is all I can say about it. Because I love cool nights, I do. But the end of summer? Kill me.

We have been having such a good time.

We made Jiffy Pop at our campsite. Jiffy Pop wants you to know that they don't recommend popping it over a campfire. Just saying. I wonder what they imagine people are doing with it.
We played Acquire in our miniature Wellfleet rental. Birdy took this photo from the spiral staircase.
Ben and Birdy made drip castles.
I laughed in a pond. 
We arranged dozens of rock rainbows on various Cape Cod beaches.
Speaking of summer, which we are still in the middle of, I reposted some of my very, very favorite recipes here. Including the pasta that I am making tonight, the peach jam that I am making as soon as I hit "publish," and the dill pickles that I am not currently making:

The only reason I am not brining any of those pickles right this minute is that I invented something I'm calling Instant Pickles, and I make them all the time because we keep needing pickles for picnic lunches, and I keep not having made any. 

This used to be a full jar.
Here's how you make them: fill a quart-sized jar with sliced pickling (or regular) cucumbers. I cut the cukes in half lengthwise, and then cut the halves into fairly thin slices. As you stuff the cukes into the jar, add a couple of heads of dill (or sprigs if you've got no heads), 2 garlic cloves peeled and smashed, and, if you like, a hot pepper or a pinch of pepper flakes. Add a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup of white vinegar, and shake the jar well. That's it. They're ready as is, but they'll get better as they sit in the fridge (shake the jar  as you think to). Plus, as they sit, the salt will draw the water out of the cukes so that they'll end up in a fair amount of brine in the end. Unless you eat them all right away. Which you might.


  1. So glad you guys are having fun. I am planning your peach jam and pickles for this weekend. Thanks...

  2. Has Ben got the world's longest arms and legs??!! How tall is he now?

  3. It's not over till it's over. Love seeing you rockin' your summer days.

  4. shannon h.1:38 PM

    Peach jam, yum! Not ready to say goodbye to summer either.

  5. Erin K.4:31 PM

    I dropped off a new 5th grader and a new 3rd grader this morning - and had to stop a moment at the Kindergarten yard. My friend and I were amazed at how it feels like we were just dropping the big kids off there - sitting on the wall with the other parents until the teachers rang the little bell - and now all knees and elbows they are telling us to not call their names and wave while they walk with their classes up stairs to the big kid rooms....

  6. Family loves the pickles! Will be making them often from now on. Thanks!

  7. Gorgeous, all of it. Whenever I am feeling sulky, I make a quick stop over here, and you always remind me of the beauty in the small things. My children start school entirely too early, and I am feeling the tug of the coming fall and winter. Sigh...I will hold on to the sight of my garden bursting, the freedom of biking bare shouldered after dinner, and those last lingering days at the pool. Thank you Catherine!

  8. Anonymous1:19 PM

    Thank you! I am glad you are back from vacation: I missed you! The pickles looks great (so does the pasta but I'm off wheat/grains). I am going to make the pickles right away, and give them to my husband for his birthday!

  9. Allyson9:08 PM

    I'm making your classic pickle recipe this week. They are the yummiest full sours I've ever had, and they impress my friends who don't know how easy they are. I'm determined to try canning this year, too, with inspiration from you and "Put 'em Up", which I'm pretty sure I discovered through your blog.

    It's funny-- I adore the end of summer, because fall is my favorite season, and your end-of-summer melancholy post is like a seasonal tradition for me. Is that weird? "Oh, Catherine's sad-- summer must be almost over!"

  10. I was going to get the Jiffy Pop for camping and read the directions not to do over a flame and decided against it....I'm definitely doing it next time, seems like the kids would enjoy it.

  11. Anonymous10:18 AM

    Hello! I just made the dill pickle recipe yesterday (they are in the bowl on the counter doing their pickling thing) but I'm intrigued by the instant pickles. I have a question, though, how is it that you stuff a quart size jar with the cucumber slices but then only put 1/2 cup of vinegar into the jar and the cucumbers that end up not in the vinegar are able to turn into pickles? Don't they have to submerge in the liquid and all the other good things to pickle? Thanks and, don't worry, the September blues will pass (the September blues that start at end of August lately) and we'll get through it together. --Cathy K

    1. Dear Cathy, you would think. But as long as you shake them every now and then, they get pretty nice and pickle-y.

      Thank you for the reassuring company.


    2. Anonymous1:02 PM

      Thank you! xo --Cathy