One good way to celebrate this day would have been to to get myself pickled. Just throw in the towel on the day, crack open the tequila and start ‘preserving’ myself. It felt like that kind of a day. Somedays everything catches up with you and you just feel off. Lots on my mind and hard to work around your own spinning wheels. Today was one of those days. However, I managed to stay sober for it. I felt like self-pickling would have been the easy way out (although not altogether unenjoyable) so I channeled my efforts elsewhere.
To celebrate pickles, I had picked up some pickles at Clement’s on Sunday and when lunchtime came around, I popped open the jar and started munching. Then I added them to my turkey salad sandwich to complete the picklization. The pickles were from a local RI company called The Backyard Food Company. While I was scanning the pickle section, their jar stood out to be because it was nice and simple (plus there was a ‘local product’ tag on the shelf alongside it). I guess a simple package speaks to me more than a stork with a hat does. When I picked up the jar, it was a bottle of their Heirloom Pickles, I read the label which gave me a chuckle. It read as follows (and this is the first time I’ve ever quoted a pickle jar):
“When The Old Fashioned Pickle was a kid, it walked 30 miles to school, uphill each way, barefoot in the snow. It rode bikes without helmets, played in the street and stayed out past dark. It’s phone had a cord and a rotary dial!”
You got me pickle jar. When I got home, I looked up the company online and they are indeed a local Rhode Island company with a great little story behind their beginnings with two friends who started a garden that gave them a plentiful harvest. I love these kind of products. Not only are they local and they are believers in being locally sourced ingredients, but they have a story and they have a sense of humor. It’s not some multi-leveled conglomerate busting out pickles by the barrel, it’s local people working hard at something they believe in and sharing their hard work with a smile on their face. I think I was just inspired by a pickle.
The pickles were great too. Fresh tasting, with just the right amount of crispiness to them. They were a little sour, but a little salty too and it was a great combo. I can never quite figure out exactly what kind of pickles I like, but this would definitely be one of them. I do like sweet gherkins which Lola hates, but that was the pickle I grew up on. She fancies the regular dill pickle, I think. I’m never quite sure. I’ve picked up bread and butter pickles before and I don’t think she’s a fan. She is strictly dill. In general, pickles don’t make it on to our menu all that often. I will put one on my burger (the sandwich sliced pickles are good for that) and when I dice up pickles, Lola and I will both put them on our hot dogs along with diced onion. If we get a pickle served with a sandwich, Lola will always give it a try and if it’s good, she’ll be happy. I guess you could say she appreciates a good pickle. I’m the same, I would say. I will say that I have been craving the pickles they serve at Gregg’s Restaurant, another RI institution. Their pickles are barely brined so it’s almost a cucumber, but they soak in enough flavor to give it a good taste. I wish I had gone there today. Although not really because discovering the Backyard Company pickles was a great little discovery and celebration.
Today was National Spicy Guacamole Day too and I am always up for some guacamole. I had a few avocados that were just about at perfect ripeness and I was ready to celebrate. My plan was to make some skillet chicken with a garlic and chipotle sauce (store bought Rick Bayless sauce, not my own) and to serve it with some nice spicy guacamole. At about 5 pm though, Lola emerged from her writing lair and said she made bad choices, had not eaten and was apologetically going to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This happens more than you think and it’s part of life with a writer. She just gets so enthralled in her work that some of the little things about life get overlooked – like eating. If she opted for the PB & J, I would not have minded, however I had everything I needed for guacamole, so I convinced her to give me the five minutes it takes to crank some out. She agreed.
Spicy guacamole is obviously guacamole with some extra heat, so I made my guacamole as normal. I scooped out the avocados and mashed them up with a potato masher. I sprinkled in some salt, pepper, cumin and garlic powder, added in some fresh chopped cilantro and scooped in some hot salsa. I then combined that altogether. To make it spicy, I chopped up a fresh jalapeño, removing most of the seeds before chopping. I folded that into the guacamole as well and it was ready. Lola had found a seat in her corner spot in the kitchen by the heaters and was skimming an article on her computer. I plopped the guacamole down in front of her along with some nice crisp tortilla chips. This made her content and happy.
I was wondering if it was really an adequate spice for a spicy guacamole because sometimes a jalapeño can be on the mild side. However, in my first bite I got a nice chunk of the jalapeño and my mouth was on fire. Mission accomplished. It’s a good heat though and the taste of the avocado and cilantro balances it out. I would make it like this every time if I had the jalapeños on hand and if I was sure it was going to be eaten by people that could take the heat. Lola has always been a person who enjoys spicy foods (just ask her about her love/hate relationship with Buffalo Shrimp Pasta at the Brick Alley Pub) and she is the one that got me to try more spicy things. Now I would say that I have a pretty good palate for anything spicy. I’m glad about that. It gives me more to enjoy in life.
Lola sat in her spot munching on her snack and I was able to cook up the chicken as planned. That came out just ok – I should have crisped up the skin a bit more – but the star of the dish was the spicy guacamole. That seemed appropriate. Guacamole can always save the day. Maybe it saved my day too because the funk I was in earlier in the day had dissipated. Maybe it was the pickles. You just never know. All you can do is roll with the day. Good days or bad days, I’ll just keep celebrating.
Next Up: National Raisin Bran Cereal Day