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Fresh Mangosteens, Yay!

Last weekend they had mangosteens at the Chinese grocery store up the street, but just as I was sidling up to the bin, another lady snatched away the very last bag. When I asked the clerk if there were more in the back, he said that was it, no more. Whaaaaa! Alas, I had to wait until this weekend to return and get my own bag. So, here they are!


On the outside, they are like the lovechild of a persimmon and an aging pomegranate–think leathery shell with crackling blossom on top. Here’s a close-up:

So pretty.

So pretty.

And here it is cut it in half by running a knife around its circumference and then popping off the bottom peel:

Cut open. You can suck out in one giant gulp, or eat section by section, like an orange.

You can suck out the fruit in one giant gulp, or eat it section by section, like an orange.

Here’s another one for good measure. Despite the spots, still tasted delicious:


The awesome R. W. Apple Jr. described them as “litchis, peaches and clementines, mingled in a single succulent mouthful”, but I think I’d have to add banana-custard-lemon in there as well. They are really, really good. Still, I think I’m more of a lychee addict, which is why I was at the Chinese market in the first place. Also, the mangosteens are $8/lb while the lychees, thankfully, are less than $3/lb.

Fun fact! Lychees seriously thin your blood. If you’re taking coumadin and doing that whole routine for a health issue, you’ll notice that your numbers go a bit wacky if you’ve eaten a lot of lychees that week. I speak from experience on this.

Doh, just remembered that I actually wrote a whole piece about lychees and interviewed my pal DL about them a few years ago here.

Enjoy your lychees and mangosteens, everyone!

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Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Program

I’m no longer going to update here about my progress with topical steroid withdrawal. Instead, I’ll be updating my new page devoted specifically to TSW here.

I think updating here about food and gardening once again will help take my mind off the TSW suck-storm and help me feel a little bit more normal. So to that end, I’m going to try to finish up a post about kim chi that I’ve been working on. Stay tuned!

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The Ladder

Not sure where to start, so I’ll just start.

It’s been a very long time since I updated this blog, a year and a half. I blame a few things: the novel that I started during NaNaWriMo 2010 (and which is almost finished), the new job I got shortly thereafter (that I still have), and the once-a-week French night class (that I had to give up six months ago due to complete life-overwhelm). I suppose I just had other priorities. In any case, here I am, blogging again now.

I missed this blog! I miss blogging in general. Everyone should blog! What a great time capsule and scrapbook for myself, not to mention my own personal online cookbook. “Where’s my quince liqueur recipe? How did I make that winter slaw?” Answer: look on your blog.

I spent some time reminiscing here on my old blog this morning and I really enjoyed it. I’d like to post an update of the backyard, which looks very different from how it did here and here. And the front yard got a significant makeover as well. In addition, we remodeled our basement, building on the work we started here and here in our kitchen. Yay for home improvements.

On the health front, I’m sad to say that the SCD went by the wayside for me sometime in 2012-13. I was getting really healthy again, so naturally, I fell off the wagon. I was still gluten-free, but other very bad things, like sugar and GF grains, crept in. Two weeks ago, I endured a rebound reaction after stopping a topical steroid I’d been using the past year to control my rash, and I ended up in the ER with another round of prednisone. My face swelled up so much that I could hardly open my eyes and my skin was just ablaze. Painful, to say the least. Humbled, once again.

How many times will it take for me to understand that I can’t be a “normal” eater? That I’m not a person with a “normal” amount of environmental allergies, a “normal” gut, or a “normal” immune system? That I’m not a person with a reasonable case of atopic dermatitis, but instead a person with a very severe case of it. Well, I’m not sure yet. I’ve embraced the SCD once again and I’m really, really, really hoping that this third time will be the charm and I’ll be able to stick with it for years to come.

The SCD is the only thing I’ve tried in the past 16 years of dealing with this skin issue that has actually greatly improved it, that attempts to relieve the cause and not just mask the symptoms. I don’t use the word cure. But the SCD is the closest I’ve gotten to a cure for my rash. Also, please note, this is not a little rash, people. It’s a life-altering rash. If anyone says to me that I have a little rash, they can expect a fast, hard punch in the gut. You’ve been warned!

All kidding aside, I’m looking forward to several months from now when I’m hoping to feel better after eating right and taking good care of myself. Radical self care, which is part of how I think of the SCD, is a big challenge for me. But it’s what I need to keep practicing.

The upshot here is, of course, that I still love cooking and food. I always will. Cooking has been my longtime hobby and when I can turn around my poor-me attitude, I actually feel nicely challenged by the SCD way of approaching food. For that, I’m extremely grateful.

So, that’s the update. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite parts of Adrienne Rich’s “Diving into the Wreck”, which you should probably click-thru to read right now.

   There is a ladder.
   The ladder is always there
   hanging innocently





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A Stylish Update for the New Year!

A new year, a new bloggy style pour moi! My old WordPress theme was getting rather stale to my eyes, and not in a good-old-crusty-bread kind of way. I’m hoping this new, very clean and crisp theme will encourage me to take and post more photos here. I sold my Nikon D40 last year in a stuff-purge and am now using only my iPhone for photography. There are so many interesting apps out there for modifying phone photos, so I should be able to get creative. Now, whether or not I actually post more photos is an entirely different matter.

But, oh, look! Here’s one now!


My view from the Sterling Room, where I sometimes write. This is my vote for the best view in Portland, Oregon.

Oh, and another!

Rug with a rose print

The carpet in the Sterling Room, also the best in Portland. And do admire my new rain boots while you’re at it.

Bonne Annee to all my friends, family, and total strangers out there!

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Yuletide Greetings!

Hope everyone has a fantastic holiday season!

Pickle in Gingerbread Men Lights

Are these edible?

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SCD Pumpkin Pie

Several years ago, my dad got into roasting his own pumpkins and convinced me that canned pumpkin was a poor imposter of the real stuff. Personally, I think it’s just a heck of a lot easier to peel open a can and go, but now that I’m SCD All The Time, I take the long road. It really does taste better than canned, I’ll give my dad that. It’s way more dense and the flavor is more complex.

Be warned that this is very rich. Hog that I so proudly am, even I can only handle a slice at a time. Plus, I serve it with whipped French cream. I made this for Halloween, but it would also work well for Thanksgiving, of course.

Crustless SCD Pumpkin Pie

2 c roasted and pureed pumpkin (to do this, peel, de-seed, and 1-inch-cube a pie pumpkin, roasting the pieces in the oven at 350F for an hour or two until very soft, then puree in your food processor)

1/2 c French cream (probably dripped SCD yogurt would also work)

1/2 c honey

3 eggs

1 T coconut flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp dried ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp kosher salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Butter a 9″ glass pie dish.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients into another bowl.
  5. Mix the dry ingredients into the wets bowl using a whisk, and then pour it all into the baking dish.
  6. Bake for 55 minutes, watching near the end to make sure the sides aren’t browning too much. If so, cover them with foil.
  7. Serve with French cream whipped with a little honey.

Here it is just coming out of the oven:

And here it is served with whipped French cream:


Filed under dessert, gluten-free, halloween, holiday recipes, pumpkin, Recipes, SCD, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized

Happy Halloween 2011! Guess who?

This post is dedicated to my cousin, LG, who is laid up, sicker than a, ahem, dog. May the Pickle-force be with you, L.

Knock-knock! Don’t you wish you were trick-or-treating at my house? Here’s who’s answering the door this year:

The Pickle Pooh!

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Quince Liqueur

It’s my favorite time of year: quince time! I’m starting with about 25 lbs this year. Should be enough to make everything on my list:

  • Jelly
  • Vinegar
  • Liqueur
  • Poached
  • Stuffing for Thanksgiving

A friend of mine has a speakeasy party every December where many attendees bring their homemade hooches to share. I always bring quince, but this will be the first year I’m trying an SCD-legal version. Here’s the recipe I’m using:

SCD Quince Liqueur

4 c or 750 ml vodka

2/3 c water

1 1/2 c honey

2 medium-sized quinces, grated

  1. Combine the water and honey in a saucepan and bring to a low boil. Boil for five minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, pour the vodka into a large jar.
  3. When the honey-water mixture is ready, strain it into the vodka jar. Straining it will remove any foam. Set the jar aside.
  4. Wash and dry the quince to remove their fuzz.
  5. Quarter and grate them, and add to the jar. Should look something like this:
    Quince liqueur in a jar
  6. Shake it well to combine everything.
  7. Shake it once or twice a day for a week, then put in a cupboard (cool, dark place) for a few weeks, shaking it once a week. Should be ready by Thanksgiving.


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Backyard Landscaping Projects Update

I thought I’d give you a little update to how things have been progressing in the yard since the last big push (see photos here) when we put a ton of new plants in the ground. Here’s how things are looking today:

View of the yard and patio from the kitchen window.

View from the patio.

Another view from the patio -- massive tomato jungle on the right.

View into the patio -- I'm standing now in the middle of the yard.

Chocolate Cosmos -- amazing! Everyone should have these. They really do smell like chocolate. These are growing at the base of the native crabapple (malus fusca), newly planted in the middle of the yard.

Despite there being a metric buttload of new plants on the slope, it's taking too long to fill in and looks like/is a bed of weeds with cherry bark spread throughout. There are two new camellias in here, the Margie (center-right), and another (on the left) that is supposed to be a fall bloomer. Also many natives (salal, sword ferns, huckleberry, serviceberry, ninebark, nootka rose, woods rose, Indian plum, salmonberry, and another native crabapple).

To the right of the slope is this new yarrow garden with four different colors/varieties, near two native twinberries, all of which I'm loving. Yarrows are known to spread, so I'm hoping they just take over here and completely fill in. This is near the native iris I discovered a few weeks ago.

View of the dahlia garden on the right and the awful gray wall of our neighbor's carport. The bamboo contraption is.... well, something The Man built. I'll say no more about that. But it does hold the bird feeders rather nicely.

Another view of the dahlias. This is all blooming like crazy now and is AWESOME. Mixed in there are some germanders, catmint, native currants, teucrium azurium, oriental poppies, nasturtiums, western azalea, and tolmeia menziesii "Taft's Gold," which is a native evergreen ground cover.

Dahlia beds with the existing camellia that we love.

View to the house.

Next I’ll post some photos about some of the individual plants that have been rocking my world. (Note: this blog morphed into a gardening blog for the month of August).

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Backyard Habitat CERTIFIED!

We got our yard GOLD-certified by the Backyard Habitat program! Woohooooo! This was officially a year-long process, but we’ve been working on the landscaping of our house for a few years now. It wasn’t until we joined the program, however, that we really kicked it into high gear. We still have a lot of work to do, but for now, I’m basking in the glory of our new plaque:

Try to ignore the non-native geraniums on my front porch and focus on the plaque.

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