Lemon Pickle Update II - It's Ready!

My lemon pickle is ready! Actually it was ready in 4 weeks but I haven't been able to post an update as this summer has been the busiest ever: birthday party for Medha, visitors, vacation and a huge backlog at work. It's not over yet cos Medha's school friend from New Lenox is coming to stay with us next week but two little girls should be easy to handle. Or am I expecting too much?!

I was surprised that it took only 4 weeks to cook in the sun. But I attribute that largely to the intensity of the sun here in Colorado; we are at a higher altitude which makes the sun even more fierce. I also think that the unexpectedly hot start to this year's summer played a significant role. The usual cooking time in the sun is about 2 months.

The juices are so thick that they stick to the lemon pieces. The thickened juice is called khaar in Marathi and a lemon piece are called limbachi phod. I washed and sliced one of the lemon pieces to show what the peel looks like when it is pickled and ready to eat. The thick peel is no longer crisp and no white parts are visible.

Once the pickle has reached this stage, allow it to rest in a dark place for at least 3 days, preferably a cool cabinet that is not opened frequently. Once past this stage, store the pickle in smaller glass jars in the refrigerator. The advantage of storing it in small jars is that you reduce the chances of contaminating the whole batch if someone double-dips into it or a not-so-dry spoon is used while serving. Storing it in the refrigerator also makes it last that much longer.

We love to have this lemon pickle on the side with meals, like we did with this simple meal of rice and thoy, a simple dal with lots of ginger.

Or with phulki (roti) and farasbeechi bhaji, which was our simple dinner last night.

We also love to have it with bagels. Yes! Warm bagels with cream cheese with a thin layer of lemon pickle. Delicious!

If you make this pickle, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

My next project is a lime pickle with ginger and green chillies, without oil and cooked in the sun. I hope to post the recipe soon!

A huge thank you!

I noticed recently that the traffic to my blog has been on the rise. That made me delve into the logs to see just where the visitors are coming from. And, below is a list of the Indian food blogs and web sites that have been sending me visitors on a regular basis since April 2006.

A toast and salute to you all!

The California Zephyr

We love trains and train rides. For the scenery and for the vacation it spells for us. We are able to spend quality time with each other without any engaging ring tones or emails. We are also lucky that Medha enjoys it as much as we do. She basks in the 100% one-on-one attention she gets when we travel by train.

We took the California Zephyr from Denver to Chicago on one of our innumerable trips from New Lenox to Louisville last year. It was supposed to take just 14 hours but took almost 17 hours. Since Amtrak does not own the railroads, they are at the mercy of the railroad companies whose freight trains get first preference. We don't mind the delays as we give up all semblance of control and enjoy the train ride. However, I was a little apprehensive as that was a year ago and the route from Denver to Emeryville, California is 36 hours long. But it was so much fun that I would do it again in a heartbeat.

The bedrooms were sold out so we booked two roomettes instead. Luckily for us, these were across from each other so we were able to hop over from one side to the other whenever the scenery changed!

The train glides through the Front Range into the Rockies and the spectacular scenery begins...

We crossed the Continental Divide when we went through the 6.2 mile Moffat Tunnel, at an elevation of 9000 feet.

The Colorado river then joins the route and runs alongside the train through most of the route in western Colorado...

...with views of the river basin...

...and white-water rafters, who gave us the Amtrak salute, if they were rafting through calm waters. It was Medha's first exposure to mooning and she just kept yeowing, after the initial wide-eyed jaw-open silence.

...and mesas and canyons...

...through rocks from a hundred years old to over a million years old.

I felt like I was looking into a set for Mackenna's Gold.

The Colorado river bade us farewell near the Utah border and the relentless desert of Utah began.

The lack of scenery and the fading light outside allowed me to teach Medha how to knit. She took to it rather quickly, having woven potholders with looms before.

I took the opportunity to finish the scarf I have been knitting for about five years now and started on my next five year project, a crocheted airy diamond Afghan.

The Sierra Nevadas started soon after Reno...

We also passed the exquisite Donner Lake area that nestles in the Sierra Nevadas.

The gradual descent and the approaching signs of civilization signaled that the first truly relaxed and amazing part of our vacation was over. We reached Emeryville, California with a renewed respect for Mother Earth and her natural beauty.

We stayed for a week, camping at Big Sur, checking out Slow Food in San Francisco and experiencing the city. We flew back with a stop at Las Vegas, which I have awarded the dirtiest and most horrible airport in the USA. The landing and take-off at Vegas were very bumpy. So bumpy that the landing at Denver seemed rather smooth in comparison. We reached home so exhausted that we felt like we needed that proverbial vacation to recover from the last one. But it was really just the last leg that drained us. If I have to do it again, I will fly out to California and return by train, relaxed and rejuvenated! But, it's good to be home again.

I will be posting pictures of the rest of our vacation on Inner Lens. These will include pictures of our camping trip at Big Sur and the city of San Francisco.

Sad times


For Bombay and my brethren in that city...

For Aumkar whose short life was snuffed in a tragic accident...

Visitors, followed by a much needed Vacation

The July 4th long weekend brought 7 visitors from Chicagoland. What fun! We did the rounds of the scenic spots in the area, starting with Boulder Falls...

where we watched some daring folks scramble to the other side to build a pile of rocks for a future lagori...

The weekend saw us in the tourist hotspot of Colorado Springs. Below is a picture of the Garden of the Gods with the granite edifice of Pikes Peak in the distance

... followed by a ride up the Cog Railway to Pikes Peak at 14,110 feet.

We also went to Cave of the Winds for a laser show and a walk through the caves which, according to me is Avoid, Avoid, Avoid.

A hike up the Seven Falls restored much of our humor...

We strolled along Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park...

and hiked up to Alberta Falls...

There was so much food! My friends are vegetarian with a lot of clauses so the dining options were limited. My kitchen has never bustled with so much activity. It was so busy that there was no room or time to take pictures. We made:

  • idlis! My idlis worked for the first time since we moved to Colorado. Yay! Two types of coconut chutneys and lots of sambar.
  • the idli batter was used to make uttapas for breakfast on another day. We added mint from my garden on a whim and it was delicious!
  • Calcutta-style bhel and pani puri
  • pav bhaji
  • alo parathas
  • matki chi misal
  • and, I managed to quickly make two fillets of salmon, pepper crusted and maple glazed, for one of my friends who is vegetarian but loves fish.

My visitors left on the 5th and we set off on a much needed vacation to California. Well, my daughter and I are vacationing while my husband works through most of the week. We took the Amtrak from Denver to Emeryville, California. The scenic route through the Rockies and the Sierra Nevadas is spectacular and breath-taking. We were very comfortable in the two roomettes we had booked. Amtrak food was quite good, given that it is 'train food!' I guess I really am on vacation as I did not take a single picture of any meal!

I hope to be uploading pictures of the ride soon!