Friends Of Australia Friday: Scalloped Shepard’s Pie & A Unique Red

It’s once again an Australia Time Friday! It’s FRIDAY!!!!

The Tucker

Well I got motivated tonight. I made a “reinterpretation” of Shepard’s Pie.

For the “meat base” I put a chopped onion in a 12 inch cast iron skillet with 50/50 olive oil & butter (about 1 oz of each) and started it to saute. Then a pound of Thomas Farms ground lamb was broken into walnut sized bits and layered on top. The whole thing fried on medium until roughly cooked through. Along the way, added a nice “sprinkle over” of salt and 4 or 5 grinds of pepper. A pinch of cinnamon, and about 1/2 tsp of “Greek Seasoning” mix ( no, I don’t know what’s in it…) was sprinkled on. Then as it was nearly done, added 3 or 4 cloves of minced and crushed garlic. While that “simmered” to aromatic, mixed 2 Tbs of flout into about 3 ounces of water. This was stirred in and a bit more water added to form the gravy base. I was going to add some peas, but discovered I had none. Oh Well…

For the potato topper, 2 boxes of Betty Crocker Scalloped Potatoes where cooked in a pot. 4 cups water, 2 Tbs butter ( I think I did more like 3 or 4 ;-) the “sauce packet” when at the boil along with 1 1/3 cups of milk. Then dump in the spuds. This was simmered on the stove about 10 minutes until starting to thicken. A big scoop was used to layer it over the meat base while it was still liquid enough to scoop.

Then a generous layer of Mexican Cheese Mix shreds was sprinkled on top, and the whole thing put into a 400 F oven for about 15 minutes.

Out of the oven, I let it sit about 3 minutes until the bubbling around the edges stopped and it was thick enough to cut wedges and use a spatula to put them on the plate.

Talk about Yum! This is a keeper.

The Wine

How in heaven can a wine be silky smooth and mellow, then have a spicy bite at the end?

It has been a Very Long Time since any wine truly surprised me. This one did. Flavor is very nice, Nose a typical red blend. But over the tongue it goes and you think it’s a mellow and smooth red that’s tame and wants a neutral cracker and then, just as it exits the mouth, Zing! some kind of spice dances over your tongue and is gone. What The?

You try again. Same thing. Sooth as silk and mellow, nothing to see here, move a Zing! and it’s gone.

With a bit of smoked Gouda, the depth of wine improves and the Zing! hides. The cheese is suddenly more complex and interesting that ever before and the experience is greatly enhanced. The blending of flavors is a boon to both.

OK, I “jumped it up” and tried a salted radish. Well that killed the complexity of the wine and doubled up the Zing!… Not that great an idea… A bit more Gouda and things were back to normal.

It went very well with the Scalloped Shepard’s Pie. Overall a remarkable experience and one I will seek out again (and often!).

So what was this wine? “19 Crimes – The Uprising” and the “Red Wine Aged 30 days In Rum Barrels”. About $9 at Total Wines. They also have a “Red Wine” not aged and I’ve got a bottle of it on the shelf at about $7 per, and a “Warden’s” at about $19 that I didn’t buy (yet…) It has a label designed to look like it was burned on the edges and has a photo of a “transported” prisoner on the front. Look for it. Buy it. Drink it. Marvel at it.

In Other News

A high rise in Miami collapsed. This is the kind of thing you expect to see in China or South America, but it was in Miami. Looks like a group of Australians was in it.

Mass casualty event: ‘Catastrophic’ building collapse, 99 missing
A group of Australians are among almost 100 people who are missing after a high-rise tower in Florida “pancaked” while residents slept.

Mathew Murphy and Ben Graham

At least one person is dead and at least 99 people — including a group of Australians — are missing after a high-rise apartment block in Florida “literally pancaked” while residents were sleeping.

As a desperate rescue operation is underway to find survivors, firefighters say they can hear “banging” beneath the rubble.

Online videos showed a large portion of the 12-storey building in the town of Surfside – just north of Miami Beach – reduced to rubble, with the apartments’ interiors exposed.

Miami Dade authorities declared a “Level 5” mass casualty event meaning statewide emergency resources are required, according to reports.

Further shocking footage shows the moment the towers collapsed, sending plumes of smoke into the air.

Joseph Waks, an Australian who has been living in Surfside for 12 years, told the ABC a group of Australians lived in the building, but he had not been able to locate them.

Danny Rivero, a reporter from National Public Radio in South Florida, wrote on Twitter: “We’ve been told many Argentinians and Australians were in the building as well, and that all are unaccounted for. This is an international disaster.”

There’s photos and video in the link, hit it. Then a lot further down, this odd bit:

One witness, who was in a neighbouring building, said the collapse felt like a “tornado or earthquake”.

The building is located one block away from where Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump currently live.

I wonder if they (the Kushner’s) are having their building checked over…

Realize these things are supposed to withstand a hurricane directly in their teeth and the building codes are fairly extreme there. I’m left to wonder if years of salt air did something to the rebar in the concrete structure…

One photo in the link (at the bottom) shows just one corner of the building collapsed. That argues more for a sink hole taking out foundation support; as a general structural weakening / failure would take down the whole building.

UPDATE: H.R. pointed to a video showing the actual collapse. It was almost all of the building. What is shown in the photo is just one small part of a much larger building with the corner of that part collapsed. The “rest of the building” being what looks like an open space in the photo. Much more collapsed, maybe 4 or 5 times as much, as what is left standing in the photo.

Eventual discovery of actual cause will be worth watching.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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46 Responses to Friends Of Australia Friday: Scalloped Shepard’s Pie & A Unique Red

  1. E.M.Smith says:

    I just had to know if the “Red Blend” was also Zing! enabled, so opened it and poured a glass.

    It, too, is inky black in the glass, with purple color on back scatter light, but deep scarlet on through light. Nice and mellow on the tongue. A delight…

    But no Zing!

    Whatever that after taste Zing! is, comes from the month in a Rum Cask.

    OK, point taken. Look for wines that have aged a bit in a rum cask. Nice to know.

    I’d always figure it was just so much marketing BS and not bothered. Live and learn… and drink ;-0

  2. beththeserf says:

    Mmmm … that sounds like the best dinner ever…
    hope the survivors in the collapsed housing tower in Florida are all rescued.

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    Well it was certainly far better than every other Friends Of Australia Friday meal I’ve cooked up with the possible exception of the Greek Meatballs!

    I really need to figure out just what is in the Greek Spice mix. It was in a gift set of a dozen small jars with magnetic lids that stick to the fridge next to the stove… As I’ve found I really really like it, time to deconstruct it. Visual / physical, then sensory evaluation. I think it’s like the Italian with “something else”, perhaps anise or fennel… but I’m guessing.

    Any survivors will be rescued. These folks are set up to deal with hundreds of miles of hurricane damage / recovery, and this is one corner of one building. That it happened while people slept is very bad as that’s when the rooms are full. Mid Day it would be empty as everyone is on the beach or in a bar…

    “Why” is the big question. Normally you get sink holes inland (as rain dissolves the limestone base rock). Near the coast that’s much less frequent. But a structural failure ought not take out just one corner… It’s a bit of a mystery right now.

  4. Graeme No.3 says:

    Greek oregano is a mixture of different (often growing wild) and is sold as dried stalks (usually wrapped in cellophane. Slightly different to ordinary oregano in taste. Cloves and cinnamon are used in cooking too, or allspice (from the Turkish influence.

    Tower collapse is big news in Australia as you would expect.

  5. rhoda klapp says:

    You did well to miss out the peas. Peas and carrots don’t belong in a Shepherd’s Pie, they take up space that ought to be meat. That’s why restaurants do it that way, but you don’t wanna do it at home.

    My wine advisor tells me the cheapest 19 crimes is the preferred option, and that there’s an app where if you had a smart phone you point it at the label and the person in the picture talks to you.

    (The 19 crimes are of course the ones which would get you a free ticket to the wonderful land of Oz, back in the day)

  6. H.R. says:

    @E.M. – The collapse is worse than you thought. It’s not just a ‘corner’ that collapsed.

    There is a large squarish central section with ‘towers’ on each end. The large central section collapsed first, then one of the ends went down.

    It was caught on some other building’s security camera. See it here.

  7. H.R. says:

    I had my lamb rib chops on (U.S) Wednesday, the 23rd.

    The kids visited for Mother’s Day and Father’s day, but we didn’t do dinners or anything. So we went out to dinner on Wednesday.

    The Frenched rib chops were seasoned with garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper. They were accompanied by roasted fingerling potatoes and lightly steamed asparagus. Yum!

    I had my ‘out to dinner’ Bombay Sapphire gin martini, with – they ignored my request for one olive – two olives, up. Yes, shaken, not stirred ;o)

    The kids footed the bill. That martini was $11.50! What the ?!? Gin and vodka are cheap, cheap, cheap. There’s no aging process such as with Scotch or bourbon or brandy or whatnot. I can understand why a 20-year old Scotch can be pricey, but even a gin with a complex blend of botanicals is ready to ship nearly right away.

    Oh, it was New Zealand lamb. I’d written on another FofAF thread that all I get is Australian lamb in my neck of the woods. I’m not sure how the NZ lamb sneaked into that place. Well, it’s an upper end regional chain, so I suppose they have a contract with some supplier that gets the NZ lamb. If they bought locally, it would have been Australian lamb.
    BTW, every single restaurant in our large metro region is short of staff. If you go out, there will be a wait. We were there early in the dinner hours and our waitress was covering the whole restaurant. As the restaurant started filling up, a second waiter came on duty. That was it. The manager was filling in all the missing positions; busing tables, refilling coffees and teas, bringing out dinners.

    It’s much the same all over. The restaurant managers are hard done to. It seems every place now their job is, at a minimum, Manager/Bus Boy/drink refills.

    When they stop paying people not to work, people will go back to work.

  8. vcmathjm says:

    Zero Hedge has this quote on the building
    “When news broke of the collapse, Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Florida International University, remembered a study he completed on the condo building in the 1990s. He found the tower was sinking 2 millimeters a year in the 1990s.

    “I looked at it this morning and said, ‘Oh my god.’ We did detect that,” he said.

    Wdowinski said his research is more than two decades old, and the sinking may have decreased or accelerated. ”
    Foundation problems?

  9. E.M.Smith says:


    Hard to see what isn’t there…

    So what I took to be a “missing corner and open space” was really “missing corner of one part and missing large building area”…

    Locally, Sprouts (a Whole Foods mini-me), has New Zealand lamb. Maybe they shop at Sprouts ;-) It’s good stuff too.


    2 mm / year x 25 years = 50 mm. 5 cm That level of deformation ought not to break concrete structures.

    There’s 3 “reasonable reasons” for that kind of sinking.

    1) The “soil” is a pile of beach sand subject to movement and potentially periodic liquefaction as tides and rain saturation happen. Were this the case I’d expect to have seen more buildings go down along that beach front.

    2) The builders knew (or ought to have known but missed it) the “soil” was not firm, but didn’t sink pilings far enough to fix that. Fault to the builder / soils engineer / county inspectors.

    3) A sinkhole ate the building. (Check local history of sinkholes. They tend to make lots of little round lakes in an area that is prone to them so even a Google Earth view might show it up.)

    My money would be on #2.

    I’d check the sales history on the building to see if there is any evidence of folks buying it, finding out the problem existed, and “moving it on” as quick as they could…

    I suppose there’s also a 4: Nobody thought a few mm during their time of ownership was anything but normal settling.

  10. Power Grab says:

    @ EM:

    That recipe sounds great! I believe I can get that brand of ground lamb here in town. I don’t have Greek seasoning, but I’ll see what I can find.

    I had to go to 3 grocery stores last weekend to find gumbo file powder! I was in the mood for gumbo. I spent a lot of time looking for recipes, but then just settled on the relatively simple one in the Better Homes & Gardens (red and white) cookbook. I don’t mind starting with something simple while I decide how to change things up the next time. I also got some Creole seasoning. I had some gumbo leftovers last night, sprinkled with file powder and Creole seasoning. It was nice :-)

    When I asked my offspring if they liked the gumbo, they said they would have liked the rice to have been seasoned, perhaps a la Spanish rice. So that’s another change I’ll likely make next time I make it. A long time ago, I made a batch of Spanish (or Mexican?) rice from scratch, by just tossing in stuff I thought would be good. It was lovely! I should have written it down. :-/

    On another subject – I have a couple Cherokee Purple tomato plants in the back yard. One plant has flourished and has produced 6 or 8 good-sized tomatoes. The other plant is kind of puny and has only produced one tomato. Since this variety doesn’t turn red (just dark purple), I’m not sure I should harvest them yet. The weather forecast is for almost a week of rain, probably more than 2-3 inches.

    Should I go ahead and harvest them before all that rain starts?

    This is our first time to grow stuff in the ground, and not just in pots. I consider myself a total novice! Any advice would be appreciated. :-)

  11. E.M.Smith says:


    Tomatoes like it hot. They sulk in cold. I’ve had issues some summers getting them to ripen in California near the coast (Central Valley is easy…). If night temps drop below about 54 F, they will not set fruit. So night cold near the coast is an issue for me. (Probably not for you).

    If a tomato plant is sulking, it is usually either too cold, not enough sun, not enough water, or missing some growth nutrient it wants. (It can be a plant disease or insects too, but I’ve not had that happen other than tomato horn worms, but you know they are there from the chewed and missing leaves).

    So you get to figure out what the darling wants and give it. I’d dig down about 6 to 9 inches in the soil a ways from the roots and make sure water is making it down into the soil (here we tend to get the top inch wet, then it is bone dry from there on down for feet…). Then I’d give it a ‘side dressing’ of a mixed fertilizer for vegetables. Something with all of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium in it, along with trace minerals can help too. Generally Miracle Grow fixes whatever is wrong. The general purpose vegetable version is what I’ve used, but it looks like they have a tomato special too:

    Per ripeness:

    Let your fingers be your guide. If the thing is rock hard, it isn’t ripe. When it starts to ripen, it becomes a bit springy. IF it gets to squishy, you waited too long. IF you harvest one green, it can be sliced and fried and makes a very tasty “Fried green tomatoes” dish. What I’d do is feel the ones on the plant with several, and find the least hard / softest one. (Likely also the oldest and biggest) and pick it. If it is ripe, pick the next in line tomorrow. If it isn’t, fry it up and wait another week.

    Picking off the tomatoes will often encourage the plant to make more flowers and “try again”, so I’d not be too bashful about picking one or two. For green beans, it is essential to keep them “picked off” for continued production. Tomatoes I’m less sure about as our short season here has had me just getting what I could in the time available. However, I remember a very long season with several rounds of picking as a kid in the Central Valley. This, BTW, also varies by variety.

    Commercial varieties are genetically selected for “one and done” harvest. ALL ripen at once, then rip it out and plant something else. Minimizes labor costs. Heirloom / home garden varieties are selected for long production over the entire season, a few ripen every day for months. Ideal for “pick fresh what you need today” all season long. This is THE major PITA from commercial seed producers focusing on commercial growers needs. It is also THE major reason Heirlooms are your friend. You don’t end up with 4 bushels of tomatoes and 5 of green beans in one week then nothing for the next 3 months…

    I trialed the Cherokee Purple once, but it was not happy with my cold nights area. IIRC, it started as little green tomatoes but turned purple on being ripe, but maybe someone with more experience with them can give more details.

    Oh, and an under ripe tomato will ripen on standing so if you pick 3 and find the first one a bit less than ripe, let the others sit for a few days. IIRC putting them in a paper bag with an apple speeds it up too due to a gas given off by the apple. Ethylene?

    This is way too long an article, but complete. Confirms Ethylene.:

    How to Ripen Green Tomatoes
    MAY 5, 2021

    How to Ripen Green Tomatoes. Easy Ways To Ripen Green Tomatoes Indoors
    Growing tomatoes at home is one of my favorite hobbies and one that many gardeners quickly take up. There’s really nothing quite like a home-grown tomato!

    A common (but good) problem that many gardeners find themselves facing is that they are growing more tomatoes than they can handle. Your tomato plants may bend over backward, literally, because of the number of tomatoes that they are producing.
    A common practice is to remove some of the green tomatoes from your plants. And not just for fried green tomatoes… Although, fried green tomatoes topped with roasted red tomatoes, crab meat, and a little splash of remoulade is amazingggg.

    If you’re not a fried green tomato person… you can pluck extra tomatoes off and ripen them inside.

    Will tomatoes ripen if picked green?

    It’s a really common misconception that tomatoes can only ripen on the vine. Did you know that?
    how to ripen green tomatoes

    Once a tomato is mature, it will ripen and turn red whether it’s still attached to the plant or has been removed.

    With that being said, people with sensitive palates may be able to taste the difference between a tomato that is ripened on the vine versus one that was ripened off of the vine. For the majority of us, they’ll taste just as good no matter where they are ripened.

    What makes tomatoes ripen?

    There is a combination of factors that work together to ripen your tomatoes.

    Once a tomato has become large enough to start ripening, there are a couple of factors that will cause the tomato to start ripening.

    To start ripening the tomato, the plant releases a gas called ethylene. It’s the same gas that greenhouses and large grocery stores will use to ripen a bunch of produce at the same time. That sounds bad when you hear it, but keep in mind that ethylene is a naturally occurring gas that plants make to ripen fruit.

    Ethylene gas is produced by tomatoes, apples, bananas, and other ripening fruits. Ever heard the phrase ‘one bad apple will ruin the bunch’? That’s because as apples (and other fruits) ripen and continue to get overripe, they continue to produce ethylene gas.

    The ethylene gas will spread to nearby fruit and will cause them to overripen also.

    Ethylene gas is a major factor in ripening tomatoes, but it’s not the only factor.

    The ambient temperature also plays a factor in how fast tomatoes ripen. Tomatoes grow the best in very warm temperatures.

    When temperatures are over 70 degrees Fahrenheit, tomatoes will ripen in less than two weeks. Temperatures that are cooler, 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit, will cause tomatoes to take longer to ripen. In cooler temperatures, it can take up to a month for tomatoes to ripen completely.

    You can make this knowledge work in your favor. If you want to ripen more tomatoes at once, ie. for canning, then you can keep them in a cooler space to slow down the ripening. If you want to speed up ripening, keep them in a warm spot.
    How do you turn green tomatoes red?

    There are a few proven ways that you can turn green tomatoes red. I mentioned that greenhouses and large grocery stores will use ethylene gas to ripen their tomatoes. You can use the same concept to ripen your tomatoes at home, without having to spray them down with gas.

    Remember, ethylene gas is one of the drivers for ripening tomatoes, but it’s not the only driver. With that being said, many ripening fruits produce ethylene gas. A ripe banana, apple, or another ripe tomato will release ethylene gas, which you can use to help ripen green tomatoes.

    Ripen Green Tomatoes in a Paper Bag or Cardboard Box

    You can ripen tomatoes in a paper bag or cardboard box.

    Line the bottom of the box or bag with newspaper. Place a layer of tomatoes to cover the bottom of the box or bag. There should be space between your tomatoes. Tomatoes that are touching while ripening will develop overly ripe soft spots, so keep the tomatoes apart.

    Cover the tomatoes loosely with a sheet of newspaper.

    Place the box or bag in a warm space. The tomatoes will start to produce ethylene gas and ripen in the box or bag.

    Check the tomatoes daily and remove tomatoes that are ripe. Placing the ripe tomatoes in the refrigerator will slow down the process of ripening.

    I’ve found that the flat Amazon boxes work really well for ripening tomatoes. They’re thin enough that they don’t take up much room but they’re still deep enough to hold a layer of tomatoes.

    If you want to speed up the ripening process, use a ripe apple, banana, or tomato and place it into the box with the ripening fruits. The already ripe fruit will kickstart the ethylene production in the ripening tomatoes. Don’t leave the ripe fruit in the box or bag for more than a day or two or it will start to break down and turn into a mess.

    Ripening Green Tomatoes in a Plastic Bag or Glass Jar
    You can do the same thing using a plastic bag or glass jar. The jar or bag works to keep the ethylene gas concentrated around the tomatoes, causing them to ripen faster.

    There is a downfall to this process though. A glass jar or plastic bag won’t breathe as much as a paper bag or cardboard box. This can create moist air that is perfect for growing mold.

    As soon as you notice a ripened tomato, remove it to prevent overripening and mold.

  12. Power Grab says:

    @ EM:

    Wow! Great reply and article. I think I will go ahead and pick at least half of the tomatoes that are less green…if they feel soft enough.

    Also, I did find some of that ground lamb during lunch. I still don’t have Greek seasoning, though.


  13. H.R. says:

    @Power Grab – Walmart carries a Greek seasoning, Cavender’s, I think.

    That’s what’s on my spice shelf. At least I think I picked that up at Walmart.

    I didn’t see that they had a store locator on their site. Maybe it will show up in a search on one of your grocery stores that has online ordering.

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    @Power Grab:

    You’re welcome!

    Guess maybe it’s time for me to take a look at what goes into “Greek Seasoning” ;-)

    I usually look at 2 or 3 recipes, note what is in common and think about the variations.

    1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    ½ teaspoon dried basil
    ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
    ½ teaspoon dried minced onion
    ¼ teaspoon dried minced garlic

    So aside from the onion & garlic that I tend to use fresh, 4 herbs. Oregano, thyme, marjoram, basil.

    I don’t use either basil or marjoram much so those might be what’s making it “special”. OTOH, looks like a lot of variation in other recipes…

    looks a lot whiter than what I’ve got. Mine looks a lot like Italian herb mix. I.E. not a lot of dried onions or garlic in it.

    Greek seasoning is a blend of spices and herbs common to the Mediterranean region. This includes marjoram, oregano, basil, dill and thyme. Many of these ingredients have actually been documented as being used by Ancient Greeks to add flavor to their food.
    My Greek seasoning is made up of 12 simple spices that you probably already have on hand. It is a perfect mixture of common Greek flavors, savory dried herbs, and aromatic spices.

    Here’s what you will need to make it:

    Garlic powder
    Greek oregano
    Dried basil
    Dried onion
    Black pepper
    Dried parsley
    Dried dill
    Dried marjoram

    OK, that one adds a lot of stuff. Note the specification of Greek Oregano that has been identified as having a somewhat different flavor. Then I’d skip the salt as that is variable by dish. Also the onion as I use fresh. So “Greek Oregano, Basil, pepper, parsley, dill, marjoram, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg”. I think I need to smell mine and try to pick out the particulars…

    Greek Seasoning

    Can’t find Greek seasoning at the grocery store? Our Test Kitchen home economists came up with their own rendition of the ethnic blend.

    1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
    1 teaspoon dried mint
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/2 teaspoon dried basil
    1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
    1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
    1/4 teaspoon dried minced garlic

    Adds mint to the possibles. Don’t remember any mint flavor in mine though.

    Looks like in addition to the garlic and onion, it’s mostly got in common Oregano, Thyme, Basil, and Marjoram.

    Another vote for mint… and adds fennel seed as a thing. That licorice / anise like flavor?

    What spices are used in Greek Food?
    Greek cuisine primarily uses oregano, mint, garlic, onion, dill, and bay leaf, along with the addition of basil, thyme, fennel seed, and parsley.
    What are Greek herbs?
    There are an abundant amount of Greek herbs since it is a country located in the Mediterranean. The most notable herbs include basil, bay leaf, dill, fennel, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, purslane, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, and thyme.
    What can be used in place of marjoram?
    If you do not have marjoram, oregano is the best substitute as the two stems from the same herb family and are closely related in flavor. You can also replace marjoram with an equal amount of dried sage, thyme, summer savory, or basil.
    Greek oregano vs oregano?
    Greek oregano, a member of the mint family, tends to be the most savory and earthy, compared to the milder Italian oregano or more pungent Turkish when comparing the Mediterranean varieties. There is also Mexican oregano which has notes of citrus and mild licorice as it is a relative of lemon verbena. But by all means, use the variety of oregano that suits your needs!

    2 teaspoons garlic powder
    2 teaspoons dried basil
    2 teaspoons Greek oregano
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon dried parsley
    1 teaspoon dried rosemary minced
    1 teaspoon dried dill weed
    1 teaspoon dried marjoram
    1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    Salt to taste

    Mix garlic powder, basil, oregano, cinnamon, pepper, parsley, rosemary, dill, marjoram, thyme, and nutmeg in a bowl. Add salt to taste, I like 1 teaspoon. Store in an airtight container.
    For a finer texture, blend spices in a spice grinder.

    I’ve dumped a bit of mine on a white plate. It looks like just a mix of finely broken up bits of green. No Salt. No black pepper. No garlic or onion granules.

    Unfortunately, bits of ground up leaves all look the same once ground. A “bit of a sniff” says Oregano, Basil, probably Marjoram as there’s some “like oregano but different”, and there is just a hint of some kind of anise note. Close inspection shows some bits with striations that might be ground up fennel seed. Possibly also some Thyme. No evidence of Nutmeg or Cinnamon powders. Don’t know what dried dill weed looks like or smells like, so a maybe. Didn’t see any rosemary leaf fragments, but it’s ground fine enough I might have missed it.

    2 teaspoons sea salt
    1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
    2 teaspoons garlic powder
    2 teaspoons onion powder
    2 teaspoons dried parsley
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1 teaspoon dried basil
    1 teaspoon dried rosemary
    1 teaspoon dried lemon peel
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1 teaspoon fennel seed
    1⁄2 teaspoon marjoram leaves
    1⁄2 teaspoon dried spearmint

    So adds spearmint to the list.

    OK, I’m ready to synthesize an analog of the one I used.

    Basic Mix:

    1 Oregano (Greek preferred but others OK)
    1 Basil (so many kinds… presume industrial grocery store)
    1 Thyme (again so many kinds… again industrial grocery store)
    1 Fennel Seeds
    1 Marjoram

    Reasonable additions:

    1 Rosemary
    1 Dill weed

    Optional If Not Using Fresh or grinding to match the dish:

    1 Dried Onion
    1/2 Dried Garlic Granules
    1/2 Ground Pepper (More if you like things peppery)
    1 Salt

    Not seeing the point, but worth experimenting on small batch dishes like meatballs:

    Mint in general
    Lemon peel
    Parsley (Never really understood why you would use dried parsley. Does it even have flavor?)
    Nutmeg (or Mace)

    Those last two are “warming” spices I think. Used with discretion can be very nice, but in a widely used just-dump-it-in spice mix? I’d rather use as desired not just always in the mix.

    So that’s my take on “Greek Spice Mix”.

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    Taking a quick look at some Italian Spice Mix recipes, it looks like Fennel Seed is the big difference, and some have Marjoram but some don’t. Oregano, Basil, Thyme, and Parsley seem to be the basis for Italian mix.

    I’m thinking if you have Italian Seasoning Mix, you can add crushed / frappe’d fennel seed and some marjoram and be pretty close.

    That is assuming you use the “just the leaves” approach and let Salt, Pepper, Onion & Garlic be “as the dish likes it and fresh or freshly ground if possible”.

  16. The True Nolan says:

    Too many green tomatoes? Try fermenting them. Wash them, cut them into good sized chunks (which won’t be too messy since they are still green and firm.) Pack them into a clean jar, maybe add a couple of cloves of garlic or flavoring of your choice, sprinkle in a good non-iodized salt at maybe a table spoon or a spoon and a half per quart jar. Fill jar with water, shake to dissolve and distribute salt. Use your own wits to depress tomatoes below surface of liquid. Put in a dark place for a week or two while the animalcules work on things. Eat when ready. Yummy! At least if you like naturally fermented foods.

  17. E.M.Smith says:


    I’ve got to wonder how many fermented food recipes (some of them national dishes… like kimchi and that Swedish fermented fish thing…) were really just discoveries from some mistake matched to a very hungry person with starvation causing them to try anything…

    I mean, Limburger? Really? People deliberately set out to make that? Uh Huh…

    So that fermented tomatoes process sounds just like preparing to can them, then you forgot to put it through the canner… though the salt is a little high:

    Add 1 teaspoon salt per quart to the jars, if desired.

    Oh, and not putting the lid on the jar… Botulism is anaerobic so as long as air exposed you don’t get it trying to kill you.

    For cabbage (sauerkraut) folks usually put a wooden disk on top and weight it down to push the cabbage below the water surface. Hmmm…. SauerMaters ?

  18. E.M.Smith says:

    Does look like “it’s a thing” with fermented green tomatoes. This recipe lists salt, but doesn’t say how much (in the video maybe?), but uses a bunch of what I’d call pickling spices:

    This one does have salt:

    Not sure what a “Probiotic Jar” is though…

    Equipment: 1 Liter Probiotic Jar
    Quartered green tomatoes or cherry green tomatoes halved to fill jar to shoulder
    2% brine (19 grams of sea salt to 1 quart of filtered water)
    Seasonings: garlic, peppercorns, a few slices of fresh spicy pepper

    Gee… 19 grams to the quart… Guess I’m not the only one who mixes systems ;-)

    I’d guess that’s about a TBs?

    How much salt should I use for a brine?
    When mixing a brine within which you will submerge your fermentables, it is common to mix to a salinity level between 1.5% and 5% with the sweet spot being in the 2-3% range. This percentage is actually a proportion by weight, so if you divide the weight of your salt by the weight of your water used, you will come up with the percentage. For example, a brine typically will have approximately 2.5 TBS salt to 4 cups of water, in my kitchen, those weights are:

    Making your brine
    to mix 4 cups of brine to various salinity percentages, dissolve the following amounts of salt into 4 cups of water:

    2% brine – 1 TBS sea salt
    3% brine – 1.5 TBS sea salt
    4% brine – 2 TBS sea salt
    5% brine – 2.5 TBS sea salt

    So in fact much more salt than used in canning. About 3 times more at the low end.

    OK, I’ve confirmed that you were correct with the TBS to 1.5 TBS. Seemed high to me, given my canning background, but looks to be the norm in fermenting vegetables to get the right bacteria and keep out the wrong ones.

  19. philjourdan says:

    Damn! You are getting to know me too well (saying you do not know what is in Greek spices). The only greek I know is feta and grape leaves.

    @H.R. Many thanks for the video. I was unaware of the extent. It is troublesome.

  20. H.R. says:

    @Power Grab: OK, I just checked Kroger for Cavender’s Greek Seasoning. That’s a huge multi-regional chain and they have order online, pick up at appointed time, curbside service. (They are now making inroads in Florida. Yay! Good outfit.)

    Anyhow, they don’t stock it, but they do ship-to-store, and if you order a case, they will ship it to you.
    OK…. Walmart check….
    ….. Jeopardy theme here…..

    .Yaaaay!!! My local Walmart carries it at the store. “Add to cart?” I guess that actually is where I got my little shaker container.

    You should be able to score a decent Greek seasoning without too much trouble, Power Grab. Check who stocks some right quick! before that lamb goes South.

    May your taste buds be blessed with a a blast of flavor.

    (Nahhhh…. he really didn’t say that 😜)

  21. E.M.Smith says:


    Just HOW do you KNOW he didn’t say that? Were you following him around his whole life? Writing down every utterance? I don’t think so! (Tim…;-)

    I’m willing to bet at some point in his life he had some Szechuan dinner and either said something like that, or “That’s a spicy meat-a-ball!” (only in Cantonese or whatever he spoke…)

    Prove me wrong, just try!


  22. Power Grab says:

    @ EM, HR, TTN, and philjourdan:

    Thanks a million! :-D

    I seem to remember that I bought marjoram when I was in my first apartment and first starting to cook for myself. But for the life of me, I can’t remember what dish I was making that needed it.

    I did a quick search on and found Cavender’s Greek seasoning, so I will pick some up when I go to the store again. I’m pretty sure I can find the packaged scalloped potatoes, too.

    I wish I had more time to cook. But it is Friday, after all, so I probably will make the lamb dish tomorrow. I haven’t gotten much of my regular work done yet today.

  23. tom0mason says:

    Look and taste of Dill Weed from
    “Dill has a strong, distinctive taste that is something of a mixture of aniseed, celery and faintly of fennel although with very slightly bitter undertones.”
    Oddly I find dried Dill is lighter in flavor than the fresh.
    Hope this help with your recipe ideas.

  24. E.M.Smith says:


    It does! It says that you can swap dill weed for the fennel / aniseed class of flavors.

    So, OK, that “faint anise” flavor and aroma can be reached with fennel seeds or with dill weed. Nice.

  25. H.R. says:

    @tom0mason: I grow dill weed, and it is a weed. Once you plant some it will start popping up all over in other flower beds.

    I like it for making fresh dill pickles. I started growing my own cucumbers last year, but you can make the pickles with store-bought cucumbers. The ‘English’ or ‘Hothouse’ or ‘Burpless’ cucumbers – it’s all the same thing, different names at different stores – make the best fresh pickles.

    The ingredients are:
    Filtered water
    White vinegar
    Kosher salt
    A pinch of sugar – not enough to taste it, but the blend just doesn’t work without it.
    Minced garlic – I use the cheater stuff already minced in a jar. Fresh would be good.
    Sliced onions – I did that for the flavor but it turns out they are delicious themselves
    A bit of dried minced onion or a splish of onion powder for the slightly different onion flavor
    and… Fresh dill leaves, coarsely chopped up to release more of the dill flavor (No stems!)

    I put that in some of those jars with the metal hinge and latch, rubber seal jars

    It needs to sit in the fridge for only about 2 days before they are pretty darn good and peak flavor is at about a week to 10 days.

    No heating the brine mix! I saw videos that start with heating the brine mix. I tried it once and all the zing of the fresh flavors went Poof!

    Last year, at the end of the season, I had a couple of dozen small green tomatoes that were never going to mature. They were golf ball size +/-.

    I cored the stem and cut them in half so they could absorb more of the flavors, then just substituted the green tomatoes for the cucumber. They are very good, but they don’t have that extra flavor that cucumbers have. The green tomato flavor – I was surprised – just isn’t very strong or intense. They do make a nice side bite to a sandwich, though.
    P.S. I very, very rarely measure anything. If I’m making 2 or 3 jars of pickles, they will all be slightly different. That’s why there are no measures given above.

    I taste the brine (a bit raw at this point!) and add more of whatever if it’s lacking to suit my taste.

    Maybe, maybe this year I’ll I’ll note the ratio of vinegar to water. I always put in lot’s of garlic and dill, so that’s rarely lacking. But where I usually wind up making adjustments is with the vinegar/water mix. Too much vinegar? Add a little water. Too watery? Add some vinegar.

    Oh, which reminds me. Leave a little room for a vinegar or water adjustment. If you happened to have nailed it, then add a little more of each to top off the jar.

  26. The True Nolan says:

    @E.M. “in fact much more salt than used in canning.”

    Yes, the salt is important. Most bacteria do not grow well around salt — but lactobacillus is an exception. The salt help ensure that you get a lacto fermentation, not something potentially harmful. And yes, the jar needs a lid and then something to hold the vegetables (almost any kind of veggies you can think of) below the surface. If you get a moldy looking scum on the liquid surface, skim it off and everything else should be good. Yes, that sounds yucky, but 300 generations of housewives can’t be wrong. If you start to get a BLACK mold… well, that jar needs to disappear into the trash.

    @H.R. Fresh dill is one of my favorites! It sounds like a few here prefer the dried, but fresh dill has some aromatics that are just delicious. Try this: Chunk potatoes and boil. Drain, leave in pot, salt to taste and then let dry a bit in the pot. Add too much butter, break up potatoes with a fork, add green onion bits, add CHOPPED FRESH DILL, and lastly sour cream. Stir contents together with fork. Put head into pot and eat. Lick out the corners. Repeat.

    (That is my wife’s recipe, all except for the last three steps. I thought of those myself.)

  27. E.M.Smith says:


    That sounds like a very interesting dish to try. Guess I need to find a source of fresh dill…

    I prefer fresh everything whenever possible and reasonable; but I also try to get skills up using dried stuff as part of “Emergency Prep”. Sort of schitzo on that, I guess ;-)

    When I was about 7 I found I really really liked sweet pickles, far more than Dill Pickles… and that had me avoiding “dill” the rest of my days. Only late in life did I learn it wasn’t really the dill spice that was the issue, that it was just liking sweet more. Yet I’ve still not gone back to learn “the ways of the dill”… Maybe it’s time I got that Round Tuit…

    I have several books on preserving food, including a whole book on fermenting and pickling. “For that day”. Maybe it’s time I used them for this day instead. OTOH, I’ve got 3 jars of pickled stuff in the fridge to work through… Yes, store stuff, but still… The little peppers are the most interesting to me, but they move slowly… one or 2 a day every few days.

    Sigh. So many foods to try, so few meals in a day…

  28. The True Nolan says:

    @E.M. If you like sweet pickles you can do the same thing with green tomatoes. There is a local restaurant famous for their hushpuppies and their pickled sweet tomatoes. Just follow the same recipe you would use for sweet pickles but put in chunked up green tomatoes instead of cucumbers. Here is a really good spice mix to use — but the Amazon price seems rather high to me. Look at the ingredients and you can see what makes a good sweet pickled tomato.

  29. H.R. says:

    @TTN – Ah, that looks like the pickling mix I bought that I would not use after smelling it. It just didn’t scream DILL PICKLE at me.

    But I can recall the aroma and it would be great in sweet pickles.
    It seems were are in agreement on green tomato pickles. They are good. They might be better sweet than dilled.

    It sure is a good way to use up all those end-of-season little green tomatoes that will never ripen and have quit growing.
    Oh, I also bought some pearl onions. They have the small ones and they now have some that are a fair bit larger, maybe twice+ the size. The larger ones makes a great pickled onion.

  30. The True Nolan says:

    @H.R. Speaking of sweet pickles… Last year I did some sweet pickled pears, and they were really good. I used relatively hard Keiffer pears and a pickling mix that was simply vinegar, sugar, salt and water. In fact the mix was based on the Korean mix used for sweet-sour Daikon radish, just made a bit stronger.

    But pickled onion? Ooohhh, good idea! One of the few things doing well in my garden this years so far is the onions. Maybe I ought to try some pickled onions…

  31. H.R. says:

    @TTN – I gave the neighbor some of my fresh pickles with the sliced onion in it. We both were hitting the pickles and ignoring the onions as just ‘flavor added’.

    At about the same time, we had both just fished out some onion to nosh on and noted it was really, really good when we compared notes.

    So I bought a couple of bags of those larger pearl onions and got a couple of small jars of onion pickles, dill, of course. A jar for him and a jar for me.

    I believe cocktail onions are just those pearl onions in a jar of vermouth, or maybe some vermouth, water and salt. I dunno. I don’t like them for my gin martinis. I’m an olive guy.

    But now I’m wondering if the pickling spices, vermouth, green tomatoes or onions or maybe green tomatoes and onions might prove to be a tasty combo. The question is sweet or dry vermouth?

    Better living through chemistry wasn’t just a tag line in a commercial, I say. 😁

  32. E.M.Smith says:

    FWIW, in the farm town where I grew up, just about every vegetable imaginable was made into a pickle by somebody or other. On a drive back from Little Grass Valley (High in the SIerra Nevada) Dad stopped at a road side cafe. Very Country.

    One of the specialties on the menu? Pickled Watermelon Rind. I tried some, and it was surprisingly good. Never looked at watermelon rind the same again…

    I’ve made pickles a couple of times. Refrigerator pickles mostly, but tried one hot canned. They were soggy… Found out that adding canning lime in the process fixes that (and was able to do it).

    But my problem is I’m slow on pickle consumption. Maybe 2 jars a year… Canning up a big batch would be a lifetime supply. (Spouse does not eat them at all…)

    So it’s easier for me to just buy a small jar every so often.

    But I do remember home picked “stuff” in my little farm town from various onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower, radishes, carrots, summer squash, olives, celery, bell peppers (really any kind of peppers you could find), and more.

    Unfortunately for my pickle experience career, I was fond of sweet pickles and not fond of dill pickles until about 40 years old, and by then had left the town… Only late in my dining life did I come to discover I liked “Bread & Butter” Pickles too. Then gradually came to appreciate the Dill Pickle.

    So I have a great visual memory of all those jars of pickled stuff, but never tasted most of it as the answer to “Is it sweet?” was typically “No.”… Oh Well.

    The County Fair every summer had a competition for best home production of various foods and vegetables (along with animal judging on the other side of the place in the barns…). There was a big Gym that was filled wall to wall with tables of stuff on display for eventual judging. Including rows of home made pickles of all sorts.

    Hmmm… Somebody must have a page up about strange things to pickle…

    (tap tap tappity tap tap, ding!)

    How to Pickle Every Vegetable and Fruit
    Lisa KaminskiLisa Kaminski
    Updated: Sep. 10, 2020
    Learn how to make pickles with everything from asparagus to zucchini. Pickled vegetables and even fruits are a satisfying way to preserve your harvest.

    We Can Pickle That!
    Got a bumper crop of cukes, beans or other veggies in your garden? Time to start pickling! Pickling is a great way to preserve and your favorite fruits and veggies to enjoy all year long—plus you can add lots of extra flavor with herbs and spices.

    So start with our guide to preserving, grab some canning supplies and we’ll show you how to pickle everything from asparagus to zucchini.

    How to Pickle Asparagus
    Asparagus season never seems to last long enough. You see these green sprigs at the farmers market in late spring and early summer and then poof! they’re gone! Preserve peak-season asparagus by pickling. This recipe is a great place to start—add garlic, onions, herbs and spices to suit your taste.

    Asparagus? Who knew…

    Beets… Yes, I get canned pickled beets and love them. How could I forget them? Maybe because I don’t think of them as a pickle, just as beets…

    Blueberries? Now that’s got to be a bit odd.

    Pickled grapes? Oh my.

    How to Pickle Grapes
    No need to preserve grapes as a sticky sweet jelly. You can pickle grapes with classic pickling spices like mustard seed, coriander and cinnamon. Thanks to this blend, the grapes are a bit sweet and a bit spicy—and still crunchy (that’s the perfect snack, right?).

    Probably can pickle grape leaves, too, for those Greeky things…

    Green beans & Okra. I wonder if pickled okra loses the slime?…

    Pickled peaches?! Why on earth… No peach would ever last long enough to be pickled around here. Eaten pronto or canned in heavy syrup…

    How to Pickle Peaches
    Need a pickle that can do it all? You need to try pickled peaches. These fruit pickles are a bit sweet and a bit sour so they are just as at home atop your favorite pork recipe as they are alongside a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. When paired with savory dishes, you’ll really taste tart and sour notes. With sweet, you’ll appreciate the cloves, ginger and cinnamon in the recipe—just a few of our favorite warming spices.

    There’s other stuff I’m skipping over ’cause we already mentioned it, like onions & peppers.

    Rhubarb? Interesting idea. Oh My! They list the watermelon rinds!

    How to Pickle Watermelon Rinds
    Next time you’re picking and slicing a watermelon, don’t discard the rinds! Instead of tossing them out, you can pickle watermelon rinds into a crunchy accompaniment for salads, dinners and relish trays.

    Well, some of those were things I’d not seen before. Like Rhubarb… and pickled blueberries or grapes…

  33. H.R. says:

    I believe I’ve had everything pickled that you mentioned and more, E.M., except the grapes.

    After WWI, my grandfather came home to Texas and started his career as a sharecropper. If anyone is curious, that is NOT the way to get rich. It is a good way to make moving up to poverty an aspirational goal.

    My grandmother pickled everything – yes, even watermelon rinds, okra, and some of the peaches, not all – because anything remotely edible had to be saved for hard times and no money. That was pretty much every day of the year 😜 But they always had something to eat. No one went hungry.

    Growing up, we had a 100′ x 100′ garden, 100′ of grape vines, and a small orchard. Mom canned and pickled what we didn’t eat fresh, sell, or give away. But with dad bringing home a decent paycheck as an engineer, she was a little pickier about what was preserved. She only planted and ‘put up’ favorites that the whole family was sure to eat, either straight from the jar or as an ingredient in some other main dish.

    We could feed 7 people for a year from that garden.
    Something that has always stuck with me from when I was about 11-years old or so…

    I was in Texas and stayed for dinner at a friend’s house. The peaches were coming in and my grandmother had started canning some.

    My friend’s house had a couple of peach trees in the yard. Just being polite, I asked his mom if she had ‘put up’ any peaches yet.

    She said, “Oh, honey, I’m not from Texas. I’m from Georgia. If I peel a peach, I eat a peach!”

    When I buy peaches, I always think of her.

  34. cdquarles says:

    Peach jam is pretty good ;p.

  35. E.M.Smith says:


    Peach jam (or preserves) is one of my favorites ;-) Right up there with apricot…


    I guess I’ve discovered a “tell” for California peach growing region vs Georgia. We’d not bother with peeling a peach. Just rinse it enough to dampen the fuzz and rub some off, and take a bite ;-)

    Mama Celertina had the entire wall of their little garage lined with 1/2 gallon jars and quart jars of a lot of peaches (as they were farmed locally so peak season more ripe than the cannery could process and often car loads were available free), apricots from their tree, then the stuff from her garden (including hot peppers… how can you could Real Authentico Mexicano in December without some of your summer peppers? Eh?)

    My Mormon Buddy (of the river raft build / trip, and watching the moon landing on a color TV we built in his garage from junk…) had a garage full of the required “Year Supply”, much of it DIY canned from the garden.

    In a largely Mormon town, and rural, canning was something everyone did, and lots of it. There was even another little town about 10 minutes drive away with a commercial quality canning line (using real cans) and the hard core folks would rent time on it to “put up” large batches of stuff.

    I once asked my Dad why we didn’t have a “year supply” like all the Mormons and why we didn’t do any canning from our ~ 50 x 40 foot garden. He gave me the “How can you be that dumb for a smart kid” look… and reminded me of the entire store room in the restaurant that I stocked ever week… See, I had a mental division between “work” and “home”, and just had not ever considered that food in and for the restaurant was our “personal property” too…

    So the garden was all eaten fresh (or a little bit frozen). We did can some tomatoes a few times as the didn’t require a pressure canner. Made some jams, jellies, and marmalade too. (2 orange trees, a walnut tree, an apple and an apricot. It was a 1/4 acre lot and smallish house ;-)

    But at other folks homes, help with the canning was appreciated so I got to participate in the whole process including the pressure canner.

    It was something of a big surprise to me when I finally moved out of that small town and realized most folks don’t put anything by for winter, nor for hard times. Almost shocking. We had a full sized chest freezer on the back porch just for the 2 steers / year my Dad raised and had the local butcher “process”. It was like a perpetual meat vault. It would not get low until just before time for the next two in the next year.

    True Story:

    Growing up, I’d always felt “out of place” as the majority Mormons would talk about their preparations and the mandated Year Supply and all. I felt guilty and a little odd not having one (despite the ‘reminder’ about the restaurant). Eventually went off to college, got my first Real Job, and could finally start to scratch that “I am odd and out of place” itch. Bought and stored a couple of months worth of the basic dry and canned goods. The next week at work, happily informed my workmates I’d started building my Year Supply… And got looks of “What kind of crazy are you?”.

    Which just goes to show that you can’t please everyone. Heck, you can’t even please most people. It doesn’t matter if you don’t change, or do. You will ALWAYS be out of place somewhere with someone. It was at that point I gave up caring about Social Norms as they change faster than I do, and decided I’d just be me and the world can deal with it, or not, but it won’t bother me. You can’t win anyway, and especially not by trying to please others.

  36. YMMV says:

    “You can’t win anyway, and especially not by trying to please others.”

    You can be part of a tribe, or you can be yourself. That’s the choice, and I do think there is a wrong answer.

    “We’d not bother with peeling a peach. Just rinse it enough to dampen the fuzz and rub some off, and take a bite”

    Pick a ripe peach off the tree and eat it right away. Heaven.

  37. YMMV says:

    Motl thinks Australia has set itself up to fail, Covid-wise.
    “Criminally futile lockdowns: Delta will spread in Australia like fire”
    … and we know what fire in Australia can be like.

    Australia has a low vaccination rate and has had little exposure to the virus, so the pool of potential victims is still huge. Resistance is futile. I wonder how accepted IVM is in Australia?

  38. cdquarles says:

    From the land of cotton, yes, you pick the peaches off the tree and rinse, then eat. No peeling when you’re going to eat them fresh. That’s for canning. If you are in AL and want great peaches, go to Clanton during the summer. We had three varieties in the garden back in the day, some June ripening, some July ripening and some August ripening. We also had plums, apples, and pears; though we didn’t like the birds pecking some and leaving those to rot.

  39. The True Nolan says:

    @E.M. : “The County Fair every summer had a competition for best home production of various foods and vegetables (along with animal judging on the other side of the place in the barns…). There was a big Gym that was filled wall to wall with tables of stuff on display for eventual judging. Including rows of home made pickles of all sorts.”

    Two years ago (last year’s fair was canceled) my wife won first prize for her watermelon pickle.

    “I wonder if pickled okra loses the slime?”

    Some of it, but not all of it, no. And I don’t care anyway! :) Nice to put a little jalapeno in that okra, just enough to keep out the weak of heart.

  40. tom0mason says:

    @H.R. 26 June 2021 at 4:01 pm
    Thanks for the recipe ideas. Currently a local guy is giving away his little cucumbers (3″ and less though quite ripe) because of their size. I’ve taken quite a few for pickling so now I think I’ll give your method a try but it will have to be with dried dill weed — no sources for the real stuff.

  41. H.R. says:

    @tom0mason – I’d split the pickles in half, lengthwise, if you’re going to make fresh, refrigerator pickles. That will let the flavors soak in better.

    As for fresh dill, get some seed and throw it around anywhere there is some dirt. They don’t call it a weed for nothing! You’ll have dill all over the place in no time, although dill doesn’t do hot and dry very well (think Arizona). In that case, you’d need to water the weed :o)

  42. tom0mason says:

    @H.R. 28 June 2021 at 11:35 am
    Thanks for the additional info.
    Dill weed struggles here as everything does — close to the coast, so winter storms really drives that salt spray inland. Coupled to that is that the ‘soil’ is mostly rock and sand with some loamy area where some very tough weeds survive. Currently I’m trying to get some other residence (3 of us so far) involved with building a protected growing area where we’ll try some raised bed propagation. Progress is slow as all of us are arthritic/limited mobility and other health issues.

  43. E.M.Smith says:


    I was really pleased with how easy it was to do hydroponics. Water can be pumped so you don’t need to lift it or shovel it… Big trays on a table require no bending over too.

    What I’d do now (post experimental phase) is the 3 or 4 inch PVC pipe systems where you have a big sump where you do your water quality control and chemical adjustment, one lift pump to pump it to the top, and then it just runs down the pipes rick-rack back to the sump. Starts in Net Cups get stuck in a hole in the pipe and you are done until harvest. Whole thing can be made fairly rugged to wind and weather too. There’s LOTS of such systems advertized if you don’t want to DIY…

    $136 at Amazon…

  44. tom0mason says:

    Thank-you Mr. Smith for some more useful ideas to look at. Overall I’ve been out voted and the raised bed idea won the day. I think that as we progress we’ll return to the idea :-) (or at least I will try it separately).

  45. YMMV says:

    In Australia NSW now, businesses are required to post a QR code on their entrance and anybody going in is supposed to use it to check in with an app.
    It’s interesting what else is on this app, including your “NSW Digital Driver Licence”,
    and what is not (so far?): a vaccination record.
    And no mention of what people without a recent smart phone can do … stay home?

    Lockdowns Forever!

    Chris Kenny hits out at South Australia’s medical chief after she suggested an 80 per cent vaccination rate might be required before restrictions were no longer the lay of the land.

    Mr Kenny criticised Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier for not being “upfront” over the South Australia’s “COVID elimination strategy”.

    “You and the Premier both said you don’t want the Delta virus in Australia; in common language that’s an elimination strategy,” Mr Kenny said.

    “Do you accept that it’s unsustainable, that of course coronavirus will circulate among the Australian community at some stage?”

    A increasingly frustrated Ms Spurrier said the international COVID environment clearly indicated Australia needed a “well vaccinated community” of around 80 per cent “if not higher” or else the new variants would “run wild” without public health interventions.

    Mr Kenny responded suggesting the vaccination target was “unreasonably high” given no country had yet achieved it.

    “Doesn’t that seem unreasonably high given that no country has got to that level we might not ever get to that level? Also because of the very mild health threat the disease poses to anyone outside those vulnerable groups?”

  46. E.M.Smith says:


    So how do they expect to handle tourists? Or do they never expect tourism to return? My phone is not GSM like most of the world, it is CDMA. So can’t even talk to the network in GSM countries. Then different countries run GSM on different frequencies too.

    Yeah, not a problem when you have no tourists, but…

    Personally, I would just ignore it and walk on in. Someone wants to get in my grill about it, I’ll just say “What is a QR Cold?” … Let them sputter and explain and complain for as long as they like…

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