Spicy/picante carrots: pickled? Or fermented?

I love spicy foods. Love. Love. Love.

Those hot carrots I grew up devouring from taquerias and Mexican joints have become kind of a staple in my fridge after finding a great recipe and started making them myself (the other recipes I’ve tried were a bit too sweet for my tastes). They definitely add some ZING alongside a sandwich or tacos. Sometimes, I’ll just eat ’em a la carte. Potato chips ain’t got nuthin’ on some fiery carrots.

Here’s the thing: I always assumed that the vinegary pickled carrots I made at home were a product of fermentation. Wrong! Pickling and fermenting foods are not the same thing. (See? We’re all still learning as we go along.) There’s no vinegar in fermented ones — they’re just soaked in a brine for a handful of days and microbes give them their tanginess through lactic acid fermentation.

I thought I’d do a side-by-side comparison by making my standard pickled spicy carrots and trying a new fermented spicy carrots recipe that I’d found and see how they differed in taste.

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Landing a full-time community college teaching gig. Part 1.

This past June, I applied and interviewed for two full-time (tenure track) teaching positions at my college. These were the fourth and fifth times I’ve gone through it and feel like I’m almost becoming an expert — at least in the first part. I’m still working on the important part of actually landing the job, though.

It’s a pretty grueling process and just about every time, afterward, left me feeling a little dejected, pessimistic and made me start wondering if all the stress was worth it. Why not just keep teaching part-time and avoid the psychological maelstrom? Oh, yeah… health benefits. A regular salary. Plus, it is what I’d planned my whole professional life around.

After talking with several other adjunct faculty about applying/interviewing for full-time teaching jobs, it seemed like most (if not all) had ridden the same emotional rollercoaster that I had experienced. So, I thought I would do a post about it. In part for myself, as a reminder of the light at the end of the tunnel. In part for other people who might be going through the process for the first time.

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Sourdough starter: fail!

I’m no stranger to the kitchen. Cooking (and to a lesser extent, baking) is one of my favorite pastimes. When it came to trying my hand at baking sourdough bread, though, I conveniently steered clear of it for, literally, decades. Until recently.

True sourdough bread requires making a “starter” — basically cultivating wild yeast from the air, growing, feeding and maintaining a culture of them for all eternity, opposed to just running down to the local grocery store to pick up a yeast packet and dumping it into your flour and water mixture like you would with any other bread recipe.

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