Claire and I had an amazing weekend. After hosting a tattoo convention afterparty on Friday, a busy Saturday and getting tattooed on Sunday by my buddy Rick Lohm, we deserved a break.

The way our schedules line up has Monday as our “weekend”. Which is great for hotel rates… We secured a nice room in Atlantic City for $44(which a friendly desk clerk named Sayed upgraded to an even nicer room) and spent the day doing coupley stuff.

Wandering the boardwalk, buying saltwater taffy and Steel’s fudge and enjoying each other’s company.

Tuesday saw a return to the real world- Claire returned to her volunteer placement and I had time to kill in the kitchen. I decided to buy supplies for homemade pickles. I haven’t made them since I was a teenager, and even then I had my Mom’s help. So supplies purchased I waited for Claire to get home. Four hands and a cool head usually do better than my solo experiments.

While we prepared the pickle brine and chopped the cucumbers, Claire made a leftover charcuterie pizza. Duck prosciutto. Locally cured chorizo and citrus coriander salami topping a garlic butter brushed pie.

We timed it just right. The jars were pulled out of the waterbath right around the time the pizza had cooled and been cut.

Dish towels covering the garlic dill pickles, we left our newborns to cool and seal while we watched an SVU marathon.

By the following morning, all six jars had sealed. We’re going to let them rest for a few days and check back in with a taste report!

Atlantic City pictures after the break!

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Miracle Berry

The Synsepalum dulcificum.

A small red berry that when eaten will make bitter or sour foods sweet by bonding to the taste buds and changing the way they process the acids. A few weeks ago our friend Brad mentioned that he was growing them, and that when they were ready he’d bring a few in for us to try.

They were finally ready this week. Brad made some recommendations on what to eat/drink with them, so after little Chef Claire got off of work today, we set out some goodies and chewed the berries.

On their own, the berries didn’t have much of a taste. Slight tang, but nothing flavorful to speak of. We rolled them around our palate as we chewed them, trying to coat our tongues with the juice for maximum potency. With such little berries there wasn’t much to go around, but it was worth a shot.

We started by sucking on a lemon; normally a mouth puckering proposition. But as we sucked the juice out of them, it was a pleasant almost candied flavor. We moved to a piece of goat brie. Again, the normally bitter taste of the rind was replaced with a sweeter taste. Now it was time to put up or shut up- vinegar. We pulled out a measuring spoon and began with the dark chocolate balsamic vinegar that Claire picked up at Garcia’s last night. We each took a small sip and instantly noticed almost nothing but the sweetness of the chocolate in the vinegar. All the bitterness was gone, replaced with a sweet chocolatey bite.

Next was apple cider vinegar. We might as well have been drinking apple juice. Pickles and pickle juice, worchesteshire sauce and finally grapefruit juice; everything we tried tasted notably different than we expected. All thanks to a little tiny berry.

Thanks, Brad!