half sour

we went to the valley this afternoon to look at a mercedes  that frank has had his eye on. as advertised it looked like an extremely rare grey market 5-speed AMG 500. we are on a mercedes kick here, looking a way to upgrade beatrice so she doesn’t wheeze at 70mph.

the hilarious thing is there is this character – von müller – who has been after beatrice for months. but he doesn’t want to pay. he keeps coming back and lowballing me and i keep upping the price. fuck you – if you want the car pay me what she is worth and stop whining about california coupes, no soft top blah blah blah. beatrice is a matching number, unrestored, never been hit, chocolate brown 1968 280sl. and you keep coming back. so i know the car is worth something substantial – and most likely for a client in germany. so von müller calls malcolm after a few months of silence with a 1970 maserati indy, 4-speed v8, silver, silver on blue. cute car – lift back – the sort of sexy 70s italian v8 that frank and i like (we like the mexico even better but….) he wants to trade it for beatrice. maseratis are pretty exotic and all, but it is worth about 15K at the low end. and i want more for beatrice, my first classic car (sniff.) today i learned that a very similar 280sl, california coupe, in excellent unrestored condition just sold at the beverly hills car club for 31K. that represents (depending upon the mark-up) about $25K to the owner. and frank has just told me that he sees them on german ebay all the time for upwards of 30K euros. so von müller can kiss my ass.

the valley mercedes was not as advertised and frank was sour about it. i am sour that people have been offering 16K for beatrice and a comparable car just sold for almost twice that. so it is somehow appropriate that i have decided to turn my korean supermarket cucumbers into nyc deli-style half-sour pickles.

in the past when i’ve done fermented pickles they have turned out pretty soft. i am reluctant to use alum (potassium aluminum sulfate) to maintain the crispness but i hear that the tannins in grape leaves will keep your pickles crispy. while thinking i might need to delay the whole process until i go to super king, i have an epiphany: the neighbors on the corner have grape vines spilling over their walls and onto the street. i’m sure they wouldn’t mind if snipped a few. i decide to take chewbacca. big mistake. i forgot that in addition to grapes and roses the corner neighbors also have cujo – a giant some-sort-of-dog who can jump as high as their fence. so as i am trying to discreetly snip a few grape leaves chewie is going ape-shit. i mean, beyond. doing back flips and barking his head off. thanks for the support beast.




i know i went on about not fermenting in the summer, but it’s not too hot yet and the gartopf has a nice cool spot in the pantry.

gartopf pickling crock

pilfered grape leaves

i lined the bottom of the crock with grape leaves and put in the cucumbers. added mustard seeds, white pepper, black pepper, bay leaf, coriander seeds, a few smashed cloves of garlic and the ubiquitous habanero.

in the crock

i added a solution of sea salt and water and weighted the whole scenario down with the special gartopf weights. it is very important that the cucumbers remain submerged in the brine.


a nice waiting project. i’ll check them daily and skim off any molds or scum that appear. They should be half-sour in about 4 days and fully sour in a week or so.