Coffee Days, still liquid
I’m not an every day coffee drinker. You see, I need coffee to be effective for me on those 4 a.m. Saturday mornings and if I drink it every day, it will be less effective. Or at least that’s my theory. But days like yesterday and today (and tomorrow) increase my coffee need: Heavy days that push on your eyelids so you feel like you’ve never fully woken up. Days where time is tracked only by clocks instead of the movements of the sun. It’s days like these where I need to drink coffee just to exist in the world- the chemical sunshine.
Japanese pickled ginger (Gari)
· 9 to 10 ounces young ginger
· 6 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
· 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
· 9 tablespoons unseasoned Japanese rice vinegar
· 2 squares of dried kombu (kelp), each about the size of your thumbnail (optional)
Use an inverted spoon to scrape off the thin, paper bits from the ginger. Use a mandoline or very sharp knife to cut the ginger across the grain into super thin pieces. They should be nearly see-through. Toss the ginger with the 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar and salt. Set aside for 30 minutes to reduce its harshness. Meanwhile, partially fill a small saucepan with water. Ready a fine-mesh strainer and 2-cup (.5 liter) glass jar. In another saucepan, combine the remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, vinegar, and kombu (if using). Set this stuff aside near the stove. About 10 minutes before the ginger finishes mellowing out, start the water pot going on the stove. When the ginger is done, add it all to the boiling water, stir and blanch for 20 seconds to further reduce the harshness. Drain in the mesh strainer but don’t rinse. Shake a few times to expel water, then put into the glass container. Bring the mixture of sugar and vinegar to a boil, give things a stir to ensure the sugar has dissolved. Then pour into the jar of ginger. Push down with chopsticks or a spoon to submerge. Cool, uncovered, then cap and refrigerate. Depending on the ginger, it may be ready to eat in 1 to 3 days. Taste and see. Store refrigerated for months.