Monday, August 27, 2012

Making Sauerkraut.

This Weekend my Wife and I hit up the Aberfoyle Antique Market for some find. I was looking for a crock and my Wife was looking for a kitchen cabinet of sorts. Well we hit both marks perfect and now with my new 6 Gallon Medalta crock I could finally start making my own sauerkraut. The process is really quite simple and straight forward. Cut up cabbage mix it with a bit of salt and let it ferment naturally in its own juices. The recipe I found was from a blog called  "Wild Fermentation" . It is written by Sandor Katz, a culinary author, DIY food activist.

Any how for my recipe I used some carrots mixed with the cabbage for some extra sweetness. To prepare the sauerkraut first you must chop the cabbage as fine or as course as you would like. When you place a big handful of cabbage in the crock you just sprinkle on some salt, which draw the water out of  the cabbage and make a brine to ferment the cabbage into sauerkraut.

Once you have a bunch of cabbage in the crock you pack it down with your fist, this make sure its tight withing the crock and helps pound out some water. At this point you just keep repeating these steps with the cabbage, carrots, and salt. Layer after layer and punch/pound.  

In this recipe I used about 7 pounds of cabbage and a bag of carrots and 4 tablespoons of salt. I think I was a little over zealous with a 6 gallon crock, or I need to make allot more sauerkraut.

One you are all done, you put a glass or ceramic plate on top if the cabbage along with a weight of sorts. I used a huge mason jar willed with water to keep the plate down. From what I was reading if you do not keep the plate on top the fermentation process can expand the cabbage and make it overflow, thought I think I got enough room in the crock.

And there you have it; sauerkraut in the making. Every couple days remove the plate and give it a rinse, and withing 3 or 4 days you should start to taste the tangy-ness of the brine. and within 2-4 weeks you will have some killer kraut. Again check out  "Wild Fermentation" for more info on the process and the exact steps to making sauerkraut. I will keep you updated on the process over the next couple weeks, and If any of the readers have some tips please post in the comments below and let us know.

Friday, August 24, 2012

L.L. Bean Pipes & Tobacco.

I have been on a bit of a L.L. Bean antique kick lately. I have known of Bean's pipes for quite some time, but the market goes up and down quite frequently with them. Sometimes the Bay will be flooded with them and then you will not see any for quite sometime. I picked this one up and again it was in decent shape, took about a hour to bring back to near perfect condition. I have yet to smoke it as it has not come up in the rotation of the 23 pipes I own. From scouring the net I have come up with a bit of history regarding L.L. Bean and his / Their pipes and Tobacco.

L.L. Bean sold pipes and tobacco from the 40's all the way up till about 1985. The majority of the pipes were Smokemasters made by Briarcraft. Briarcraft exsisted until 1950 when they closed. In 1967 the name and system were bought by US made Dr. Grabow and continued making Smokemasters until the mid 90's. Smokemasters were sold as coupon pipes and the natural finished pipes were stamped L.L. Bean and sold in their store and through their catalogs until about 1985. Grabow continued making regular Smokemasters w/o the L.L. Bean stamping until the mid 90's. 

L.L. Bean Freehand
From what I have scene is that there is some harder to find L.L. bean pipes as well, There is a rustic bent Meerschaum lined pipe, as well as a freehand made by Smokemasters. The majority of the Smokemasters use a unique system of a bent pipe cleaner as a filter and are marked on the stem with an orange diamond shape.  There was also a second maker of Bean's "moisture proof" pipe, it had a clear section right after the bowl before the mouthpiece so you could see the moisture collected...ick!

Meer Lined Rustic Beauty

As for the L.L. Bean Tobacco, that to is long gone. However, some followers and fans were able to find out what brands Bean used for their own blend. From what I can find there was two Bean tobaccos. The first was "Pipe Tobacco for Hunters & Fishermen". This turned out to be nothing more than the common "Edgeworth Ready Rubbed". Which too is no longer available, but there is bulk match tobacco available. The second Bean tobacco was "Bean's Special Blend", which is now been replicated by "Park-Lane Fireside" available here. 

1945 S/S Catalog of Pipes

It has also been said that L.L. Bean himself was a huge fan of "Prince Albert" Tobacco, this was told to a Bean fan by one of the Flagship stores senior employee who recalled selling it back in the day. So one can deduct that bean L.L. Bean smoked it because of the fact that he didn't sell stuff that he did not use himself. Its great to know that in 2012 you can still experience the L.L.Bean tobacco and pipes. Unfortunately in today's society its unacceptable to sell these things, as it would be great to still get the Bean tinned tobacco and see what shapes of pipes would be available today.

1965 Catalog.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ball and Buck + 10engines Mesh Back for Sale.

Dropped online today is the fantastic collaboration between Boston's Ball and Buck + 10engines. This beaut of a mesh back will be sure to serve you proper for year to come. Can't wait to get my hands on one. I would suggest email B&B as the only shipping to Canada is $100.  Come on B&B, Canadians are people too.

If any of you cats follow 10engines, which I am sure you do; You know he is a legend when it come to Carhartt, and you can defiantly feel the old Carhartt hunting vibe radiating from this cap. Stellar work Gents.

From 10engines:
"New release; Ball and Buck + 10engines. Made in the USA five panel hat; headliner-scraping crown, mesh back, old time "USA" molded snap, doubled canvas duck front, and pony boy gold rope stitching. Visor lined with Ball and Buck's signature 8oz camo.

Back story: Last year I approached the Boston store Ball and Buck simply to get some manufacturing info and we ended up working together to create a product that reflects both our sensibilities. One of the guys is also my neighbor... so a lot of porch-rocking discussions. They will release this along with some heavier-weight products at an in-store event next Thursday; RSVP.

Be great to see people at the in-store do, but you may also buy a hat online through their shop - use code 10engines for $3 off and free shipping thus $25 shipped. (note code expires after event date 8/23/12, thx)

Monday, August 13, 2012

L.L. Bean' s Waterproof Dressing.

Finding antique L.L. Bean items seems to be a bit more difficult than say "vintage" L.L. Bean. To me personally "vintage" refers to clothing, shoes, and wear-ables. "Antique" to me refers to everything else, like tools, furniture etc.  I often scour the various internet retailer and auction sites looking for a well price collectibles. About 3 weeks ago I stumbled on to this partially used can of  "Beans waterproof dressing". It is a 1/4 Pint can, and the label was still in good shape. The price on  the can is $0.25, hoping to be able to date the can by the price I dug out my Spring/Summer 1950 catalog to see what the price was then. Sure enough the can was in there, and for $0.25. So that makes it at least 62 years old. I wonder if the dressing is still usable? As there is no ingredients on the package I cannot verify that it contains beeswax, which if it did I would think that it would still be good. L.L. Bean should get Obenauf's to produce some of their LP dressing in a reissue of the old tins with like this.