Sunday, April 17, 2011

A vision



No, not that kind of vision…I didn’t have a major epiphany, no premonitions that have come true, and I didn’t see a ghost. My vision is of a personal nature, focusing on this blog and what I want from it. This is something I’ve been struggling with for awhile.

As you can probably tell, I love food. I love creating dishes from raw ingredients and I love the look on the faces of those who have tasted and enjoyed those dishes. What I didn’t expect when I started this blog was how much I would enjoy the writing. I always knew that my blog would never be just recipes; that I would tell a story when I had one. But I feel constrained by having to make my stories match my recipes. That’s not always an easy task, especially when you just want to talk about how perfect your day was, sitting in the sun relaxing after going to the library book sale and getting a zillion books for seven dollars. How do you tie that into shishito peppers or whole roasted striped bass?

There is an aspect of blogging that I think those of us who do it have probably all gotten caught up in: the popularity contest. It makes you want to network until your eyes are burning and you feel like there isn’t a blog out there that you haven’t connected with. I got very caught up in it, and then realized I wasn’t enjoying it as much. Around the time that Andy got sick, I started to slack off, using his illness as my excuse. Now I realize that I just needed to take a much-needed break. Over the three-month span of December through February, I posted only five blogs. I virtually stopped networking, and watched my traffic drop off day by day. But because I hadn’t been enjoying it as much, I couldn’t let myself get too upset about it. What I really wanted was to get back to a place where I was having fun and loving what I was doing.

Fast forward to today: I admit that I don’t network nearly as much as I once did. I try to consistently read those blogs that I really enjoy and network accordingly. I’ve gotten to a place where I truly am not disappointed if I only receive 15-20 comments on a post versus the previous 40-60. Don’t get me wrong, I love each and every comment I get and am still over the moon each time an email comes through…I just try not to let that be my focus.

So I can check that off my list; I’ve conquered my issues with the popularity contest aspect. Next on my list: writing whatever I feel like writing, whether it be food-related or not, and not feeling so vulnerable doing it. It’s pretty scary when you put yourself out there. It was a big step for me to actually publish the post I wrote while waiting for Andy in the surgical waiting room. In fact, I almost didn’t. But I was glad after I did it, and pleased by the response I received from it. This blogging community is a kind and genuine one…I’ve learned they will surprise you time and again.

I guess what I’m saying is that this may be the first of many posts where I’m really just talking out loud and putting it on paper. Hopefully you won’t all disown me. I plan to continue with recipes in (very likely) every post. This is still a food blog, after all. Just forgive me if the recipe has absolutely nothing to do with what I’m writing about, or if the tie-in is a stretch. That way, I get my writing fix, and still get to share the recipes that consume my days.

Speaking of no relevant tie-in…


Pickled Watermelon Radishes

1 bunch watermelon radishes
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
pinch of red pepper flakes

As thinly as possible, slice the radishes (a mandoline works great). In a sealable jar, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper flakes. Add radishes, seal and shake. Refrigerate for a few hours or longer. (They will taste pickled after a few hours, but will have a stronger flavor after several days.)


Unfortunately, the gorgeous color of the watermelon radish fades out as they pickle, but you’re left with a tangy treat. Serious pickled food fans will like these. They taste VERY pickled. Tart and acerbic would be accurate descriptors. For me, they are perfect. Perfect by themselves, perfect as a topping, perfect mixed into things.

A few ways to use pickled radishes:
  • Chop them up and throw them into your next cole slaw,
  • Heat some of the pickling liquid with sugar in microwave to dissolve, then combine with radishes and sliced cucumber for a fresh salad,
  • Top tacos or put a few slices in a sandwich,
  • Eat them straight out of the jar. 


I have a feeling this will be another post where I hesitate before hitting “publish,” but once it’s out out there, I know it will be fine.

Okay, here we go. And thanks for listening…

Click.

42 comments:

  1. These pickled radishes look amazing! What a great idea and a great post too :-)

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  2. The color of these radishes is amazing! I love pickeling...so delish!

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  3. First of all, great recipe - radishes are an underused ingredient in my house. Second of all, just remember that it's your blog and you don't have any obligation to necessarily tie your stories to your recipe! We'd love to read anything you want to share.

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  4. How sweet.
    Kathleen

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  5. Lovely photos of those colourful radishes! I have also struggled with wanting to network too much and trying to figure out what I want from blogging. Just to enjoy it is nice. I hope Andy is recovering and that all is well.

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  6. I think we all go through moments like this in our blogging history. My blog started out as a personal blog where I did write about food but not all the time. But the food blogs were popular so I started writing them more. But the truth is that I was losing my voice. So I took a break. And then I started writing more of what I wanted and tried to focus less on the number of comments or site visits. I write about what I want to - food-related or not. And honestly? I get new readers who care about my the silly things that amuse me and I've lost readers who don't care for it at all. It all balances out.

    This is a long comment but I just wanted to say that I totally understand and support where you are coming from.

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  7. Great post, great recipe. I have been struggling with this blogging thing too and wondering what I am trying to accomplish with it. I am a horrible photographer and have no passion to learn much more about it...(and I'm tired of viewing nutella and macaron recipes...can't say that enough). I sort of keep in my own little world doing what I enjoy, posting recipes about slimmed down trimmed down sweets and healthy dishes along with some nutritionl info...sometimes with a story and sometimes not. I think the important thing is to make your blog reflect you and do what makes you happy. You write beautifully and I enjoy reading what you have to say...who cares if it has nothing to do with a pickled radish :)

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  8. I feel exactly the same way! I never got the amount of comments you did but was getting up there but the last couple of months I've lost interest in networking. I go to the blogs I like, read and comment when I feel like it. I often don't comment even if I like the post or recipe or whatever, it's not always necessary to write something.

    My blog is for me and it's developing more into something different rather than just food. As much as I'd like more traffic, it's not worth the amount of time you need to spend trying to get it (besides, it shouldn't be that hard tbh).

    I say bring on the more honest, random posts. Nobody's life is perfect after all.

    p.s. your radishes look so pretty :)

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  9. Write about whatever you want!! I love you regardless!! I love comments on my blog, but I've stopped obsessing over ALWAYS commenting on EVERYONE else's blog every day. It's too much time! So I do it in spurts, and I think it works well. I enjoy the writing part, too, and I've stopped beating myself up if I am sitting in front of my computer and can't think of a witty story. The world will keep on turning if I post the next day :)

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  10. Wow...it's all so true. I have been struggling with the exact same thing...sounds like many of us have. Honestly...to comment on every blog simply takes too much time. I have been feeling bad with the kids and stuff too...feeling like I am spending far too much time on this computer. I go thru phases too...sometimes I love to write and sometimes not so much. Do what makes you happy...I always love your posts. :)

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  11. Good for you! Glad you decided to hit publish.You are on the right track.

    Patty

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  12. I think you touched something many of us think about. When It starts feeling like a chore what is the point? I look forward to you posts whenever and whatever you choose to write about!

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  13. Your pickled radishes look so pretty. Rant on, the whole point of blogging is to use it as a medium for self expression ... there would be no point in doing it if you didn't get any satisfaction out of it.

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  14. I know exactly how you feel. I don't know if you have ever played Sims but I told my husband I feel like a Sim sometimes trying to network and keep up. It's really difficult and not very enjoyable. By the way, I know this is ironic but I left you a blog award over on my blog. LOL! http://deelicioussweets.blogspot.com/2011/04/yummyliciousness-and-more-blog-awards.html

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  15. Thank you for putting into words some of the feelings I've had about blogging lately. I cut back on blogging a couple of months ago, when life got too busy to maintain two full-time jobs (ie. my "real" job and my blog). Just remember that your blog should always be about you first, and about your audience second... your real fans won't care if you're talking about library books before a recipe for bass, and anyone who doesn't like it can get bent. :)
    PS - I love radishes, and I love pickles... so why in the hell have I never thought to make pickled radishes before? These look awesome!

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  16. Great post! That's something that I think all bloggers have to come to terms with sooner or later. Looking back through my blog, I can see where my "vision" has changed, reflecting what's going on in my life. And since it's my blog it can (and will)change again I'm sure. :) Just stay true to yourself and blog and network when and what you want to- it shouldn't be a chore!
    As to your lovely pickled radishes, I'm not a radish fan but I'm tempted to try these if for nothing but the beauty of those watermelon radish slices!

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  17. How did you get those radishes that color? So colorful. These must taste so good!

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  18. These are absolutely beautiful and I bet really delish!!!

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  19. Wow, what a gorgeous photo. I bet these taste as good as they look. What a lovely summer dish to make. Never had a watermelon radish, but I'd love to give them a try.

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  20. Great post. It is NOT easy to put yourself out there. It is fabulous that you have realized it shouldn't be work and should only give you enjoyment. It is definitely easy to get caught up in the digital world so that is why it is so important to take a step back, take a breath and live in the real world for a while!

    I stopped by because I have watermelon radishes from my csa that I was going to pickle. I'm thinking of using apple cider vinegar but we shall see! I'm bummed to hear they lose their color though. The are SO gorgeous!

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  21. What a wonderful post Karen. I understand exactly how you feel about posting and what you post about. I'm happy you will write more of your thoughts. Those are my favorite kind of posts to read:)
    These watermelon radishes are gorgeous! We have been canning a lot here these last few days. Maybe I will find these beauties and we will give it a try.:)

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  22. So nice to read all of these comments echoing what I have been feeling. I started blogging because I love to cook, to write, and to create, and then suddenly it became about networking. I probably need a break as well. The radishes are gorgeous!

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  23. I like your post, and I think that we all need to write to connect to the our followers on a personal level too, write what you feel..my posts are sometimes not even close to the recipe and that is ok in my book!
    Your radishes look amazingly good!

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  24. its so great and funny really that yesturday i had the same issue, and ive only been blogging for a week. i just felt like i wanted to talk and being in egypt with no girlsfriends to chat to i needed a way to share, so i added a new chapter to my blog. its my NO RECIPE JUST A CHAT page where im gonna share thoughts and ideas and silly stories. just cause i want my blog to let people know who i am and what im about not just the food. thanks for sharing...

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  25. Love this post...your blog is your places to share whatever you're thinking: food or otherwise! I think we all find our blog "voice" as we go along. My blog isn't a year old, but I can see such a difference in how I've evolved as a cook and a writer the past few months. It's easy to get caught up in how many comments we get, if people "like us", etc. I finally had to tell myself that having fun is the main thing for me. Recognition is nice, but I can't let it be the driving force for why I blog. I remind myself why I started my blog: to share my passion for food and cooking with my friends and family. Since then, my blog has grown...but I still want it to be a fun and creative outlet for me.

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  26. When I first saw the title, I though ugh, pickled watermelon...because my father in law makes it and I think it's awful. But radishes, I love and I can imagine they'd be great pickled!

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  27. I'm glad to hear a bit of confessional on the whole popularity contest feel of things. I've only started blogging recently and try not to focus on the whole numbers element. It's way too fun just cooking/fotoing and seeing what others are doing as well to worry about the numbers!

    Beautiful radish pics by the way!

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  28. I really enjoyed this post, even if it did not tie in with the radishes (which are beautiful by the way!). Tying stories and life experiences to recipes in blog posts is one of the hardest things for me too. We should all feel free to post whatever works for us.

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  29. Very good post! I think we all get caught up in that popularity contest at one point or another and then realize that we either want it that way, or we don't. Don't worry about connecting with gazillions... I have my 50 that I love to read and I go to them all the time. That may be a high number, but it was higher before. :)

    Now, the radishes look beautiful! That photo is gorgeous!

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  30. so pretty! i've never been able to spot these watermelon raddishes. i do love the regular little guys. do they taste the same?

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  31. I totally agree with you in regards to blogging...the popularity eventually will hit and then you what? The important thing is to enjoy...and like you said pick and choose your community.
    I never seen watermelon radishes...they are so pretty...do they taste the same as the normal ones?
    Have a great week ahead Karen :-)

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  32. I am so impressed with this post; you are creative and bringing us something brand new. I have Never heard of watermelon radish before;wow!

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  33. whoa. Going to the Union Square Farmer's Market in 15 minutes so I can get some watermelon radishes before they are gone for the season.
    Have you ever thought of fermenting them?

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  34. wonderful transparent post! i read till the last bit and we share a love of writing...share the popularity conquest...share love of food...aw too many things :P

    and you got a zillion books for seven dollars? ;P i shd fly to tht book store of yours!

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  35. Sweet! I never though at watermelon like this. I must try it! :)

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  36. These watermelon radishes are beautiful!

    And I agree that it's easy to get caught up in the "popularity contest" of food blogs. Something my husband always says to me is do it for the love of writing and cooking. Connecting with folks is an added bonus.

    It is amazing how priorities shift when we're faced w/ difficult circumstances. I've only skimmed your blog briefly for now but read a little about Andy's tumor. I hope the surgery was successful and will keep him in my thoughts.

    Thank you for befriending on Foodbuzz.

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  37. I don't know which I love more, the actual post or the recipe. I think I love them both! If you look at my blog you'll see I'm not worried about networking, or the number of comments, I do it because I love to write and I love to cook, so blogging really is all about me! That said, my other half LOVES radishes, and since I'm all about pickling and preserving I've thought about pickling radishes but was never brave enough to give it a whirl. So glad you did. I am right behind you. Keep up the good work!!

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