Thursday, March 31, 2011

the new improved BLT

How is it possible to bring the classic BLT to another level when it is already such perfection?

Simple. Follow my younger sister's culinary advice: add chopped fresh rosemary to the mayo. Additionally, because I can never leave well enough alone, I used thousand island dressing instead of mayo, mixing the fresh rosemary right in there.

I was stunned.

Now, if a only sun-warmed garden tomato could be in this

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

almost pink

Last spring we beheld a pink bower of cherry blossoms only briefly: a torrent of wind & whipping rain left us bereft of their beauty before their beauty was spent.

Not so this year.

Three weeks ago I trekked through the soggy snow to bring in a craggy armful of bare branches. I stood them upright in a glass vase & plopped them in a sunny window, determined to coax them into an early spring.

We do what we can here in the semi-arctic tundra we call home.

Monday, March 21, 2011

the elephant parade

We love to attend our local auctions, as one never knows what one may find there.

This past Saturday, there were elephants upon elephants. I have never seen so many elephants all together in my entire life.
Tables were chock full of them, all shapes & sizes. WAYYYYY too many. A scary amount of them. This person's elephant-mania bordered on deranged, in my humble opinion.

It is just a humble opinion. Not a medical diagnosis, mind you.

There were elephant statues, for sure. Like, 500 of them.
But also the following:
elephant art
elephant lamps
elephant bookends
elephant planters
elephant tie racks
elephant ties
elephant coat racks
elephant books

-and much much more. My fave was a party item: a plastic bubble-making elephant. You plug it in & it blows bubbles from its trunk. It went for five bucks.

When it was time to start selling elephants (there were many other items beside elephants up for auction), the auctioneer ( who entertains us for hours on end with his witty quips) geared up by asking for "all hands on deck".

While a line of auction-workers hefted trays of elephants past the discerning eyes of the crowd, he whipped up a frenzy of words that left us breathless with laughter. People bought those elephants, every single one of them.

It was an amazing thing to see.
And no, I did not buy one. single. elephant.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Orange Buttermilk Cupcakes

Two weeks back, #1 Daughter threw together some cupcakes that rocked our world. They were moist, dense, lemony, and not enough of them.

I don't think that's a grammatically proper sentence, but if you ate one of these cupcakes, you would talk silly too.

By the time we licked the last crumb from our fingers and scraped the inside of the paper muffin cup with our teeth, we were already clamoring for more.

"Um," said she off-handedly. "I forgot how I made them."


-those were the kinds of things that were said to her.

Today I begged for a brain retrieval of sorts. "Can't you kind of remember?" She was lounging at the table in the loft & kindly but distractedly shouted down some instructions to me.

But we were out of lemon flavoring so I used orange. And instead of lemon rind, I used orange rind. And instead of 7 tablespoons of butter ("Seven?" I asked. "Yes, at the time, that's all the butter we had." "Oh.") I used 8. Also: instead of a few "glugs" of regular milk, I used buttermilk.

Other than that, it was the EXACT SAME RECIPE. Haha.

They came out beautifully, as evidenced by their fast disappearing act. Have a sweet Sunday afternoon, everyone!

Friday, March 11, 2011

moments from my day

-the coffee at the McDonald's in Adams NY is not that great. Especially at 7:15 in the morning when good coffee really counts.

-when gas is $3.65/gallon and that is a good deal, there is something wrong.

-my favorite song to play for the 2nd and 3rd grade choir is "Drip Drip Drop Little April Shower" because it was my solo in 2nd grade. I was very happy to sing it then, and equally happy to play it for other kids now. In my opinion, it has stood the test of time.

-I made oatmeal bread & forgot to put the yeast in. I realized this when setting the pans in the oven to rise. Throwing the dough back into the mixer along with the forgotten yeast, I was able to rescue the whole batch. That was a nice surprise.

-talk about excess: I made two lemon meringue pies today for no special occasion, just as I did last Friday. What can I say? Life gave me lemons & I made the best of it.

-in rehearsal, I worked with one princess, one prince, and one step-mother. You can figure it out from there what the show is about...

-really, no complaints over my way. A general feeling of gratefulness pervaded my day, especially after seeing the evening news. Praying for the people of Japan.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

end of winter thoughts

I have the distinct feeling that I will be trudging today.

1. (intr) to walk or plod heavily or wearily
2. (tr) to pass through or over by trudging
n a long tiring walk[of obscure orig

As far as examples of onomatopoeia go, surely trudge is in the top ten.

-Not that I have any real mountains to climb, mind you. Just the layering of winter clothing, the cleaning off of the car, the acquisition of groceries, and the lurking possibility of a visit to the gym. An evening visit to a friend who resides at a farm up the road apiece is my jewel at the end of the day.

Even then, you may imagine me trudging up her drive toward the front porch where a lighted window awaits me.

At this time of the year, in the last clutches of a mean winter, is it any wonder that the simplest activities morph into olympian feats? Let us reach for the laurel crown; surely it is within our grasp, although wreathed with the humble dandelion -our spring joy which some people call a weed.

A weed & a rare orchid, both triumphant victors over the steely frost. As for this trudging wayfarer, either will do at the end of the trail.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

in which I sew.

Today I sat down at a sewing machine & actually SEWED something.

Cause for celebration! Thank you Mrs. Fox (mother of Warren, awfully cute baby) for tutoring so patiently & for hovering over me while I stitched on the turtle setting.

(FYI: no joke, non-sewers. There is a turtle setting and a hare setting for real. Please don't laugh at us, clever sewing machine owners. We non-sewers didn't know.)

A year ago I snatched up a beautiful shower curtain from the clearance bin for three bucks. It was the exact duplicate of one we already own & use, but I love the material & thought it was a good idea have a replacement ready someday.

Here is the old one, looking just as new as the day I bought it -perhaps three years ago.

In the meanwhile, I changed my mind & decided to cut the bargain-replacement up for placemats. It makes perfect sense to me. I ended up with 12 placemats, which is very handy since my harvest table seats 12 without squeezing.

They are luxuriously sized, too -which means plenty of room for that auction china with all its high-falutin' extra pieces:

Let's do the math: 12 place-mats for 3 bucks = 25 cents apiece. Nice.

pasta night once again

No need to hold court on the medicinal qualities of pie, as this fact has been well established in the glowing recesses of this here blog. ( See here and here , and most notably here.)

But a new culinary experience has nudged its way into the front of the healing line recently, and that is pasta with authentic Italian sauce. For which we give copious thanks.

The kind folk at the Old Stone House (ahem: the LOTM and the Lady of the same) have cooked up a number of pots 'o sauce & pasta this winter season, courtesy of the Chef Down the Road who has an Italian moniker that we like to fool around with. His name is Puglia, which rhymes with Julia.

But we call him Poogs. Not to be confused with Poods, which is the nickname of #1 Daughter.

But back to the food. Last evening there were over 20 faces around the table consuming three varieties of sauce: pork, chicken & veal. Far be it from me not to mention the platter of mini brownie cheescakes that found their way into our mouths.

The winters are long up here. And dark. The precious daylight we receive is often bleak and stingy, which means cause for celebration when the sun turns golden and streaks across the dazzling snow for an afternoon. I have seen grown people shed a tear when we have a brief thaw, even though that means we trade up to mud.

But mud smells like dirt and dirt means spring and spring means gardens and possibly outdoor walks and outdoor walks bring renewed energy & hope.

Outdoors walks also bring health to life & limb that have possibly consumed way too much pasta & cheesecake in the late hours of the night.

-and for this we also give thanks.