Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Morning

At this time of year the birds are awake so early, busy nesting a bit late this year, and the songs were deafening so I was up early, serenaded by Carolina wrens, mourning doves, cardinals, and mockingbirds plus a pair of catbirds, all shouting this is MY place, no this is MY place..

So, it was clearly time to make a little something.  The bag of hot chili peppers was still awaiting prep, after I'd used just a couple in the earlier cooking.  

They were so beautiful that I had to take pix, before

 and in process.  In fact I think the picture of the whole peppers should maybe be in Art the Beautiful blog.  The seeds are saved for use over spaghetti sauce, and the main peppers are now cut into strips and the whole lot is in the freezer.

Yesterday I realized how blunt my good knives are and I hate to sharpen, it's the noise I don't like, but I steeled myself, pun intended and did the sharpening, what a contrast with the bluntness before. 

I have a high end sharpening appliance, which I gave to Handsome Partner many years ago, and eventually inherited, since I don't have the steel skills required to do it the manual way.  Nor do I have the back step my mom used to sharpen her knife on, with a few expert swipes back and forth.  I noticed a knife sharpening booth at the farmer's market yesterday, which reminded me it was high time.

Banana bread was also on the to do list, since the bunches were big this week and I wanted to use them a bit faster.  And homemade cheese, paneer, with an experiment of chives.

I found that the flowers are indeed edible, as I thought, and picked a few for the cheese, and snipped their stems, too.  I found that each part of the flower is like a bell.  In fact the structure looks very much like bluebells.  Taste like onion, of course.  Here's the lemon juice waiting for the milk in the foreground to almost boil before I add it to curdle the milk and make the cheese.

So while the banana bread, crushed walnuts added, was baking, I made the cream cheese,  and added the chives on top to the finished cheese, aka paneer.  

 Here it is, with the banana bread cooling in the foreground.

 The paneer is almost too pretty to eat, but I'll force myself. You can put salt, if you like, and some people like to sweeten it as a dessert, but I think onion is good, too.  If you use whole milk you get a lot more cheese, since it's the curds that create the cheese, and duh, whole milk has more.  The whey is now in the freezer ready for soup.

Later on I'll have a snack of figs stuffed with this cheese, left from the great Roasted Sweet Potato caper.  Beside a slice of banana bread. Nice contrasts of sweet and savory. Outside, if the weather decides to warm up that much. I find that soaking the figs in boiling water is pretty good, not as good as ripe figs in season but they aren't in season right now.

I left a helping of the Sweet Potato and Figs dish across the street for my friends to come home to, and they were mad for it.  In fact she came over yesterday and took pix of the Jerusalem book and the recipe, to try out for herself.  While bringing me a little dessert she'd made, pineapple slice with homemade cream cheese on.  That's what reminded me I had the milk for the cheese in the house.

So at this point, the Bite Club has extended its reach to Ontario and the Indian community in this region! who knew..

And she came bearing two huge bags of clothing for freecycling, by previous arrangement, having forced her husband and daughter to start offloading some of their collection of never worn clothes. 

I do the freecycling because it's easier for me and I know the routine. There's one wrap that's going to be mine in there...also by arrangement.  In the summer I usually take a wrap or something with me to other people's houses and buildings, because they're kept so much colder than my own. So I have a little collection.

Meanwhile, the weekend is a good time to offer freecycle items, when people are free to pick up.

And it's still only midmorning where I am.  I think I'll sit down for a minute.  This afternoon, since my group plein air was cancelled, I'm off to do some plein drawing on my own account, once I decide where.  Beautiful bright weather, not too hot for sitting out and drawing, maybe a bit of caran d'ache,  too, I'll see how I feel.

Then a bit of stitching to come later, and a few more Dorset buttons are in the wings waiting to be made, after Ginny H., great stitcher friend, gave me from her late mother AND grandmother's stashes!


  1. I like the idea of the Bite Club. How was it formed and how many participants?

  2. Long answer here:

    Bite Club - Cookbook Book Club Remind Me about this Event Download Event Info Tell a Friend
    Contact: Information Desk (732) 329-4000x 7286

    Bite Club - a new book club for people who love to cook and/or eat. Each month we will feature a new food theme and a corresponding cookbook author(s). Meetings will take place on the third Tuesday of each month from 7 to 8:30 in the Food For Thought Cafe - Vending area.

    Tonight's discussion is Home Cooking with NYC (formerly of South Brunswick) food blogger Deb Perelman: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

    This is how it works: Starting on the first of the month, come to the Information Desk at the library and take out one of the cookbooks we have set aside for you. At home, peruse it, cook from it and and then come to the meeting on the third Tuesday to share your opinions and experiences.

    If you wish, bring in something you've made to the meeting; but please, don't feel obligated to bring something. We just want you and your opinions to be there as a part of our "foodie" community! We will provide a "bite" of something that we have made and you can weigh in with your instant review of what you're tasting.

    Extras: we may demonstrate a cooking technique or tip or two, and do some ingredient tastings as well.

    This book club is for you if you love talking about (thinking about, obsessing about?) good food.

  3. Diane Whitman, reference librarian and great cook organized and runs it, and people just come or don't! no membership requirements. Usually about a dozen people show up, mostly with food to demo and share.

  4. Thanks for the info. I'm in awe of your library.

  5. I love that picture of the chili peppers! That would make an awesome print. Art indeed!

  6. I'm with you on the sharpening knives sound - it's akin to fingernails on a blackboard. Makes my teeth ache.


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