Thursday, June 30, 2016

Surprises in the plant kingdom

The Chinese evergreen, aglaonema to the initiated, suddenly bust out with a bunch of flowers this week.  

I noticed they're very similar to the flowers on other plants such as the spathiphyllum and the dracaena, and found that they're all members of the lily family.  Which I suppose is why they also look like arum lily flowers.  And I wonder if Jack in the Pulpit is a wild cousin of the clan?  

Anyway, nice surprise.  I always like it when plants bloom, just as when animals reproduce, it means they're happy in their environment.  And when they point out something interesting for me to explore, even better.

And the peacock jasmine, a mail order arrival, too small to photograph when she arrived, back in May, is now developing and has started putting out tiny white flowers, which have the most powerful scent you can imagine, like being in a jungle paradise. 

These are the flowers used in Hawaiian leis, pure white, scented, would be nice to wear.  If you could handle the scent at that range. 

This botanical excursion is meant to distract from the kitchen excitement of this morning.  My overhead light went a few days ago, the replacement has arrived, and I'm hoping my friend next door will get around to installing it.  He's been busy, and it's a favor, so I don't like to press. 

However, cooking by the light of the sink light and the stove light is getting old, particularly since this morning I was making a new recipe, partly to try on Handsome Son tomorrow, partly to have extra in the freezer. 

One of those recipes where you deal with opening canned salmon, wiping and slicing mushrooms, picking and mincing fresh herbs, cooking rice and combining it with yogurt, thawing puff pastry, frying onions, it better be good, that kind.

All went pretty much okay, and I made double the quantities, since the only can of salmon available was twice the size needed, and I am not budgetarily up to salmon steaks.  Sooooo, so far so more or less good, until I read the directions for oven temp. 

I thought they were a bit low, but needing new glasses, and the small type, and the suboptimal kitchen light, I soldiered on thinking well, perhaps they're right, but I thought this pastry needed a hotter oven.

Followed it to where it should have been all done, and it really really wasn't, looked pale and sad, not brown and joyful.  So I irritatedly shoved the temp up a good bit higher and now it started to work better.  I will finish the cooking tomorrow evening, so that it comes out fresh from the oven for dinner. And hope by then it works, because this is two complete puff pastry pie things plus another sort of quiche for the freezer.  All the ingredients were cooked ahead, really, so it's only the pastry that needs to step it up.

Then I was about to make notes on the cookbook indicating that it should be at the temp I put it at in the end, and realized, doh, they had put the celsius reading ahead of the fahrenheit, a reversal of what I'm used to, not being in a decimalized world here.  And the Fahrenheit temp I'd put it at was the one they'd said all now I've circled blackly the correct temps for my use.  Doh, again.

So this points up three needs: get the &*&**& kitchen light installed, make eye doctor appointment, and read the recipe a good light.

If it comes out well after all this, I'll pic it for you.  All good ingredients as my mom used to say if something came out below expectations.

On a different topic, yesterday was the  Feast of Sts Peter and Paul.  I've always thought this was a sort of canonical in-joke, since they did. in life.  So the Church makes them share the same feast day in perpetuity.  I wonder what Pope thought that one up.  Now, boys, you have to just learn to get along, see what you have in common, not what you always argue about. I bet they would have argued about the oven temp, too.


  1. I hope you get your light fixed soon - inadequate light must be frustrating for someone who cooks as often (and as well) as you do!

  2. your subject line '...cook, not so well...' and I was fretting all through the opening of the too-large can of salmon hoping you hadn't sliced yourself, then, during the oven control crank-up, hoping you hadn't burned yourself! happy that it's 'only' reading too fast under too few candles! finally able to chuckle with you - and I needed one today. Love you, dear Liz.


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