Tuesday, August 30, 2016

New resident finds her friends

As promised to the neighbor who's giving the party out there next week, I cleared the last of the dead foliage outside my section of the fence to leave a nice green vista of groundcover, and brought in the Japanese maple from next door to live on my patio. It was dug for me and set in earth in a pot, very handy.  So I only had to dig once.

This also entailed digging up groundcover, with a network of tough roots, a bunch of  which I planted where the tree had been, so it's now all green out there, no gaping hole to be seen.

And settled the new visitor in to get acquainted with her friends, after a long, nearly seven foot, journey from her roots. Very pleased about this, and hopeful that she will do fine over the winter, since this is a good time to transplant.  She's a sturdy customer, having been amateurishly lopped more than once and still survived. And she will give me red leaves for natural dyes, as well as an interesting color to look at.

In the course of these events, a branch was broken off, so it's now in an arrangement with a broken off sedum and the cicada lying on a bottom sedum leaf, forming a kind of rescue still life.  

As I wrote that, a dusky swallowtail butterfly zigged past my window, reminding me to tell you that the bigger caterpillars on the parsley have now departed, and there are new babies out there with bits of egg clinging.  So with any luck we'll have a good population of duskies around here next year.

 You really have to plan ahead to garden here in this weather and at this age.  I have a limited time during which my back and arms say I can dig and lug and carry, and the hot weather together with mosquitoes renders that even more pointed, so you have to know what to do before you get out there. No time to lean on your spade and think.  And since the dead foliage I was cleaning out seems to be the summer resort of the mosquito, I picked up about a dozen bites before I knew it.  All summer I've been free of bites, and now they're coming in with a final surge.

But the gardening is done for now, until the Rose of Sharon arrives quite soon and I have to start thinking and digging again..very smug here, looking out.  I can see the little maple tree from the sofa in the living room, and through the passthrough from the kitchen, too. I always think of views from the house when I plant because I look out a lot while I'm thinking, working, cooking, doing anything really.  I think I'm part cat, so nosy.

Monday, August 29, 2016

A day packed with great stuff

Today was one of those days where good things just keep on keeping on.  Wonderful morning of plein air work in weather that was not too hot, not too humid, light perfect for working, new friend appeared on the scene to join us. And I managed four small artworks, all acceptable.

Then two items I wanted showed up at the library. Later two good friends stopped in to chat at different times.  One, the person who donated the sawblade for my weaving, and  no mean craftsman himself, showed me pix of the overhauling of a piece of furniture I'd given him, which he loves and has restored to a marvelous new thing for his home.  

The other honored me with personal stuff, while giving me material for me to work on for the Festival where I will teach paper weaving.  And I got news that my entry into the artists group show won an award.

Another friend was puzzling this evening over what to do with the little Japanese maple which is too crowded in his limited space, should he toss it? this was the little tree which gave me red leaves last year for pink dye, and I suggested that he dig it up as planned but instead of tossing, let it come to live on my patio.  Which he did. 

Tomorrow I do some garden cleanup anyway, and now I have a new tree to house on the patio.  This suits my landscaping plans , great, getting away from annuals and into trees and shrubs that I can tend annually and enjoy the developing shape, not to mention dyestuff growing on them.  I have a Rose of Sharon in blue on order for the completion of this plan. And the cherry sapling is coming on a treat. That, with the remaining big cherry tree, is about enough shrubbery for this small space.  It will give a good shape to the patio, as well as create some shade, and shelter for birds. Eventually.

Oh, and I'm invited to a fifth birthday party next week, a favorite young friend of mine and his family.  Happening right next door, all the more reason to tidy up out back and honor the party.

And for dinner I made Diane's Crustless Quiche, using mostly farmfresh ingredients.  

And sometimes a dish smells so great when you take it out that you wish there were a stadium full of cheering and stamping crowds, with whistles and vuvuzelas, shouting quiche, quiche, quiche, quiche to give it its proper due.  This quiche was one of those.

Mainly it's because of the freshest of eggs, and a mixture of parmigiano reggiano cheese and sharp cheddar, and the onions and garlic and freshly picked spinach. Four meals here for me, along with salads.

All in all a stellar day!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Photo shoot at the Libe Gallery, then a fine aftermath

This being the time of the Plainsboro Artists' Annual Group Show, 2016, theme this year being Square One -- go here 

it meant I spent part of the afternoon taking pix of the show, admiring my friends' work, and blogging the results.  It being a blistering hot day, so much for the season abating, after the picturing and cropping and sending and generally virtuously doing a good job at the library, the next destination was obvious.

Over to Cranbury to Gil and Bert's for a scoop of butter pecan in a sugar cone, no pix, it went pretty fast,

sitting in the shade of this awning 

In the evening the lights are on and it's very festive.

Then home to visit with neighbors, get their medical updates (!) and do the actual blogwork, which sometimes involves colorful language in keeping with an art exhibit. Very good afternoon. I had planned on one additional art expedition, but bagged it when I realized how hot it was.  It can wait for a cooler Sunday.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Achtung! Do not drag cord emphatically! 6WS

After a little contretemps, to vary the language a little, with the old electric kettle, and I mean old, several years ago obtained via freecycle, in the course of which it suddenly tried to burn my fingers as I unplugged it from the wall, it seemed a good idea to actually buy one new.

And much studying on line told me that the whistling element added too much of the dollar element to the kettle, and just having one that would switch itself off, would be fine.  Given how absent minded I am, often setting something on the stove then getting involved in something else and coming back later to cinders, it's good to have a kettle that will switch off and not burn the house down.  That's why I originally got a microwave, but I'm not fond of boiling water in it.

So here's my new kettle, arrived today, and it's made no, not in China, in GERMANY!  Das ist mein elektrischer wasserkocher! Das is also almost the extent of my German.  See, the light illuminates!

So I hope this provenance is a good sign.  Very sleek design, simple, does what it promises, and I'm boiling three successive lots of water as instructed in the booklet before it's ready to  make my tea.

My mom used to hate tea made with water from a new kettle, said it tasted blue!  I think that meant metallic, also, come to think of it now, that she had synaesthesia, too, tastes and colors blending. One of my sisters used to dislike onions in food, said they tasted green!

So I read the little booklet, presented in German then in English. My German being scanty, the year I spent on it in Uni devoted to reading Kinder Und Hausmarchen, book of fairytales, not exactly colloquially useful, but supposedly a basis for reading, I went to the carefully translated englische pages.

And here's how it goes:  Do not drag cord emphatically, and do not place this appliance near a jot gas or in wettest places. Dry the water on the bottom of the body before place it on power base.

Anyway between us, it's working just fine, my new little electric watercookerthing.  And I promise to avoid spillage on the connector and not to let boiling water be ejected by emphatically dragging on the lid.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Nature, giving gift after gift

This morning, on the way out of the house, I found a dead cicada, complete and perfect, right outside the door.  He instantly became a drawing model, results in Beautiful Metaphor.  The cicada is a beautifully engineered animal, with four transparent wings, and wonderful veining.

Then when I noticed a while later that there was a kind of black dust dropping onto the bookcase around the cut parsley flowers I'd brought in for decoration, I realized they were parsley seeds.  So I figured I'd collect them, so small, like black dust, you sweep them into your collection envelope with your hand.

Then I noticed on the parsley stems these little visitors

Dusky swallowtail butterfly caterpillars!  very young, must have hatched in the house, since a couple still had the original egg casing attached to their middles.  

So, since I love the dusky, I took the stems carefully back outside and put them back with the rest of the parsley.  See the remnants of the egg casing on one of these?

I called over my neighbor, who was very excited along with me, and quickly sent pix to a friend in Puerto Rico who used to live here.

Dusky swallowtails like parsley, dill, that family of plants, and if you see them please don't destroy!  they don't eat anything else, and what's a bit of parsley between friends?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Not for Kids Only, aka why should they have all the fun..

Summer time, oddly enough more indoors because of heat and humidity, and a lot of reading temptations show up.  When I'm not doing a mental workout with Jane Hirshfield's essays and the anthology of Kierkegaard, I'm reading stuff like this:

Perfectly wonderful, not exactly for kids, very penetrating social critique and very funny too.  I have to read more of her.

And then I've finally got around to Swallows and Amazons, by Arthur Ransome, a series of books really for kids, where two families of kids have adventures involving sailing, pretending to be pirates, diving for pearls, learning to swim, camping and cooking and tracking, all out of the reach of adults.  For kids a great escape form of reading.  

I never read kids' books when I was one, very little access,in  wartime no publishing for kids, and a house full of older brothers school texts, Dickens, Buchan, Belloc, GK Chesterton, through which I plowed at an early age.  Heck, I was an adult before I encountered Beatrix Potter! 

I could read well years before I was old enough to have a library card.  Dogonart used to kindly bring me back books on her card, though, and that's how I read Mary Poppins and other items. So she did what she could to provide more age appropriate material, and I still thank her to this day for doing this. And for showing me how to make a chest of drawers out of three matchboxes and three beads. Drawer pulls, you know.

Anyway, last week I found Swallows and Amazons on CD, great to listen while I do other stuff, and it's actually very good, even for an aging adult.  Which just shows you that a good story is a good story for practically any age of audience.  And that the later years are a great time to fill in the blanks from childhood, including reading lovely kids' books.  And yes, I now know who Mrs Tiggywinkle is!  oddly, I recently did one of those BBC quizzes about which Potter animal are you, and found I was Mrs. T.  Very apt.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Mushroom quiche farrago

After the wild success of the banana bread in the new square castiron baking pan, I though to try a quiche type of thing, since I'd got some lovely baby bellas locally.

As usual I didn't have half the ingredients in the Sunset Books recipe for mushroom crust quiche (but you can find it on Epicurious anyway, with no credit given to Sunset Books), but went on undaunted.

No crackers, so I subbed panko crumbs, no cream or cottage cheese, so subbed plain yogurt.  Couldn't be bothered pressing the mushroom crust into the pan then filling with ingredients, so I cooked the mushrooms in butter and oil, pinch of sumac, then mixed in the grated cheese, plain yogurt and three farm eggs, then poured the lot into the preheated pan.  About 20 minutes at 350F. You put castiron in the oven when you light it so that it's the same temp as the oven when you put in the batter, true for cake, and for this recipe, too.

And it came out just fine, in both senses. Meaning it tasted fine, and came out of the pan no trouble.  This is four meals for me, with a salad of fresh tomato alongside. Or it might be that the other bits go to friends, you never know.  And since it's not a quiche, I'm calling it a mushroom farrago.  Which is not a Spanish dance, in case you wondered.

So now there are a couple of helpings of farrago in the freezer for when I'm in a quiche mood, eating, not making.

At this rate I may donate my corningware to the thriftie, since I seem to have defaulted totally to cast iron, and it never lets me down.  The care is minimal, not like those lengthy instructions you get which put you off cast iron.  I just wipe it out after use, if necessary scrub gently with a cloth and kosher salt, wipe again, oil with a pastry brush and olive oil. Done.  Easier than scouring corningware or any other pots, really.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Reading a poet on poetry, and why cats paint

This week I've been slowly taking in Jane Hirshfield's Ten Windows, How Great Poems Transform the World.  Goopy title, but the content is far from goopy. 

It's simply so worth reading and thinking about, and so illuminating in every line.  Each chapter is one of the windows, and the prose is so rich and dense with meaning that you really have to read a chapter then set it aside for a few days before your brain can go on with the next.  She knows and totally grasps a great deal of literature, brings out quotations to illustrate and analyze her point, with such clarity that you have to stay with her. Hugely recommended, though I usually look with a cold eye on books that talk about books.

A lot of lit crit is so literal, or dense in the unintelligible sense,  and dry and oh dear, why bother, just written for academic advancement, nothing to do with the advancement of understanding and effects of great literature, and writers of the unfortunate semiotic school, I'm lookin atchou!  anyway, I am cautious with this sort of reading, but had read some of Hirshfield's poetry and liked her insights.

So I embarked on this one and so glad I did. She brings a poet's incisiveness and many layered vision to the concepts, and you just accompany her on a ride over and through new ideas, shaped and presented and still open to dispute.  It's like a personal seminar you never want to leave.

As you see, I'm also reading her poems here, so as not to forget to dance with her what brung me here.

On the subject of literary and of fine art analysis, I do have a very sceptical approach, except  for such tours de force as Why Cats Paint, which is one of the most full-on hysterically funny treatises on the painting exploits of cats, complete with works, analysis, and footnotes and references.  

It should come with a warning sticker to those literal folk who try to read it as serious art history of the zoological kind, and think it's going to be about elephants and chimpanzees and all that, playing with color and paper, all very nice.  But that's not what this is. 

It's a penetrating sendup of art criticism, wonderfully skewering the solemn writings of solemn white males discussing the work of other solemn white males.  And gets funnier and funnier until everything in the universe seems funny.  

Do look at it, particularly if you've been stuffed with Gombrich and Pevsner and all that canon.  Or even if you haven't.  Real artists, as opposed to wannabes and to people who write about them, usually have a terrific sense of humor and ability to see themselves as basically comic figures.  It's no coincidence that a lot of them have cats as studio companions!  Life's a banquet, not an essay to be written, after all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Thai basil pasta new idea, and hummer in tree

Today, after very successful doctor's visit, always so nice to hear there's no news after being prodded and quizzed and counted and generally detailed, I noticed that the hummingbird appears to be moving in.  

I saw her this morning while I was tying up the rose that got all awry in the wind and rain, and then this afternoon she was positively a pest.  In the cherry tree, fiercely driving off the chickadees who were under the impression it was their tree, and even a wren and a tufted titmouse, both doughty warriors in their own right.

And divebombing the lantana. I tried, with very modest success to get pix as she rested in the cherry tree at intervals. I suppose to her a couple of seconds is a nice long nap, but I doubt if you can spot her in the foliage.  Look bang in the middle, against the sunlit bit. She's facing right, if that helps!

No zoom capability, camera, not hummer, that is.  But she's definitely a fixture around here, and starting to demand her rights. And I notice that the more I watch her, the bigger the other birds suddenly appear.

Later in the afternoon, as I was wondering what might be on the dinner menu, a friend from down the street who's moving back to India suddenly showed up to unload some art supplies from her daughter, and a pot of Thai basil. Plus a basket of little cherry tomatoes.

The Thai basil is quite different from my other basil, and has a lot of seeds in the making, which I will save for next year, since it's really great, a bit licoricy in flavor, and wonderful.

So that settled supper. I made a little pasta dish, sauce from butter and olive oil, with a big dash of that lemon zest I put in the freezer months ago and am still using, plus a blurt of lemon juice, tomatoes halved, about a dozen leaves of basil, minced with the pizza cutter. Dash of kosher salt.  All cooked down gently while the pasta cooked.  And gosh it was good. This is a keeper.  I bless Lakshmi for the pot of basil, and the seeds which will ensure next year's crop, too.  Just tossed the sauce with the pasta, done.

You know how if something is really very good, very aromatic, you don't need much to be satisfied? this is one of those pasta dishes. I have enough for tomorrow too, and will definitely feed this to Handsome Son at some point.  I find that if food is just okay, you tend to eat more to get satisfied, or, as my Uncle George used to say, gosh, this is awful, I'll be glad when I've had enough!

I find the same with homebaked bread. One slice satisfies as much as several of that air-laden shop stuff, no matter how virtuous the label.

Anyway, do try this sauce, it's really good. But the secret is the combo of Thai basil and lemon, I think. I had no cheese in the house to sprinkle over it, but it worked fine anyway.

This was one of those suppers that reminds me of Miss Read, eating a simple meal on her lap while reading, to the shock and horror of her cleaning lady.  I enjoyed this dish on my lap (note the apron made from an upcycled shirt), while reading my Twitter feed.

This evening it's on to Jeeves and a pot of coffee, and a piece of banana and walnut bread.   Also I am looking forward to using my new cast iron square baking pan, perfect for cake and bread shapes, since the cakes I've done in the cast iron skillets have gone over very well.  May as well use a pan designed for the purpose.

Honestly what could make a better day than all the good things that came my way today?   zippedeedoodah, etc.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The patio chez Boud, miniature wildlife center!

There's no end of activity out there, every afternoon. Today several chickadees, then a mourning dove taking a bath, chased off by a Carolina wren who wanted a drink, then a goldfinch watching the action. Cardinals playing around the planters on the fence. 

And this morning I had tied up the sedum that was knocked flat in the recent huge rains and in less than an hour it's become tufted titmouse central, half a dozen birds doing tricks on the stakes, fighting and arguing and shoving.  My camera is not up to the action, so my words have to do.

Ceramic bird on one side of bath, real bird on the other!

On the deck, undeterred, a baby rabbit demonstrates why I haven't had any results from the seeds I planted on the edge of the deck, just handy for his mouth.

About now is when the  hummingbirds might be seen on the lantana.  I notice that between the hummers and the wrens, there's a wonderful shortage of squirrels.  Probably no match for the birds, and know better than to challenge them. An irritated wren can see off a squirrel before he knows what's up.  Astonishing how active all the wildlife is despite the heat and humidity, higher this year than ever, we are told.

And bang on the nose, at four o clock, even as I typed that, the hummer showed up and is working over the lantanas with great energy. And now she's resting in my cherry tree, but I have no hope of a picture.  Three seconds is a long nap for her.

Indoors, lovely late summer lunch of mostly local food, except that the dates are from California, this not being date country.  Mesclun dressed with homemade vinegar, with olive oil.

And, totally disregarding the madness outside, Marigold opened her beauty parlor and gave Duncan a great grooming and massage.  He's twice her size, so this is quite a job, which he's happy to let her do.

A couple of short stints outside in the garden demonstrated to me that today is just too humid and hot for me to work with, so I reluctantly am staying home.  Tomorrow is supposed to be less torrid.  But there's no shortage of entertainment anyway.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

August mailbag, new venture

I was given one of those boxes of art postcards, very good ones, by a friend who is downsizing, and I realized this was a nudge from the universe to get on and write a line to various people I've been meaning to write a line to. Not to get mail back, just to give them a little something in the mail that's not a bill, for once.  Or an advertising flyer.  This collection has some of my favorite artists, and some I was unfamiliar with, and all of it is great quality art. Frameable stuff, I'd say.

So I set to work and wrote my August mailbag, some of which you see here, had such a good time choosing the right image for each person, one that either reflected her, or that she would really get, or I just liked the image for her to enjoy. I notice that all my recipients in August are female, but it's not by design.  Maybe some men will get in there at some point. But they didn't come to mind right off, as all the women friends did.

I've been blessed with regular wonderful postcard messages complete with art images and other interesting stuff from my honorary granddaughter, for years now.  I can't rival her in faithful correspondence, though she's very busy in her own life, nor in her always legible handwriting, but I can do my possible as they say. And now that I have the tools to hand, no excuses.

And I hope that the people who eventually hear from me -- there will be more, this is just the August bag -- will be happy too.  I'm thinking of doing a batch each month.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Food on Friday with Dollivers

Today was about a lot of food and catchup, sorry, couldn't resist, and first in the catchup, the vinegar.  

I tasted it this morning. No mother had appeared, but it was definitely vinegar, lovely and fruity, and I bottled it back in the original wine bottle, and it's awaiting the next salad around here.  So I can safely recommend this low end method of making wine vinegar.

And Handsome Son managed to fit in a visit for lunch, to which he did total justice. He's a good cook, but right now is also a very busy one, and it's nice to come over for a large meal with seconds!

Today it was chicken rolls, which I kind of invented:  smoked deli chicken slices, stuffed with farm chicken sausage, the apple flavor, and Kennet Square mushrooms (translation for those out of area: the best), with grated parmigiano, also the real thing.  Rolled in farm egg then panko, baked for about 15 minutes at 350, and it went over a treat. In fact there's nothing left.  Good thing I got crafty and make another couple of dishes of these rolls for the freezer, because I got a request to do these again some time.

Potato salad, including my own patio grown spuds, yay, and farm ones.  Just tossed in oil and vinegar, with mustard seeds, bit of sea salt and black pepper.

Dessert was a peach crumble.  Peaches were fresh from the farm, macerated in spices including that really good cinnamon, not the supermarket sort, the real stuff, then frozen to await a crumble. The crust was almond meal, which I made in the coffee grinder from whole almonds, with oat flour and oat flakes, butter, bit of salt, bit of white sugar. I baked this last night, and let it sit overnight in the fridge, which I think I will do from now one, because the fruit set up just lovely, and the flavor was really good, actually better than fresh baked.

And a big carafe of homemade lemonade, which was very welcome to greet him as he came in on this 100 F day.

So this was very happy stuff, I love to use good ingredients and see the food enjoyed.  There's still crumble for other friends when I see them.

Then it was afternoon, too hot to have the oven going and it's restless weather when I can't get out to walk.  So I harvested herbs for pesto, right in the blazing sun, flavor at peak because of the heat and sun.

This was pretty labor intensive, good thing I don't do it more than once a year.  I have my version of pesto, which is all about a big handful of herbs, torn down fine, all the stems gone, a good shake of diced walnuts, pinch of kosher salt, good parmigiano fresh grated, good olive oil, and ziploc bags for freezing them. 

I keep the cheese in the freezer, in parchment paper inside plastic, and it doesn't seem to hurt the flavor at all.  Today I ended up after using most of one block, with a rind, which I'll use for soup, so it's back in the freezer, with the rest of the other block. 

Then, when the pesto's whirled into a paste in the blender and bagged and labeled, the blender has lovely remnants in the bottom, impossible to get out. So I put a cup of water in, blend that up, and freeze the resulting pesto water for soup later.  This pleases my frugal heart no end.

And of course, after all the work, and the cleanup, was over, two Dollivers, Dreads and Blondie Firstborn, reading left to right, showed up in their whites ready to pose and claiming they'd been there all along, but didn't want to get in the way, bad enough with Duncan tripping me at every step.  Or some such malarkey.  

So here they are with the flattened bags, and the containers of water from each flavor, sage, oregano, basil, and a combo of rosemary and thyme.  There was a lot of thyme which I wrapped and froze, so I have twigs of it later for recipes that need that rather than pesto.  I find that freezing fresh herbs, wrapped in plastic and rolled up with a rubber band holding it tight, works just fine, no loss of flavor that I've noticed.

And while this labor was going on, indoors and out, here's a visitor on the lantana, showing that it's really true about they toil not neither do they spin.  

Get a look at that wonderful tiger swallowtail.  Of course the Dollivers toil not, and neither do they spin, and they too seem to be supplied with nice gear.  I hear them shouting from the next room that they do too work, how would I get any ideas at all if not for them, and don't forget they can hear me.

Quite soon the sun will be over the yardarm, and when I pour my one lovely glass of red per day, they will no doubt show up clamoring for a share, since the sun's over the yarnarm..

Sunday, August 7, 2016

When wine goes south, make vinegar

Next door neighbor opened a bottle of chardonnay which had been around for a while, didn't like it much, asked me to try it, if I liked it, to have it.  Otherwise he would toss it.  Whereupon I said, no, don't toss, let me taste and see.

Which I did, and it was halfway to vinegar already, so I asked if he'd like me to make vinegar with it instead.  He'd never heard of the idea, and doesn't cook, but his visiting friends do, and one was there and perked up quite a bit at the thought of a nice chardonnay vinegar next time she visits.  She cooks, and despairs of his eating well in her absence.

So if it works out, I'll share.  He did come over later to ask if the same applied to spirits!!  but I said I didn't think scotch really goes bad..and I doubted if the same chemistry applies.  Wines though are usually meant for fairly quick consumption, not for storing indefinitely. The ones people put down for generations are usually fortified wines designed for that purpose -- old port, sherry, that kind of thing.  Not a simple table white from California.

Here's the setup.  Wine poured into an open dish, for maximum exposure to oxygen and to the  fermentation ingredients always in the air, a splosh of chardonnay vinegar I had in the house already, not my own make, as a starter, whisk it up together to give it a jumpstart.  

Then cover with cheesecloth and a rubber band, to keep dust and insects out, let air in.  And wait a few days to see if this works as hoped.  I kept the bottle, to reuse for the vinegar.

I have to check now and then to see if a mother forms on the surface.  That shows you it's working.  And I'll keep you informed as to progress.


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Food as celebration

Here comes the birthday cake for Handsome Son, cherry sauce over a chocolate cake (the usual crazy chocolate cake we all have a recipe for, simple, failsafe).  

Cherry sauce from frozen pitted cherries, cornstarch, touch of salt, sugar.  Served with french vanilla ice cream. Went over a treat.  As did the meatballs and spaghetti, garlic bread, etc., all home done.  As usual fewer leftovers than I'd hoped for, but that's probably a good thing anyway.  Son went home bearing quite a bit of cake for home consumption, too.

And here are the almond macaroons which are my part of the food for the Creative Collective art opening tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. at the Gourgaud Gallery, Cranbury, local readers warmly invited to come and join us and help eat the macaroons and other great items this group does for openings.  These are made with almond meal I made from sliced almonds, and are gluten free, if that's an issue.  

Also to see some good local art, while you're at it.  Two of my Planet Suite works are in this show. The Gallery is inside the Town Hall, in case you were never there before, very nice gallery indeed, good lighting, good shape for seeing art.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Humidity drops, and bread returns

So the humidity has dropped, you can breathe, the temps are still hot, but manageable, and bread baking has returned.  I will be making a birthday dinner for Handsome Son tomorrow, and needed homemade bread rolls as part of the deal.  I plan to make a couple of rolls into garlic bread, to go with homemade spaghetti sauce with meat balls made from farm sausage, good mozzarella shredded over, then home baked chocolate cake with cherry sauce in, sort of rustic Black Forest cake, and ice cream. Not too shabby, and not too hot to eat this way, either.

So I hauled out the breadmakings, and made one small batch of rolls for instant use.  

Today since something that was to happen isn't after all, illness, someone else's that is, caused cancellation, I have a slot of time to make another, bigger, batch of bread rolls for the freezer.  

The same old wholewhat bread recipe as always, from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, easy, makes good bread with a lovely crust, and you just shape the dough however you want it -- loaves, flat cakes, breadsticks, rolls, it's as adaptable as clay.  

I love a handy roll to stuff with cheese when I can't be bothered fixing anything more complicated, and I will have a nice supply in the freezer by this evening.  If you bake bread in or on a nonstick pan or tray, it makes a great crust, better, I find than the regular metal pans.

Officially the birthday is Monday, which also happens to be Handsome Partner's anniversary, so Handsome Son tactfully opted to have Friday night, as well as better fitting his schedule.  

It's an annual very mixed day, August 8, because of the major birthday coinciding with the major death, so we handle it each year one way or another.  We have sometimes celebrated HP on his birthday in late June, but what with weather and work schedules, that hasn't happened yet this year, is still to be decided. 

Monday will be a plein air art morning, and I think of going to the labyrinth after that to walk it in memory of Handsome Partner.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Bringing in the Sheaves, well, the Spuds

Potato Harvest 2016.  I can usually count on getting at least one meal of potatoes from a sprouting potato buried in a pot of potting soil and basically disregarded for several months.  

Here's this year's haul, smaller than usual, but surprised I got any, since they were flooded quite often, and potatoes hate that, usually rot under those circumstances.  But here's a nice little meal.  Labor sparing gardening.  I lifted them before the foliage was quite spent, because I thought if I waited any longer they might rot.

These, with a nice sauce of the peppermint growing near them, will be a good addition to a meal.