Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Pix from a very good day

I organized the main dishes

While the table waits to be charged with food!

The coffee table is set up till Handsome Son arrives with the cheeses and crackers and breadsticks

Which he does

Ready for a prosecco toast and the appetizers

And we enjoy a great meal, good company, very relaxed.  Videos with dessert of cookies, chocolates, eggnog, large pot of tea. No pic, photographer overcome by food coma..

Very nice holiday. We put a bit out for the birds, too.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve

Wishing you all who celebrate it,  a Merry Christmas! Whether quiet or crowded, have a wonderful day.

Today there's cooking chez Boud, and celebrating because we're here, we're well, and what could be better? We wish the same for you and your family.


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Today's crochet caper

I did this, stitching along, today, to creative grandma's tutorial. Never did treble posts before, nor stitching round the posts, so that was interesting. I did have to pause the video now and then to get my bearings. This is a mosaic stitch, designed for four colors but I only had two compatible ones. I was mainly interested in in the stitches. But for the best effect you really need the color changes

And I found that though this is the official right side

I really liked this one at least as well, the official back.


grey day well spent. And I now realize I was so excited I put it in the wrong blog, doh. Should be in Art, the Beautiful Metaphor. Oops.

Interesting bread finding

Take a look at this

Chicken sandwich, made pita bread style. Except that it's not pita bread. Last time I made bread I was a bit slapdash with measuring the flour, and probably ended up with maybe three quarters cup less than I shoulda. I noticed the dough was much wetter and less formed than usual, even after I added in a bit more flour, but decided to see what happened. I was making bread rolls anyway.

And, as expected, they spread quite a bit, took a bit longer to bake, 25 rather than the usual 29 at 450f. And I found it was a way to make my own pita bread. The crust is crisp, and you can insert a knife, split and stuff the roll. This is great.

It's not often a baking goof works out. But this one is worth revisiting.

Friday, December 21, 2018

protests and partying

Arrived today: splurge on candy from long ago, because it's Christmas

And my part in the resistance.

 My life has many parts.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Lasagna and why it's rare around here

I've been noticing for ages at the back of the high kitchen cabinet, half a box of lasagna noodles, and been vaguely planning to use it up.

Several obstacles, the ground beef which is a meat never on my radar, or any other beef for that matter. The mozzarella which is a summer thing here, eaten with fresh farm tomatoes. Not lasagna weather. The ricotta, ruhgahda as the younger Mrs Soprano used to say it, just never in my kitchen. The tomato sauce likewise.  The only things I had were the noodles, sausage and tomato paste.

And then there's the cost, more than Christmas dinner when you add it up.

The actual cooking is okay if you have time. Which I did today. And realized that my hot Italian turkey sausages, the kind you can skin, to use the meat, would work fine. And it went from there. First finding a pan the right size. Why do recipes specify the size in inches instead of capacity, since that's the measurement incised into the pan? So the recipe also involved finding a ruler.

Shopping trip. Rationalizing that it's only once every few years, as I see the checkout totals. I went to an expensive store, only the best, since it's only once every few years.

A lot of prep, boiling the pasta,  and cooking on the stove, chopping and sauteing, mixing,  long simmering of the sauce, then assembly, then baking, and finally it emerged smelling pretty good. And then you have to wait for it to be ready to cut.

This is dinner today, then a series of future meals, including a couple of meals for handsome Son's freezer. And there's spare ricotta, must find recipes, and spare tomato sauce, in the freezer. And it's only once every few years.

And then I found another half box of lasagna noodles, arghghg.

But here comes the cook's first taste. This really shouldn't wait a few years before I make it again. It's waaaaaay good.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Birthday fun

Handsome Son arrived with wonderful seafood lunch, home baked chocolate chip cookies, and general goodwill for the day.

After we had eaten ourselves to a standstill, we brought down the Christmas decorations and proceeded to transform the big book case into Christmas Central.

All the old ornaments, from the needle pointed ones handsome partner loved, made by a workmate, to gifts from friends, including the Snow Leopard stars, souvenirs of handsome son's childhood,  three creches, all the dolls, from Dollivers to button dolls to tiny porcelain ladies. And the Dolliver Kennels turned out in style. Teddy bears.  Along with cats and mice.

Handsome Son set up a can light and we're set.

After that came a delivery of flowers, perfect timing. Thank you, dogonart, sister Irene.

Lovely day, just eating sponge candy, drinking tea and loafing now.

This has been a grand opening day for my new decade. Wheeeee!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Follow up on Mike's Butternut squash soup

So as promised, I checked with Mike for the recipe, and, as expected he said well, there isn't one really. Just be sure to roast the squash to tender, add chicken broth, grated Parmesan, minced sage leaves, salt, pepper, blend, eat.

So do that! I think the combo of Parmesan and sage was a big part of why it's so good.

Quinn, if you try it, please let us know how it goes.

Boud vs Squirrel update

As you see, the squirrels continue to get more than their fair share of the suet.

But they have been completely unable to steal the container, so birds are getting a look in. I'm calling this a draw.

That giant begonia I used as a hide to shoot from is the one I blogged about a while back, part of which I started from a single leaf stuck into potting soil then left alone. Now taller than I am.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Bean fritters

New invention I think. Can of habichuelas, white beans, simmered 20 minutes, drained, mashed, egg broken in, rolled in a mix of panko, cayenne pepper, and grated Parmesan, sauteed. One can makes two meals.

The idea of simmering came from Jack Monroe. I always like frittered foods, and you can mix and bread practically anything. Hp was partial to salmon fritters, but anything that can be mashed can work.

Cleared up the last of the garden this am. Cut back the dead bits of thyme, which still give off a lovely scent when cut, and the sage, lemon balm, chives and various other dormant plants. This way they're ready for spring. Aren't we all.

And lunch was interrupted by handyman/cook/artist/friend Mike bringing over a sample of his butternut squash soup, with some sage in it from my garden, a bunch of which he has in the freezer.  Tomorrow's lunch will be this soup with bean fritters part two.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Afternoon tea with Christmas cookies

Little pre Christmas gift of homebaked cookies. Can't let them go stale!

The shortbread pig seems very appropriate.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Hot supper for a cold December day

More of that bitter cold grey weather with nothing happening. So when I got home, I did this.

Potato scrubbed and cut into chunks, in a glass pan which was sprayed with olive oil, then layered with shredded Parmesan cheese. Then shake of cayenne, grind of black pepper, biff of seasalt. Put the potato, you've dried the pieces, in firmly,  so they wedge into the cheese layer.

Roast at 400f for 40 minutes. Then take the dish out, rest it on top of the stove and do nothing for five minutes. This lets the cheese set a bit. You separate the potatoes with a spatula, and turn them over to serve so all the lovely crisp side is up. Dab of ketchup.

Like this

Then serve and enjoy. The pic shows one medium spud. It works best if you use glass. That releases the chunks while leaving the crisp crust in place.

If I'd been feeding handsome son, there would have been chicken and other veggies, and the potatoes would be shared. But I just fancied a one item supper. And there it is. I didn't invent this, but I highly recommend it.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Reading, there's always reading

A lot of mental activity in these short days. Curtains drawn soon after four in the afternoon, so outdoor items need to be done by then.

I like to use all the available forms of delivery for my books. Here a book on color, by Kassia St.Clair, not an artist sort of study, broader than that, taking in history, origins, significance of the spectrum. It's physically lovely, with great color printing separating the essays, recommended.

And How we got to now, by  Steven Johnson, on the Kindle, essays on inventions and discoveries that escalated far beyond their original concepts to influence all the life on the planet. Written in conversational style but well researched, you just keep finding stuff out that keeps you going. 

I didn't know the invention of the Gutenberg press led to a quick need for eye glasses, once a lot of people found they were too farsighted to read up close. Didn't matter before they were reading. And so on. A lot of ideas. Some inventions worked out quite differently in use than intended, too. Read it, you'll see.

Then there's Portrait of the Artist, by Joyce, which I have in this ancient paperback edition, and in audio form on my tablet, so I can crochet those meditative little pieces you see there. They are reminding me more and more of bacteria seen on slides. A bit of a slog this time, this not being my favorite Joyce. Less accessible than Dubliners, a whole lot less engrossing than Ulysses. It's a book club choice.

Another book club choice on the Kindle is The Rights of Man by Tom Paine, which I just should read, one of those cornerstone documents that you tend not to get around to. He spends a lot of time and energy snarking at Burke, but finally does some interesting analysis of the French revolution and politics. One point leapt right out at me: his insistence that people must assert not only rights for themselves, but the obligation to make sure everyone else gets their rights, too. Very apropos right now.

Other books in progress too, why read one at a time when you can read a lot..but these are the most worth their energy.

So that's me, improving the shining hour.