Friday, August 30, 2019

If it's Bad Food, it must be a holiday!

Labor Day weekend under way. So, in keeping with a long Adams tradition, it's Bad Food.

Never on the menu at other times, but it's lovely now and then. Hot dog, relish mustard, chips.

Now I'm going to demolish it. Bon appetit, everyone.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Coda, apple turnovers

After the recent pie caper, there was a little chunk of leftover pastry, which I put in the freezer for possible apple turnovers.

So they happened today. Only enough pastry for three, but enough filling left over for a nice dessert, with a spoonful of sour cream, gala apples, seasoned with nutmeg, cinnamon, molasses, lemon juice.  Eaten with a cup of strong Vietnamese coffee, on the patio, to accompany reading, lovely afternoon.

Meanwhile back at the cooling rack the turnovers clearly staging some sort of protest, look at those expressions!

Did they think it was a poor substitute for being excluded from the pie? Not sure I like angry turnovers.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Pie run complete

One piece for afternoon tea, piecing in the background for now.

 Two pieces in the fridge. The rest wrapped and frozen for future reference. Probably next visit of Handsome Son.

The fact I thought I'd better freeze some indicates that this is seriously good, and needing restraint on my part.

Pie happened

So a friend who decided she'd never use it,gave me a ready-made piecrust thing. I'd never used it before, so that was interesting. I'm a good pastry maker when I can be pestered to do it. Not a brag,  just a fact of having naturally cool, dry hands. So I haven't used ready made before, but okay, trying it.

And since I had some gala apples and ripe peaches, it seemed like a nice two-season pie idea.

I did macerating a la Rose Birnbaum, where you season the fruit, with the usual sugar,nutmeg,cinnamon, cornstarch, lemon juice and let the juices flow for an hour.

Then you drain the fruit, catch the liquid and reduce it to about half,  as you see above on the stove, thereby raising the flavor from one to five stars, then pour the reduction back over the fruit in the pie crust. Then you put the lid on.

It's really worth the extra step. Much better than putting all the same seasoning in then baking right away.

Then you go off and do useful things, or not, as it bakes at 425f. I even remembered to put the foil around the edges so they wouldn't brown too fast.

And here we go.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Post-it posse underway

I've been assigned millennials in a shore town to write to, with vbm paperwork, which I download and print out,encouraging post-it notes, and handwritten envelopes.

stamps, check,ow, envelopes, check, Post-It notes, check, forms downloaded and printed out for the appropriate county, check, instructions studied in case they changed since last time, check, printer cartridges ordered, ow, check.

We're officially under way. These millennials are registered voters, so they're already ahead of the game.

I'm one of many volunteers working with Action Together NJ on this push. We succeeded in making the blue wave in 2018, so we have to keep up the momentum, and not flag. There's a lot at stake.

And if you'd like to help, this volunteer on a modest fixed income would welcome a few $$ towards the cost.

If you can be active locally in getting out the vote, please do. And those readers in other countries -- your moral support is also welcome, never underestimate the value of an encouraging word.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Little Library and other musings

This week one of my knitting friends mentioned that her husband is planning to build a little free library outside their house as a birthday gift for her this year. It reminded me of one of the local ones, which I took in during a really successful day yesterday.

You know what little free libraries are? A little structure on a post, glass door, room for a few books, take one, leave one. Great fun. I've left cookbooks and mysteries now and then, which go fast. You find them all over once you start looking. Often nicely decorated, too. People build and stock  them as community services, or scouting awards, or just because.

Anyway, yesterday. I finally forced myself to go to the gas station and get air in my tires. No idea why this is so daunting, must be a previous life thing.

And went to the post office to get my sample get out the vote  post-it material weighed, and buy a roll of stamps. Which cost me a surprisingly large amount. Another thing I hate,local post office not being friendly, no idea why, but I did avoid the rudest man.

Two small victories, then the little library being en route, I finally donated an art book. It's located in the parking lot of a local art center, seemed appropriate.

And the universe reached out to me and said  well done, thou good and faithful servant, here's a Georgette Heyer in exchange for the art book. Very fair find. The Corinthian.

More piecing at work, but see for that.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Post-it posse on the move again

More than ever, we in the US need to vote. It's a great tool and a civic duty. Our republic is in crisis, and we need a secure voting mechanism.

The best is voting by mail. I've been doing it ever since it was opened up to the general electorate, beyond the previous disabled voters-only option.

Before the 2018 elections I took part in a similar GOTV, get out the vote, drive,  and we had some great results, good new folks in Congress partly as a result of our efforts.

We're back!  I just received my bank of registered voters information and I'm all set to encourage them to vote by mail. Personal notes to all, copies of everything they need to sign up.  It's clerical work with importance way beyond the tasks. Activism at my dining table.

It's entirely volunteer driven, we pay our expenses, printer cartridges, postage (a big one), envelopes, Post-It notes to attach because we can't write on official documents. We can't promote a candidate either, just a clean encouragement to vote.

Last time around when I couldn't afford any more postage, after my first batch, Action Together NJ' s leader, Winn, sent me some. She tries to raise funds to help pay postage.

She herself, Winn Khuong, is an immigrant and a model of how to do activism based on great research and energy. Great respect.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Scones for tea

Lemon curd tarts didn't happen today for various reasons largely having to do with needing to piece, and not feeling pestered to rub butter into flour and all that. Maybe tomorrow.

Meanwhile here's my substitute. Scones with walnuts and chocolate kisses, lemon curd hovering helpfully like Jeeves, ready to serve.

Excuse me now, have to go piece.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

A day of parts

Hot day, good for working indoors, on paper piecing, which you can witness at

But there's more. I suddenly got a plan to make lemon curd. For putting in lemon curd tarts, which I'll make tomorrow.

I was wondering why it's been so long since I made lemon curd. So I  assembled the lemon juice, salt, sugar and egg yolks and butter. Ages since I separated eggs, and there was a bit of combat with bits of shell, but I triumphed. I had to bring the butter and eggs to room temperature. Interval while that happened. I'll bet any money lemon meringue pie happened when someone made lemon curd and had to use up the egg whites.  Where was I.

Then the recipes I checked all insisted, in bold type, italics, and various other ways of shouting in print, that you HAD to make it in a double boiler, not directly over heat.

Short interval while I figured out a substitute for the double boiler I don't have, since they all insisted, as one, that you couldn't use a metal bowl, or it would taste metallic. Oh. So I did find a nice pottery bowl which fitted over the big pan nicely.

Then I noted that after you assemble and mix all the items, that you set them over the boiling water, and here's why I haven't made it recently, you have to whisk it continually for 15 minutes.

Several chapters of my current audiobook. My whole upper body was whining by the time it thickened and I whisked in the butter. I'd had a mason jar boiling quietly away, sterilizing, to receive the curd.

And finally I got it done, and this is the entire amount:

The texture,after cooling in the fridge a while was fine, just right for spreading.

So I tasted it, thinking this better be worth it.

Whereupon there was a blast of trumpets in my mouth, and I remembered exactly why this is worth all those pesky assemblings and separatings, and whiskings and cursings, and holding your aching ribs.

No, neighbors are not getting any of this. Handsome Son will get lemon curd tarts and tea when he visits Saturday. But it is totally a five star, reserve edition, curd.

In fact, it's not bad.

In other news, the family across the street suddenly felled a 40 foot tree, no idea why, perfectly healthy.

This is what's left.  All hands to the pump. One man doing most of the work, the others issuing commands.

I noticed this when I went out to check on the situation with the condenser pipe of my central air conditioner. In a climate like NJ with hot and very humid summers, not cooling below 75f even overnight, it's vital that the moisture wrung out of the house get safely away. Hence the pipe sticking out of the exterior wall.

It is usual to install this pipe above grade, for obvious reasons. However the builders of this development buried mine. So every spring I go and riddle it out, removing debris, or the condensation would back up and come through the living room ceiling. This has happened to neighbors who didn't know about unblocking it.

We also have a very high water table all year round, and our torrential rains have raised it more. I found the pipe under several inches of water. Oh.

Sooooo, I dug  and bailed, and chucked mud around until I'd reduced the water level to where the pipe began to flow nicely, and removed debris.

It's pretty tricky digging below ground level, quite tiring. But it's done for now. I notice the hole is filling up again. So the bailing may become a feature of life around here. I did have a picture, but I thought it'd be repulsive in the same post as the lemon curd..

And, not being very quick on these things, it occurs to me that it's not surprising my ribs are tired, what with piecing and whisking and digging. Hadn't added it all up till now.

It's nine pm. I'm taking the rest of the day off.