Monthly Archives: December 2016

New Year!

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David  de Conick – detail : rabbits and roosters

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Buon Capodanno!

 

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17th century Italian platter

 

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PORKY TOAST

I had a chance to go to Dorchester. Work related.

For this, the most ancestral of homes, the place the Patriarch was raised and identified as being from. Not matter how many years we lived in Pembroke, he would  still say he was from Dorchester.

Besides, the place is in the midst of another resurgence. Places get that every 80 years or so.  It’s a deep breath away from being – dare I say it? – Hipster. Or whatever will follow hipster, because in 2 years it will no longer hip to be hipster, so whatever we call what follows.

Work The Commonwealth Museum.

And then to lunch.

Local 149, South Boston

On the menu was deep fried mac and cheese….

Yes, please

Then

Lots of deliciousness….

Excuse me, waiter

What is Porky Toast?

 

Pulled pork AND Toast??? Could this be like the Reese’s Cup  – two great tastes that taste great together?

toast toaster

Wall of Toast – toast is pretty awesome on it’s own

porky-toastlocal149

I didn’t even notice the eggs until the plate was sitting in front of me.photo from Local 149 instagram

How to re-create this at home?????

Sister Trish added slow cooker pulled pork to the Christmas Feasting at her house last year…..

which makes it the perfect time to introduce the clan to Porky Toast.

And I just like saying the words:

Porky Toast

I supplied Sis with a Butt. There was Butt discussion.

I got Pirate Spread to sub in/ totally improve on the herb cream cheese.

pirate-spread

Pirate Spread: A spicy, sweet spread made with Salty Sea Feta, sundried tomatoes, rosemary, cayenne pepper and olive oil. Its boldness makes it a perfect match for grilled meats, veggie pizza or oven fries.

Then I got some onion rolls, split them and toasted them

AND

I got to spend Christmas Day saying, “Porky Toast”

 

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Christmas Magic!

Time to wrap the pressies…

but first – where’s the TAPE?????

Wrapping paper, tags., working pen to write the names on the tags…..

Add TAPE to the list

Time to run the errands

I could get the cheap and easy disposable roll….

But here’s a dispenser….

tape-dispenser

The label says,”Dispenser with MAGIC’. I think I want THIS one!

So I’ll be wrapping all the presents with magic….Christmas magic.

And now for some real magic…

My cousin Jeanne sent me a Christmas card  – nice, but that’s not the magic part.

As I pulled the mail out of my mailbox (this may be more properly a letterbox..)

mailbox

One envelope had a giant blue question mark on it.

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It was only AFTER I had opened it and read it and double checked that I had her most up to date address, that I noticed.

It had been sent to my old address

I moved last year, so not so bad.

But not to the last address….the one before that.

The ten years ago address

And yet here it was at the right place, right on time.

Awesome work, Postal Carrier!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a

Good Night!

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Winter Solstice

header: Adam Elsheimer, The Flight into Egypt c. 1609

When I started this blog – three years ago today – I hadn’t even registered that it was the day after the Winter Solstice  – the day the light GROWS

Each day will be longer, each night shorter – more light, less darkness.

here comes the sun

 het-licht-detail-de-zaaier-vincent-van-gogh

There’s still plenty of food and table talk ahead.

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This is the rest of the painting in the header

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Cookies, eaten like grapes

header –Snail, Fruit, Nuts, Grapes, and Pinecones by Giovan Battista Ruoppolo, 2nd half 17th century. 

I was thinking about shortbread, a cookie I used to make, and then having made it for two years, it HAD to be made because we

ALWAYS

had it. Until it didn’t get made for a year or two, because new cookies joined the fray….I mean

TRAY

cookie_tray

According to Wikipedia, this is an American Christmas Cookie Tray.

I found a shortbread recipe….or four….or six…..some have splatters and some do not….from the many shortbread years. This will not be a shortbread year. Maybe next year.

I also found a recipe from my cousin Flora. She e-mailed it in 2006. This is her version, with some notes from me. I re-wrote the recipe in 2008, so I had made it several times by then. An easy add to the Holiday Tray.

RICOTTA COOKIES

Blend until creamy:

1 stick ROOM TEMPERATURE butter

1/4 cup ricotta (I actually put in about 1/3 cup)

Add and mix well

1 cup sugar

1 egg

Slowly stir in:

2 cups SIFTED flour (this is less than 2 cups flour sifted)

1/2 tsp baking soda (note from me – baking soda and baking powder are not the same thing, and aren’t really interchangeable. Don’t ask me how I know this, but I do, I REALLY do!)

1/2 tsp salt (note from me – don’t leave out the salt – it activate the soda to leaven)

Drop batter from a tsp onto a greased baking sheet. (I use RELEASE which I think is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I TOTALLY agree!)

Bake in the upper half of oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Tops will be white but bottoms will be brown. Makes 36 cookies. Cool and glaze. Store in a covered container and they will last for a couple of weeks (you won’t get to this point because they will be eaten like grapes).

Glaze: 2 cups sifted confectionery sugar

3 tbls orange juice or whatever flavoring you choose

sprinkles if you have them

Blend well (NOTE: the sprinkles go one the cookies after they have been glazed – don’t add the sprinkles to the glaze)

Bon Appetito!

forte-luca-still-life-with-grapes-1630s-copper-gettyStill Life with Grapes and Other Fruits by Luca Forte, Getty Center, 1630s

“eaten like grapes”

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It’s Christmas Time in the Kitchen

Christmas time in the kitchen is all about the

cookies

 

The words of Silver Bells just beg to be re-written for our own versions of the holiday.

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Silver Bells cut out cookies from Pillsbury

Even Vogue magazine is about cookies this month…..

A Baker’s Tour of Europe’s Finest Holiday Cookies

by Oliver Strand

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This is the illustration from Vogue

AND….

New York Times Style magazine has this article:

Baking Sweets From Childhood Tales

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This illustration from “Little House on the Prairie” shows all it took to make Christmas perfect for Laura and Mary: two heart-shaped cakes, two tin cups, two peppermint sticks and two pennies — one for each girl. Credit Garth Williams, Little House on the Prairie, from group of four, 1953: Christmas Stockings/Copyright Garth Williams 1953; renewed 1981/Image courtesy Heritage Auctions

from the article In Praise of the Good Enough

And today, 12/12 is Ma Ingalls birthday!

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Today is Ma Ingalls’ birthday! 177 years ago on this day, Caroline Lake Quiner (later to become Caroline “Ma” Ingalls) was born in the Milwaukee area of Wisconsin, the fifth of seven Quiner children. Some said that baby Caroline was the first non-native American baby to be born in the area.

In this picture, Caroline is seated next to her husband, Charles Ingalls.

Happy Birthday, Ma!

Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society

Cookies I’ve written about:

Italian Cookies

S’Wonderful (S cookies)

Oh, Joy! Chocolate Coconut Macaroons with Almonds

Wine with a Twist (cookies)

Oatmeal Raisin cookies

The Cool Cookies

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Soup kitchen

detail from Johann Georg Sturm’s 1796 Deutschlands Flora in Abbildungen

Soooooo….

When you realize that you have six pounds of parsnips, and the odd roast turkey carcass and the freezer needs defrosting (because the freezer is old enough to be NOT frost-free) and the weather is also not frost-free….time to make some soup.

You work in a kitchen, sometimes you make soup.

Soup Kitchen.

I’ve had some great soup gurus – early on Anna Thomas…

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Anna Thomas

love-soup

I started with the soup basics in Vegetarian Epicure…This is only soups.

There are also the ethnic soups that are shades of my childhood, what we ate and what we talked about…

soups-of-italy

I’ve mentioned this before..still a page turner

Barbara Kafka has a soup book called, “Soup : A Way of Life”.

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Not to be confused with

kafkas-soup

But I digress….

 

But most of the time I make soup by assembling the likely ingredients – in some cases the Most Likely ingredients – and then think about how they go together, and what needs to be added to make them one soup and not a bunch of leftovers.The soupness helps to bring things together, but the right accent can make things great.

There’s also the internet …..

Most of the parsnip soup recipes called for milk or cream, and there are allergy issues with dairy AND it would mean a trip to the store….and  wants to go to the store for ONE THING? And who comes back from the store with one thing?????.

But the internet had quite a few vegan veggie soups, many of which included cashews, which bring up nut issues   ….but also, I had NO cashews and then I would have to go to the store for one thing….back to that.

Then there were a raft  of soup recipes where the roots were roasted and pureed.

Roasting, easy-peasy.

Pureeing….there’s no blender in the kitchen, but boiling the roasted roots in broth makes mashing a really possibility.

Parsnips are peeled and cut. The better part of a head of garlic, peeled. All the veggies tossed with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Put in a hot oven til fork tender, 350° oven about an hour, fork very tender.

Cool and save.

Soup Day morning, add 5 quarts broth made from the turkey carcass and a big sprig of rosemary. Bring to a boil.

Simmer for an hour, mash the parsnips to thicken it up. Taste and adjust seasonings.  Bring to a bowl.

Makes 15 servings.

parsnips-1

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Jag

Rare Iron Pie Crimper/jag with Whale-Tail Handle and 1794 Large Cent Wheel, American, first half 19th century, with notched border and distinctive semi-circular tail reminiscent of a whale’s tail, the wheel composed of an altered American 1794 large cent with depiction of Lady Liberty. Typical wear. L 5 1/2″.

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Maker unknown, Double Eagle scrimshaw pie jag(detail), mid-19th century, carved, incised ivory colored with red wax, brass and silver, H. 7 in., W. 4 in, D. 1 1/2 in. Gift of George G. Frelinghuysen. Shelburne Museum. Image by David Bohl.

Sometimes  I choose what to write. Sometimes it chooses me.I’ve had lots of pie events lately, so pie has been on my brain. Pie, pie accessories, pie recipes….I was going to write about pie jags….or cookies….or some combination thereof….

piecrustmoldwilton

Wilton has a pie crust rim mold, is cutting and pasting is out of your league

BUT

pie jags lead to just plain jag….

A dish of rice and beans.

I didn’t  know about jag until I moved to Plymouth, where it is so common to be customary on any sort of potluck table. Sometimes with beans, sometimes with pease, sometimes with linguica or other tube meat  – always hits the spot.

 

linquica-gaspars

Paula Peters wrote about it years ago in the Cape Cod Times Finding the Recipe for jag and more recently Paula Marcoux wrote about Jagacida for edible South Shore and South Coast Magazine. And here’s a wordpress blogger who writes of three generations of jag

I have rice, and an onion, and beans instead of pease…..and a pot to cook it in and some smoked paprika. Time to put on the rice and beans.

 

 

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Rabbit, Xmas rabbit

tizian-madonna_mit_dem_kaninchen

Titian.Mary and Infant Jesus with a rabbit, Paris, Louvre

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rabbit-xmas-janbrett

puigaudeau_ferdinand_du_-_chinese_schadows_the_rabbit

Ferdinand du Puigaudeau, Chinese Shadows, the Rabbit

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Filed under Books, Holiday, winter