Category Archives: Summer

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Renoir – 1879 Seascape

The hurricane is a statement and not a watch or a warning,  but the wind is gusty, the sky is grey and there are whitecaps in the harbor…Yep, it’s still Summer, but it wants to be Fall in New England.

On a related note….

New York Times Book Review. August 28, 2016. On Poetry/ David Orr.

“In Loath with the Lyric” p. 16. Review of Ben Lerner’s The Hatred of Poetry.

        “Let’s forget the distance between my isolated archipelago and your bustling, workaday neighborhood, and let me tell you about how, where I sit, the ocean seems suspended above the rounded gray and blue-gray stones, how I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same, slightly, indifferently swinging above the stones, and about how, if you should dip your hand in, your wrist would ache immediately, your bones would begin to ache and your hand would burn as if the water were a transmutation of fire that feeds on stones and burns with a dark gray flame.”

Gauguin-seascape-in-Brittany

Gauguin – Seascape in Brittany

In the article, there’s a reference  to William McGonagall The Tay Bridge Disaster

Blue-and-Silver--TrouvilleWhistler

Whistler – Blue and Silver Trouville

 

Van_Gogh_-_Fischerboote_bei_Saintes-Maries1

Van Gogh

Seascape at Saintes-Maries (Fishing Boats at Sea), 1888, Pushkin Museum, Moscow, Russia

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Book Club Chairs: Locale local

 Grab a seat…with your feet in the water, the sun on your back  OR  curled up in AC comfort OR in front of a fire.  It’s

                              Book Club time!

I’ve been reading…

Often I have a seasonal reading theme, whether I begin with one or not. I just like reading things that build on each other, complement each other, and keep my brain in the same neighbor for a while. This summer’s theme turned out to be:

Books set in Plymouth by

Local Authors who I know.

How’s THAT for a theme?

It started this spring with ROBERT KNOX

Bob Knox

Suosso’s Lane

Which is about Bartolomeo Vanzetti, who lived in Plymouth – just up the road from where I live now – and  early 20th century immigration issues and the labor movement  and…well, you’ll have to read it find out more….

 

Suosso's Lane cover

And then I heard that PETER TRENOUTH had a book out….

Peter Trenouth

Cloudy Hands

We worked together decades ago and have kept off and on in touch. This is a story that is heart wrenching, heartwarming and heartfelt and a bunch of other heart and flowers terms that are making me sound cliché instead of must read.

cloudy hands cover

Judith Campbell and the Holy Mysteries

Judy campbell

Olympia Brown / Holy Mysteries  series

There’s the story, the great people we meet, who grow and change and don’t change, revealing a little more of themselves in each volume AND there’s the moral AND the mystery AND the great food. I’m thinking Olympia Brown is a Leo, because she’s rather fond of ginger. I’ve offered to be a recipe tester for the companion cookbook…..

 

unspeakable_cover_300w

It’s been a summer to connect and re-connect with old friends and read great books with familiar locations and have friendly books on the shelves.

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two blue

 

 

 

I love blue berries. Usually I just eat them. Occasionally I actually leave enough or buy enough more that I make something. Blueberry pancakes. Blueberry Betty and Buckle (not to be confused with Betty Buckley..

betty-buckley-footer-watermark

Betty Buckley in Cats

Blueberry Cobbler. Blueberry Pie. Blueberry corn muffins. Blueberry tea-cake ….or was that a pound cake? Lemon pound cake with blueberries???? And Jordan Marsh Blueberry muffins….coming down the escalator, with box tied up with blue twine, hoping to NOT eat them all on the bus, so there would be more then crumbs in the box by the time we got home.

 

muffin-closeup-jpg

A Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffin….a fresh one from the original recipe from someone who used to work there AND it was on the news, so it must be true

I want to search for the recipe, but I’m not baking in this heat. Turn  the oven on? It already feels like the oven is on.

Wasn’t there a blueberry sauce for ice cream????

Blini with blueberry sauce…blueberries cook up just fine.

I’m resisting some serious cookbook/paper file searching, because in THIS heat, salad is the most cooking I’m doing with the berries.

And there aren’t enough left for a pie, so I’ll just have to eat them, and then I’ll go to the Plymouth Farmer’s Market and buy more.

Genius moment. Blue cheese dressing on a salad …..with blueberries on top.

Two Blues!

 

Now about this salad…I actually saw someone at work do it. He had the greens, and blue cheese dressing and then he dumped blueberries on top….

total lunch envy moment.

And evidently cases of SCURVY are up….so I should really eat MORE fruit. 1 cup of blues has 14.4 mg of vitamin C. An orange has about enough for a whole day of C (a woman needs 75 mg – an orange has 70).

Anyhow, I don’t have scurvy, not even close.I just want more blueberries !

SOOOOOO

I tossed some blue cheese, some blueberries and some smoked almonds on my greens…

Gorgonzola_1 300px

Gorgonzola -the blue I happen to have on hand

…the squishyness of the berries made the nuts seem even bigger and harder then they are. It was like there were bones in my salad. Next time: chop the nuts.

But smoked or spiced nuts are the way to go, to balance the richness of the blue cheese and the sweetness of the blue berries.

A little bacon would not be amiss. Fresh croutons could make the whole thing a meal.

Two blues with bacon and bread – salad of the week at ChezMoi.

 

oaksandbluberry 1905

Oaks and Blueberry Bushes – Georges Lacombe – 1905 -Indianapolis Museum of Art

 

 

 

 

 

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Cherries, Take Two

Take some cherry tomatoes

Tomates_cerises_Luc_Viatour(1)

Add some fresh mozzarella  –ciliegini – little cherry size

mozzerella, fresh

 

With basil and  a little olive oil …a lovely summer salad. Serve with Scali bread to mop up the juices..

scali bread

If you can’t find Scali bread, here’s a link on how to make some : http://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2008/03/26/for-the-love-of-scali-bread/

The next night…

Take what’s left of the tomato and cheese, which has been marinating in balsamic vinegar all night…..drool….And add to hot pasta

Practically instant, low cook supper.

 

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Go for the BURN

It’s a summer for burn

There’s this Bern….

              

BernieSS -DNCDAY1-0726-16

Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Penn., on Monday, July 25, 2016. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group)

 

         And the ever-present Sun-burn

Sunburnt_woman

Not me – a total stranger via Wikipedia

The good on the Grill burn  – more like a char, really

               grillingMeat_fillets

charburn2014-markby-sally

Charcoal Burn – it hasn’t happened yet, but it’s sneaking up there

And then there’s

Joanne’s Spaghetti Sauce.

I learned about this famous sauce from her son, Rick.

Back in the day, Rick was a pilgrim…..

Rick M WSJ Sally Rothemich

Rick McKee as a Pilgrim – as seen in the Wall Street Journal Nov. 29, 2012 – photo credit Sally Rothemich

We had some sort of pot-luck at work…I think it was charcoal burn….if not the first time, then later times. I witnessed this sauce on multiple occasions

Rick had a bag of groceries. He needed a pan for the sauce, and chopped onions and garlic and got them going, and open cans of tomatoes and sauce and threw them in.

He then wanted a frying pan. A HEAVY one. For the paste. To burn it.

Excuse me?????

A heavy pan to burn the paste in.

Yep, that’s what he said. That’s the secret.

Well, it’s no secret if the firetrucks come……make sure that the window is opened, turn on the overhead vent fans, and shut the door to keep the smoke detectors quiet. Fire extinguisher? Check and ready to go.

There’s a beautifully season cast iron skillet in the kitchen. If anything happens to it, all who touch it are doomed. Does he understand?

DOOMED! 

Rick puts the 10” cast iron skillet on the burner, turns the heat UP, opens the cans of paste and dumps them in. Wooden spoon in hand, he starts stirring, talking the whole while.

The darker you can get the paste, the better the sauce is.

Stir, stir, stirring.

It concentrates the tomato flavor. It releases the tomato flavor. It brings depth to the tomato flavor.

Stirring fairly vigorously.

Paste is already concentrated – frying it on high concentrates it even more.

Stirring, stirring, stirring.

The color changes.

This was in the long ago olden days before Alton Brown could explain about caramelization of the sugars in the paste, and who knows what else that high heat can bring out.

Finally, he says it’s done. He scrapes it into the pot of sauce, uses some water to deglaze the pan and adds that to the sauce, and turns the sauce down to a simmer.

After the deglazing, the skillet cleans up like a water glass.

He adds seasonings to the sauce and the kitchen smells DIVINE.

Like Sunday gravy. A visit to Italian side of the family.

It was good. Every time he made it, it was good.

Rick learned to make the sauce from his mother.

Joanne’s Favorite Spaghetti Sauce

Cover the bottom of large pan with oil. Chop one large onion and 2 cloves of garlic (cut garlic very fine). Add more garlic if so desired.

Cook in the oil over very low heat for a few minutes. (watch the garlic – it burns easily).

Add one large can of tomatoes and 2 cans tomato sauce. Add salt and let simmer.

Meatballs: 1 lb hamburger (or more if you want a lot of meatballs)

2 cloves garlic very fine, salt, pepper, add flavored breadcrumbs to own taste.

Add 3-4 eggs mix well. Roll in flour, fry til browned, let cool.

Fry 2 cans tomato paste.

Use high heat – in fact burn the paste. THIS is the secret.

Add to sauce.

Add water (2 cans or to own taste).

You can use the water to deglaze the meatball frying pan and add remnant paste to sauce.

Add Italian seasoning and sweet basil. Add meatballs. Let simmer 5-6 hours.

It always tastes better the next day.

 

* italics added by Rick

I got a copy of the recipe in 2009. Her family had it printed up to go with the Mass cards at her wake.

A recipe is one impressive memorial. You get to remember while cooking and again while eating.

And so in August, there will be one night that’s not quite so very hot, and I’ll see if I have tomato paste and bring out the cast iron skillet and go for the burn.

In loving memory of Joanne “Nana” McKee

August 8

1939-2009

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A Deepe Coffyn

Willem Clausz. Heda

SOOOO ……

I’m  reading and writing about PIES, specifically apple pies, and I get a package in the mail from a dear friend.

A book.

deepe coffyn

.

 A Deepe Coffyn by Janet Laurence

It’s a culinary murder mystery…the main character is cooking up an Banquet for a   group of culinary historians…and the next thing you know

someone is DEAD

But not because of the food.

If there’s one thing I love to read at the end of a week, it’s a murder mystery. Something about a problem and a solution all wrapped up in under 400 pages….It’s Murder, She Wrote between covers.

(Is there a book series for the TV series?)

Msw ss

 

And this book is the first of a series, a series I haven’t read. The author is from England. And there are nine more where this came from. They evolve/revolve around Darina Lisle – the cook- and William Pigram- the cop.

So now when pies are too hot a thing to contemplate (is there ANY cool weather out there anywhere?) I have something a little lighter to keep my brain occupied.

Thank you, Clarissa! A most appropriate and timely gift.

 

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Birthday Cake!

Today is someone’s birthday….

Well, that’s true about every day, but today it’s someone close to me….

Jacob and me

and much, much taller then he was twenty five years ago!

I found the recipe I used for his fifth birthday, so it seemed time to use it again.

First, get out the trusty 9×13 pan

13x9-pan nordicware bake and store

one with a lid…and get to work.

Chocolate Birthday Cake

2 eggs

1 ½ cups firm packed brown sugar

2 oz (2 squares) unsweetened baking chocolate, melted

2 cups sifted cake flour (like I had a 5 year old and cake flour in the house at the same time – HA!)

1 t. baking soda

½ t. salt

¼ C white vinegar

¾ C milk

1 t vanilla extract

½ C butter, softened

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Have all the ingredients at room temp
  3. Butter and flour a 13x9x2-inch pan.*(I used a pan that has its own travel lid.)
  4. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt (the Drys)
  5. Separately, combine vinegar, milk and vanilla (the Wets)
  6. In a big, deep bowl beat together eggs, brown sugar and chocolate (3 minutes by hand – 1 minute with an electric Mixer)
  7. Into the big, deep add the drys and half the wets.
  8. Beat 3 minutes by hand and or 1 minute electric.
  9. Add the rest of the wets and beat for another minute.
  10. Pour into the prepared pan.
  11. Bake for 45 minutes or until it shrinks from the sides of the pan and tests done.
  12. Cool completely and frost.

*or 2 8-inch layer cake pans

– Adapted from ‘3-Minute Fudge Cake’ in Nika Hazelton. From Nika Hazelton’s Kitchen. Viking Penguin. 1985. p. 298.

from-nika-hazeltons-kitchen

And don’t forget the candles – and some matches….

Birthday-Cakecandles closeup

Happy Birthday!

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Filed under 1990's, Birthday, Cake, Holiday, Recipe, Summer

HOPE

Hope is a thing with feathers…..

EmilyD

 

I was going through my files and found a recipe  for HOPE cake.

Not dated, not accredited, just a print out. I have no memory of ever  making it….it sounds great, though – Pineapple and orange pound-cake with a cream cheese honey icing….is HOPE Honey-Orange-Pineapple …???Eggs????

Google and discover.

Monday, really Big Fourth Celebrations here in America’s Hometown (that would be Plymouth, not to be confused with all those other America’s Hometowns). Parade with lots of fire trucks and police trucks, all with sirens blaring. Politicians smiling big, waving like the Queen of England, shaking hands; floats with people tossing candies into the crowd. Youth sports teams and other groups of young people, waving their trophies high. Bands, oh those bands. Marching bands, jazz bands, and even rock bands on floats…..and a group from the Priscilla Beach Theatre did a number from A Chorus Line in front of the Grandstand.

pbtchorus line

 

ONE

(Singular Sensation)

Kay and Bunk were there on their red, white and blue bicycles…this image is from another year…..there’s photo another of Bunk at July 4th – Plymouth MA

Bunky and Kay 4July

Cheering, waving.

Dragonflies like crazy all morning. HUGE dragonflies.

The woman seated near me up on Cole’s Hill passed her sunscreen over to me as the morning wore one, Hawaiian Tropics coco-nutty SPF 50 or 70 or 85 – something uber screening for pale Irish skin.Hawaiian tropic several

…..Hawaiian Tropic, an old summer friend, shared by a new friend by location

Milling with the post parade crowd, old friends to catch up with.

Time to head home, buy some OFF and take a little nap to go back for the Phil concert.

july-4th-ply-WATD-2016-phil-concert-full-v3-500x.jpg

Sprayed the OFF on, milled about, kept seeing people I knew, but not able to get up to them before they were lost in the crowd. And it was a crowd. Finally picked a spot where I could see the firework barges in the harbor that didn’t have trees crowding the view overhead AND see the bandstand.

A Bus comes down the blocked off street – the Philharmonic arriving!

They played all the  usual suspects, as well as a Star Trek tribute (50 years since the show first aired) and a tribute to the King – Elvis Presley.

Last number – The 1812 Overture, of course.

And then the fireworks begin.

OOOOOWWW!

AAAAAAHHH!

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

 

And then – and then a really big display, mostly low down, close to the water.

And I thought to myself,” It almost looks as if the barge is on fire.”

Plymouth-photo---Denise-A--Maccaferri--1--jpg

Denise Maccaferri Photography

july4th 2016

Then nothing.

People around me started saying it was a pretty short show this year and were getting up to leave.

I had to get up so I wouldn’t get trampled by the people climbing up the hill to get to their cars.

Almost every announcement about the fireworks during the day included remarks about how expensive they were, it wasn’t too late to donate…..so a short show WAS a possibility.

I only live a couple of blocks from the waterfront, so I was home lickety-split.

An hour or so late, I found it there really was a fire on the barge.

And thus begins a week of promise that just kept going downhill……

As if Orlando weren’t bad enough, St. Paul, Baton Rouge and then Dallas….too much red blood on too many American streets….

Early this morning a little bird held on the the edge of my window screen,

House_sparrow04

and I thought of Emily Dickinson…Hope is a thing with feathers…..

 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
– Emily Dickinson

And I remembered the cake –

A  Cake called HOPE

It was from Tinky Weisblat’s blog  In Our Grandmothers Kitchens to celebrate the Inaugural of Barack Obama back in January of 2009…
Tinky had also e-mailed me on Thursday to ask me to judge in a Pie Contest.

I said YES.

I’ve been to Pudding Hollow before for judging Puddings….and I love Pies
Pudding hollowjudgesweb

Edie Clark on my left; Michelangelo Wescott to my right – was this 5 years ago?

Feathers of hope, wafting this was way and that

 

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Filed under Cake, Holiday, Pie, Recipe, Summer

No Cook Cooking.

The no cook season has begun.

But there is no no eat season, only no eat hours here and there…..

It’s the heat I can’t stand, not the food

FNM070116_Rigatoni-with-No-Cook-Tomato-Sauce-recipe_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscape

Food Network Magazine. Right now.

Rigatoni with No-Cook Tomato Sauce

Rigatoni.  Tomatoes. Basil. Olive oil. Garlic.

If you need more instruction, follow the link. I’m off to get tomatoes and basil….

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/rigatoni-with-no-cook-tomato-sauce.html

FNM070116_Cover_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni18col.landscape

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Filed under Eating, Summer, Supper

Salads, Dressing

Claude Monet Jar of Peaches

Why did the peach blush?

Because it saw the salad dressing!

 There are so many things that can be salad…..really – like

Potato to make Potato Salad

Potato to make Potato Salad

Tuna for Tuna Salad (this tuna is named Charlie)

Tuna for Tuna Salad (this tuna is named Charlie)

Fruit in fruit salad

Fruit in fruit salad

even kale can be a salad

Kale and Chickpea Salad

Kale and Chickpea Salad

But the mostest salad I’ve eaten in my days is a lettucey, leafy greens base with stuff in/on/around and topped with

Dressing

Dressing that increasing came in bottle form…..

Ken's Blue Cheese Salad Dressing is on of my faves...it reminds me of steak and baked potato and a side salad. Now I mostly eat if without the steak and I'm as likely to put it on the potato as the salad. Also good on the sandwich made from the leftover steak - a thing I did not know existed in the world until I moved out and away from 4 brothers - in a sandwich with sliced tomato the next day for lunch

Ken’s Blue Cheese Salad Dressing is one of my faves.

Ken’s  reminds me of steak and baked potato and a side salad. Now I mostly eat it without the steak, and I’m as likely to put it on the potato as the salad. But when there IS steak it is also good on  leftover steak – a thing I did not know existed in the world until I moved out and away from 4 brothers – in a sandwich with sliced tomato the next day for lunch. Excellent good, in fact.

Jars replace bottle in the late '80's and '90's as even better salad dressing.

Jars replace bottles in the late ’80’s and ’90’s as even better salad dressing.

My son is a ranch Dressing lover, so this was on our table for years......

My son is a Ranch Dressing lover, so this was on our table much of the ’90’s

But this is the ranch dressing he really wanted, so these packets were part of our pantry for years...

But this is the Ranch Dressing he really wanted, so these packets were part of our pantry for years…

Newman's Own is my current bottle of choice. Bottle are convenient to carry to work for lunch salad.

Newman’s Own is my current bottle of choice. Bottle are convenient to carry to work for lunch salad.

The supper salad – the home game, versus the away game lunch salad – was increasing dressed in the bowl, like I was taught in ’60’s, but with more variety, like in Red, White and Blue Salad, which I had thought I had already shared, but it’s not showing up here when I searched for it…so here it is, possibly again

RED, WHITE AND BLUE SALAD

2 cups red cherry tomatoes (or grape tomatoes or big ole vine ripened tomatoes, chopped and equal to the grapes)

2 cups white grapes

Optional: ½ cup roasted and chopped nuts

Dressing:

         1 Tablespoon Blue cheese

1 Tablespoon wine vinegar

3 Tablespoons yoghurt

2 Tablespoons oil

1 garlic clove

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

  1. Put all dressing ingredients in blender and blend (use a food processor if you prefer. Creamy, rich, tasty goodness.
  2. Put aside.
  3. Wash and dry the fruits. Cut the cherry tomatoes and grapes in half over the bowl you toss them into.
  4. Top with the dressing and mix.
  5. Top with chopped nuts if you prefer.

Dorry Baird Norris. Sage Cottage Herb Garden Cookbook. The Globe Pequot Press. 1991, 1995. p.267

Sage Cottage Herb Garden Cook Book by Dorrie Norris

Sage Cottage Herb Garden Cook Book by Dorrie Norris

Mason jars are good to mix salad dressing in - NOT the salads, which need bowls or plates.

Mason jars are good to mix salad dressing in – NOT the salads, which need bowls or plates.

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Filed under 1990's, Summer, The 1980's