Tag Archives: snow

Hello, Spring!

On this day in 1888 Vincent Van Gogh painted Grass and Butterflies because  SOMETIMES in SOME PLACES,  April is Spring.

vangogh april31888GrassNbutterflies

Oh, Spring, you are a tease.

botticelli-primavera

Botticelli’s Primavera

 

Spring_-_Allegorie_des_Frühlings_-_17th_century

Boy, Spring – you fool!

Spring 17th c

Spring – where are YOU????

sprin 17th c_man_with_stag

This little 17th century Spring time scene sums up how I feel about snow in April – STUPID SPRING. Seriously, if you have a Stag by the back legs – LET GO. Holding on is stupid. VERY VERY INDEED

This is the Spring I’m waiting for…..

Ambrosius Bosschaert's 1606 oil on copper painting Flowers in a Glass

             Ambrosius Bosschaert’s 1606 oil on copper painting Flowers in a Glass

This is what it was like as I was looking out my window this morning, and will probably see more of tomorrow.My friend Mindy lives up and over the street from me, and she got it on film…

Don’t need to wait til tomorrow – it’s just started again…..

 

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Filed under Spring, winter

Winter Blues

Ready for the Snow – George Lucas

 

Snow, snow, snow. Cold, cold, cold. Short days, but getting longer, but not nearly long enough. Long nights getting shorter, but not short enough. Not quite enough sunlight. At least the snow makes the full moon light brighter.

Beth went to  some sort of Publishers Book Fair earlier this month and brought me back some samples. (Thank you Beth! XoX). These are books that haven’t yet been released, the advance reading copies, which makes them doubly delightful, being both new reads and being ahead of their own time, as it were.

One book had menus as chapter headings, and the first chapter was Xmas, so I dove in – what better to read in a snow storm/Jonas/apocalypse?

It turned out to be about a woman pursuing a career (that she’s AWFULLY ambivalent about) with a marriage that she’s outgrown and then she re-invents herself as a single in the city …and since she’s had a career for over 20 years, she’s not exactly a Spring Chicken, but on the other hand she has a young daughter…sometimes….and a non-romantic interest nonagenarian (that’s a 90 something) who is a cook/philosopher. And she finds a Mister Man of Her Unrealized (at the books opening) Dreams before the end.

But of course.

A Twenty-First Century Sleeping Beauty/Snow White/Cinderella Fairy Tale, complete with Disneyesque Princess and unnamed Prince Charming.

disney_live_Three_Princess

Even Disney can’t tell them apart anymore

Each chapter in this fairy tale begins with a menu, and some of the dishes have descriptions or almost recipes written in, and good kitchen advice as well. And drinks. There is plenty of alcohol fueling this fairy tale, too.

As I was reading, I was imagining who would be cast in the movie version…Jennifer Lawrence, perhaps,

Jennifer Lawrence

even though Sandra Bullock would be more age appropriate, and no doubt Dustin Hoffman

dustin_hoffman

could play the Yoda/spatula wielding-leading man… or maybe it could be a limited run TV series, that’s part Drama/part Cooking show with cookbook/life manual to go with it. Since she doesn’t write about his death, and he’s ninety something in 2009, there’s sequel material out there……

And so I went to bed. It’s not until this morning that I realized the name of the leading lady is the same name as the author…both first AND last names, a woman who had done the sort of work that the leading lady had done and that the book is dedicated to someone who has the same name as the darling and mostly absent daughter, and

in a Dawn Breaking over Marblehead moment

dawn over Marblehead

Dawn (or light) breaking ovah Marblehead. We take our figures of speech literally round here.

did I realized this might be

MEMOIR.

As a novel, I’d have more to say about this, but as someone’s portrayal of their life……although my own life is sometimes

A Movie Directed By Mel Brooks,

Mel Brooks

it is not a telenovelas or a soap opera or reality show. And it certainly wouldn’t be  in my written versions. That kind of DRAHMA I can’t sustain for longer than a cup of coffee. If that long.

 

On the other hand, Our Leading Man put a homemade blue cheese dressing on avocados, which make me want that combination in the worst way. And since I have some Blue cheese in the house, and a recipe for blue cheese dressing   This one is a creamy version. I have another vinaigrette somewhere….If I can figure out where the book is -it might be on the shelf of the little bookcase that is still at the ancestral home.

Avocados are on my shopping list, even though I still don’t know how to buy one or keep it or eat it in the place between rock hard and tasteless and brown and slightly oozy and scary bad. But avocados and SuperBowl Sunday go together hand in glove, so there are plenty to go around and at a good price, too.

I’ve also been eating orange and red and yellow food, just for the color warmth.

Squash soup made with the frozen squash and some cranberry apple cider that got much sweeter as it cooked; I searched Anna Thomas Love Soup and she had a version of squash soup that had red lentils in it, so I added some of them, and some water. Her soup also had some spices, turmeric, cumin, red pepper – which sounds a lot like curry powder, of which there was none in the house. And although the vegetarian Anna Thomas wouldn’t suggest it, sausage would cut the sweet…

Love Soup

Curry powder and sausage go on the grocery list.

The lentils reminded me of Simon Mujumdar’s Life Saving Dahl, so find his book and put dahl on the list, too. Is Eating My Globe at the ancestral home, too? Interesting what got save first, and once safe was moved to the no worries list…..ah, internet:

EatMyGlobe

 

Life Saving Dahl – Simon Majumdar

And now, back to blues, as in foods.

 

Stiltob cheese

Stilton cheese – a blue cheese

 

 

I bought the bit of supermarket Stilton for a rarebit….and then  took a little trip down a rabbit hole as well.

Just what IS the difference between rabbit and rarebit? When did this become a dish and not just toasted bread and cheese? Inquiring minds want to know!

The short version of which is: It’s confusing! Both rarebits and rabbits abound and there are also a few other names for cheese on toast.

Hannah Glasse (The Art Of Cookery Made Plain & Easy) has the earliest printed Welsh Rabbit recipe, and it’s a rabbit, in 1747. Welsh not the only rabbit in Glasse – there is also Scotch and English rabbits there. In the next chronological reference I could find (this is all rather haphazard and not the least academic) in 1753 (The Ladies Companion)there is A Scotch, A Welsh A Portuguese and An Italian…. and later on there is also Scotch Buck and English Monkey and Blushing Bunny….and the rabbit/rarebit divide isn’t just between England and the US or even between centuries. Both countries and both 19th and 20th centuries use both names. Rabbit Hole.

Alice in Wonderland Tennial

Rabbit or Rarebit?? And just where are you from??????ONE answer, please!

I’m close to crying ‘Uncle’ in all of this, and then it will be a Wicked  WayBack Wednesday post.

In the meantime, this is the blue cheese rarebit that I clipped from Bon Apetit back in 1994 and have enjoyed numerous times since then, especially since I found that the local convenience store sells milk not only in Gallons and Half gallons and Quarts, but also in 14 oz. to-go bottles. As someone who doesn’t drink milk, buying even a quart means I have to come up with at least one other way to use it, so instead of 12 oz of milk, I use the 14 with no harm.

Stilton Rarebit

1 ½ T butter

1 ½ teas flour

1 tsp Coleman’s dry mustard

1 ½ C milk

1 C Stilton (4 oz)(an English blue cheese)

1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

4 slices WW bread, toasted

Walnuts, chopped

 

  1. …Whisk flour in and cook 30 seconds. Whisk in mustard.
  2. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
  3. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer till thickened, whisking occasionally: 5-10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add ½ the cheese and whisk until melted. Add remaining cheese, whisk until melted and smooth.
  5. Season with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
  6. Cut toasted bread slices on diagonal and overlap 4 halves on each of 2 plates. Ladle rarebit over.
  7. Garnish with chopped walnuts.

2 servings.

  • Bon Appetit magazine. Dec 1994 issue (New Year’s supper 1994)Bon Appetit Dec 1994 cover

In my notebook it’s on a page with Dylan Thomas quote:

….there was sherry and walnuts and bottled beer and crackers by the dessertspoons….

By 1994 I knew that ‘cracker’s’ in this case were NOT saltines…..

christmas-cracker_

 

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Filed under 1990's, Books, Bread, winter

Odds and Ends

One thing I’d like to end is :

SNOW

snow forrest 1440x900

Winter Wonder-is this snow ever going to end-  Land

It started snowing again. It wasn’t supposed to start for a couple of hours, AFTER I would have finished writing…and now I’m totally distracted.

It’s not like snow is food….except sometimes when it is:

FoodNetwork Snow Recipes click it

More snow = more shoveling.

There is a Zen of shoveling, a Tao of shoveling, a Way of shoveling.

tao imageAnd the way is thus –

Think not of this snow, but the next snow.

Where will the next snow go?

This snow must go beyond next snow.

Always shovel for the next snow.

snowfallJanuary_2015_nor'easter_snowfall_in_Watertown,_MA

shovel shovel scrape salt shovel shovel scrape lift with your knees and not your back shovel and rest

I’ve been making English muffins, some good, some odd, some far too large, and I think I’m closing in on the muffin that will not be just English, but mine.

March 1st is the Feast of Saint David, patron saint of Wales, also known as Saint Tavy – he’s the leek saint. I’ve been making leek and potato soup and I’ve got a great little book titled

First You Take A Leek

You can buy this on Amazon - some of this stuff I just can't make up!

You can buy this on Amazon – some of this stuff I just can’t make up!

But I’m not writing about that, either, because there is snow falling, and it distracts me and takes my attention.

Should I start shoveling now? Should I wait? Is it fluffy snow? Is it heavy? Do I have enough salt for the stairs and the sidewalk?

Even at night when it’s not snowing, huge heavy trucks have been driving by, shifting gears on the slight incline in front of my house, slowing down to take the corner at the next street three houses down, no rest for the snow weary.

Big trucks carrying snow.

snow trrain

This would be a much quieter snow truck, but this truck has not been in my neighborhood.

This would be a much quieter snow truck, but this truck has not been in my neighborhood.

This snow truck - unless it's really a snow car - we have several of these in the neighborhood.

This snow truck – unless it’s really a snow car – we have several of these in the neighborhood.

And so the Way of Snow is the Way of Shovel…what does snow weigh?

wxwhyTheWeightOfSnow385X289X96

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Filed under Eating, winter

It’s snowing and it’s only the second of November…..snowMaybe it’s not THAT much snow, but it might as well be…I have my rain boots at the ready, my rain gear by the back door.

What is this SNOW???????? I’m not ready for snow before Thanksgiving.

Time to head back to the kitchen. Since I really don’t want to go to the store, what’s in the pantry for tonight?

Potatoes. Onions…if there are eggs in the fridge, I know what I’m-ma gonna do….

chicken w a cape on

The Little Chickie was so cold she had a cape on…but still, there are eggs!

Potato and Onion Frittata

¼ c olive oil

2 medium potatoes

4 medium onions

6 large eggs

¼ c grated Parmesan cheese

¼ tsp salt

Ground black pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9” pie plate.
  2. Heat the oil in a large cast iron or nonstick frying pan. Peel and cut the potatoes into ½ cubes
  3. When the oil is hot but not smoking, fry the potatoes until golden and tender.
  4. Peel and dice the onions
  5. Remove the potatoes from the pan with a slotted spoon. Cook the onions about 15 minutes, stirring and tossing frequently until very tender. These aren’t caramelized onions, just very well done – more beige then dark brown, but meltingly soft.
  6. Beat the eggs with the salt and pepper and cheese.
  7. Add the potato and onions to the eggs.
  8. NOTE: Keep the onions and eggs in one bowl, the eggs and seasonings in another, cover and fridge for several hours before cooking. Bring out and mix together while the oven is preheating.
  9. Put mixture into pie plate and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Jeanne Lehman. Quick Vegetarian Pleasures:152.

simple vegg pleasur peaseWhich is all well and good, and I’ve made  plenty of fritattas this way, BUT as a single single (versus my single Mom days) I now make half as much and just keep it all on the stove, maybe listening to some NPR at the same time, or staring at the white board at the side of the fridge, writing down things as they flit through my head…

So

1 potato, peel it and cut it into a dice, or really thin slices. Fry in olive oil – the olive oil is part of the flavor. When it’s tender and golden, take those taters out and add in 2 onions, any kind, any color, sliced very, very thin or diced, cook them slowly in the oil, stirring them every now and again, keep it all moving along. By now you’ve already checked around the fridge – any leftover bits that might be nice – but only bitty bits in the fritatta for one.  A slice of ham, one piece of bacon, a stalk of broccoli. Or not.

Beat 3 eggs, add some salt and pepper, maybe a pinch of smoked paprika or a pinch tarragon….by now you know what you’re hungry for. Add the potato to the eggs, add the onions to the potato, and if you want some cheese in it, now the time. If the bottom of the pan is still slick you’re good, or add another drop or two of oil to it. Put the egg mixture in the pan, keep it at medium and shake it about a bit to get the eggy parts to the bottom to cook, and to keep it from sticking.  Put a lid on it, and don’t go too far away….10 or so should do it. Slide it out to your plate, and sit at a table, preferably one with a view (if you don’t have a view, get flowers) and enjoy.

Clara Peeters - flowers, good; mouse, optional

Clara Peeters – flowers, good; mouse, optional

It’s still snowing…….

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Filed under 1990's, Autumn, Recipe

Snow Daze

I have never been so done with SNOW snow

as I am right now. Enough already. Is it because I don’t come from Snow People? My ancestors – immediate and the not all that far back  – didn’t come from snowy places. Is that is the root of my discontent?

Ireland, for instance is the Emerald Isle, NOT the Snow-up-to-your-eyeballs Isle

Ireland - pretty green - average snowfall? When it snows, the whole country pretty much shuts down.

Ireland – pretty green – average snowfall? Most years, next to none. When it does snow, the whole country pretty much shuts down.

Gaeta, Italy average snowfall? NONE. Maybe every hundred years or so…but pretty much never ‘neve‘. (Neve is snow – I had to look it up because, really, who from Gaeta talks like that?)

Average snowfall? Not worth mentioning

Gaeta average snowfall? Not worth mentioning

Shoveling snow has taken up a considerable amount of my winter time. Being worn out from shoveling takes even MORE time. Sigh.

And the month has had other kinds of busy:

  •  February 7, 1867 was the day Laura Ingalls Wilder was born and Sarah Uthoff  had a birthday party on her radio show Trundlebed Tales. So one night I stayed up late to chat on talk radio about birthday and other cakes from the Little Houses all over the places that the Ingalls lived, with an extra special shout out to Barbara Walker who wrote the Little House  Cookbook that is such pure delight.LittleHouseCookbook
  • The link to the radio show – it ran a little long… Trundlebed Tales Laura Ingalls Wilder On-Air Birthday Party
  •   That reminded me of the snow candy that the Ingalls girls made in Little House in the Big Woods

“One morning she boiled molasses and sugar together until they made a thick syrup, and Pa brought in two pans of clean, white snow from outdoors. Laura and Mary each had a pan, and Pa and Ma showed them how to pour the dark syrup in little streams on to the snow. They made circles, and curlicues, and squiggledy things, and these hardened at once and were candy.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods

LIW snowcandyenhanced-buzz-19949-1360338018-10

  • Then I got a call asking about oysters, colonists and aphrodisiacs – my work as a foodways culinarian is never dull….

The link to that interview is here: NPR The Salt For the Love of Oysters how a kiss from the seas evokes passions

Jan Steen The Oyster Eater

Jan Steen The Oyster Eater

Shovel snow. Shovel snow. Shovel snow. I’d like a week without the word Blizzard in the weather forecast….

Then there’s prepping for February Vacation  at Plimoth Plantation Workshops

 February Vacation at Plimoth Plantation

Tuesday, February 18
10 a.m. Take and Bake – earn your baker badge
Make an apple pie to take home and bake. When the English arrived in New England, there were no apple trees here. They created orchards here as soon as possible – they really missed apples! You will learn all sorts of modern-day kitchen skills while you follow a 17th-century English recipe to make your pie!

11:30 a.m.  Behind the Scenes Museum Tour

1 p.m. Cook over a Hearth Fire – earn your chef badge
Prepare a few familiar foods over an indoor hearth in the modern Visitor Center. In the 17th century, pancakes weren’t made from a box! Learn about interesting English recipes for pancakes and fritters, and how to prepare some deliciously different versions of foods we still eat today.

Still some openings for Tuesday – and there’s a full week of other workshops, too. Check out the Plimoth Plantation Calendar of Events

Each workshop is $5 ($4 for museum members). Bundles of programs can be purchased. Call 508) 503-2653 or groupsales@plimoth.org

Tomorrow is another Meatless Monday, hot soup edition.

 

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