11 September 2014
Alas, the yard is still littered with a thousand old canning jars that need to be dealt with and an enormous soapstone sink and counter that never got installed.
But we are moving on...
05 September 2014
This is for you slackers and procrastinators out there who watched Labor Day come and go.
We were very proactive this year. In March, we started making lists of things to do so we could hit the ground running once spring got here.
We bought paint and painting supplies to paint the upstairs hall and stairs.
We bought paint to paint the porch.
We bought glue to repair chair rungs.
We piled up boards to fix the bridge to the garden. (The bridge I fell through in June.)
We bought sandpaper to sand the smoker and high intensity paint to paint it.
We bought new shelving to put in the kitchen.
We got piles of wood mulch to start a garden compost.
We discussed propping up a sinking building.
We talked about fixing a tiny leak.
A week before Labor Day it was impossible to get into the house because the paint, painting supplies, new shelves, old shelves and who knows what else were still sitting in the mud room.
In August (late August) we did get the mulch moved to the garden. The new kitchen shelves are up, but the old ones are still waiting to be moved to a new location and the box the new shelving came in has not "went." The painting supplies are now in the upstairs hall, still in the bag. The leak has been repaired.
The sander broke in early August, so we just got the new replacement.
The glue is missing.
On Labor Day we watched 9 1/2 hours of Mike and Molly. 9 1/2 hours! Of Mike and Molly!
Today the last nail went into the bridge.
The small building sinking into the groundhog hole is almost up and level.
We have revised our March estimate and hope to have the hallway painted by Thanksgiving.
We are still smoking in the rusty smoker, but should we decide to paint it, we know where the paint is and the sander now works.
As for the glue... we have it on our shopping list.
30 August 2014
(We would like to take this opportunity to reflect upon those readers who don't care about football. We are sorry, but for the next few months, you will have to endure many a post about the SEC. Mostly on Saturdays. You have been warned.)
Today is the first Alabama game. A bit saddened that is against West Virginia, as EVERYONE I met today has on their yellow and blue. I laid low, only changing into the BAMA shirt when I got home.
Last night I started cooking some beef cheeks for the game. I used a winter chocolate spice blend, then braised them in beer for 14 hours and we are pretty excited dig in. We harvested our crop of Mexican cucumbers and we are going all in cucumber on the gin and soda. Cucumber gin, cucumber soda, and a cucumber garnish.
Pre-game snacks include our Roll Tide Bruschette.
So gearing up for football season, we got some University of Alabama jello molds. No jello here, we made a spicy aspic. (An aside about molds...They never actually look as good as they do on the "artists" rendering on the package. One would be hard pressed to actually read the lettering on the University of Alabama mold, though the "A" does last for a brief second. As for the elephant, he is there if you have a bold imagination. but now that I have told you what you are looking at....)
One thin layer of goat cheese, thinned with a bit of milk.
One layer of herbs and scallions, finely chopped.
One layer of avocado.
A final layer of the goat cheese.
An aspic topper.
We toasted some slices of bread and dug in.
Almost game time...Roll Tide.
28 August 2014
Canyon Country Store, if you have never heard Jim Morrison sing about the "store where the creatures meet," you might just want to visit after seeing this.
Check out Loren's website for more of his woodcuts.
27 August 2014
How many times has this happened to you? You are sitting on the settee in lounging pajamas reading Photoplay and eating bonbons when the hubby calls and says he is bringing home the boss for dinner. What's a girl to do? Come on, that never happens unless you watch reruns of I Love Lucy.
But what if you do need a quick and easy dish for company? Here's our newest favorite.
Let me begin by saying, I love a long complicated recipe. Two days, three days, I once attempted a glacé fruit recipe that took 8 days. Don't ask!
If a recipe calls for some new piece of kitchen paraphernalia, I am all in. But sometimes, a classy no-brainer is a great thing. So here is a quick and easy recipe that involves no cooking and will make you a culinary star.
This is a sorbet that you can use as an appetizer, a salad, a palate cleanser, or dessert, depending o on how you dress it up. I like it best as a salad, it is after all, veggies, and its much more fun than that bag of chopped radicchio.
Lucinda's Salad Sorbet
1 bottle Naked Berry Veggie juice
1 ice cream maker
Pour juice in ice cream maker. Process about 25 minutes. Place in a container in the freezer till ready to use.
Plain is fine, but for a salad course, try serving it with a few vegetable chips, some candied carrots or beets, or some pickled blueberries or grapes.
Not to mention there are tons, tons of fruit concoctions out there just dying to make and appearance on your table. Kale Blazer is my next fave sorbet. Think about it a bowl or raw, chopped kale or wine glass of kale sorbet?
As a dessert add some macerated berries with a bit of sugar to boost the sweetness.
Go on, use your imagination and be sure to send photos!
22 August 2014
|O'Keeffe's Kitchen Sink, Ghost Ranch, 1975 by Dan Budnik|
When she was 24, Margaret Wood met the 90-year-old Georgia O'Keeffe. She was hied to be Miss O'Keeffe's companion, staying with her at night and preparing her evening meal and her breakfast. Alas, Margaret Wood was not much of a cook at the time, so Miss O'Keeffe taught her. Years latter Wood compiled recipes that she cooked into A Painter's Kitchen: Recipes from the Kitchen of Georgia O'Keeffe.
|Photo from the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum|
|Photo from the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum|
|Photo from the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum|
Generally, we are not big fans of "nuts in our food" but we might just make an exception in honor of Georgia O'Keeffe.Atomic Muffins1/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds1/4 cup coarsely chopped cashews1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans1/4 cup sunflower seeds1 cup unbleached flour1/4 cup soy flour3/4 cup whole-wheat flour2 tablespoons brewer's yeast (optional)1 tablespoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon salt1 egg1/4 cup safflower oil2--3 tablespoons honey1 cup whole milkPreheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop the almonds, cashews, pecans, and sunflower seeds (or other nuts of choice). Combine the flours, brewer's yeast (if desired), baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, beat egg then and add the oil, honey and milk. Add the liquids and nuts to the dry ingredients and mix just until blended. Grease a muffin tin and fill to 2/3 full. Bake for 15 minutes, or until nicely browned. Serve with butter/oil and fruit preserves. Makes 1 dozen muffins.
21 August 2014
The best finishing salt in the world is from Maldon.
Correct? No, incorrect. It should read:
The best finishing salt in the world is from Malden.
Malden, West Virginia, not Maldon, England has the best salt in the world. There is documentation to prove it. In 1851 at the Crystal Palace Exhibition, J. Q. Dickinson salt was named the "Best Salt in the World," under the watchful eye of Queen Victoria, Charles Darwin, Samuel Colt, Lewis Carroll, Alfred Tennyson and Charlotte Brontë. It would take another thirty years before the Maldon Salt Company would produced their first bag of salt.
For over 100 years, J. Q. Dickinson produced a beautiful salt from the Iapetus Ocean, an ancient sea trapped under the Appalachian mountains about 600 million years ago. In the 1980's the J. Q. Dickinson company closed for a while until siblings and seventh-generation salt makers, Nancy Bruns and Lewis Payne revived the family business.
Find out more about J. Q. Dickinson Salt Works here, including great places to buy their salt.
19 August 2014
|Jim's Porch, West Virginia, 2013|
We have been seeing a lot of Lisa Elmaleh's photographs lately. That's a good thing.
In the age of selfies, pixels, and intagram, Elmaleh has gone all 1800's on her photography. She produces her images with a wet-plate colloidan process that was used in the mid 19th century. Instead of film, a piece of glass is covered with a sticky layer of toxic chemicals. The sticky glass plate is placed in a camera and when exposed, the glass becomes the negative.
It is the same photographic process used by Mathew Brady during the Civil War. Elmaleh has outfitted her truck with a portable darkroom and has taken it on the road. Our favorite collection of photographs is from a series called American Folk, portraits of folk musicians in Appalachia.
|Hogslop String Band. Harpeth River, TN, 2010.|
|Ralph Roberts, West Virginia, 2012|
15 August 2014
Once upon a time the great food writer, M. F. K. Fisher, found a copy of Catherine Plagemann's Fine Preserving. Fisher loved the book and used it so often that she made notes in the margins commenting, changing recipes, and picking favorites. Her favorite recipe was an easy and wonderful Pickled Grape.
Twenty years later, Fine Preserving was reissued with Fisher's notes printed in the margins. Several years ago we wrote about the two volumes at Cookbook Of The Day and included the recipe. Kevin West in his exhaustive preserving book, Saving The Season, also features the recipe.
Last week we found a gorgeous container of champagne grapes. What better way to preserve these little beauties than by making spiced grapes. We changed the recipe a bit, substituting long pepper for cinnamon and adding thyme instead of the onion, even Fisher didn't like the onion.