31 December 2008

Etiquette Wednesday

My BFF, BCR, added to my collection of all things mannerly this Christmas with this lovely box of Good Citizenship Flash Cards.

As a child I loved flash cards. Info and graphics on cards. So very clever.

Eeboo, the company that made my cards has a line of the coolest ever flash cards plus clever educational ideas. They have wall cards featuring my favorite things --ALPHABETS and COUNTING!

It is now so easy to count the lovely ways one can be a good citizen. Take dinner, for instance..

You should...

Please do a nice job -- and remember, forks on the left!

26 December 2008

Famous Food Friday -- Kate Smith

I hate bananas. It is one of the food items I simply cannot bare. In his book, The Year of Eating Dangerously, Tom Parker Bowles tells the story of his friend Dougie, who articulates it much better than I.

“How do I feel about bananas?” he told me, his face turning puce with rage. “Imagine you were incarcerated in the toughest jail in America for a crime you didn't commit and ended up being serially raped by the muscle-bound prison daddy. A few years later you’re walking down the street, a free man, when, suddenly, you spot the rapist standing on a corner, chatting with a bunch of mates. The trauma you’d experience at that moment, the mixture of abject terror and psychotic hatred –that’s how I feel when I look at a display in the supermarket and see a banana."

You go Dougie!

I tell you this story because today’s Famous Friday Foodie is Kate Smith and I am going to share with you a recipe that includes bananas, a recipe I will not be making.

Kate Smith was known for her big voice – and her big physique! She was an old-fashioned operatic character who was almost as wide as she was tall – the mark of a great soprano! In the late fifties, she authored The Kate Smith “Company’s Coming” Cookbook. According to the jacket the book contained, “Three hundred sumptuous recipes for the hostess to delight her guests.”

After pages of meats, desserts, breads, brunches, cakes and teas, we find a final chapter on salads. Smith’s introduction to the chapter speaks for itself. Actually, it needs a bit of translating as it appears that there was no editor in site!


“I realize that all the true gourmets feel that the salad is the epitome of good taste in serving a meal for fine taste. And I’m for it up to a point! However, I don’t think one will not survive without the addition of greenery to every meal. There are salads and salads, you know; and some of them can be pretty grim, and fodder for rabbits.”

The translation: Don’t was my precious time with lettuce! A culinary aesthetic that offers a keen understanding of Smith’s heft!

So, here is a recipe, without the addition of any greenery, that typifies a Kate Smith brunch!

Bake Bacon ‘n Bananas

4 ripe bananas
juice of one orange
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
6 slices bacon

Butter a shallow baking pan. Peel and cut the bananas in thirds, crosswise. Dip the banana pieces in orange juice, and roll in powdered sugar; then wrap each portion in a half slice of bacon, and fasten with a toothpick. Place the prepared bananas in the pan, and bake in a 350 degree oven about twenty minutes, or until the bacon is crisp. They’ll brown on all sides if you turn several times during the baking.

I must say, IF (and it is a BIG IF) I am forced to eat a banana, I would want it wrapped in bacon. As Kate would say, God Bless America!

21 November 2008

Beets With Candied Ginger In Yuzu Honey

This is a quick and easy side dish for Thanksgiving. After a bit of prep work, the dish tuck into an unused corner of the oven and is ready to go in no time. You want to start with small beets -- think golf balls not softballs. The dish is more fun if you can find two varieties of beets. I use a yellow and a red. With two varieties, however, you must cook them in separate parcels as the darker beets will color the lighter ones. With small beets, you will need to cut the green tops as close to the beet as possible. With a small paring knife, simply scrap the skin off the beets. BE WARNED, beets will stain your hands, so wear gloves.

This recipe calls for yuzu honey, sometimes called citron preserves. If you can't find yuzu honey,
substitute a mix of half orange marmalade and half honey.

Beets With Candied Ginger In Yuzu Honey

1 pound scraped fresh, small beets
1/4 cup candied ginger
1/2 cup yuzu honey

1 lemon
pinch of salt

Place the ingredients on a sheet of parchment paper.

Wrap the ingredients in the parchment paper and then wrap the parchment paper in aluminum foil.

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

With these on the table you can skip desert!

17 October 2008

What kind of a moron buys property ONLINE?

I hold Jeff Bezos personally responsible! I love books, ran a bookstore, read every day and had the ability to buy books online -- why didn't I think of that. Every day there is an e-mail from Amazon. Look at this, see this, buy me... please. It is so easy and neat and natural. Books. Books. Cd's. More books. More Cd's. An occasional jar of stem ginger. So why not property? The pictures popped onto the screen like a biography of Duncan Grant or the latest tunes from Jolie Holland. So why not buy a house online. Why indeed?

Almost Heaven...

I had been thinking of leaving the big city, but I hadn't really given it much thought. Then one day I was surfing the net and I found an add offering me the chance to "step into the nostalgic era." Perhaps it was melancholy or malaise, the Towers coming down or my lone tomato coming up but I took that step. I called on Thursday, saw the property on Sunday and decided to take the step.

Well, actually, it was more of leap. A gigantic, nosediving free-fall into nostalgia.

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