30 January 2012

Tales From the Dark Side

Let me preface this by saying I sincerely hope my friend, Ann, does not read this entry. She says she reads my blog, but I think that most days she does not read my blog, so I am hoping that this is one of those days.

Let me begin at the beginning. Like most people, I started the New Year thinking that this would be the year I got all healthy and slim and fit. Of course, I believed that there must be some type of kitchen gadget that would help me accomplish this. The more I thought about it, the more I knew what I needed to be fit and slim and healthy was a juicer.

I did my due diligence for a juicer. Picked out the one I wanted, which was more money than I wanted to spend. I went on eBay and found that by the time the shipping was included, the used eBay models were more than the new amazon juicers. Then I found a reconditioned juicer and I added it to my wish list as I tried to decide just exactly how healthy I wanted to be. Then the cheap, recondition models sold out. Then the new model sold out. Then I began to worry. I mentioned this to Ann (remember, do not tell her about this post) my juicer dilemma.

Ann believes in being proactive. So she bought me the juicer for my birthday (which is a couple of months away, but Ann has never been wedded to celebrating actual events on their actual day. The good thing about this for me, not Ann, is that she often FORGETS that she bought you something for a specific day, months before and then buys you something else for the actual day).

So I got my miraculous juicer for health and fitness. Let me just say, boy does it juice. Stuff any veggie into the magic tube and in seconds it spits out a thick, rich juice. It was wonderful. I juiced every day.

By day four, something bad happened. If my life were a supernatural television show, you would now be seeing the breath come out of my mouth as the room turned cold. On day four, I made a lovely spinach, apple, and celery juice. It was bright green and celery wafted up from my glass. And then…

I went to the dark side. I thought, what if I juiced a nob of horseradish into the juice, added a splash of celery bitters and a generous supply of vodka… yes, it would not be a bloody Mary but a Greeny Lucinda. One would never drink a Bloody Mary again. In fact, you could hold one of these in your hand and stand in bathroom mirror and chant Bloody Mary over and over and remain safe from ghostly possession.

From that moment on, every time I looked at the juicer, I thought of all the cocktails I could make. Then one night, it occurred to me that I could not only make cocktails, I could make bread! Imagine just how good bread would be if you replaced the water with juice…

Boy, was I right.

Carrot Bread with Currants

3 cups freshly squeezed carrot juice

1/2 cup milk

3 cups white AP flour

3 cups whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon honey

1 packet dry yeast

1 cup currants

Toss all the ingredients into a large container and stir until all the flours seem to be incorporated --you have a shaggy, stick mess. Let the dough sit in a warm place for an hour or two and then put in the refrigerator and allow to sit overnight.

Remove dough from the refrigerator. It will be a very sticky dough. Lay a sheet of foil or parchment paper on a tray or plate, as this will facilitate moving the dough to the oven. Dust your hands and the workspace in flour. Pull out half the dough and work it into a ball, adding just a bit of flour to keep it from sticking to your hands. Place the ball on the floured workspace and cover the dough with a cloth; let it rise for about 1 hour.

After 45 minutes have passed, place a covered Dutch oven into the oven and preheat oven and pan to 450 degrees. Carefully remove the pan and open it. Dust your hand in flour again and invert the loaf into you hand, removing the foil from the bottom. Drop loaf into the Dutch oven. It doesn't have to be fancy, just drop it in. Cover with the lid, return to the oven and cook for 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let sit for 30 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan.

I made some honey butter to spread on my juice bread. Now I am the first to admit that my miraculous juicer was supposed to be used for juice and not cocktails and certainly not bread... but look at it, really how can one resist. I promise to go back and DRINK the juice. I do... really

27 January 2012

Famous Food Friday -- George and Martha Washington

"States" china with Martha Washington's initials in the center.
This china was a gift from the East India Trading Company.

As I stated in the Lucindaville Abecedary, Dining With The Washingtons is a glorious book. It may look like a stuffy old academic tome from the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, but it is a breath of fresh air when you open the covers. Yes, it is a well researched scholarly book about George and Martha Washington, but the focus is about an area often overlooked in most histories – it is about the kitchen – or more specifically, how the kitchen impacts the dining room.

This interdisciplinary study starts in the kitchen and uses this space to view everything around it. It begins with the house as a focal point for entertaining such as, who came and why. George Washington’s life of public service made him a distinguished guest and those traveling through Virginia became his guests. Mount Vernon became one of the first private homes to offer its guests ice cream. In 1784 a “Cream Machine for Ice” was purchased in England for the sum of 1.13.3 pounds. It must have been a hit as three years later and expenditure of $7 was noted for another ice cream maker and the next year a full five shillings for ice cream spoons. Seriously, who wants to eat ice cream with plain soup spoon?

Ice Cream "Machine"

There is section on how everyday meals would have been prepared. While not incorporating the same pomp and circumstance of “state” dinners, the meal preparation was executed with military precision. The household staff, consisting of Washington’s slaves, began work before sunrise and ended late in the evening. A diary of the cook’s day from the 1790’s tells us that the cook, Lucy, along with her husband, Frank Lee, the butler would rise at 4 a. m. to begin work. A normal workday for Lucy would end with cleaning the kitchen at 8 p. m. When company was expected, the day would run much longer as Washington generally served his guests at 9 p.m.

Larder at Mount Vernon

Washington’s lavish meals were raised at Mount Vernon. Washington was a serious student of agriculture. He was one of the first farmers to abandon the once lucrative crop of tobacco for more farm friendly grain, which he milled and sold. A world traveler, Washington was fond of imported drink, but in his desire to “shop American” he replace imported ale with local beer. Especially fond of Robert Hare’s porter from Philadelphia, Washington was saddened when the brewery burned and wrote of his sorrow, “on public as well as private accounts.”

No book on dining would be complete without recipes. Noted food historian Nancy Carter Crump assembled a lovely collections of recipes that would have graced the tables of the Washington and translated them into a usable collection for today’s kitchens. For historical sake, here is one of Martha Washington’s actual recipes for you to try.

Take 40 eggs divide the whites from the yolks & beat them to a froth then work four pounds of butter to a cream & put the whites of the eggs to it a Spoon full at a time till it is well work’d then put 4 pounds of sugar finely powdered to it in the same manners then put it in the Youlks of eggs & 5 pounds of flower & 5 pounds of fruit. 2 hours will bake it add to it half an ounce of mace & nutmeg half a pint of wine and some frensh brandy.

Even if you could care less about history, this is one culinary romp you will want on your shelf.

24 January 2012

Women Reading

Edith Wharton, 1905

Happy 150th Birthday to Edith Wharton.

17 January 2012

Lucindaville Abecedary

My favorite type of book is an abcedary. Alphabetical listing of various ideas, thoughts, places and whatever. It seems that with a new year upon us, a Lucindaville abcedary of the things we like, loved and lived for would be a great way to start the year. Given that it is nearly February, it would seem that now is the time.


Alabama wins the BCS Championship. What more can one say!


Bohemian interiors. I am not a minimalist. I am a collector. I love obsessive clutter, especially books. So there is little doubt that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Oberto Gili’s Home Sweet Home. The pages are filled with color and books and dead things and paintings and so much more.


Cats. We lost Djuna this year. She had been my cat for 17 years. Halloween, we added Trick and Treat to the menagerie.


We love books about dining. We love dining in general, but we do love a great book on entertaining. This year our favorite entertaining book was both entertaining and historical. Dining with the Washington’s was published by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. It is beyond beautiful. The over sized jacket flaps feature Martha and George Washington. There are historical lists of people they entertained. There is garden information, cooking information, info on their china and cutlery and a recipes. Food, dishes, gardens, wine, oh my.


Edwardians. We really loved the Victorians but the Edwardians are growing on us. Between Downton Abbey and the new Upstairs/Downstairs, we are immersed in all things Edwardian.


Farro. This has been the year of the ancient grains. Farro has been one of our favorites. We loved it our warm beet salad with blueberries. This month in Food & Wine we saw an identical recipe for farro and beets with fish. We like blueberries better!


Gizzards are the offal of champions. After sharing several gizzard recipes, we found that there are many like-minded gizzard lovers out there. Look for new gizzard recipes in the coming months.


Christopher Hitchens lost this valiant battle with cancer. We will miss hanging out in his office talking about books. Agree with him or not, his essays always made us think.


ipad. I believed that there would never be an invention greater than the ipod. I love my music and I love my ipod with a devotion that is often reserved for a spouse. That being said, this Christmas I got and ipad. I see a plural marriage in my future.


Justified. My favorite television show of last year was the faintly western, Justified. I love Timothy Olyphfant. Margo Martindale was the best television villain in recent memory, and we are beyond happy that she won an Emmy. Justified is back this week and we are hoping that it will continue its winning ways.


Kitchen equipment. This has been a year of heavy kitchen equipment. Thanks to an extensive wish list of DIY tools we now have our own grain grinder and our own sausage stuffer. While it is often hard to walk around the kitchen, it is filled with great food.


little augury. We have been reading little augury for several years now. It is still as fresh as ever. While we procrastinate about a blog entry, little augury writes about it. And frankly, it kind of ticks us off that she is so together and that she has such great taste. But we will forgive her.


Mamacita. One of the great things about blogging is the people who comment. Sometimes the comments are better than the blogs. This would be the case with mamacita. When trying to identify a piece of Victorian cutlery, mamacita suggested it might be a tater tot fork. We laughed out loud. We still laugh, not to mention, we feel that it has opened the door to a whole new field of repurposing cutlery for modern times.


New Bob Dylan Tribute. We are fans of Bob Dylan but we are even bigger fans of Bob Dylan Tributes. This year Amnesty International compiled Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International, features a full 75 tributes to Dylan. Everyone from Kronos Quartet to Miley Cyrus. For that reason alone, this is a keeper.


The Metropolitan Opera in West Virginia. The Metropolitan Opera broadcasts a live prefomance in HD in movie theaters around the country. Even in the backwoods of West Virginia one can spend an evening with Deborah Voigt's Brunnhilde.


Pigtown Design is another of our favorite blogs. WE just love the happenings in Baltimore and everywhere else the blog takes us.


Quinoa. For my birthday last year I got a five-pound bag of quinoa. It was another of our favorite ancient grains. Cook it like rice. It is nutty and easy and good for you.


Lee Radziwill. As a child, my idol was Lee Radziwill. I read once that she was “sitting on the couch looking pensive.” So I looked up the word “pensive” and set out to sit on my couch looking “pensive.” Frankly, I looked like a child turning into a seial killer. I never masterd pensive, but I still think she is one of the most beautiful women in the world.


Smocks. Last year we got interested in bringing back the smock as a necessary item of clothing. We went so far as to order a vintage smock pattern. The year we are continuing our smock canmpaign and getting out the sewing machine.


Theatre of design of Olvier Messel. We have always been a big fan of Oliver Messel, so the annoucment that there would be new book featuring his work was beyond exciting. Oliver Messel: In the Theater of Design offers up the most complet look at Messel’s vast body of work.


Unity. As in Mitford. Hey, we couldn’t do a blog retrospective without a “Mitford.” This year we are looking forward to writing about a few of the lesser known Mitford girls. It may or may not surprise you to learn that are several songs about Unity Mitford from the rather twee Indelicates(shown above) to the skinhead band, Whitelaw.


Diana Vreeland. Rumor has it, Diana Vreeland is making a comeback. for us she never left. Want to know why she is so improtant? Check out Diana Vreeland The Eye Has To Travel.


Whole Beast Butchery. Now I know that most of you are not going to attempt butchering a steer in your kitchen. But if you care about how an animal gets to your table, check out Ryan Farr's Whole Beast Buchery. One will find that there is an incredible art to cutting meat.


Xtabay. The exotic singer with the four octive voice, Yma Sumac. She was the voice of Xtabay and an excellent addition to a party music mix.


Yuzu Kosho. This year the kitchen has been filled with dishes amped up with yuzu kosho. A wonderful paste of yuzu, pepperes and salt that add a bright and sizzling heat to any dish. A bit in some oil makes a wonderfl marinade. A bit in soup gives it a bright warm kick. Food & Wine says it going to be the "it" ingrecient this year. Let'shope so as it is a bit hard to find.


zippy definition

  1. mod.
    lively; active. : This is a real zippy number.

Zippy. Our descriptive word for the year. We are planning a very zippy blog in 2012.

08 January 2012

Women Reading/Requiescat in Pace - Eve Arnold

Marilyn Monroe Reading Ulysses, Eve Arnold, 1954

Eve Arnold 21 April 1912 – 4 January 2012

Arnold died just shy of her 100th birthday. New York Times Obituary.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin