29 November 2010

Requiescat in Pace -- Leslie Nielsen

Many years ago I worked on a job with Leslie Nielsen. He was charming, professional and witty. (At some point in the shoot we had him dressed in pajamas and made him ride a horse.) It was a brief but memorable encounter.

On 20 February 2002, Nielsen was named an honorary citizen of West Virginia and an "Ambassador of Mountain State Goodwill".

He was indeed and ambassador of good will! Leslie Nielsen's obituary in the New York Times.

28 November 2010

Happy Birthday Nancy

Nancy Mitford by Mogens Tvede, 1948

Today is Nancy Mitford's birthday. Recently her novels were reprinted and in keeping with modern technology, Nancy Mitford who has been dead nearly forty years, now has her own web site. Yes Virginia, there is a www.nancymitford.com.

Here in West Virginia we find ourselves in the throes of a cold climate. It is hunting season and I have a ton of housework to do. So what does Nancy have to say about these things?

"I think housework is far more tiring and frightening than hunting is, no comparison, and yet after hunting we had eggs for tea and were made to rest for hours, but after housework people expect one to go on just as if nothing special had happened."

Indeed, well I think I shall do neither. I am going to brew some tea and sit and read some of Nancy Mitford's letters.

26 November 2010

Thanksgiving at Doe Run Farm

Seriously, it looked exactly like this.

23 November 2010

Butternut Blueberry Cake

We have always had a love of baking our vegetables. Every last one of you has, no doubt, been forced to endure the dreaded zucchini bread. But why should zucchini have all the fun. Squash of any kind can be turned into lovely cakes, as well as parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes (which are neither artichokes nor from Jerusalem!) and the list goes on.

Recently we had a beautiful butternut squash that seems destined to be a cake. We added some frozen blueberries, as you will see in our note, and had a delicious cake. Since our squash proved abundant, we made a cake in Lucinda's Wood Cake Box and a few smaller versions.

UPDATE: Did I forget to mention the squash was cooked and mashed????

After Thanksgiving when you find a small bowl of leftover butternut squash, give this recipe a try.

Butternut Blueberry Cake

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed butternut squash
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1 cup frozen blueberries, dredged boldly (NOTE: Freezing the blueberries helps them stay a bit intact during the long baking.)

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cinnamon, soda and salt together to blend

In a smaller bowl, mix the butternut squash, eggs, oil, and milk. I may look a bit lumpy and curdled, but that is the way it should look

Add the dry ingredients to the butternut squash mixture to the and blend well

Fold in the frozen, dredged blueberries.

Pour into prepared Lucinda’s Wood Cake Box.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

16 November 2010

You Say You Want A Revolution

It's OFFICIAL. The Beatles are on iTunes. Techies can breath a sigh of relief. to commemorate this monumental occasion, Cookbook Of The Day is featuring a Beatles cookbook. But what you might want to see is the picture of... I guess you will just have to go there and find out for yourself.

15 November 2010

Marian Coffin

I spent part of the weekend roaming the garden. It is sad to see everything gone, so naturally, I begin to explore the next garden. I have a real fondness for landscape architects, especially the women who worked at the turn of the last century.

Marian Coffin was one of those women. She wrote:
"I secretly cherished the idea of being a great artist in the future, but that dream seemed in no way possible ... I did not seem to posses a talent for music, writing painting, or sculpture."
Undaunted in her quest for beauty, she signed up for a new course at MIT in called "Landscape Architecture." Marian Coffin had found her calling.

Entrance to the rose garden, The Oaks, Bridgeport, Connecticut

Nancy Fleming has written an excellent book on Marian Coffin entitled appropriately, Money, Manure, and Maintenance. According to Marian Coffin, these were the three ingredients in producing a lovely garden. I am usually in possession of one of those items.

Gates to the pool at Winterthur

Coffin developed a long working relationship with the duPont family, designing several projects, including the gardens at Winterthur.

Fort Ticonderoga, New York

Instead of lamenting the passing of the garden, I am going to read extensively about the women who "invented" landscape gardening. I have found access to manure, now I just need to find that money and all will be well.

12 November 2010

Famous Food Friday -- Marilyn Monroe

While we strive to make Famous Food Friday to be a revelation to our readers, we felt the recent news of Marilyn Monroe cooking stuffing to be simply too good not to highlight.

Marilyn’s Stuffing

Time: 2 hours

No garlic

A 10-ounce loaf sourdough bread
1/2 pound chicken or turkey livers or hearts
1/2 pound ground round or other beef
1 tablespoon cooking oil
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups chopped curly parsley
2 eggs, hard boiled, chopped
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts, pine nuts or roasted chestnuts, or a combination
2 teaspoons dried crushed rosemary
2 teaspoons dried crushed oregano
2 teaspoons dried crushed thyme
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt-free, garlic-free poultry seasoning (or 1 teaspoon dried sage, 1 teaspoon marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon pepper.

1. Split the bread loaf in half and soak it in a large bowl of cold water for 15 minutes. Wring out excess water over a colander and shred into pieces.

2. Boil the livers or hearts for 8 minutes in salted water, then chop until no piece is larger than a coffee bean.

3. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef in the oil, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat, so no piece is larger than a pistachio.

4. In your largest mixing bowl, combine the sourdough, livers, ground beef, celery, onion, parsley, eggs, raisins, Parmesan and nuts, tossing gently with your hands to combine. Whisk the rosemary, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper together in a bowl, scatter over the stuffing and toss again with your hands. Taste and adjust for salt. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use as a stuffing or to bake separately as dressing.

Yield: 20 cups, enough for one large turkey, 2 to 3 geese or 8 chickens.

Read Matt and Ted Lee's New York Times article about cooking Marilyn's stuffing.

A bonus to our Lucindaville readers

Our readers are just that -- readers. You may be surprised to find that despite her cultivated "bimboness" Marilyn Monroe was quite the reader in her own right. Here is a description of her library from the auction at Christie's of Marilyn Monroe's possessions.
The library of Marilyn Monroe contained over 400 books on a variety of subjects, reflecting both her intelligence and her wide-ranging interests. No surprise to those familiar with Monroe, they were the books of a well-read and inquiring mind. Works of Literature, Art, Drama, Biography, Poetry, Politics, History, Theology, Philosophy, and Psychology covered the walls in her library. Among the First Editions was her own copy of The Beat Generation classic On the Road by Jack Kerouac, Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man and William Styron's This House on Fire. From Tolstoy to Twain, many other classic works of literature were represented, including her copies of The Great Gatsby, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, James Joyce's Dubliners, Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, and The Fall by Camus. Her library also contained books on gardening, her Bibles, and children's books, including her own copy of The Little Engine That Could which was possibly marked with her own childish scrawl.
Here at Lucindaville, we collect images of women reading. These are our favorites of Marilyn Monroe.

09 November 2010

The Black Sheep

When last we spoke, I was in the thrall of The World of Madeleine Castaing. Oh yes, and I had to go to a wedding in Richmond. And, I failed to take any cables for my laptop, so we went a bit silent. However, while at the wedding in Richmond, we had the chance to go to The Black Sheep, a wonderfully acclaimed little joint. If you watch foodie shows, you might have seen The Black Sheep on those "I bet you can't eat it all at my dive diner" kind of shows.

According to the menu, they make BATTLESHIPS, not subs. Judge for yourself.

This is the CSS Virginia. It is filled with fried chicken livers and a slaw of shredded cabbage, green onions, granny smith apple & remoulade sauce. About half way through, the chicken livers and slaw jumped ship, but I can hold my head high and say with pride: I sunk their battleship.

Destruction of the rebel vessel Merrimac
(aka The Merrimack;
aka The Rebel Monster;
aka The CSS Virginia)
off Craney Island, May 11, 1862, by Currier and Ives.

03 November 2010

The World of Madeleine Castaing

My dearest Harrylowe, gave me a present just for being me. (And frankly, I cannot think of a better reason to give ME a present.) Anyway, my present was a copy of The World of Madeleine Castaing by Emily Evans Eerdmans. Well, it arrived today. I am so happy that I am leaving work, going home to brew a big pot of tea, and spending the afternoon wallowing in the book.

Now, you will find tons of reviews out there so I am not even going to gum up the works with another (which would no doubt echo David Netto's sentiment: "The book is a masterpiece."

But do read more: From the mouth of the author: Emily Evans Eerdmans.

From little augury who links to her interview with Emily.

From The Style Saloniste. Well, you can see why I begging off the review.

Last night the lovely Miss EEE spoke in New York City. We are waiting with baited breath for her lecture in West Virginia. Till then, I am off to my couch! Thanks Harrylowe... and Emily.

02 November 2010

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Djuna

Actually, just the last two. This week my Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus' or Prostrate Rosemary began to flower. It is just starting but I think it is lovely. And I love the idea of a plant being "prostrate." It sounds so unplantlike.

Djuna wandered outside to pose with the plant as she says she never gets to be in the blog. I told her I had antlers that were just her size and away she went!
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