30 May 2013

You've Got A Friend

My friend, Ann, had serious back surgery earlier this year.  Needless to say, she has been a bit worthless.  For Memorial Day, I went to visit to help out.  I mowed, trimmed trees, cut some firewood, scrubbed the old 70's brick fireplace wall, painted it white, hung blinds and drank a good bit of gin.

I hung this rather large painting that Ann acquired some time ago.  It had never been unwrapped.   It looked quite nice on the white wall.   I forgot to take any photos so Ann sent these along.   She photographed the painting with the dust rag still sitting on the table!  

For Christmas this year, I gave several people a set of the Target Andy Warhol Tomato Soup cans.  I had them on the mantle with a small abstract painting her father did for her.   This was the photo she sent.

Her back is still interfering with her life!   But the room looks much better.

14 May 2013

White Fruit Salad

I admit to a rather unhealthy adoration of white food.  Grits, rice, potatoes -- yes I know the more colorful one's diet the healthier one will be.  I have heard it and ignored it.

Recently, I was cooking a leg of lamb.  My side dish was to be scalloped potatoes.  I wanted something colorful and acidic to cut through the richness of the meat and potatoes.   Someone suggested a fruit salad, and I thought a nice colorful mix of plums, peaches, berries, and herbs with a tangy vinaigrette would do the trick.

"Pick some nice fruit for the salad," I said on the phone.  I dug into the bag of fruit when my guests arrived.  The was an apple. An Asian pear.  Two mushy Bartlett pears.  A small watermelon.  A cantaloupe that felt full and ripe, but when cut into was a gelatinous slime.   I will admit that I missed the blueberries and blackberries that got tucked into the fridge without my knowledge.   My guests were used to the plastic cups labeled "fruit salad" at the high end grocery that contain chunks of melon, a few berries and maybe a chunk of pineapple.

I set about making a white fruit salad, and found a green veggie to serve with the lamb.   When I set the fruit salad on the table there was an uproar.  It did not look like any fruit salad they had ever eaten.  It was all white with some cucumber in it and a revolt was at hand.  Then they ate it.  It was delicious, even though it was white and there were no chunks of watermelon.

White Fruit Salad

1 Asian pear
2 Bartlet pears
1 apple
1 small English cucumber
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
Pinch of salt

Peal the pears and apple and cut into a small dice.  Do the same with the English cucumber.  Sprinkle with the lime juice and salt.   Toss in the cilantro.


1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fruity vinegar

Mix together in a small bowl and toss into the fruit salad.

Remember, it is your fruit salad... if you don't like cilantro add parsley.  Lemon work as do limes.  Cider or champagne vinegar will work,as will a white balsamic.  Use mayonnaise instead of yogurt if you so choose.  When dressing the salad, however, less is more.   You want the fruit to be gently assisted by the dressing and not drowned.

Some guests might just balk at white fruit salad, but give them a minute.  There was about a tablespoon left in the bowl and put it into the chicken's snack.  Someone yelled from the other room, "You're not throwing that away?"  Don't worry, we'll make more.

13 May 2013

Death In The Afternoon

My last week sucked. There is really no other way to put it.  It sucked.  I will try to spare you most of it, but do let me say that if I hadn't had my blogger friends out there to keep me informed an enlightened it would have been worse.  Still, I spent a lot of time sitting very still with my eyes closed as the television played in the background. 

There are a lot of Criminal Minds, CSI, SVU type shows that run in the afternoon.  I find this interesting since most of those show feature brutalized or dead women.   They also feature really lovely coroners and criminologists with long flowing hair.  At some point his week I watched as one of these glamorous coroners pull the body of woman out the water and load her on a gurney.  The body had better hair than I did!  According to the story line she had been in the water 3 days -- 3 days and her hair looked better than mine, which did nothing to improve my mood.  (I know it was just a fake TV body, but still, it should not have had coiffed hair.)

Saturday there was a chicken massacre.   A rampaging raccoon killed 5 chickens and injured several other.  I got the survivors locked up and set about burying the bodies.   Several chickens remained unaccounted for.  As I approached the bodies, the first thing I did was pull my hair back.  Even after burying the chickens, who were never touched by my human hands and whose liver temp I did not check, I still felt scuzzy.

I went inside, took a shower and was half dressed when I heard a chicken scream.  I went running out of the house to save her wearing  my Roll Tide t-shirt and little else. The screaming chicken was running wildly, the raccoon was chasing her, I was chasing the raccoon, while screaming wildly.  We ran almost to the barn when the chicken a turned and headed back toward me.  When she turned, so did the raccoon.  At this point, he looked to be the size of English Springer Spaniel.  He was running right at me as stood there motionless.

All I could think about was the glamorous coroner who would find my body in the yard -- with bad hair.  Not to mention no pants and probably no face as those are the tastiest bit to predatory animals.  At the last minuet, the raccoon turned, clearly appalled by wet and stringy hair.  Or perhaps he was an Ole Miss raccoon.  Either way... do press on dear Bloggers,  one never knows whose life one might be lifting.

To quote Scarlett O'Hara, "Tomorrow's another day..."

06 May 2013

Week End Espalier

This weekend's "big" project was moving and wiring up the espaliered apple tree.   Frankly, when it comes to fruit trees our thumb is closer to black than green, but we have high hopes for our espalier.  It has survived two years which is generally one year and eleven months longer than most of our fruit trees.  Do keep your fingers crossed.

01 May 2013

Cocktails At The Burn Pit --Honeysuckle Vodka

It was a great weekend for cooking out and company.  I requested a bottle of Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka from the ABC store in Virginia, as I knew they carried it.  It seems that my bottle was the very first bottle that they had ever sold.  Cathead, a distillery in Mississippi, has a wonderful vodka that gets distilled six times which makes for a really smooth taste on the palate.  In an era of flavored vodkas, their honeysuckle is one of a kind.  At 70 proof it is a bit less potent than the plain vodka, and some people feel the alcohol is a bit harsh, compared to the plain Cathead, but I thought it was fine.

A favorite cocktail for the Honeysuckle is a Cathead Lemonade.  Several bars offer it up with freshly squeezed lemons, simple syrups, fancy syrups, and this and that.  Don't get me wrong, I love homemade-- there is always something steeping, fermenting, and distilling at my house.  But company and cooking and washing dishes and and and....

Sometimes a girl needs a quick pick-me-up.  Taking a cue from last year's hit cocktail, the Ann's We Don't Have Electricity But We Have Tequila Margarita,  the new summer drink of choice is a vodka version.  All you need is some Simply Lemonade, or homemade lemonade of your choice and a bottle of Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka... and a glass.

Cathead Honeysuckle Lemonade.

2 ounces  Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka
6 ounces lemonade

 Pour in a ice filled glass and garnish with a lemon, or not.

This is great.  It is refreshing.  If you have chores to do later in the afternoon, only drink one.  If you have someone else to cook and clean-up have a couple!  Enjoy.

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