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did you know no one ever blogs anymore? and here’s a book round-up for you… On the Nightstand

October 6th, 2014

that’s right. Blogging is so four years ago, with the exception of those of us who still keep our online journals: Zoot, Y from the Internet, who I’ve known for so long I call her that, Amalah, Doocie, and me.

The big five, baby, that’s where we’re at. Not the big 5-0, the big 5. Kidding.

I will persevere.

I mainly blog nowadays because I need the archives — especially for updates on my kids (my daughter is driving now, btw) (uh, it’s true. This little girl…), a cookbook (you can always buy a hard copy), school work, and whatever else I need. Quotes of the day, funny jokes. Ha. Funny to me jokes.

So you know that your Facebook archives aren’t really archives, right? And that your photos might or might not disappear eventually, if that’s where you’re storing them? Just saying.

So here’s what I’m working on reading this school year. And first things being, as always, first: the potboilers.

I read Theodore Dreiser’s “Sister Carrie” when I was an 18-year-old college freshman and knew everything. I would like to talk with that girl and have her answer a few of my several hundred questions, now that I know nothing. Dear Lord, what a difference between 18 and 50.

“You should see her ass in that dress.” — my friend Nicole, to my then-lover, talking about me and my brand-new little black dress, circa many years ago. We were at a bar downtown. It may have been the Virginia Cafe. Or Hamburger Mary’s, or the Veritable Quandary, or that place where they served the delicious little Cornish game hens? The Vat & Tonsure. Then (to me): “You hit 27 and your ass just falls. I don’t know what it is.”

My main concerns then:
1) how am i going to get these bills paid?
2) where are the parties this weekend?
3) what about this “27 changes everything” thing? (defer)
4) why does she (neighbor/friend/family member/co-worker) put up w/ that shit? (from spouse/children/grown children/neighbors/co-workers)

I have to go water the yard now, and write more when I get back. No more bars, just chores, out here on the farm. I could really use another load of manure for the east 40.

Back! So. “Sister Carrie,” which I always throw together with “Portrait of a Lady,” “Anna Karenina,” “Madame Bovary” and “The Awakening”… Well, it’s its own animal. I just love the book.

Finished it up, and on to “An American Tragedy” (also Dreiser), which I’ve been meaning to read ever since I saw the Elizabeth Taylor/Montgomery Clift classic, “A Place in the Sun.” God, it’s brilliant, too. So I’m happy, with lots to read. And I have a good excuse (for the moment) to put off reading all of these for work (ps check out this week’s issue of The Nation. On the cover: “Saving Public Schools: A Growing Movement Confronts the Failure of ‘Reform’”:

Being Bad: My Baby Brother and the School-To-Prison Pipeline: Being Bad (Teaching for Social Justice)
by Crystal T. Laura
Powells.com

Bon appetit!

– wm

recipes from my BFF L, for Wednesday Recipe Club

October 1st, 2014

These are all so good, go make them right now.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips

1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups oatmeal
1 to 1 1/5 cups chocolate chips

Cream butters and sugars together, mix in egg and vanilla and then add dry ingredients, fold in chocolate chips and oats. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

2 cups whole milk
2 cups Best Foods mayonnaise
1 Tbls. brown sugar
salt and pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
1/2 cup cider vinegar
4 green onions, sliced thin
1 large carrot, peeled and finely grated
1 celery rib, chopped finely

Make dressing: Whisk 1 1/2 cups milk, 1 cup mayo, brown sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 2 tsp pepper in bowl

Cook pasta: Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large pot. Add 1 T of salt and past and cook until very soft, about 15 minutes. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add vinegar and toss until absorbed. Transfer to a bowl and cool pasta 10 minutes, then stir in dressing until pasta is well coated. Cool completely.

Make salad: Add green onions, carrot, celery, remaining milk and mayo to pot with pasta mixture and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Chill at least an hour…or a day or two. Optional: Add a handful or two of frozen peas.

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs, beaten 5 minutes
1 cup sugar, beaten in
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix together and spread on greased and floured 10×14 inch cookie sheet with sides. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and roll immediately in cloth or wax paper. Let set for few minutes

Beat:
1 cup powdered sugar
6 oz – 8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Unroll cake and spread frosting. Roll cake again and freeze.

Brazilian Black Bean Soup

2 cups dry black beans, soaked in
6 cups water
1 T olive oil
3 cups chopped onion
10 medium cloves garlic, crushed
2 t. cumin
2 1/2 t. salt
1 medium carrot, diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups orange juice
black pepper to taste
cayenne, to taste
2 medium tomatoes, diced

toppings: sour cream, cilantro, salsa

1. Cook soaked beans in 4 cups of water; boil, cover and simmer until tender about 1.25 hours.
2. In olive oil saute onion, half garlic, cumin, salt and carrot until carrot tender. Add green pepper and remaining garlic and saute 15 minutes more till everything is very tender. Add to the beans.
3. Stir in orange juice, pepper, cayenne and tomatoes. Puree all or some of soup and then simmer 10 minutes more…serve with sour cream, cilantro, and salsa.

Optional: Add cooked diced chicken step three.

hey, blog, what’s up?

September 22nd, 2014

Cooking.

Writing.

Reading.

Gardening.

Playing.

Enjoying school, work, sleep, school, work, homework, fun, sleep. Sleep, fun, homework… You get the idea.

Hope life is good in your world.

– wm

(Photos by Steve Rawley)

“let there be spaces in your togetherness…”

August 23rd, 2014

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

My husband and I are coming up on our… 17th anniversary? No, 16th. But we’ve been together for 17-plus years now and sometimes, believe it or not, we get on each other’s nerves. We spend a ton of time together, which is how we both like it. On the other hand, he loves the ocean. I love the ocean, too, but I also love hanging out with a book by the pool, or maybe, I dunno, going shopping. Or for breakfast. But he really, really loves the ocean, as in, being alone at the ocean, riding his bike along the shore, taking loads of photos, hiking for miles, traipsing up winding, crazy lighthouse stairs.

This ocean appreciation came as a surprise to me, because when I married him, he was definitely a mountain man.

This scene, from “The Perfect Storm,” sums it up:

Bobby Shatford: “I got a woman who I can’t stand to be two feet away from.”
Captain Billy Tyne: “Congratulations.”
Bobby Shatford: “Then again, I love to fish.”
Captain Billy Tyne: “Son, you’ve got a problem.”

We were having coffee, planning out our weekend, and Steve said something about, “What was that you said, about ‘spaces in your togetherness’?” First of all, I was being a smartass when I said that, and second of all, I didn’t say it — Khalil Gibran did, and I’ve heard the lines at approximately 80 percent of all the weddings I’ve been to.

Ever.

The lines have become, OK, I’ll say it… somewhat trite, along with over-used, but so are a lot of other lines. Shakespeare’s, for example. Which kills me a little inside because I’m Shakespeare girl for many years now. But it made me think… You know what would be perfect? Wedding vows that were a mash-up of Polonius’s lines to his son, Laertes, along with the lines from “The Prophet.” Oh, yeah, honey, now that’s the motherlode.

The words from “The Prophet,” I’ll put into italics. Polonius’s quotes I’ll put in bold. Ready?

ā€œLet there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”

“Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame! The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail, and you are stay’d for. There; my blessing with thee! And these few precepts in thy memory see thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue, nor any unproportioned thought his act. Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel…”

“But do not dull thy palm with entertainment of each new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade. Beware of entrance to a quarrel, but being in, bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee. Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice; take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment. Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, but not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy…”

“Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.ā€

“For the apparel oft proclaims the man, and they in France of the best rank and station are of a most select and generous chief in that. Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all: to thine ownself be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!”

God, I love the Internet. Adieu! And Stevie, here’s to the rest of our lives. I love you.

xoxoxoxo

wm

(Photos by Steve Rawley)

Tuesday Recipe Club: Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding, Sweet Basil Cheesecake

August 5th, 2014

Oh, yum. Thank you, Giada. Again.

Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding

Ingredients

Filling:
Butter, for greasing the baking dish
1/2 (8 ounces) multi-grain loaf, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large or 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Parmesan

Custard:
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Filling: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Add the bread cubes and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil. Pour the tomato mixture and Parmesan cheese over the bread cubes and combine well.

Custard: In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together until smooth. Pour the custard over the bread mixture and gently toss to coat. Bake until slightly puffed and golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pudding from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Sweet Basil Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Butter, for greasing the pan
1/2 cup (4 ounces) ricotta cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup (3 ounces) goat cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
Pinch fine sea salt
1/2 packed cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
Serving suggestion: assorted crackers
Special equipment: 4 1/2-inch diameter springform pan, about 2 1/2 inches tall

Directions:

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 4 1/2-inch diameter springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the pan with a piece of heavy-duty foil.

Place the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, and goat cheese in a food processor. Pulse

until mixed. Add the sugar, egg, egg yolk, and salt and blend until smooth. Add the basil and pulse until incorporated. Pour the cheese mixture into the prepared pan. Place the pan in an 8-inch by 8-inch square baking dish. Pour enough hot water in the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden at the edges and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken (the cheesecake will become firm when chilled), about 50 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the springform pan from the baking dish and remove the foil. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 3 hours and up to 2 days. Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan. Allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature before serving, about 30 minutes.

Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the cheesecake with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with assorted crackers.

Monday Recipe Club: Rose Hip Freezer Jam

July 7th, 2014

(Photos by Steve Rawley)

Saw these wild roses and hips on our walk to the beach, growing by the side of the road. Maybe I’ll have to pick some…

This one is from Cazuela, one of our friends at allrecipes:

“The rose hips in this jam are uncooked so the jam tastes fresh and sweet; it retains its bright rosy-orange color. The hardest part is seeding the hips which can be sticky, but so worth it! Use wild or cultivated rugosa roses that haven’t been sprayed with pesticide; pick them in the fall when they are bright red. I adapted my recipe from one in a Euell Gibbons field guide.”

Ingredients:

1 cup trimmed and seeded rose hips
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups sugar
1 (1.75 ounce) package powdered fruit
pectin
3/4 cup water

Directions:
1. Put the prepared rose hips, water, and lemon juice in a blender; blend until smooth, about 15 seconds. Small bits of rose hips skin are okay. Gradually add the sugar while blender is running. Blend until sugar is dissolved, about 30 seconds or so.
2. Stir the pectin into 3/4 cup water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; boil hard for about 1 minute. Slowly pour into the rose hip mixture; blend for about 30 seconds.
3. Pour into small containers with lids. Store in the refrigerator. Jam that is not used within a few weeks can be stored in the freezer for up to a year.

Hope you’re having a great summer. Bon appetit!

wm

Taking a deep breath…

July 2nd, 2014

…and getting brave :)

Not crazy about heights, and my daughter isn’t either, but we braved this one because my husband and son thought it would be really, really cool.

It was.

(Photos by Steve Rawley)

“Everyone”

June 17th, 2014

i (heart) the ocean + Tuesday Recipe Club: Grilled Corn, Avocado & Tomato Salad with Honey Lime Dressing + QOTD

May 20th, 2014

(Photos by Steve Rawley)

And, a random Tuesday Recipe Club, from out of left field, thank you, Ms. Kenya:

Grilled Corn, Avocado & Tomato Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

1 pint grape tomatoes
1 ripe avocado
2 ears of fresh sweet corn
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Honey Lime Dressing
Juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp honey
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
Dash of cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS

Remove husks from corn and grill over medium heat for 10 minutes. The corn should have some brown spots and be tender and not mushy. Cut the corn off the cob then scrape the cob with the back of your knife to get the juices. Set aside and let cool. Slice the tomatoes in half. Dice the avocado and chop the cilantro.

Honey Lime Dressing
1) Add all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
2) Combine the sliced tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and grilled corn and honey lime dressing and mix gently so everything is evenly coated. Be careful not to mash the avocados. Let the salad sit for 10-15 minutes to let flavors mingle

Now, how about a quote of the day?
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” – Albert Einstein

Bon appetit, babies!

– wm

qotd

May 11th, 2014

“Words are loaded pistols.” — Jean-Paul Sartre, writer and philosopher (1905-1980)

and a little humor for the day, too…

Jean-Paul Sartre, for Dodge Dartre: “In my journey to the end of night, I must rely not only on dialectical paths of reason. I must have a good solid automobile, one that eschews the futile trappings of worldly ennui and asks only for basic maintenance. My Dodge Dartre offers me this elemental solace, and as interior parts fall off I am struck by the realization of their pointlessness. I might not know if the window is up or down. It is of no consequence.”

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