Where have you been

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Blustery but still remembering summer

Wow! The weather turned on a dime here. We had hot October days, like Indian Summer.  Then it turned cold and suddenly the leaves changed beautifully along the highway. Golds, russets, reds, oranges and the pines were a brighter green. Bam, then a nor'easter and it got down to the thiries, smelled like snow (we didn't of course get any but the mountains in Pennsylvania did.) Now it's just cold and damp. What a difference in a week. 

I painted a black-eyed susan for the Flower of the Month on EBSQ. 

Monday, October 20, 2008

October Days

This is some of the prettiest weather I've ever seen. Golden sun, filtered by orange and red leaves during the day, warm as a summer afternoon, then cool nights. The grass is deep emerald from the bit of rain we had in September (it doesn't rain much on this peninsula.) The leaves are delicate red, gold and bronze. Nothing like in New England, but with their own charm, to be sure.

We spent Sunday afternoon after church at the home of friends, Mennonite dairy farmers. Their church rotates the hostess after service, and those that wish, come for a meal and good fellowship. So the usual 8 person dinner table in the farm kitchen was expanded to hold almost 20, I think. 

As usual, the men sit conversing separate from the women (they had the parlor or front room) and the gals sat in the main family room. The seating at lunch was by couples. We had roast beef, fresh cut creamed corn (you will never open a can again, after you have this.) Also roast potatoes, jello with crushed strawberry puree (a fave of the kids) and bread with apple butter. There was a choice of sour cream or cream cheese for the potatoes. Dessert was similar to our last lunch at another farmer's--sheet cake, ice cream and a fruit sauce. In this case, it was peaches in a thick sauce, like a pie filling only not as sweet. Someone remarked that the box of ice cream was a lot smaller--the size typical for that brand's specialty flavors, not plain vanilla. I quipped that it was because of the high milk prices and we all had a laugh. When the corn prices rose early this year to sky-high levels, it was a serious question whether dairying made any sense anymore, since milk prices are controlled, but grain prices are not--and cows have to eat, like the rest of us. 

After, the conversation continues. The men apparently discussed politics and the world, we women discussed more mundane things such as travel, who was getting married, and how to fix the welt of a suit pocket that tore out when a child used it as a handhold when climbing on Papa. Here, my grandmother's instructions in "invisible weaving" were useful.  

We left at 4pm, the cows needing milking. They were glistening black, red and brown in the sun and galloping around playfully. Even they look somehow more radiant in this beautiful time of year.  

Sheet Cake with Ice Cream and Fruit Compote:

Make a white sheet cake with white icing--any standard white cake made in a long sheet pan will do, ice with white confectionere's butter cream icing. 


Take any fresh fruit and cook down; some ideas are peaches, apples, cherries, blackberries.  Sweeten to taste and thicken with cornstarch slurry or arrowroot or tapioca. Serve at room temperature along with ice cream (vanilla) and the cake. A 3" square of cake suffices as a serving with the accompaniments, so you might find a 18 x  9 cake will serve quite a few .

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Galbi Jiim and comfort food for the coming week

I needn't tell you that if you work in the financial industry, last week was a shocker.

This week sounds to be not much better, so I continue my plan of cooking as many dinners on Sunday for the coming week.

I did a spelt noodle lasagna (for the wheat-averse here, spelt is an acceptable substitute.) I make standard noodle dough with white spelt flour and a hellacious number of double-yolk eggs. Spelt absorbs a lot of liquid compared to wheat. But it makes a superior noodle, as any Schwabian hausfrau would tell you. I rolled out flat sheets to the #5 setting on my Ampia pasta maker and made my mom's vegetarian version of lasgagna; egg, ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan in a pudding-like mix with parsley and nutmeg, layered with tomato sauce and baked. It's better reheated as it turns out. The leftover noodles I cut into tagliatelle and the big guy got them with tomato sauce for lunch. I ate a cheese sammidge.

Then I did Galbi Jiim, which is a Korean short rib stew. I used boneless ribs we had in the freezer, and I happened to have brussels sprouts, potato and carrot, too. Here is the   RECIPE  

It came out delectable. I made more soup than this called for (because I like soup) and it tastes rather like French Onion, despite the shoyu addition. I did not use sesame oil--that goes in as a seasoning at the end, for those who like it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mediterranean Pot Roast

I make one pot roast on Sunday to get us through Wednesday, unless I'm doing a chicken or other casserole. No time to cook weeknights, and the budget does not like eating out, much less my PALATE, which is shocked and appalled at what passes for food in our local area.

So here's my recipe for Mediterranean pot roast, which can be varied by anyone to fit their tastes. Picture is forthcoming (it's still in the pot, braising.)

1 large pot roast (boneless chuck, 3-5 lbs)
1 onion, coarse diced
1 celery, coarse diced
2 cloves garlic crushed
chopped parsley, tbs
chopped leftover raw mushrooms, half-one cup (optional)
olive oil
Goya red sofrito
half diced raw tomato
1 cup red wine (we're using a merlot)
1 bouillon cube (we use Goya)
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
pepper to taste, salt if needed
saute meat on all sides until browned, take out of Le Creuset or other heavy dutch oven, set aside

In dutch oven, brown the onion and celery. When nearly clear, add the garlic and stir 1/2 min or so (do not burn the garlic.) Add the sofrito and stir, then the red wine and stir up all the browned bits and boil off the alcohol. You'll have a thick pasty veg combo. Add the cube and water. Mix. Add the parsley, bay leaf and the meat, cover, cook on low for 2 hours OR until it is very tender.

You can add carrot, celery, potato last half hour of cooking or so. For those that like, green and black olives and cherry tomatoes can be added.