Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pressure Cooker Mania!

I love my Presto Pressure cooker. I've had it since 1978 and I bought two more larger ones for teaching and sometimes I use all three at once recently I made German potato salad, kale steamed with olive oil and Adobo and red onion and wine, and black bean orange and peanut soup.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Try This


African Inspired Black Bean Soup

Black beans rinsed soaked and simmered, wine, olive oil, adobo, celery, onion, black coffee, more celery, can of crushed tomatoes, more wine another can of crushed tomato, red chili peppers, more adobo, more salt, chopped peanuts, orange juice,

I do crazy things in the kitchen, improvising and then I google to see if anyone else has done the same thing, ever.

Cocoa Cookies + Wine Cookies

Favorite Cocoa Cookies
Wine Cookies

For the folks I LOVE.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Summer Breads

My summer breads are a smaller lighter and younger. I bake them on hot dog and hamburger pans.

Seltzer with Mango and Lime

Last night a friend gave me seltzer with mango nectar and lime juice. It was an excellent summer cooler!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Spotting Strange Shoes

A Massachusetts woman awoke to a pair of unfamiliar black shoes on the carpet of her upstairs hallway. It turns out they were the shoes of a thief who became exhausted while robbing their pristine Victorian home. The robber, very considerate, decided to take off his shoes before going to bed in the couple's guest room. He was rudely awakened by the husband detaining him at gunpoint while the very observant wife called the cops.

Woonsocket on the Map

Milan has made a mile long pizza pie.

My fantasy is to use the Woonsocket public works equipment to make a baseball field sized spinach pie. That would put us on the map.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


I love Cafe Bustelo. I love the graphics and I love the brew. The new mini mart opposite me sells it and I wish to be a regular customer. I LOVE to support local businesses especially the mom and pop shops. Unfortunately these shops all require cash but I'll find a way. In an ideal world we'd all shop at little daily markets on foot, and run into our neighbors. Walking builds community.
I am collecting all of the Bustelo coffee cans for holding my paintbrushes and used turpentine. I can't get enough of this CAFE BUSTELO graphic.
When will they make a CAFE BUSTELO bikini?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Smells Good

Yesterday I smelled curry on my street. This was the first time in 20 years I smelled someone cooking! And it's not because my nose is not working. It smelled so good! We must have some new neighbors. Sunday I saw the Monks leaving the Elks Hall at 1:30 and I was sorry I hadn't come out for my walk earlier (pouring rain). I would have been invited to join them for their summer meal.

In my fantasies I want to eat with my neighbors who cook. Seng had a Thai Vietnamese restaurant on the corner for years, he and his wife are the best cooks.

I am always lamenting that people don't share food anymore. Don't get me started. Our society is crumbling. I'll just say that I bake and cook all our meals. We can't eat out even if we wanted to but I no longer wish we could. I have Tuscany and the French Riviera, and Havana and Key West all at my backyard picnic table here in the heart of the metropolis of Woonsocket. I used to invite people all the time but now we are too busy and people are too afraid of us. Perhaps that is GOOD. I get to dine with Ernest Hemingway and May Sarton and all of my dead friends although sometimes I feel like the last living woman on earth who loves to break bread.

I have the Penzey's bumpersticker on my bicycle basket "Love People, Cook them Tasty Food"

There's hope!! Thanks to the children. I am going to make a parking lot ice cream and home made pizzelle ice cream cones party for the kids in the neighborhood.

A Bowling Ball Cabbage

I bought a huge heavy bowling ball of a cabbage and made a bucket of coleslaw last night. I LOVE cabbage! AND I love listening to opera. (It proves I must've been adopted!) All the foods I love are my ancestral foods, not the foods I grew up eating. This is fascinating to me. Yogurt, beans, sauerkraut, kasha, black breads, all vegetables especially carrots, kale, broccoli, root vegetables, are all the (inexpensive foods) I gravitate towards when I am at Price Rite.

I LOVE coleslaw. MY coleslaw. The secret to coleslaw is using buttermilk because it ferments the cabbage right away. I also use mayo, mustard, grated carrots, raisins, juice from pepperoncini or red wine vinegar, and lots of shredded cabbage. Also I add red onion chopped and celery if you have it. My original recipe came from Marion Cunningham. She's the best. The SUPPER BOOK and the BREAKFAST BOOK are a must own. Marion is never be pretentious in her writing or her recipes, she's always the right thing. She rewrote the Fanny Farmer Cookbook 11th edition. I got to meet her once! She and I had lunch after I illustrated her book COOKING with CHILDREN. She was an amazing magical woman.

Purple Dog

Lily was in the parking lot surrounded by a pack of adorable kids. We went to check out the Hispanic Festival at All Saints Church Saturday. Why is she purple? The kids asked She's been eating mulberries! I told them. They fall off the tree and she steps on them and it stains her fur purple. She loves to eat them. She even has purple poop.

Raspberry Banana Smoothie

A delicious URBAN MERMAID FAVORITE summer breakfast:
Francine's frozen raspberries, ripe banana, 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt, orange juice, ice.
Buzz in the old 1950's waring blender. Enjoy in a mason jar!

How To Eat Right - Or Not At All

The Zero Calorie Diet - How To Eat Right -Or Not At All! Is a book about fasting - about eating, not eating, eating less, and about the commercialization of food - and everything else -- in our bloated culture. Written by a family doctor, The Zero Calorie Diet examines the physiology of fasting and nutrition, so everyone can understand how much food the body really needs, what stimulates hunger, and how not to eat, even in a world where calories are everywhere.
The Zero Calorie Diet: How to eat right -- or not at all!! Paperback – February 24, 2010
by Michael Fine M.D.

Duct Tape to Remove Worts


Thinking outside the Cat Box


If you clean the litter box daily, you might only need to change clumping litter every two to three weeks. If you notice an odor or if much of the litter is wet or clumped, it's time for a change.
Scrub the box every time you change the litter. Use mild dish detergent to clean it, as products with ammonia or citrus oils can turn a cat off, and some cleaning products are toxic to cats.

Liner notes
Box liners are strictly a convenience for the owner; supposedly, the liner can be gathered together and tied just like a garbage bag, but the truth is that most cats shred it to bits while scratching in the box. However, it might work if your cat doesn't work too hard to bury his waste.

Depth of litter
Some people think that the more litter they put in the box, the less often they'll have to clean it, but that's a mistake. Most cats won't use litter that's more than about two inches deep. In fact, some long-haired cats actually prefer less litter and a smooth, slick surface, such as the bottom of the litter box. Adding extra litter isn't a a substitute for scooping and scrubbing.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The other Urban Mermaid

Writing a Fan Letter to Batman and Robin

When my sister Arlen and I were five and seven we wrote a letter to Batman and Robin. We were thrilled when we got an illustrated letter back and we hung it up in the kitchen. When we got a few years older we learned that an illustrator who in my stepfathers Art Studio named Sam Rockman, wrote and illustrated the letter mailed to us. Thanks dad! I have been writing fan letters ever since.

Dog Park Fundraiser Idea


Can Dogs Swim in Chlorine Pools?

ASK American Kennel Club

Dear AKC: I have two wonderful German Shorthaired Pointers I got from rescue. The older male could care less about our pool but the younger female wants to be near the family when we go swimming. I've heard chlorine is bad for their eyes, bad to drink and causes ear infections. How true are these claims and can I safely take her swimming with us? -- Swimming with Shorthairs.

Dear Swimming: Many dogs enjoy a plunge in the pool with their owners during the warm summer months. Most "pool people" will tell you that chlorine is safe at the levels used in pools. Humans swim in it and occasionally will ingest some water accidentally without great harm. A dog's eyes, nose and ears are more sensitive than a human's and as such may be a tad more susceptible to the effects of chlorine. I wouldn't want the dog to drink large amounts of chlorine. Some dogs think of the pool as one big personal dog bowl to lap up, not unlike the toilet bowl. This behavior should be discouraged. As for the ears, most infections in dogs with floppy ears are caused by water and dampness, not the chlorine in the water.

Some pool owners opt for non-chlorine chemicals like bromine which may be less harmful to pets. To be on the safe side, give your dog a quick spray with the hose to rinse off the chemicals after a swim and give his ears a dab with a dry towel or use a blow dryer to keep them moisture free.

Safety Rules

More important than what your dog swims in is how it learns to swim. Your younger Shorthair may be very interested in joining the family in a round of ring toss, but first you must build confidence in your dog around the pool. Many dogs are fearful the first time they enter the water. Take it slowly and praise your dog each step of the way. Making it a pleasant experience will have the dog swimming in no time. You don't have to teach the dog to "swim" since they are natural swimmers. It is easy to teach a dog to jump in the pool, either toss a toy in the pool or escort her over the side.

However, most dogs begin to panic when it is time to get out for the first time. They are unaccustomed to exiting using the human steps or ladder and need to be taught how to use them. A thrashing dog trying to escape will get tired and may drown. Never leave your dog unsupervised in a pool. They may need your assistance if they are in trouble and can't bark to grab your attention. With proper guidance you and your pet can have lots of fun in the pool and if you are lucky he can teach you the proper way to do the dog paddle.


Laundry Monday

Happiness is an ice cream sandwich with hot black coffee, after hanging up the clothes in the sun.

Business Dinner

$1.9-billion CVS-Target deal came together over dinner.

Target Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell hatched the $1.9 billion plan to sell the company’s pharmacies over dinner with his counterpart at CVS Health Corp., capitalizing on his relationships from a career spent in retail.

Cornell and CVS’s CEO, Larry Merlo, have known each other for years and are occasional dinner companions, letting them share thoughts about running two of the biggest chains in the U.S. The plan to have Woonsocket-based CVS buy the pharmacies and operate them within Target’s stores, announced on Monday, was “a collective idea,” Merlo said.

“We would get together for dinner from time to time and we always compared notes in terms of challenges, opportunities,” he said.

Mango Cigars

Last night while walking Lily, I found two mango cigars in a package on the ground, unopened. I'm saving these, I said to my husband. We'll light them up when Paula has her baby.

I love this Linguini Poem by Diane Lockward


by Diane Lockward

It was always linguini between us.
Linguini with white sauce, or
red sauce, sauce with basil snatched from
the garden, oregano rubbed between
our palms, a single bay leaf adrift amidst
plum tomatoes. Linguini with meatballs,
sausage, a side of brascioli. Like lovers
trying positions, we enjoyed it every way
we could-artichokes, mushrooms, little
neck clams, mussels, and calamari-linguini
twining and braiding us each to each.
Linguini knew of the kisses, the smooches,
the molti baci. It was never spaghetti
between us, not cappellini, nor farfalle,
vermicelli, pappardelle, fettucini, perciatelli,
or even tagliarini. Linguini we stabbed, pitched,
and twirled on forks, spun round and round
on silver spoons. Long, smooth, and always
al dente. In dark trattorias, we broke crusty panera,
toasted each other-La dolce vita!-and sipped
Amarone, wrapped ourselves in linguini,
briskly boiled, lightly oiled, salted, and lavished
with sauce. Bellissimo, paradisio, belle gente!
Linguini witnessed our slurping, pulling, and
sucking, our unraveling and raveling, chins
glistening, napkins tucked like bibs in collars,
linguini stuck to lips, hips, and bellies, cheeks
flecked with formaggio-parmesan, romano,
and shaved pecorino-strands of linguini flung
around our necks like two fine silk scarves.

"Linguini" by Diane Lockward from What Feeds Us. © Wind Publications, 2006.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summer Tuna Vegetable Salad

Drained cans of white tuna, garbanzos, chopped red onion, chopped cukes, grated carrot, wine vinegar, adobo, mustard, raisins, optional chopped green olives, some mayo or olive oil. We ate this for lunch and it was satisfying yet light enough to take a swim right afterwards.

I Love Faith Shearin's Poems!

My Daughter Describes the Tarantula

by Faith Shearin

Her voice is as lovely and delicate as a web.
She describes how fragile they are,
how they can die from a simple fall.
Then she tells me about their burrows
which are tidy and dry and decorated
with silk. They are solitary, she tells me,
and utterly mild, and when they are
threatened they fling their hairs, trying
not to bite. She says they are most
vulnerable when they molt: unable
to eat for days while they change.
They are misunderstood, she explains,
and suddenly her description becomes
personal. She wants to keep one
as a pet, to appreciate it properly,
to build it a place where it belongs.

- Faith Shearin from Telling the Bees © Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2015.

A Carrot Bender

I've been on a carrot eating bender ever since the warm weather hit. My husband keeps saying "You'll turn orange!" I buy 5 pound bags of carrots at Price Rite and last week I bought 10 pounds. I grate the carrots and make carrot salad or add the grated carrots to my veggie pocket breads. Last night I made an impromptu carrot salad: I grated three fat carrots and I added chopped green olives, yogurt, wine vinegar, mayo, Adobo, hot sauce, scallions from a neighbors garden, chopped celery, chopped red onion, and raisins and almonds.

Rainy Day

Our fireman's gig got cancelled. It's like a snow day but it's a rainy day. I went outside with Lily and weeded my vegetable garden in the rain. I got soaked and muddy and I loved it. Normally I insist I am not a gardener because I don't like the sun and heat but I do love water and mud. Perhaps I could grow more vegetables if I gardened in the rain or at night. After weeding my four plants I went inside and washed off the mud and dried Lily's soaked fur with the big blue and white striped towel. I kissed her on the snout. I set up a batch of garbanzo beans in the pressure cooker. While the pot was hissing Sammy my orange cat was love-biting me on the arm with a little shake of his head as if I was his captured mouse. I realized he desperately wanted to play so I took out his string toy and he played himself into a silly and floppy exhaustion.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Delicious Colorful Green Beans

The green beans looked good so I bought them and rinsed them and chopped the rough ends off and then chopped them in half. I poured extra virgin olive oil in my 12 inch skillet and turned up the heat. I added freshly chopped garlic, about 6 cloves, splashes of soy sauce and rooster brand hot sauce. I tossed in the green beans and about 1/2 cup of water and covered them to steam a bit. Then I spontaneously added some yellow, a bag of frozen corn niblets. I added Adobo, and then decided we needed some red. I had a red bell pepper that I chopped and it was the right thing. I also added a chopped leftover grilled sausage, made by our butcher. This was a hot Italian sausage. This was a fantastic supper.

Jon Frankel: Grilled Asparagus with Scallops and Mulberries

I go crazy when Jon Frankel writes about food. Take a peek at Jon's blog LAST BENDER. His latest post is Grilled Asparagus with Scallops and Mulberries.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Summer Beverage

Take some orange juice and mix it with apple cider (about equal parts) then dilute it 2/3 with ice water. This may sound awful but it is delicious and tastes like fruit punch.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015