Monday, April 30, 2012

Headache Cure

I recently discovered wearing a tight fitting hat cured my headache pain. Wearing dark sunglasses helps ease the pain too. When wearing both at once, I look like a muppet.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Italian Tomato Sauce

I broiled six hot Italian sausage patties and then cubed them adding them to my crock pot with three large cans of tomato puree, two cans of olives (sliced) a jar of kalamata olives (sliced), a pound of rinsed lentils, port-wine, extra virgin olive oil, home grown basil, bay leaves, chopped mushrooms, chopped garlic, leftover broccoli stock, and oregano. It has been simmering at 250F for the past three hours.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

New Growth

I've been trimming our front hedges which have covered our picture window. We've not done it since 2006. It's wonderful to have a buffer of green shrubbery sheltering us from the big yellow brick multifamily opposite us. That said, their porch dramas are always entertaining. We call it "dinner theater." We still have good seats at our round table in the front room.

My hands trembling from working the manual hedge clippers. Almost got it all but the big manual loppers are now jammed. Only a few more branches that I can't reach.

Last night we draped our philodendron and aloe plants in a blanket to shield them from frost.

Today is planting day at the community garden. I like to plant basil, parsley, and kale and arugula because each leaf is a thrill, and edible!

I trimmed the raspberry bushes last month as Armand told me to and this morning I noticed my raspberry bushes have new growth.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rhubarb Man

My rhubarb man has moved away. One spring he gave me a bushel when I walked by with Lily admiring his crop. I carried it home, chopped it up and boiled it down with sugar and ate it. I love to make rhubarb sauce and hope to find a local farmer soon.

Italian Improvisation

I often have no idea what I am going to make I just start doing things. My onions and garlic were sprouting and my spinach was wilting so I decided to get to work salvaging them. I boiled up a batch of whole wheat penne while sauteing the onions and spinach and chopped (cored) garlic in extra virgin olive oil (from job lot). I combined the cooked penne and the veggies in my large shallow casserole dish and covered the whole mess with six slices of provolone and baked it at 350 F until the cheese browned and the scent climbed the stairs to my office. It was delicious. We ate it with Jamie Sullivan's amazing hand-made hot Italian sausage patties, broiled. Shaw's Meat is located at 107 North Main Street in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Jamie makes an assortment of creative sausage blends like apple sage, spinach and cheese, Chinese spices, with a rotating assortment of meats; chicken, turkey, or pork. They're always super fresh and delicious. If you live out of town find out if he ships them. They're that good!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pumpkin Pie is Food

Yesterday I made a pumpkin pie. My version uses evaporated milk and is not overly sweet. This pie is a food. We ate it for supper after our soup. I am much less intimidated by making a one crust pie. Perhaps after a few thousand pie crusts, I'll be ready to tackle a top pie crust!

Dulce de Leche

Yesterday I made dulce de leche for the first time. It is made by slowly heating sweetened milk to create a sweet that derives its taste from caramelized sugar. Literally translated, it means "candy made of milk". It is popular in Latin America, especially in Argentina and Uruguay.

There are many ways to enjoy it - on toast, pancakes, ice cream or just by the spoonful!

To make it I simmered a peeled, sealed and immersed can of sweetened condensed milk in my Presto crock pot for three to four hours. The fourth hour it sat in the hot water with no additional heat. I found instructions in my cookbook Daisy: Morning Noon and Night by Daisy Martinez.

There are many methods out there for making dulce de leche; using the oven, microwave, pressure cooker, stove top or crock pot. Find the method that suits you the best.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wendell Berry

The passive American consumer, sitting down to a meal of pre-prepared food, confronts inert, anonymous substances that have been processed, dyed, breaded, sauced, gravied, ground, pulped, strained, blended, prettified, and sanitized beyond resemblance to any part of any creature that ever lived. The products of nature and agriculture have been made, to all appearances, the products of industry. Both eater and eaten are thus in exile from biological reality.
-Wendell Berry

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Marion Cunningham

In my family, we were all terrified of being sickly. My mother had tuberculosis as a child and so we were brought up on castor oil, and government pamflets. I was a hypochondriac at 45, an insomniac. I went to the library to look up "anxiety neurosis." I gave up alcohol and got migraines. Now that I am older and somewhat wiser, when I have a pain I know that it means I am alive.
-Marion Cunningham

Marion Cunningham

Home cooking is a catalyst that brings people together. We are losing the daily ritual of sitting down around the table (without the intrusion of television), of having the opportunity to interact, to share our experiences and concerns, to listen to others. Home kitchens, despite the increase in designer appliances and cabinetry, are mostly quiet and empty today. Strangers are preparing much of our food. And our supermarkets, which once considered restaurants and fast-food places the enemy, have joined the trend by enlarging their delis and offering ready-to-eat food they call "home-replacement meals." But bringing ready-cooked meals home is not the same as cooking in your own kitchen, where you are in control of the ingredients you use, where you fill the house with good cooking smells, and where you all share in a single dish, taking a helping and passing the platter on to your neighbor. Nothing can replace that.
-Marion Cunningham, from the introduction to Lost Recipes.