Eternal Sunshine and the Mind

For  most of yesterday it was quite cold (50'sF/10C) and rainy. The rain turned heavy overnight and this morning there was a lovely dusting of snow in the nearby hills! The sun was out and everything looked so sparkly and pretty. A swift-moving storm hit and was gone, followed by more glowing sun. It's things like this that make you appreciate the weather here. Everyone is always so happy after some extended rain when the sun comes out. People tend to pause outdoors just taking it in...the fresh air and sun warming one's face. It's like  an unexpected holiday courtesy of nature.

Living in the land of eternal sunshine, one becomes a bit numb about the sun and starts taking it for granted. It reminds me of my post about my water heater and how you don't appreciate something till it's gone. Give Angelenos several days to a week of rain and cloudy skies, you'll find most of the population gets very grumpy and depressed. The people who move here can't deal with winter gloom, they're not cut out for the northern climes. Can you imagine how much more Prozac and Wellbutrin would be needed to live with months of grey/white winter skies? That's the whole point of moving here, but as I said one can become numb to good weather.

Here, when the sun finally bursts forth, people are almost  giddy with delight. Look at me, I'm rhapsodizing about the weather! It's the kind of giddiness that I used to feel when I lived in the Midwest and Spring had finally, really arrived. Forsythia, lilacs and other flowering shrubs had tender little flower buds popping on bare branches. The grass was greening up and you could actually wear shorts outside. Never mind that it was only 53 degrees outside! Shorts! Sandals weren't far behind!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's a freakingly gorgeous day and I wish I could share this happy feeling with everyone!

Labels: , ,


No Red Sauce Please

The other day I read Alicia Paulson's blog, Posie Gets Cozy where she posted what looks like a delicious lasagne recipe which she dubbed Rozale Lasagna. So nummy looking that I copied and saved it on my computer. Our current weather and temperatures are perfect for a little oven cooking. In Alicia's post, she mentioned how she doesn't care for red sauce. I myself love sauces regardless of color, but it got me thinking about Italian food and just how many recipes involve a red sauce of some sort.
Last year's pot of oregano and thyme 
I remembered a wonderful recipe for a pizza that I haven't made in a while or shared with you. It's a wonderful dish with fresh herbs that hints Spring is just around the corner.

My Pizza Recipe (real original title, huh?)
Pizza dough (I buy the fresh pre-made kind at Trader Joes)
1 jar Prego spaghetti sauce or any kind you prefer
1/2 to 1 onions, chopped (amount based on personal preference)
1/2 c. mushrooms, chopped (cepes/porcini if available, see: *Note)
1 green or red pepper, chopped
Italian sausage, sweet or hot (cooked, casing removed, and crumbled) 
2-3 T. fresh oregano, thyme, and basil, chopped
1/2 lb. Mozzarella and Monterey Jack cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 450F (232.25C). Spray a large cookie sheet with sides (like a jelly roll pan) with cooking spray or wipe with olive oil on a paper towel.  Spread dough over cookie sheet pushing up to the sides to create an edge or lip.  Sparingly spoon Prego Spaghetti sauce over the dough, enough to cover but not drown in.  Spread remaining ingredients evenly over sauced dough.  Sprinkle with herb mixture. Cover with Mozzarella and Monterey Jack cheese, sometimes I just use Monterey Jack and skip the Mozzarella. You could experiment with an assortment of cheeses. I find that if the cheese is put on  last, the flavor of the herbs blends in better than if they're on top.

Bake at 450 F. for 20-40 minutes until cheese is melted, bubbly and crust is brown. All ovens vary so check periodically. The wide range in cooking times depends too on how heavy-handed you are with the ingredients!

*Note:  For years now I've bought all my dried mushrooms, vanilla beans and saffron from a great company with very reasonable prices, Vanilla Saffron in San Francisco. The mushrooms rehydrate beautifully in a bowl of hot water. Once they're rehydrated, I pluck them out of the water and pat them dry. I put a paper towel in a fine net sieve over a bowl and strain the liquid, saving it for flavoring in many things.

Getting back to the red sauce topic...I've been thinking lately of making the above pizza with some changes. Somewhere in the back of my mind I recall eating a "white" pizza and it goes something like this. Spread the dough in the pan, skip the red sauce and use 3 or 4 cheeses, grated or cut in fine slices. Put these on first followed by the herbs. I have no idea how long to cook it, since I don't want the herbs on top to brown. You could add some rehydrated, chopped porcini/cepes to it, maybe some green onion or chives in a fine dice. You might even try to whip up a cheesy béchamel sauce as a base, if this seems too dry for you. Probably almost anything would work. I just remember it tasting incredible and so light and fresh. 
Which reminds me, I need to start looking for some herb plants for the potted garden. Buying little plastic packs of fresh herbs for $2-3.00 each makes me a wee bit crazy when I know how easy they are to grow!

Labels: , , , ,


This is How My Mind Works

I’ve been trying hard to re-adjust my thinking about cooking and shopping to eliminate impulse purchases. When I’m shopping and see a surprise savings or something that’s “but it’s such a good deal”, I ask myself if I have a recipe lined up to use it in. Ninety-nine percent of the time, my answer is “no” and I’m able to pass the item up. However, as I’ve said in a past post, you can take the girl out of the Midwest but the reverse is not always true.

So I was at the store the other day and deviated from my list when I saw a good brand (not easy in So Cal) of Summer Sausage on sale. This reminded me that a while back I had frozen some country-style ribs. So I thought of ribs and kraut! This is how my mind works. Show me a Midwestern food memory and I’m on the recipe trail to Wisconsin. So I bought a can of sauerkraut. The sauerkraut I purchased was Safeway brand. Since I’m trying to save money I eschewed my regular brand in a glass jar or at least Libby’s brand canned. I saved $0.50. Okay, in the grand scheme of things that’s not much, but if you add a lot of these kinds of savings together, they add up.
Ribs, sauerkraut and potatoes...yum!
Unfortunately I also forgot my Minestrone disaster where I substituted a name brand of tomatoes that I was used to for a generic store brand. If you’ll recall it was a triumphant failure. I tossed the whole batch. So for a small savings I lost the cost of all the other ingredients plus my time...lesson still not learned.

When I opened the kraut, it had a very sharp, vinegar scent to it. I debated about using it or not and finally decided to go ahead and see what would happen in the end. I mean, since I had flavored ribs (see Notes and Observations below) I wasn’t exactly following the recipe to the letter now, was I? In the end, I added a teaspoon of Wyler’s chicken crystals to the dish and let it simmer a bit longer, stirring now and then.

As I’d hoped, the potatoes broke up a bit and mixed into the kraut, it was just enough to soften the “bite” of this can of kraut. Overall though, I was quite happy with the results.

Spareribs and Sauerkraut for One in February
3-4 Country-style spareribs (approx. 1.5” {3.82 cm} x 1.5” or 2.0” {5.08 cm} x 4-5.00” {10.16-12.7 cm})
1-2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/8 c. White Vermouth
2 medium to large New or Rose White potatoes, skin on or off (your preference) sliced in 1/8” rounds
14 oz. can of Sauerkraut (414 mL)
1/4 c. water
4 Qt. oven proof kettle or Dutch oven
Put oil in pan and warm. Add ribs and brown on all sides (2-3 minutes per side). Remove and set aside. Add vermouth and de-glaze all the brown bits in the pan, cooking on high and stirring till reduced by half. 

Layer the potato slices (in 2 layers as necessary) in pan. Bring to a quick boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 minute.  Remove lid, add ribs and cover all with the sauerkraut.

Add water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer. I check on the simmer every 10 minutes so it’s not too high or low. Judiciously add water if needed while cooking. An easier way would be to simply put pan in preheated oven (325F/ C) for 1 hour vs. cooking on the stovetop. When cooking on the stovetop, I do stir gently so it doesn't burn.

Notes and Observations:
Average weight per potato = 3.5 oz. (99.2g)
Normally I use unseasoned ribs.The ribs I used this time were “rescued” from the freezer so I didn't notice that they were seasoned with my Barbeque rub until they were thawed. I rinsed the ribs a bit and patted them dry but because I froze them with the rub, it pretty much permeated the meat. Although, after cooking, it really wasn't that noticeable.
I might add some dried juniper berries next time. If you like, you might also add caraway seeds. Personally, I only like them in rye bread! I was quite happy with the end result and I have enough for dinner tomorrow!

Labels: ,


Fresh vs. Dry

In recent posts, I mentioned the possibiliy of substituting dry herbs for fresh if they're unavailable but had no guidelines for you. Well, today, I ran across a site that sells herbs and they had quite a good explantation so I thought I'd share it with you. They also have a good description of quite a few herbs as well.

"Herbs and spices should be kept in tightly covered containers at all times and should be replaced frequently.  The secret to herbs and spices is in the aroma as well as the flavors they impart.  Heat, sunlight and air can reduce the quality of the seasonings.  If you have had herbs in your cabinets over a year, replace them with fresh ones. 

Fresh herbs require 4 times the amount of dried herbs in a recipe.  When using dried herbs,  crush or rub them in your hand before dropping them in the recipe.  This releases the oils which produce most of the flavor and aroma.

Whole herbs are a better choice than ground or powdered since they hold their flavor longer in storage.  You will either have to grind them yourself or if using the whole herb, use 1 ½ times the ground herb called for.

Do not double herbs called for when doubling the recipe.  Use only 1½ times the required amount; taste and then add more if necessary.

When using herbs, never use more than 1 strong herb per recipe.  You can add milder flavored herbs but two strong herbs in the same recipe will conflict with each other.  Also its best to limit a meal to no more than 2-3 herbed dishes and not the same herb in each."

 The above information on herbs is from Barryfarm.com. (No affiliation, just thought it clarified rather nicely the amounts needed in dry vs. fresh.) This is also a good place to locate hard to find ingredients. For example, I don't think I've ever seen a source with so many flours in my life (Teff Flour, Green Pea Flour, Mesquite Flour and Cassava Flour to name a few) and they sell in bulk. There's a lot of info on this site so have a look.

Labels: , ,


Just a Quick Post

You've all endured my comments on how I need to work on my food photography through several posts by now and I'm happy to say that I found a solution! It's over at The Merlin Menu blog. This blog has lots of tasty recipes and info on pressure cooking. Ron details how he built his light box for just a few dollars. He also lists the source where he originally found the info on how to make it which is this entry on the Strobist blog.

Guess what I'll be playing with this week! It looks so easy. By the way, the Strobist blog has lots of info on photography if you need some pointers.

Labels: , ,


Chicken and Dumplings

The weather has been perfect for making stews and soups, so for dinner today I pulled out the Chicken and Dumpling recipe. Haven't made this in a while and every time I do, I'm always amazed at how delicious it is. Other than a lot of chopping, it's quite a simple recipe. I took a photo of it dished up for dinner.
Rather hard to tell what's what, other than the carrots...lol!
Unfortunately, I still need to work on my food photography and styling, but you get the idea, pure chicken-y-ness with fluffy dumplings and delicious sauce. I have to say that I've had this since my mom made it throughout childhood. My father loved it. I've tried making it with boneless chicken breasts but find that if I use chicken breasts with the ribs in tack, there's a lot more flavor. That's also why when I make any kind of pot roast or beef bourguignon, I buy a cut with a bone in it, makes a noticeable difference. Seems to impart more depth of flavor.

It was so good, that now I'm thinking of making my Chicken Pot Pie recipe soon. That's another really easy dish and now that I've pretty much worked all the little kinks out, it really comes out quite good! Although I may try to make the biscuits that top it from scratch rather than using Pillsbury Grands. I'll try to make it earlier in the day so I can get a photo of it in natural light since the flash and light in the house at night really don't make for good pics as you can see above!

Labels: ,


My Version of the Slow Food Movement

It's a totally, brilliant, sunny today. The other day's rain cleaned away dust and dirt leaving everything looking nice and sparkly. Well, except for my car which is parked under part of a Live Oak tree. I think I have the messiest trees growing in this yard. On the West side of the house is a Pecan tree. It sheds something every single quarter of the year.

Come fall, it slowly drops its leaves and is the very last tree to lose all of them. In spring, it's covered with bright lime green shaggy tassels, which while pretty, wind up browning and dropping. Sometimes the carpet they create is so thick you can't even see the patio bricks. This shedding goes on for several months and is followed by all sizes of pecans falling from it. I never really get to pick any to see if they could be eaten since the squirrels and other critters get them all. If I do find any on the ground, they're riddled with gnaw marks and pits from hungry little teeth/fangs. Then the slow leaf shedding starts all over. I'm always cleaning some of it's debris out of my potted garden.

The Live Oak in the front is a stunning and very old tree but has a similar cycle of some leaf shed, tassels, pollen (which covers the car and walkways with a lime green dust) and so on. And again, the acorns are always snagged by varmints! Then the half of an avocado tree that hangs over the backyard has a partial leaf shed, dead twig shed, followed with tiny flower puffs and finally avocados. Luckily I do get some of the avocados if I'm fast with the long pole picker! Of course I don't like avocados so I've discovered who amongst my friends have other crops (lemons, limes, oranges) and we trade. Works great! I think the more people connect and share like this, the better it will be for everyone.

Labels: ,


Another Second Post

As usual, the fickle finger of weather has tricked the forecasters again. The "storm system" that was to hit tonight, following the last little one, has decided to take its time and won't be visiting us until Friday. At least that's the current prediction. I mean seriously, why do they even try to predict the weather?

Meanwhile the earlier rain shook something loose from something and my allergies are through the roof! I feel like someone strapped a cat to my face! (Love them dearly but I'm very allergic to most cats.) So, I'll be taking an allergy pill and going to sleep (if I can stop sneezing!). Good night and sleep well!

Labels: ,

The Sky is Falling (again)

Well, today has brought with it some nice winter rain. I haven't commented much on the weather because it's been embarrassingly lovely! The timing of this weather is perfect because the hills and canyons have had a chance to dry out from the last bout that hit before Christmas. When you come from a snowy, weather-filled clime like the upper Midwest and live in a place that is essentially a desert you appreciate rain. It can't turn to snow, thank heavens, and it keeps potential droughts at bay.

This weather system is supposed to hang around for 3 or 4 days. Once again, everyone who lives here has forgotten how to drive in the rain, even though its only been a month and a half since they drove in it before! After 30+ years of living here, it never ceases to amaze me. Simply mind-boggling.

The news "weather people" are in heaven and the "storm system" takes center stage as the lead story, just as it did last night. Headline news in LA normally consists of celebrities entering/leaving rehab, award shows, gang drive-bys, car chases, sports (even though LA has no NFL football team) and weather. The last of which gets very little play since there usually is only sunshine here. So let the potential of a little drizzle enter the picture and voila! Sheen, Lohan and whatever other sorry excuse there is for a "star", all drop to the bottom of the news barrel. Weather reigns (pun intended) supreme! Oh no! The sky is falling! Whatever shall we do?! Somebody find the hoodies and the Uggs! LOL!

Labels: ,


Happy Valentine's Day!

Yes, it's that time of the year when the greeting card companies, florists, jewelry stores and candy makers try to promote the need to buy an array of things to prove your love to someone. On one hand it can be looked at with a very jaded eye. It can cause panic in young or new romances. Singles often feel a twinge of envy when they see couples together on this day.

Elizabethtown is one of my favorite movies and I love this quote from it;

"Sadness is easier because it is surrender. I say make time to dance alone with one hand waving free."

I don't find myself in any panic though today and I think it's because I have gotten to "know myself" a lot better and am quite happy with my own company. I mean, no one can value me like me. I don't feel the "need" to please anyone today or live up to what they think I should be. The other thing I've noticed is my appreciation of love other than the romantic kind. Today I'm spending a little more time appreciating the fact that I have friends who love me, a very dear brother (and family), a dear little dog whose eyes twinkle at the sight of me (and vice versa) and the fact that I've survived a lot of crumby stuff. I think these are things that come with getting older. The world becomes clearer, more simplified somehow. There's no high drama to deal with because you start seeing how very short life is.

Wishing you a very happy Valentine's Day, I'll leave you with this thought,

It is only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, that we will begin to live each day to the fullest; as if it were the only one we had.
Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Labels: , , ,


Celery, Leeks and Gold, Oh My!

Today, I went to the store to pick up a few things, one of them being a bunch of celery and leeks. I needed the celery to make my mom's Chicken and Dumpling recipe and I needed leeks for a recipe I found at The Noble Pig blog. It's called Baked Leeks with Garlic, Thyme and Parmigiano and I wanted to make it in the coming week.
Photo by Cathy from The Noble Pig blog.
Cathy posts some really delicious looking recipes and this is one of them! She recently posted another one I want to make real soon, in fact, I bought the pomegranate juice for it while at the store. That one's called Pomegranate-Balsamic-Glazed Carrots. Don't they look delicious?
Cathy's Pomegranate-Balsamic-Glazed Carrots
Anyhow, getting back to my trip to the store. You'll recall my recent shock over a bunch of celery that cost $2.29 at Pavillions. Well, sit down. Today the sign read $2.99!!! Can you believe that? For a bunch of celery! The chicken I bought was cheaper! Then I noticed pieces of paper taped to top of the entire bank of veggies explaining that due to recent weather conditions obtaining vegetables had grown extremely expensive...so sorry. Leeks cost $2.99! Needless to say, this little chickie did not buy either.

Instead, I drove over to Albertson's (about 7 blocks away) where I found celery for a much more reasonable $1.69 a bunch (I ought two) and leeks for $1.99 per pound (also bought some of those)! I really don't like to think that stores are taking such blatant advantage of consumers but what else could it be? Makes me wish I owned the property I live in. I'd be installing raised beds tomorrow for growing stuff. I think facing these kind of prices will really accelerate the entire slow food movement!
Precious Celery, watch out gold and silver!

Labels: ,


Angels, Love and Grace

I haven't mentioned it much since I try to focus on more positive things in this blog, but in the last year my mental state and I have deteriorated. In past posts I've mentioned how, I lost the store and then Frost. That was the final kicker. As a result, the quality of living in this house has deteriorated. It's a case of too much stuff and me...we have a mutual stranglehold going on. Trying to fit 3000 square feet of stuff into an 800 square foot space is not possible no matter how much I stubbornly deny it. It's also governed by the fact that in the last 10 years I've had so many losses that I cling to things holding any memory like they're a life raft. When I try to organize any room in the house, I find myself stymied by the "domino effect".

The "domino effect" works like this:  I decide to clear off my desk, but before I can do that I have to empty out 3+ years of files, but to do that, I have to clear the pile off the rolling file cart so I can get to the files. However, I have no where to set the huge pile that I remove from the cart, so I'm stuck. Every room in this tiny rental has its own version of this effect which results in me freezing up and crawling back into bed. It is incredibly frustrating. The more I try, the more frustrated and stuck I become to the point I stopped caring. Have you ever felt like this? I never did. The divorce only accentuates the "stuck in limbo" feeling which adds to simply not caring any more.

Yesterday, two remarkable and very wonderful friends took an afternoon and came over. I really dreaded what they would think of me. But I was so far gone that I realized I no longer cared, I'd given up. These two angels worked at my shop with me before it closed and endured my back office disaster, so they know what they're dealing with. I think this is as close to unconditional love as one can get short of a dog! They spent 3 hours on the kitchen and part of the partially attached garage. They made order out of chaos and gently ordered me about so I always had something to do, but wouldn't be in their way.

Have you ever had an irrational attachment to something that you really had no use for any more yet could not pick up and dump in the garbage can? It's crippling. So while organizing the mess, they made several executive decisions and tossed a number of things whose time with me had expired, but which emotionally I didn't have the courage to part with. I discovered this both before and after they left and it was remarkably freeing! You have no idea what a gift it was! I wish I'd have taken before and after photos because it's that amazing.

Can you imagine having two people, not related to you, give that much of themselves? It's something that you just don't hear of anymore in this running-around-like-a-chicken-without-its-head world. It reminds me of a phrase I heard in the movie "Elizabeth" which I've watched numerous times and love. I believe it's actually from the bible and goes like this "this is the lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes". As you know if you read much of this blog, I feel that religious beliefs, if any, are a private thing but this "small" kindness was a miracle of grace visited upon me by the universe, god, or whatever force keeps this orb spinning in the sky. To be so blessed by anyone in this way is a rarity. I think the gifts of time, lack of judgement, and pure love are the most amazing things we can give anyone and I am so grateful for those two angels.

Labels: , ,


The Divine Sarah B.

Oil Painting of Sarah B. by Georges Clairins
The Second Year Anniversary of my blog came and went and I didn't even realize it! Who'd have thought I'd endure this long! I don't know about you but frankly, I'm amazed. Understand that I only went public in early October of 2010. When I went public, I toyed with the idea of deleting the old private posts, but now I'm glad I kept all the entries from the beginning. It's so interesting to see where I was then and where I am now.

I've gone through so much over the last 6-7 years and yet am still standing, sort of. I know my trials and tribulations don't compare even remotely to the bulk of souls on this planet but I'm still grateful and amazed. If only I could get rid of some of the sentimental and material flotsam in my life...that's hard to do. A large family must be helpful in this kind of thing because there's no need to keep a material object for a memory of an event or whatever, there's always someone related to you to remind you of it!

I try to share "mostly" positive things and put negative events in, only when they apply as an update or clarification to why something happened in such a way. Everyone in my family has been "blessed/cursed" with the gift of being a "drama queen" (men included). My father used to refer to me as Sarah Bernhardt.
Sarah B. courtesy of Wikipedia
Frankly, I had nothing on him. I remember visiting him and my mother in 2000 in the hospital. It was so sweet, they had matching heart attacks and shared a hospital room. (Levity here folks!) I recall that my brother had found a local lawyer to update their will. There in the hospital room we watched as my father "held court", informing the lawyer of what he would and wouldn't do. It was quite a sight to see, considering where he was and what he was wearing...a hospital gown with the back flapping in the wind as he crossed the room and turned with a flourish to make a point. Quite a sight made funnier by the fact that he didn't see how silly he looked. It kind of took the pomp out of the circumstance. My brother and I just looked at each other and rolled our eyes.

Labels: ,


Cuteness Overload

Just the other day I found a fun site for Corgi lovers, it's called The Daily Corgi by Laurie. Even if you're not a Corgi aficionado, you'll enjoy the photos and videos that Corgi owners send in and Laurie posts. There's this video of a Chicago Corgi, Moriarty playing in the snow with his humans, it's entitled "The Chicago Blizzard was Adorable". Then there are the following:
and this which has a lot more pics and some videos
and this
Every time I look at this I burst into laughter! The expressions on their faces! Priceless!
and then there's this...a professional photo
and this
and there's this

A fluffy sleeping
Pooped puppers...after a day as a Service Dog.
Well, you get the idea. It's a perfect place to visit to brighten your day or bust out laughing (I swear every time I look at the third photo from the top I really do burst out laughing, I can't help it!)!! Go check Laurie's blog out at The Daily Corgi, you'll be glad you did!

Labels: ,


More Noodling with Recipes

It's got to be the weather. While it's all bright and sunny outside, but it's freezing (inside and out). Well, for us Southern Californians. Seriously. Night before last we had frost warnings. I actually had to turn the heat up from 61F (16.11C) to 65F (18.33C) and periodically stand over the floor vent of the gravity furnace, soaking up the warmth. I keep telling myself to remember how cold I am now, for when summer hits us with some 100 F+ (37.77 C) days! So, whether it's the cold or the fact it still seems like winter (mind you, I'm not complaining), I can't seem to stop playing with and investigating variations on recipes for comfort food, warm comfort food. Thus, I find myself back to my Chicken Pot Pie recipe. Made it last night and changed things up a bit.

Instead of Trader Joe's frozen assorted veggies (corn, peas and carrots) which tasted like frozen, I tried Albertson's. However, since I didn't have my glasses on when I reached in the frozen section and grabbed a bag, I missed the item following "Peas, Carrots, Corn". The mix had lima beans too!
Lima beans in pod and shelled
Waldorf Salad, Image from The Food Network
While I love vegetables and salads, if I haven't said this before, I hate lima beans (also called butter beans in the South) and Waldorf Salad. I'm borderline on kidney beans. All other beans are fine in fact I love black beans with some cilantro and tomato. I thawed the unopened package in a bowl of tepid water, changing the water twice. Then dumped the contents into a colander, rinsing and draining several times under running water to get rid of the "frozen" taste, then picked out all the lima beans. While shopping, I was lucky enough to find a reasonably decent ear of white sweet corn. Cut the kernals off the cob and added them to the freshly drained veggies.

I assembled it as I had in the past but did not put the biscuits on it immediately. Put it in a preheated oven at 385F (196.11 C) for 10 minutes. Removed it from the oven. The top of the mixture was just starting to brown a bit and was slightly bubbly. I then placed the Pillsbury Grands biscuits on top without any stretching out or thinner and placed the pan back in the oven at 370F (187.77 C) for 10 more minutes. At this point the biscuits were turning a nice golden brown, so I put it back for 5-8 minutes and then when browned enough, turned the oven off and let sit for 5 minutes. I removed the pan from the oven and let it sit for 5 more minutes so the sauce could solidify. Scooped a serving out of the pan with a bisquit on top. It was sooo good! By letting the mixture warm up first I eliminated the gummy or unbaked bottom on the biscuit which was what happened last time. The ear of  corn was just the right amount of fresh taste to make it all seem like it was right out of the garden!

I reheated it the next night (foil covered) in a 280F (C) oven for 20 - 25 minutes or until fully heated. It was just as good as the previous night. Yumm!

Actually, I think part of it is that in the recesses of my mind I remember how the oven doesn't get turned on all summer long, from June until November. One has to enjoy to the fullest what each season has to offer and this season it's the oven!

Labels: ,



No, not Elvis' Graceland. LOL! My Graceland! You may recall that in the past, I may have mentioned my appreciation of funerals and old cemeteries. Well, I don't think I shared with you my favorite grave on earth (so far at least). I know I've mentioned my brother's love of visiting old cemeteries when we traveled in the summer with my parents. Well, Graceland in Chicago, Ill. is my favorite. It's home to quite a few relatives including my great-grandmother whom I was lucky enough to know for 11 years.

As children we drove to Chicago quite often and many times my great-grandmother (from now on referred to as Grandma) would have my aunt or mom drive us out to Graceland to neaten the grave sites, planting flowers and/or bulbs. The site where my grandmother, who was great-grandma's daughter, and my mom's mother was buried, had an old Victorian woven wire bench where Grandma would sit and think or pray (it now resides at my brother's house). We'd spend hours there, walking around after cleaning up the graves. As a result, the cemetery was never creepy or spooky. Rather, it was just part of life and I loved the wonderful assortment of grave site statuary and mausoleums!  The history in this place is amazing. It's a who's who of Chicago through the decades, Louis Henri Sullivan, Marshall Field, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as well as many other architects and a load of mayors.

This is Mies van der Rohe's grave. Gives new meaning to "less is more".

My favorite spot however, is Eternal Silence. Seen below, courtesy of the official website of Graceland.

In person, it's a bit daunting since it must stand 10 - 12 or more feet (3.05 m - 3.66 m) tall. The black stone background is even higher. However, once you get used to it, it simply looked so calm and silent, waiting peacefully. Do go to the links and read about the statue and the cemetery...there's a lot of fascinating history there.

You may wonder what brought this on. Well, a few days ago I dropped into Chocolate and Marmalade Tea's blog by Michelle. She had a post on the black eye she'd received. Well, I couldn't resist commiserating with her since I had the same very recent experience and she was nice enough to leave a comment on my blog! Today I stopped by her blog and she had a wonderful idea for old window frames and botanical prints. While I was there, I visited her profile and found she had a former blog on the paranormal called Xenonormal and my memory just went off on this tangent. Who knows what goes on in my mind....

Anyway, this is were my mind strayed today. Hope you enjoyed the tour.

Labels: , , ,


Happy New Year! (again)

I think it's kind of fun to have two New Years. No, I'm not Chinese but what's not to love when each year celebrates a different animal? Astrology is interesting and sometimes surprising. Your animal "sign" is determined by the year of birth. I found a site that lists all the signs and what years are assigned to them. No affiliation, just like a list that's easy to read. This site also has generalized predictions for each sign for 2011.
You can find more rabbit photos here.
In general, I don't believe in the ability of any astrology to tell your fortune. But after seeing a PBS special quite a few years ago on the characteristics of Chinese astrology signs, I became fascinated with how telling each sign is. Prior to this, I looked into Western astrology and again, while I didn't find "predictions" very accurate, I did notice that characteristics of each sign (i.e., Libra with such and such rising) were often pretty spot on to a person's general personality. Maybe I just like the idea that sometimes unusual insight can be gained on why you do or don't fair well with certain people while others get on fabulously.
Cloud Angel or Whale's Tail or ? 
Or maybe it's just the leftovers of my inner child hoping that a little bit of mystery and magic still exist in this world. Reminds me of two of my favorite Einstein quotes "the most beautiful thing we can experience it the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science" and "never lose a holy curiosity".  You can find even more Einstein quotes at this link.

As always, I think of one of my mom's favorite sayings (besides "do unto others as you would have them do unto you") which is "to each their own". Two things that the world might need to embrace a bit more IMHO.

Have a very lovely day!

Labels: , ,