Thursday, December 25, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
I hate Xmas anyway, I'm a real Scrooge. So this year is sure to be interesting. Tonight we decorated the tree, though, and it was ...nice? The tree itself is our usual fake one, and the ornaments are the usual motley assembly. I believe Xmas is for kids, but I also do enjoy the festival aspects. I am a firm believer in trees being populated with ornaments that mean something, that remind us of something. Theme trees are downright weird in my opinion.
Our tree has always been kind of a joke, but I was never in competition with N. I stood in proper awe for her perfectly lit and decorated live tree every year, and she enjoyed the homeliness of ours.
Kiddo had so much fun putting the ornaments on and making up stories about them...he really considers them more as toys than ornaments. That's OK by me, it imparts even more meaning. As I told him tonight, this holiday is all about the kids.
I miss going over to admire the amazing tree. She had taken a class on tree decoration years ago, and she just loved transforming the house. Last year there were actually too many lights, though...you couldn't even see the ornaments. We had to admire the tree lit and unlit so we could actually appreciate the ornaments. Butterflies and bows...
I wonder where the Christmas ornaments went?
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
- Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm (not hot) water and add the honey. Set aside for at least 5 minutes.
- Sift the flours and salt into a large bowl
- Make a depression in the flour and add 3 Tbsp of the olive oil and the other cup of warm water, and the yeast mixture.
- Prepare a kneading surface by sprinkling it with semolina flour
- Mix the dough in the bowl with your hands. When it has combined well enough, transfer the dough to the kneading surface.
- Knead for 8 to 10 minutes. The dough should be elastic and cohesive. Breathe deeply, enjoy the transfer of energy to the dough. My counter is too high, so I stand on a stool which allows me to use pressure and not strain my shoulders.
- Put the final Tbsp of oil in a large clean bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it so it is coated with the oil.
- Cover the bowl with a clean towel and put in a warm, draft-free place (my laundry room when I'm doing laundry is the only place that works for me) for at least 1 1/2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 500 F
- Sprinkle the cookie sheets with semolina
- I cut the dough in half and rolled it out as thinly as I could (sprinkling the board and the dough with semolina to avoid sticking) in an oval shape to fit the cookie sheets I was going to use, then transferred the dough by rolling it up on the roller.
- Roll a short edge to keep the toppings in
- Brush the dough with olive oil
- Add a thin layer of marinara sauce
- On one pizza, I put lots and lots of mozzarella (for Kiddo) - probably about 3/4 pound
- On the other, I put slices of fresh tomato, mushrooms, some pepperoni and some zucchini we had sauteed in garlic last week, plus a bit of mozzarella (1/4 pound?) and some feta cheese.
- Baked the cheese pizza for 10 minutes, and the other one with more toppings for about 14 minutes.
Friday, October 24, 2008
- Heat the olive oil in a very large stockpot on medium heat
- As the oil is heating, chop the onions, then add them to the oil
- As the onions are cooking to translucent, core and slice the tomatoes, then add them plus any juices
- Add the other "smooth" ingredients as you get them ready (but not the broth!), stirring occasionally
- When they've cooked down fairly well, add the broth and then use some method to blend all the "smooth" ingredients. I have a blender wand, which is the easiest thing to do, OR you could hassle with a food processor or blender.
- Now start adding the chunky ingredients as you get them ready, potatoes first and greens (if you are using them) last.
- Reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the potatoes are done.
- Taste, add salt and pepper (or allow guests to add their own)
- Serve with crusty bread, some nice cheese and parmesan in a grater to pass around. This amount easily served six adults with double portions and had leftovers as well. And we were all satisfied...even though it's a one-dish meal.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
We spent a ridiculous amount of money last night, but I guess I feel good fueling the local economy. :) The kids loved the rides and I got to see at least one exhibit. Growing up in a very small town I never had the opportunity to go to the State Fair and always thought it must be wonderful...I did 4-H as a kid and loved the county fair. Really? It's sort of like going to a very hick outdoor mall. But again, the kids loved it, so that puts a shine on it.
Work has been completely insane -- I wanted to go to the fair on Sunday, but was working -- and also missed the hearing last week due to work, so the very fact that I could carve a few hours out of a gorgeous N.C. evening and hang out with my Hub and a couple of 5-year-olds was precious. Even if the food was awful. :)
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
We also made the Carolina BBQ ribs tonight for a neighborhood party (yes, we do still have those, darnit). That's what Ms. N brought to our party the night before she died. They were really, really good, she would have been happy to chow down.
I'm bracing for Tuesday, when the search warrants will be publicized. I have no idea what to expect.
Friday, August 15, 2008
On a positive note, Kiddo turns 5 next Monday! Usually we do a party at home, but due to the circumstances acquiesced to his wish to a party at one of these places that caters to kids (which generally I really hate). Saves me from cooking up a storm, but it's kind of strange for me.
Friday, August 08, 2008
The last couple of weeks I've been thinking about how this tragedy is a breaking point for me. But not only for me. I think that my relationship with my husband and family will come out stronger, but I worry about how far and how deep the cracks of this will spread into my neighborhood, my circle of friends, my community...will we break apart? Or will the welds we use to fix the break end up making us stronger?
Nan was a hub. The wheel is now spinning freely. This bit of poetry also keeps running through my mind:
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold -- William Butler Yeats
Friday, July 25, 2008
I wasn't at all upset that my birthday was forgotten in the hoopla.
I'm not upset today, at least about my birthday...it's just not important.
When I get home, I'll add a picture from that day. She was radiant.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I can't post this on http://nancycooper.blogspot.com, but I can post it here...
- I am a patriot
I believe in due process
I believe in the rule of law
I believe justice will eventually be done
I believe the safety and well-being of Bella and Katie is paramount
I don't believe in trying cases in the media
I believe in the presumption of innocence
I believe that each person has the right to proclaim their beliefs publicly
- I am proud of each and every one of my friends for standing up and proclaiming their beliefs in pursuit of a cause they believe in
I miss Nancy more each day
I did cook a very nice meal for the R. family tonight and dropped it off, I hope they enjoy it. In a time like this, it's nice to set goals for oneself that are achievable...I can check "cook for the R's" off my list now. That is a great comfort.
I rotisserie'd two chickens, make a Greek salad with Farmer Fred's cucumbers and herbs from my garden, made a potato, green bean and yellow squash salad (all Farmer Fred produce) and a double batch of the baked Macaroni & Cheese that I've referenced before.
Monday, May 26, 2008
- Cover the potatoes in cold water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for about 20 minutes, just until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork (I tend to use my sense of smell to know when they are right).
- When the potatoes are ready, scoop them out and drain them in a colander. Add the broccoli and snow peas to the boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes, just until bright green. Drain.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl put all the rest of the ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until well blended and creamy. Let stand in the refrigerator until you're ready to mix it all up. I kept on adding things and using a potato to taste-test.
- When the potatoes and vegetables are cool, toss them together with the sauce in a large bowl.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
This recipe can be done with spinach only, or any combination of greens. Tougher greens may just take a wee bit longer to cook. Even people who don't like spinach tend to love this dish.
10 oz fresh spinach
6 oz other greens (kale, tatsoi)
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup pine nuts
4 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
- Soak the raisins in the sherry
- Wash the greens (a large sink-full of cold water and lots of swishing helps), removing tough stems. Spin mostly dry and chop or tear coursely.
- Heat a very large pot, and toast the pine nuts. Remove them to a mise bowl.
- Add the oil and heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
- Add the greens in bunches, stirring with a wooden spoon to coat with oil and wilt.
- Add the sherry, raisins and pine nuts. Cover and cook gently for about 10 minutes, or until the greens are silky but not overcooked.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
- Saute onions in hot oil until soft
- Add spinach and salt; saute a few minutes
- Cool slightly
- Stir in cheeses and egg, blending thoroughly
- Prepare the triangles as directed here, using two sheets of phyllo for each set
- Brush with a little more butter or oil
- Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes
Thursday, April 24, 2008
- Mix the ingredients up to the egg in a bowl
- Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large stockpot
- Form small meatballs and brown them in the oil (they do not need to be cooked through) in three batches, adding a tablespoon of oil in between each batch. Drain them on paper towels
- Add the last tablespoon of oil to the pot, and add the greens
- Saute briefly until wilted
- Add the meatballs and the broth, bring to a simmer
- Cover and simmer for ten minutes
- Serve with fresh grated parmesan
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
- Shell the fava beans
- Cover the beans with cold water and set over a medium flame. Cook until the beans are fragrant and just turning from bright green to slightly yellow. Put into a colander and spray with cold water to stop cooking.
- Salt the chops lightly and let them sit for a few minutes. Broil the lamb chops on low heat for about 15 minutes on the first side, turning midway, and about 10 minutes on the second side, turning midway
- When the beans have cooled, pinch each one to remove the tough outer skin. Put the inner beans into a bowl.
- Add the zest of one of the Meyer lemons and the juice of both of them to the bowl.
- Clean and chop the mint and add it to the bowl.
- Add the olive oil and stir briskly with a wooden spoon.
- Serve the lamb chops with the fava bean/mint dressing and with couscous.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
- Heat the canola oil in a large, heavy pot (a Le Creuset would be perfect). Sprinkle salt and pepper on the turkey breast and brown it well all over.
- After it is well browned, add the chicken broth, turn the heat down and put the lid on. Braise the breast for 1 hour.
- In a large stockpot, start cooking the chorizos
- After they've expressed some oil, add the onions, peppers and tomatillos (include the liquid in the can)
- Saute until the chorizos are done, and remove them.
- Add the masa flour to the vegetables, stir
- Cut the chorizos up
- When the turkey breast is done, remove it from the broth. Add the broth to the stockpot and stir. Also add the frozen corn and beans with their liquid. Bring to a simmer.
- Remove the skin from the turkey breast and cut into cubes, add to the stockpot
- Start adding the shredded cheese, gradually, whisking.
- Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is smooth.