Category Archives: food

Puzzle, dunk, and beans

The crossword puzzle gets me out of bed on Sundays, eager and curious.

Another beautiful day. It might rain at six. Regarding our patio dinner postponed from last night, K quips, “We should hold it yesterday.” It ended up being beautiful at six last evening.

A dunk a day keeps the depression away! Not gonna happen, but how grateful I am when we go.

You know it’s time to chuck a suit when the elastic crackles as you put it on. Since I love polka dots so much, a piece of the Lycra/poly blend will go into the fabric stash. I’ve used other synthetic polka dots to good effect.

Here’s a hint about tonight’s bean salad.

Here’s a hint about how the chicken will be served.

Here’s a link to GimmeSomeOven for their chimichurri recipe. Yummmm! I hope there will be some leftover for leftovers!

Gutters and lemon squares

It was cooler and then not. One pile of dirt has been dispersed, the other sifted of rocks. More news on patio in another post.

I made lemon squares and cut K’s hair. Worked on a bunch of chapters. Yesterday, met “the guys” over at the lake.

Saturday afforded some beautiful late afternoon light.

K cleaned gutters and I laid additional slates in the landing area. One of the beauties of watching a professional crew is learning how to do something. My rubber mallet, small yellow level, and trowel have been busy!

For instance, I’m interrupting the median plantings so that when the nearby elementary school resumes in-person learning, it’ll be clear where to step. A good use of the multitude of rocks uncovered in our patio project. My mother used to joke that rocks are New England’s best crop.

Recording the above because dinner prep is in the works. I’m roasting tomatoes, soaking beans, chopping olives and cooking rice for a rice, corn, and bean salad. Tons of garlic and shallots will add flavor.

Fortuitously, even before the obscenity that is Ivanka hawking Goya beans on her twitter feed, I ordered heirloom beans from California. Very exciting for this mid-level foodie!

Two friends are coming over to watch Hamilton this evening. I’m excited way out of proportion to the event. I’ve seen both friends recently and have already watched Hamilton once, but it feels special.

For one thing, I haven’t had a reason to tidy the living room in a LONG time. Plus, I love an excuse to rearrange the furniture (we’ll sit six feet apart and wear masks – except when eating).

And when have I cooked for friends last?

Cake, pies, and dirt

The chocolate cake turned out “stodgy,” as they would say on The Great British Baking Show. Dense, chewy and close to inedible, in other words. When Paul Hollywood calls a dessert stodgy, he doesn’t spit it out (the ultimate condemnation), but close. Picture a wrinkled nose and a look of pity.

We will consume it. If you pretend it’s a tort, it kind of works. Ice cream makes it tastier.

I hope my annual currant pie turns out better.

Meanwhile, the heat makes moving dirt a brutal chore. I asked the patio guys to leave us two large piles because I just couldn’t bear to see them haul it away. It keeps K up at night, but I plan to go at it, bucket by bucket.

An old pin cherry root will be installed out back. It’s been tipped over and neglected in the lilies of the valley. Now it will get pride of place. Guardian of the shade!

A nasturtium blooms. My hydrangea are reluctant to grow and half the tomatoes I bought as seedlings haven’t changed at all in four weeks. It reminds me of being twelve when I fervently wished (and wished harder) that I would keep growing. Hallelujah little orange flower!

And speaking of growth, that Rose of Sharon was nearly destroyed by rabbits last year and just look at it!

Lastly, I’m feeling that blogging is both a life line and something that could fall away nearly without notice. How can it be both things?

It occurs to me that a normal summer would have included weeks of travel, weeks when blogging did fall away, in other words. There would have been a coming back. Maybe there was something in that formula?

Just wondering.

Purple rice joy

Last night was one of those nights when we might’ve eaten out were it not for the pandemic. I was tired and had no ideas on deck and by the time I got around to fixing dinner, it was too late to roast the chicken waiting in the cellar fridge.

Et voila! Cooked up a batch of toothsome purple rice and served it up with sautéed shallots, yellow peppers, and chicken sausage. Satisfying! Then, even better, I had two servings of rice left for lunch. Tired celery? Throw it in. Red onion? Yes, please.

After a thorough search, I found NINE more notebooks from the relevant time period (A Tale of Two Sisters, 2009 – 2019). I am so appreciative of the many ideas posted in the comments yesterday.

Things I might not have thought of. Beautiful role modeling. Support offered before asked for. I have such a gracious, smart, and warm circle of friends here!

The notebook pile I’m referring to is to the left of the desk.

Today’s class was really good as usual. Because I had just finished Alice Hoffman’s WWII novel, “The World That We Knew,” (which features a golem as a prominent character), I offered the golem as a prompt.

If you could have a creature made out of mud and temporarily animated to serve you, how would it protect you? How would it offer solace?

Mine ended up being a Hosta Spirit, offering resilience and adaptability. It directly addressed how to approach writing about my sister.

It’s a thread-the-needle situation: how to revisit awful, awful scenes without catapulting myself back into that mess? I don’t think it’s impossible, but I need to have some strategies.

The writing that’s already come about her kind of had a life of its own, arriving on the page as if waiting to be written. I really trust that.

Pantry soup #2 Miso Noodle

By giving root vegetables, frozen corn, and pantry items a starring role, Miso Noodle Soup could be made ten days before the end of the world. The addition of eggs and leftover chicken turned it into a meal. I used homemade chicken stock, but box broth would do in a pinch.

I think I saw a version of this on a NYTimes site this weekend, but I can’t track it down.

Miso Noodle Soup with Carrots & Corn

1 onion, halved and sliced in half moons

1 carrot, diced

1 1/2 c frozen corn

1 clove garlic

2 servings of Japanese noodles (I used somen)

Potful of chicken stock / 2 cups chopped chicken (optional)

Generous 1/4 c miso

* * *

Sauté onions. Add corn and carrots and soften a little. Drop garlic in center and cook for about 90 seconds.

Add broth. Cook until carrots done, about ten minutes.

Meanwhile, cook noodles in a separate pot. Fill bowls with chopped chicken and noodles.

Also, hard boil two eggs, peel and cut in half.

Mash miso in separate bowl with about a cup of the hot broth. Pour back into pot and cook gently for a few minutes.

Pour over noodles and chicken. Top with eggs. Add salt to taste.

Yum!

If I’d had scallions, I would have added them — both for color and spice.

As it turns out, I would have rather had more corn and no chicken, but I had a carcass to strip from making the stock, so it made sense to use it.

Definitely a meal I would make again, maybe experimenting with additions like ginger, cilantro, and jalapeños.

In other news, those who suggested that grass was a misguided idea with a dog and shade were right (Mo!). K’s sod was beautiful for a season, adequate for another, and destroyed now. I’m extending the beds by a couple of feet and dreaming of gravel walkways.

Isn’t that what quarantines are for? Digging up your backyard?