Saturday, June 26, 2010

Misc. Photos of Fun/Sweet Shit

My granddaughter is fearless!
The kids know how to use smart phones better than I do.....um. ??
My sis-in-law Ruth, Brother John, and Sis Pat at at one great Halloween party back in the day!
My strawberry can kick your strawberry's ass.
Marcia's dog Riley and their cat.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

On the Road...soon

My family will hold down the fort while I take a road trip up north. I'll do my best to include you in my travels.


Monday with Marcia will return when I return...although am going to ask her if I can switch to posting on Wednesdays! I changed photo editors and I don't like this one...so will be going back to Photoshop! She sent a great post with many cool Wyoming photos and I can't get to them.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sundays with Marlena Spieler-A Sof! :(

"Jewish Menu" for Oak Cafe at American River College....that was fun! Thanks Teresa Urkofsky for asking me to do it!
It was great to spend the day with Marlena and her aunt Estelle at our house...and the matzo ball soup was fantastic! Thanks to Chris Macias and Heather (photographer) from The Bee.
Going to Shankari's the following week was fantastic....she and Raj were super host and hostess!!
We had fun wagging our tongues...and I had fun making one of Marlena's recipes with beef tongue...probably my biggest challenge from her book. We loved it!
Kibbutzing in our lovely Sari's...thanks Shankari!!!
Cooking from Jewish Cooking on tv was da bomb. Seems like a long time ago!

So..it is finished. Came in like a Lion, went out like a Lamb...speaking of lamb, it sounds good. Think I'll make some!

Thanks to my co-blogger buddies, Shankari and Eileen. It's been quite a ride! :) Our first post was Sunday November 8th, 2009. Cooking and blogging our way through her book was fun most of the time, challenging at times, and a wonderful learning experience! Getting to know you two better was priceless.

Thanks to Marlena Spieler for being gracious and encouraging during this project. It was appreciated more than you will ever know. I learned soooo much. A sheynen dank.

Thanks to Greg Sabin for his support and to Ann Martin Rolke for hers as well. To my blog maker and editor, Lori Hahn. Without her, I would have been up shit creek often. Last but certainly not least, thanks to my husband Dave for making all of her wonderful bread recipes.

Some things I'll keep making: Zchug, Harissa, Brik a'leouf, Matzo Ball Soup, Latkes, Fragrant Beet Soup with Lamb Kubbeh, Marinated Herrings, Whitefish Salad....well, so many really.

Mazel Tov to us!

**[Monday with Marica will be posted later on this week....but will be back on schedule next Monday....I want to leave this post up a few more days. It deserves to be left up a bit longer]

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gardening.... and other stuff from this week

Yay...my first potato. So exciting!!

Tomatoes are coming right along...as are the Armenian striped cukes
Future Meyer Lemons
Garden weeded!
Savory, Lemon Thyme, Basil..before I weeded the gardenStella wets her paw in water bowl, presses into her food, eats it off her paw.
Stella says, "so?.... you have strange eating habits too."
English Lavender ....will soon be a sachet
Wrap it up...put it in the car, a drawer (I think I'll slip it into Dave's underwear drawer)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Another Chapter in Dee's Life

Dee loved to read. As a young girl, she would cozy up under the enormous cottonwood tree in the backyard and lose herself in other peoples worlds. She cherished each one of Mildred Wirt Benson's installments of Nancy Drew's exciting life. On a daily basis she would stop by the grey stone building that housed the library and the local health clinic. The smell of rubbing alcohol permeated the air as she stalked the librarian...begging and pleading for an exact date as to when the next Nancy book would arrive. She had to get there first or wait those long, hot, boring weeks until she could get her sweaty hands on it. Dee was positive that Miss Charlotte could see her out of the gleaming library window.. and go hide among the tall shelves!

Dee would often try her hand at writing...mostly short poems and silly stories about getting even with her arch-nemesis, Becky Voorhees. She could just imagine making a slave of Becky, "carry my books, clean up the house, don't talk to me unless I give you permission, pick me up on your bike at exactly 4 pm, and bring me my slippers!"

Little Dee would often accompany her mother to clean up at the Voorhees two-story farmhouse. The banana mansion is what she called it...with its perfectly sparkling white porch all around the front of it. There was a pond too, where Becky and friends would often swim in the summer. "Go get us towels and blankets... and haul our basket back up the hill, and Dee.. bring us some cool water while you are at it. ..not too cold either,just barely cool." Dee followed instructions because she knew her mom needed this job... and was afraid of what Becky Brittlebutt would do if she spoke up.

While walking down that hot dusty road with her mom, toward their tiny vanilla house, Dee would think up devious ways to get even. "I'll just write her out of my head."

And so, with clenched jaws, she began.

The irony of this story? Becky Brittlebutt grew up to be a creative writing teacher! Life isn't fair.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sundays with Marlena Spieler-Cheesecake

The strawberries are from my garden :)
I only had a small springform pan..so I made a small cheesecake. :( The cooking directions are for a regular size cake.

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 5-6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs,
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch fine salt

Filling:

  • 2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Berries, optional

Directions

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.


For the crust: Melt the butter... covered in the microwave, in a medium microwave safe bowl. Brush a 9-inch springform pan with some of the butter. Stir the remaining butter together with the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom of the pan, taking care to get the crust evenly into the edges. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool. Wrap the bottom and up the sides of the pan with foil and put in a roasting pan. *don't use your food processor to crush your crumbs. put them in a zip lock bag and crush them with your hands.


For the filling: Beat the cream cheese on medium speed with a hand-held mixer-- or in your big mixer until smooth. Add 1 and 1/4 cups sugar and beat just until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl and beaters as needed. Slowly beat in 3/4 cup sour cream, then eggs, 1 tablespoon vanilla and both citrus zests; take care not to over whip. Pour into the cooled crust. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Set on cooling rack on the counter. Leave the oven on!


Meanwhile, stir together the remaining sour cream, sugar and vanilla paste. Spread over the top of the cooked cheesecake and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Turn the oven off, cook the cheesecake in the residual heat in the oven for 1 hour.


Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.


Bring cheesecake to room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Remove the springform ring. Dip a knife in warm water, wipe dry before slicing each piece. Serve with berries..or not.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Hunka Hunka Swarming Bees--Who ya gonna call?



My husband works for SMUD...Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Yesterday, out at Rancho Seco, he discovered a "hunka" bees as big as a basketball. That's how he described it to me. He wanted to save the bees...they couldn't stay where they were as people kinda needed to access that area...in the worst way sometimes.

He called the ghostbuster of bee rescue, Uncle Jer. Dave came home with two bottles of blackberry honey..which he said must have cost SMUD about 200 bucks each.

Uncle Jer said that the hive just got too large..and the bee's elected another Queen Bee..and when she left she took half of the workforce with her, therefore the hunka bee's appeared. There is not enough room for two Queen's in the nest...well, unless they are gay. That's a whole 'nother ball of bee wax...which I am fully supportive of.

So, Dave said it was very cool to watch Uncle Jer work. He put his beehive under the hunka and just wiped them into this honey comb laden paradise of a box. They stayed put...Honey Queen was happy to have a home with her harem of busy bees.

Ya know, now that Ranch Seco is nearly a ghost town, all kinds of animals are moving in out there. A raccoon lives in the turbine building and eats out of the dumpsters...he falls off due to his bulbousness. Bunny rabbits come and go..in and out of the buildings..not one bit afraid of the few employees left out there. It's kinda like that show "Life After People".....

The 5th floor conference room had a fancy table in it...but pigeons have taken over and there is shit all over the fancy table now. Squirrels are often escorted out of the building.. and buzzards circle overhead. Due to the double security fence, predators cannot get in...so all the animals living "at the ranch" are snug as bugs in rugs.

Hundreds of Mud Swallows and their nests had to be escorted carefully off of the top of the old reactor building... before the crane came in.

There used to be 2500 employees out there...now, there are 25...and lot's of animals but no more bees. They've been saved. Thanks for the honey, honey!






Wednesday, June 09, 2010

More stuff we grilled/cooked this week..... so far

Dave brined and rubbed and grilled this chicken..it was so moist and grrrreat!
See what I mean?
I made some "baked potato" soup with bacon and preserved meyer lemons. My in-laws LOVED it. I did too. :) I prefer chunks of potatoes in mine.
Artichoke and sun-dried tomato/basil ravioli with Italian sausage...and peccorino cheese
Slurp...munch....grrrrrr. yum. If anyone wants the recipe...just ask. I hope I can remember how we did it. That's how we roll over here.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Monday with Marcia Lowry--One Potato, Two Potato


WHAT were we thinking?? Potato famine?? We have two more 20 lb. tubs of potatoes in the root cellar that are starting to sprout. I'm going to try to freeze them for fries, hashbrowns and cottage fries.
If I get REALLY ambitious, I may can some.

Monday with Marcia Lowry--Got Water? Irrigating 101

To irrigate our hay fields, water is diverted from the creek that goes by our house into a canal system
When the spring melt is on our creek CAN flood - as seen by this picture.
It is the irrigater's job to open these "gates" and water the field
Riley dog was immediately able to locate the dead porcupine ....an irrigater's helper!
All in all, with a view like this, it's not a bad job in the summer!


It requires a lot of water to produce crops in this high desert country. Wyoming has miles of irrigation canals and ditches that carry the much needed water to farmers and ranchers. It is then the farmer/rancher's job to get it on his field. This is called "irrigating" by some and "irritating" by others. When it goes well it is very satisfying, when it doesn't you are allowed to use lots of colorful words.

When the spring melt is on our creek CAN flood - as seen by this picture.

We have canal headgates (slides that open and close) on our property that are opened up to release water into gated pipe (10 or 12 inch round PVC pipes with little "gates" every 3 feet or so that open and close).

There are LOTS of variables that can make this fun... or not...you tend to get very wet at some point, and on a 90 degree day - not so bad.

It is necessary to "flush" the pipes at the first of the season to wash out any residual mud, sticks, etc. left over from the last year. Every so often you get a surprise - this year it was a partially decomposed porcupine which we could not dislodge, so we had to replace that section of pipe.



Sunday, June 06, 2010

Sundays with Marlena Spieler-"smoked" whitefish salad


OMG...This is sooo succulent and refreshing..perfect summer snack or appetizer.
I used fresh wild cod..perfect for this traditional deli dish.
I couldn't find "smoked whitefish in a deli" so I added a drop of Stubbs Liquid Hickory Smoke and let it steam for a few. Worked great!

I ate it like a deli taco...I cannot wait to eat another one. So very summery.


Ingredients: Serves 4-6

1 smoked whitefish..skinned and boned (or do what I did)
1 large celery stick..small dice
3 green onions...small dice (greens included and save some for garnish)
3 TBLS mayo
2 TBLS greek-style yogurt (or you could use sour cream)
2 TBLS small dice preserved meyer lemons (or the juice of 1/2 lemon--or both!)
1 head of romaine lettuce for "deli tacos"
ground black pepper..about 1 tsp

1. If you can find smoked whitefish at your deli...you must live somewhere other than Sacramento. I bought fresh wild cod at The Nugget and I had some Stubbs Liquid Smoke..hickory. I heated up a non-stick pan and sprayed some pam in it. I cooked the fish on one side for about 2 minutes and then turned it over. I added a drop or two of the liquid smoke and about 1 TBSP water and quickly put a lid on. I let it steam/smoke for about another 3-4 minutes..until fish flakes apart. Let it cool.

2. Break the fish apart with your fingers and put in a bowl. Fold the fish into the mayo/yogurt mixture..along with the other ingredients. Chill.

3. You can serve on lettuce with bagels or pumpernickel..or do what I did sans bread. Just use the lettuce leaves!

My blogger buddies are finished with their part of Jewish Cooking...but go over anyway and see what is new. It is always worth a look! Just the Two of Us and Sacramento Spice!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Food We Cooked/Que'd This Week

Those Memorial Day ribs....oh my. They don't call him Grilldave for nothin'.
Dave had to have a burger and fries one night. Potato buns are the best.
It looks like a lot of oil...but I barely used any. Hmmmm.
Seared scallops in a basil/tomato/artichoke/shallot/meyer lemon sauce over quinoa pasta. It was Holy Crap Good!
Dave's low and slow cooked ribs were sublime .....although he used Pappy's rub and it was a tad salty this time. He also brined the ribs before he added the rub.
Mom's potato salad recipe was a hit...as usual. :)
Dave put a marinade of herbs and lime juice under the skin for an hour before cooking..plus he brined the chicken first.
Dave made this killer Thai dipping sauce for the BBQ'd Chicken. Sooo just right spicy/sweet.
My garlic/kosher pickled veggies were refreshing with Memorial Weekend BBQ.