Beautiful Spring Colors!

It’s time.  I found these Forsythia lying dead on the side of the road.  They were just buds.  People just hack away at them and ditch them so I picked up as much as I could carry, dropped them in water and a day later…..beautiful, eh?  And the pansies and petunias – they go in the long flower box.  My mother always tended the pansies and spoke to them so I have a bit of her ashes in the box and I’m bringing in her “friends” today.  She’ll have some company!

Now, I ask you.  What the heck is with the Weather Channel?  Check out this advertising….I tell you, this media stuff is frying our brains.  They get their marketing across to us in the weirdest ways.  Too, too much sensory overload.  Just pansies as an identification would have been fine for me.

On to the edible part.  Yesterday another longtime friend came to visit so I made some banana muffins.  After trolling around the kitchen I found some fun stuff to use to make them different.  Love the Russian safflower/sunflower oil.  I bought that in Ft. Lauderdale at a great, struggling, Russian Smoked Meats market.  They had all sorts of cool stuff in there; nice family, fun interesting customers.  I wasn’t too keen on the smoked duck I bought….a tad gamey.  The cheeses, dairy and pastries were interesting though.  Think about it….huge, tough Russian men making pastries…you got it.

Banana Walnut Muffins: Makes 15

2 Cups unbleached flour

1 C. whole wheat flour w/bran

1.5 C. sugar

3 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

Mix up well in large bowl.

In another bowl, smaller, mix well:

½ C. oil

1 Stick butter

2 Eggs

8 Tbs. milk of some sort

2 Tbs. boiled cider or cider vinegar or similar, maple syrup would be nice with a touch of vinegar

Make a well in the center of the dry, add the wet. 

Add 2 Cups walnuts and three bananas.

I use walnut halves crushed with my hands.  The same with the bananas, I squish them with my hands and drop them in.

I do use an ice cream scoop to drop them in the greased muffin tins.

Bake till done, about a half hour.  I used my convection oven on 350.

Yummy.  FYI, my daughter in law, Kelly, let me know my recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies on Epicurious has just won a Blue Ribbon meaning something spectacular.  I forget now but it’s kinda neat.  I think a new generation of people no longer look in books for recipes; they go on-line and google it up so it gets looked at quite a bit!  It’s under my name in Epicurious.  As I recall when Gourmet came to do the Interview we had a bit of a tiff as they changed the assembling of my stuff so I hope the recipe is really the one that was given them.  Chocolate Chip Cookies are chocolate chip cookies; just don’t use too much sugar.  And, if your Marj, just eat it all raw, forget baking them!

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rhubarb squares

Hey Carla, Marj sent me this today and wouldn’t you know.  I was sitting on the porch at work having lunch with another herbie lady and talking about the rhubarb sqaures.  I got so hungry for them last year at this time that I found rhubarb for sale at the fancy market for $7.00 lb.  Heaven for bid I would have ever thought I would have to PAY for rhubarb.  It doesn’t grow in Texas…  A girl’s gotta do what you gotta do when you have a hankering for rhubarb.  Another fun rhubarb story is that this week I was visiting another herbie lady’s garden and she had this beautiful tall and huge red swiss chard and she told the visiting group, “this is rhubarb, and you can’t eat the leaves."  Well I was quiet for a bit and thought to myself,,,,hmmmm I’m not from Texas and maybe this is a Texas rhubarb?  Noooooo, so I finally said,,"That is NOT rhubarb”.  Good thing she didn’t make a strawberry and swiss chard pie,,,,she would have hated rhubarb forever.

Love your blog and the photos are beautiful

You are always so inspiring.

Cheers, Rebecca

Rhubarb Squares

On this lovely spring day!  It’s up….not very big yet but big enough to cut for some squares.  Green and sour; a sure sign of “first cutting”.  You may want to add more sugar to the barby part of this recipe.

2 Sticks Butter

2 Cups flour

¼ tsp. salt

2 Tbs. sugar

Mix in food processor, press in sprayed baking dish.

Cut up lots of washed rhubarb, as in picture.  Cover the crust generously. 

2 C. Sugar

½ tsp. salt

¼ C. flour

4 beaten eggs

Beat in bowl with whisk…pour over rhubarb.

Bake about 1.5 hrs.  check after an hour or so.

This amazing Squares recipe was given to be by Rebecca, an old time friend of mine.  We met at a weaving guild years and years ago, like 25 years.  She brought this to the meeting.  Best ever!  So, this is my standard recipe for rhubarb with a tribute to Rebecca with her Michigan roots.

Fiber Stuff

What I’ve been working on:

A dress for Zoe or Colby – probably will fit both.  I think both girls are about the same circumference just different lengths so it could be a long shirt or a dress.  I’m almost done then some trim and perhaps some silk ribbon work.

Next up is a KAL, which is a Knit Along (I think).  A bunch of people on a computer site, in this instance it’s Ravelry choose a pattern, color, size to suit and knit away commenting on problems or solutions to fit along the way.  This one starts May 1st.  It’s kind of fun as it forces me to zip along and get the project done and if I have a construction question there are usually a few hundred people asking the same questions so I don’t have to go far.  I did a quilting one years ago, online that was pretty much the same thing.  Interesting.  This is the pattern.  I just wish they would show it on a less than pencil thin person for the shape.  I’m knitting it out of a washable wool called Cascade 220 Superwash.  It’s for me and with all the food I handle it’s better if I can wash my sweaters in the machine.

And in the meantime, after the dress for the girls, I’ll be knitting another sweater which is not as attractive in this photo but buttoned up it’s pretty neat looking with the effect of a cowl, which I do like.  This yarn is wool and silk, hence, it may go to my daughter Ruth.

My Studio is a MESS.  I’m in the middle of a napkin project on my loom.  An exchange group….we all weave a certain amount of dinner napkins then write down the patterns, etc. send them off to a woman in Canada and she distributes them to all of us, mixed up.  I’ve been fighting with the warp as I’m still not used to the cord heddles.  They stick and jump around from harness to harness – not sure what is happening there!  But, as I started weaving smoothly yesterday along came our son to rip up the carpet and put down wooden flooring.  My workroom is the last room in the house to have that nasty carpeting still in existence.  He took up the room in thirds only to discover we didn’t have enough of the flooring and guess what???  Home Depot doesn’t carry it anymore so now it’s a 10 day wait (at least) and my room is a total nightmare.  I don’t do well in chaos so it’s not a good thing for me/us.

I really hate messes – it’s hard to work or even walk into this room now.  I’m thinking more and more of getting a used trailer, outfitting it to minimalist point and then setting it up as my studio.  I’m sure none of these guys around here would ever go in it so it may become a “safe” haven for my stuff.

This particular post is becoming problematic.  I’m trying to send through pictures of my fiber interests…what I’ve been working on, what is upcoming, etc. but my phone is not cooperating with the transferal.

This morning, after the dog and I have our “airing” I’ll be making Rhubarb Squares and a really cool rhubarb “bitters” which I read in Imbibe Magazine last night.  I’m up for a cocktail!  Our rhubarb is just so beautiful right now.  It’s kind of foggy outside and with that stark red & green foliage it just looks awesome. 

Hopefully there will be a lot of photos later this morning.  Sorry.

Varied Week-end

You just never know what your going to see in Maine.  We went to a friends for dinner an hour and a half from us, trending inland.  It was completely in the “sticks”.  Came across this happy homestead….perhaps we need more employment in Maine.

I guess these are brothers and sisters?

And on the same property the political opinion.  I’m not sure you can read the writing but it says Impeach Obama….duh.

Saturday my Mahjong group met here.  Why is this so hard for me and why do I continue is what I ask myself each time.  Probably it’s hard because it is so tricky, rules change and there are so, so many of them.  There are all these funny, odd ways of moving things around, etc.  The last time I played was a month ago and as being a newbie I, of course, had completely forgotten.  I’m so darn persistent that I am determined to learn the darn game and then decide if I need to torture myself any longer.  I have a glimmer that it could be fun……but, it’s quite serious which has never been my forte.  I made a light lunch for us as we play from 11-2.  Quinoa salad w/artichoke hearts, my roasted tomatoes w/basil & garlic, cucumbers, olives, feta and a basil vinaigrette.  I prefer the quinoa one with lemon/feta/cukes/calamatra olives.  It somehow seems lighter.  Also, it’s funny; I love the tomatoes but not cut up in things….something happens to the color to me and it starts to look and taste like sundried tomatoes which I don’t like.  Weird.  The fruits are cherries/mangos & strawberries.  I always have that stuff in the freezer for my protein drink in the a.m.  Speaking of:  those spiced almonds that I put in chocolate, equally good in my protein drink.  I may have to go up to Trader Joe’s and get more.

The most peaceful part of the week-end was yesterday morning.  We rowed out at 7 a.m. to “check on the boat”.  It’s pretty early in the season so we had the harbor to ourselves.  Very foggy but warm and still.  Our boat is off to the left of that second dock on the left.

We did have a terrific burger this past week-end.  I’m not sure whose idea it was but I make these quite a bit.  1 lb. ground turkey, ½ C. of Salsa, mix up, chill for firmness,  cook the chilled patty in a hot cast iron skillet with a bit of oil (add oil as needed as the turkey produces no fat) when crispy and almost done, put some cheese on top and a lid to melt it.  Serve on a toasted English muffin with avocado sliced on top.  It is so yummy and moist.  You don’t need anything else.  The pound of turkey makes 4 large burgers.

Speaking of burgers….my X landlord’s name, there was a rumor I was going to reopen my cafe; not true, some other fool has decided to open a burger restaurant.  I really do wish them well.  I love hamburgers, this time of year!

Pie & Launch

Sounds like Lunch but around here it’s launch as in put the winter storage boats in the water.  In this case it’s our boat MICKEY FINN.  This is the first year we have pulled the boat, brought it home and worked on it, or rather Paul did.  Usually it’s kept under cover in the water.  It’s very protected from the ice bergs with docks all around it in York Harbor.  The day it left here we had gusts of 35 mph; a total nightmare stepping the spars before it went in.  The “boat guys” Independent Boat Haulers; put our boat on a ramp then use a crane to lift the spars up and stand them in.  I believe the spars are 54’ long.  It’s a project and with wind flying around it’s kinda scary.  So scary I stay home.  This was all happening The Day of The Pie.  So, the pie got a touch “done” as I wasn’t paying attention enough.  But, we like blackened crust….blackened fish, chicken, it’s all o.k.

The outcome?  The pie is fab.  The boat is taking on water as it is wooden and dried out over the winter.  We won’t be doing that again.  That boat needs to live in the tropics in the winter with us on it!  Can’t have that nasty drying situation – wood needs to be wet.