So Many Birthday Wishes!

Thanks everyone.  That was nice.  I had a terrific week-end.  Nothing like a bit of alone time; got tons of cool things done.  You know, you always have all those little pieces that never get attended to because of interruptions.  No big deal but like little annoying threads.  Trimmed all of those up and now moving forward to make more messes. 

The food situation was endless leftover turkey for me – kinda tired of that route now.  I made a huge green salad last night and homemade french bread.  I got the idea I should make a complicated bread as I was up in Portland looking at a Tartine Bread Book.  Fortunately, I did not buy it as I had one similar at home called Bread Alone.  So, we (Janet came over for dinner one night….aprons on, flour out) made starters called a Poolish.  After adding various ingredients each day, stirring down, etc. it was finally ready to be made into the final loaves last night.  Odd, after all that work it came out exactly like the really, really quick, start to finish, three hour french bread I make all the time which is a James Beard.  No pictures but trust me…..good to know.

While prowling for something other than turkey in the fridge I came across the heavy cream we didn’t use.  I had just about 2 cups…what to do?  Usually I make butter with it and throw some herbs in.  My latest fad being from Heidi Swanson; adding soft goat cheese too.  But, I was alone and feeling birthdayish – crushed up some candy canes and made ICE CREAM.  Yum.  This was particularly tasty.  I usually make it up as I’m following a vanilla recipe w/eggs but this time I just put the cream in the frozen container, added a box of chopped up tiny candy canes (you know, one of those boxes that jump in your shopping basket along the take out lane of JoAnn’s Fabric (no less).  Anyhow, threw that in and gave it a squeeze of Agave.  That’s it, probably the best I’ve had.  Again, how simple.  Never mind these complicated recipes.

The spatula is really red all by itself.

Started one of those fast and mindless knitting projects.  It seems it’s about all I can handle this holiday season.  And, this yarn has been speaking to me from my shelf….“use me next”!

It’s going to be a neck kerchief and is about 1/3 done so waaaaay to go yet.  You can see in the narrow end I thought of changing similar yarns but gave up fast and being lazy didn’t take it out.  I’m thinking it will disappear when you knot it or fold it under.  See those “teeth”? it’s supposed to have 42 – something to do with Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  The pattern is called Hitchhiker which I got on Ravelry.

My pal Marj sent me a site this morning on bakerella.com – The best round, adorable gingerbread cookies.  I’ll be making those the end of this week – today is errand day so I may have to stop and get some decorations for them.  Check that site out – the date on this one is yesterday November 28th. a sign (as it was my birthday) that I probably should indulge, don’t you think???

And, yes, Paul is back talking about another boat to restore in his “spare time”.  He’s dangerous when he gets together with his guy friends.  Like they have nothing else to do.  And, how many boats do we already have?  And how come all these “projects” are over here?  Our yard is full.

Here we go again.

For Sale: 48’ Wooden Yawl; 34’ Wooden Power Cruiser; 12" Dorry; 3 miscellaneous abandoned boats of large size results of divorce or near divorce; and now coming right up 46 foot who knows what and how about this: a few husbands of all of the above.  The mid life crisis of this group of men is expensive as it probably is with any group but cars, much smaller, boats too much space.  So the visual is in your face, can’t be hidden.  At least with fabric and yarn I can put it all in one room.

Advertisements

Thanksgiving Days!

Love it, favorite time of the year.  A bit of an over achiever with the pies, yet again.  This year I tried the new crust action….sugar in the flour, cold unsweetened almond milk instead of water…kept the vinegar and same butter & flour.  Besides the usual pies:  Apple, Pumpkin with a Hazelnut Crust and Pumpkin Cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust I made two new ones from The Herb Companion Magazine – both with fresh Rosemary.  Nice.

This next one is the Pear/Rosemary, pears compliments from my friend Ann, instead of apples.  This is it in a raw state, kinda pretty.

tons of rosemary – 2+ chopped tablespoons.  The stuff inside is pulverized pine nuts, eggs, flour, etc.

This is a bad shot as the food is already broken into but I forgot to get an unspoiled shot.

I was disappointed with the pumpkin.  It came from a can; Trader Joe’s.  Not much flavor and very, very pale.  Next time to self, use only fresh baked pie pumpkins!  I want to see and taste orange.  This was too bland.

Ah, the lemon Rosemary tart with Bruleed crust.  A hit!

The part I really liked about this one is you make it a day ahead, chill then just before you serve you take the rim of the tart pan and invert it over the crust thereby completely covering it.  Pop it under the broiler with sugar on top then when you take it out you have this nice 1 inch rim around the edge and your crust doesn’t get black tipped.  Cool.

Thanksgiving was just lovely this year….a few family members, a few friends, just ten of us.  And, a bonus to it all – my restaurant dishwasher….2.5 minutes a run at some unbearable temperature, ½ minute dry.  That’s it.  When everyone was leaving all the dishes were done.  Amazing.  Worth every penny.  I know they are really expensive – mine was 3k when I bought it for the cafe.  Obviously, I kept it when it wouldn’t even sell for half that price….too bad, I win.  On my list of one of the smartest things I kept.

This next shot – doesn’t everyone have one of these at their family parties?  And remember when we were in the same boat?  How precious.  This is Paul Jr. and the light of his life, Allie. They spent the whole day like this!  So in love.  Makes my heart happy.   Even doggie is saying “hey, what about me????”.

My latest small time knitting projects have been mittens for the girls.  Mindless but a beginning and and end project which is what I’ve needed of late.

 

Blue scarfs getting warped and now half way wound on the loom.  I really need to get rolling with this one this week as I already have committed to something else for that loom in December.  Yiiiiikes.

Black Friday has come and gone.  I did it.  I actually was out and about (a rarity).  Paul needed to be driven to Boston at 4:10 a.m. for a flight to Baltimore yesterday so by the time I got home it was 5:30 and stores were open.  What the heck.  I went into Brookstone and got a super deal, no less, for Ruth’s husband….yea!  As I was clueless.  And I went into Ann Taylor where Ruth works and got some amazing things; 50% off so I’m good. 

Heading up to Portland this morning to shop local.

I’m working on getting a new blog site…..any suggestions please e-mail me:  carla.rollins@gmail.com

Quite a few people have expressed frustration at the lack of communication here – me too!  What’s with this site?  I’ve asked but don’t seem to get too far.  I would really like to have a site like my pal Marj’s where there is feedback and banter so….. tell me how.

This past week-end we went to our monthly foodie dinner – aka pot luck with a Greek theme.  Boring me made Baklava.  Actually if I had been home longer I could have put more effort into it and come up with something more interesting but being “away” I never thought about it until it was time to cook something.

When I finally found our old cafe recipe for Baklava it was loaded with sugar, corn syrup and water so I swapped all that out for Agave, 2 Tbs lemon juice and cardamon and cinnamon.  Actually  – you could eat it!  It was still sweet and sticky but the Agave wasn’t nearly as clawing as the other stuff.  And, no blood sugar rush.  I mean you wouldn’t want to eat lots but a piece or two works with no sugar hangover, works for me.  Cool.  I heated the Agave/lemon juice and spices to a boil and reduced it for about 15 minutes.  It was thicker.  You could eliminate that reduction for less “stick” I think.

We had a boat dinner the next night for the latest contingent who took our boat even further south.  It’s now in Annapolis waiting to go to Portsmouth, Virginia.  After being out the night before I was feeling totally lazy so I made a Galette with stuff we had at home and pizza, same, at home stuff.  Pizza was Pear/Blue Cheese & Arugula from my water garden in the dining room.  I used orange olive oil to baste the crust.  weirdo.

My friend Anne Catell gave me a huge box of pears they picked from a friends yard.  Perfect.  I made the Galette with chopped, peeled pears and our own raspberries in the freezer.  One crust; spread raspberry jam on it, tossed pears & raspberries together (no sugar or spices); folded up the sides then crumbled butter/brown sugar & oats together and topped it.  That was it, simple, 400 till done. When cool, dust with powdered sugar.

I’m not sure I’ve shown this one but there is a nagging in the back of my head that I have….sorry if I’ve pictured it twice.  This is my tie I had woven on my new loom.  The set is too tight so the tie is a bit heavy.  I’ve since slimmed it out and changed the weft color to blue so that is predominate now.  I’m still weaving…..carla and those long warps!  When will I learn to put short stuff on?

And now, for my friend Ann who left for the winter already.  Ann who rarely gets up before noon….this is what a winter sunrise looks like.  I think it’s beautiful.  This mornings moon actually woke me up around 4:30; it looked like a smiley face.  So pretty.  I have to admit I have no idea what 9:00 at night or later looks like.  Our friendship works though we have a small window when we’re both awake at the same time.

5:45 a.m.

6:00 a.m.

6:30 a.m.

Thanksgiving thoughts today…..pie crusts prep.  I am not missing those millions of pies we had strewn all around the cafe waiting for the big day of pickup (and then those people that forgot or came late or wanted to switch in mid stream). 

Brownie Comparison

My husband has been bugging me for brownies so I finally made a huge sheet of them the other day and decided to make lighter ones so I could have one. 

The two I made were Barefoot Contessa’s and Babycakes.  I’m not going to list all the stuff just the two big differences (to me).

Outrageous                                                   Baby Cakes

2 sticks butter                                               ½ Cup Coconut Oil

3 Eggs                                                           ½ C. homemade applesauce

1 C. Unbleached white flour                           1 C. Garbanzo/Fava Bean Flour (GF)

So, it’s really all about butter and eggs, my not having either.   Both are awesome and even though the babycakes one is with coconut oil and applesauce you would never know.  I like them better.  In this picture the ones on the left are Outrageous, ones on the right Babycakes.  Both are gooey, fudgy and oddly the babycakes is darker.

A month or so ago I sent off the woven napkins I did for the Exchange I was involved in.  My batch from other weavers arrived the other day. 

Kinda cool way to push yourself to experiment and get goods in return. 

Checked in with the Gundalow progress when I returned…..

Looking very “tub ish”.  What a beast!  Launch on the 10th. of December.

I wracked my brains and finally remembered the name of the roadhouse Paul Jr. and I ate at in California.  JIM TOWN only I think it’s one word.

Jesse sent me this photo the other day – Paul and I with the girls.  These SUV strollers are a hard gig to drive around those cracked and raised sidewalks all over Oakland.

Zoe on the left is holding “hello kitty” and Colbie has a mermaid and yes, they were deflated by the time we got home.  Zoe thought she should drag it on the ground in front of the stroller and Colbies was just so manhandled it eased air out slowly.  They had about an hour of good times.  Precious girls, really hard work.  Did I really have three kids myself?

Off to weave!

I am back!

Perhaps.  I posted a huge long blog this morning and the computer crashed just as I finished.  That has never happened to me.  Couldn’t have been at a worse time unless there was something major important going on; probably anything other than a BLOG.

So, I’ve been away….helping Paul take his boat south.  That will be an ongoing project as we don’t have the time now so we’re doing it piecemeal with various friends helping out.  It’s now sitting in Annapolis waiting for someone to move it further.  We can take off after the 10 th. of December – Gundalow getting launched on that day.  Still Paul will be working here so it’s going to be a vaca place wherever it ends up. 

I’ve just gotten back from Oakland, California, visiting our granddaughters for a week.  I am exhausted.  They are 2 and almost 4 now.  While there I stopped in at Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore in Berkeley – a mere few blocks from our kids house.  My friend Barbara Chase’s daughter sells beautiful jewelry there.  Of course the books are fab too.  I can’t pass up anything by Heidi Swanson – a cookbook, foodie person from San Fransisco.  Her latest is called Super Natural Every Day.  Amazing.  We (which probably means just me) love Kale.  First one I tried!  It’s kale tossed in a dressing of olive & sesame oil, tamari and unsweetened coconut.  You dress it and spread it out on baking sheets, baking for 15 minutes till crispy.  Beautiful and delicious.  She suggests serving it on farro, mine was served on cheese ravioli.

I spent some time at the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building in San Fransisco….a trip and a half.  If there is an oddity “out there” it’s at the market.  I’m always in awe.  I buy my brown rice and roasted almonds from a company called Masa Organics….terrific products….nothing, nothing like what you get in the store.  I just got a shipment of almonds & rice (5# almonds, 25# rice) but they had a box filled with just tons of almonds and I couldn’t resist getting more.  Next up:  Heidi’s Granola.

I altered her recipe and used Masa Almonds (of course).  Her liquids are butter and maple syrup – perfect.  It’s a loose granola but simple and tasty!  Again, the large unsweetened shaving of coconut.

She has a baked oatmeal that is ingenious.  We’ve had that for breakfast all week.  My little west coast girls eat oatmeal everyday..I’m hoping they’ll try this recipe cause it doesn’t get any easier.  Just zap a bowl or plate every a.m. done!!

Tuesday – first day home I made the Rye Soda Bread with herb butter – includes spreading in goat cheese. Yup we loved that too.

Can you tell I would recommend this book.  You have to be kind of an “organic” type as it’s basic healthy food but nice.  Just up my alley.

My younger son, Paul, was with me for the week – the World Surfing contest was supposed to be happening but it ended the day we arrived.  Darn.  This was the most time I have spent with him since he was born I think.  We had a fun time.  We went up to Healdsburg to hang out for a day,spent the night at the L&M a 50’s motor lodge (awesome place), I’ve stayed there 4 times so far – doing the Alexander Valley Vineyards…all of them…..oy vey.  We had fun.  It was so quiet, no cars, no people, most pleasant vineyard owners in the world.  So accommodating.  We started off with Lunch at a Roadhouse that has gotten lots of press lately, Food & Wine mag. too bad – waaaay too trendy for me but the food was good it was just too cute!  Mid winery drinking – we actually shared flights and they only give you a taste anyway, not much.  But, mid way we stopped at a remote, kind of hidden winery.  What drew us in is there was a very long road to it….kind of appealing, like wonder whats down here??? Turns out we got there, to this remote spot, looked like a dump….dogs, etc. roaming, no cars, broken down barn – not really somewhere anyone would get out of their car.  Paul wanted to leave but that is just up my alley – I love finding out whats around the corner.  Some very old woman came out of a travel trailer with a zillion dogs following.  She didn’t say a word just followed us in the barn.  Scary.  Did I mention I’m currently reading Stephen Kings new book?  So I had that heightened AWARENESS thing going on.  Anyhow, got in, freezing cold, dark, dank, ick.  It had a huge organ against the wall.  Like one of those things you’d see in church perhaps – about 50 years ago.  I asked about it, she didn’t want to talk but as we sipped our samples I guess she liked us because she started messing with the oldest computer I’ve seen.  It was actually a word processor, big square box with a little screen.  Everything was in dos – remember that??  Well, we’re sipping away, eyeing each other with the “do you think we can bolt now” look in our eyes.  All of a sudden we were rocked off our feet.  The dos thing started up the organ which was also attached to all these old instruments on the ceiling, walls, floor, etc.  We didn’t notice that other stuff.  The walls were the baffles.  The music – no kidding STAR WARS.  We thought, I’m not sure what we thought except we could not shut our mouths…when it started you just gaped.  It was astounding.  Beautiful, loud and beyond anything I have heard or seen.  Paul and I both just laughed and laughed – just didn’t know what to make of it.  And, the old lady was delighted watching us.  It’s a 1923 Morgan (I think) Theatre Organ.  Only three in the world and this is one.  Unbelievable.  How it all kept going was truly astounding.  We got the history of it all and then got the story of the kids outside playing, the wind storm, the dogs, her trailer – I think she liked us (finally).  The winery is called the Johnson Family.  We bought a bottle of wine.  Paul said he was just about ready to open his wallet and throw it all at her he was so excited.  JUST GO is all I can say.

The next winery we stopped at was called Soda Rock – 100% opposite, very nice, clean, rich tasting wine but oh so mediocre after that experience.  And, we were told – they never play that organ for anyone except once a year they open for a concert.  Just one day a year.  Were we blessed or what?

Kids:

This is Zoe, 2 years old on Halloween.  She doesn’t talk much; very serious.  Her mother is worried she’ll look like an old lady by 2 and a half as she wrinkles up her face in concentration.  She’s experimenting with biting and pinching now but when she’s working on it she scrunches her face up and drops her shoulders, hunkers down and gets ready….you kind of have a clue to be prepared.  She says her name is “Me Too”.

Colbie:

She’ll be 4 a few days before Christmas.  She screams allot now, tough to take.  But, she plays cool games like redlight.  She spends quite a bit of time bossing Zoe around.  Zoe calls her “Boy”; somehow that has come out of the word Colbie.  She’s precious – very energetic, bossy all those things 4 year olds are; still a cuddle bug though. 

That horse type figure in the background is their dog Paco – what a patient, sweet giant of a dog.  We take him up to the hills overlooking the bay to run.  He needs some serious space.  I don’t walk him out there as he’s so large and strong; he could drag me in the street.  And, you have to pick up poops…..no way.

And, lastly, Coffee shops.  They are on every corner.  Multiples within the corners.  Who the heck is drinking it all??  Jesse was telling me that they now ban people from using their laptops on the week-end and sometimes during the week as people will hang all day with only one cup of coffee.  I don’t get doing your work (is it work?) at a cafe anyway.  But, the newest in the neighborhood……

Interesting perspectives….the person I was with saw the name different from me.  Of course, goof ball that I am I thought gee, that’s nice kind of like Good Morning!  Noooooo the other person saw guess what?

Oh well.  I take St. Johns Wort, maybe that’s the difference.