"There was almost nothing in the kitchen to work with. It was interesting to try to cook without all the tools and supplies that I take for granted in my own kitchens. While I was in Le Truel, I kept wishing with real regret that I were capable of living in such continued simplicity. But I am not. Sometimes I honestly want to live in a plain room with a narrow bed, a chair, a table. But then I would need a bookcase. I would see a poster I must put on the wall. I would pick up a shell here, a bowl or vase there, another poster, enough books for two bookcases, a soft rug someone might give me--and where would the first plainness be? I cannot fight too hard against it, but I regret it." --M.F.K. Fisher
"Mr. Gwinne's library resembled a clearing in a forest, but the open space was by no means uncluttered, having a minor undergrowth of books piled on the floor, like the stumps of felled trees. Around the clearing great bookcases loomed from floor to ceiling, dark but yet alive with a glint of gold or crimson here and there, as though light shone faintly through massed leaves, and ominous with a motionless power. The light in the room was dim and green because of a creeper outside the window. It softly illumined Mr. Gwinne's bald head, bent over a writing table stacked with books and papers. He would have nothing touched on his table and a pleasing silver lichen of dust grew all over it. His bald head, Lucy thought, looked like a mushroom." --Elizabeth Goudge (thanks Chris)
"My mother had a Tupperware "salad crisper" that looked like a lime-green iceberg, with a soft snap-on top and a spiky pedestal upon which the uncrisp was to be impaled. Though it was nominally available for storage of salad in general, it was clearly intended for one type in particular. I remember Mom smacking a pale, impassive iceberg lettuce on our kitchen counter before tearing out its dangling heart and fitting that green spike into the hole left in its heavy head. This was clearly a lettuce for which some serious mom handling was nothing--nothing that a couple of days in the crisper wouldn't fix, that is." -Cal Peternell
"Almost everything I know in the world, I learned from novels and memoirs and stories. I could practically draw you a city map of Milan, Rome, or Venice, even though I've never been to any of them. I've read about how to make the perfect Old Fashioned, how to tend a rose garden, how to butterfly a pork loin.
But then you find yourself standing at a bar or kneeling in the dirt or holding a very sharp chef's knife and you realize all at once that it doesn't matter what you've read or seen or think you know. You learn it, really learn it, with your hands. With your fingers and your knife, your nose and your ears, your tongue and our muscle memory, learning as you go." Shauna Neiquist
Upgraded Corn Fritters
1/4 c. flour
1 c. quick oats
1 T. sugar
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. salt
1 c. buttermilk
2 T. melted butter
1 cob of corn cooked and cut off the cob
3 T. diced, jarred smoked red peppers
1/3 c. feta cheese. crumbled
Mix dry and wet ingredients after combining separately. Cook on a hot griddle till dry around the edges. Flip and continue cooking until golden.
Especially good with grilled and sliced London Broil and Rote Koln (red cabbage) or German sausages with homemade applesauce.
"Our" Plum Tart*
3/4c. plus 1-2 T. sugar
8 T. unsalted butter
1 c. unbleached, sifted flour
1 t. baking powder
24 halves of blue plums pitted 1 t. cinnamon
1. arrange rack in lower third of oven. Preheat to 350 degrees F.
2. blend sugar and butter in electric mixer. Add eggs, flour, b. powder and salt. Place in un-greased springform pan and press plums skin side down into the dough. sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
3. Bake 40-50 minutes till tests done. Serve warm or room temp. preferably with vanilla ice cream.
* I look forward to making this every fall. I don't know where I got the recipe originally. If it is yours, Thank you! Write me and I will adjust my title.
THE WORLD OF WORK AS A POET
WOULD LIKE IT TO BE
There is no point in work
unless it absorbs you
like an absorbing game.
If it doesn’t absorb you
if it’s never any fun,
don’t do it.
When a man goes out to work
he is alive like a tree in spring,
he is living, not merely working.
When the hindus weave thin wool into long, long lengths of stuff
with their thin dark hands and their wide dark eyes and their still souls absorbed
they are like slender trees putting forth leaves, a long white web of living leaf,
the tissue they weave,
and they clothe themselves in white as a tree clothes itself in its own foliage,
As with cloth, so with houses, ships, shoes, wagons or cups or loaves.
Men might put them forth as a snail its shell, as a bird that leans its breast against its nest, to make it round,
As the turnip models its round root, as the bush makes its own flowers and gooseberries, putting them forth, not manufacturing them,
And cities might be as once they were, bowers grown out from the busy bodies of people’
And so it will be again, men will smash the machines.
At last, for the sake of clothing himself in his own leaf-like cloth tissued from his life,
and dwelling in his own bowery house, like a beaver’s nibbled mansion
And drinking from cups that came off his fingers like flowers off their five-fold stem,
he will cancel the machines we have got.
D H Lawrence 1885-1930
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, in chunks
1 large egg, separated
2 tablespoons ice water, plus 1 teaspoon
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 5 lemons)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 lemon, zested
Pinch kosher salt
1 pint blueberries
To make the pastry, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the dough resembles cornmeal. Add the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons ice water and pulse again until the dough pulls together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Roll the dough up onto the pin and lay it inside a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the edges of the pan and fold the excess dough inside to reinforce the rim. Cover the tart pan with plastic wrap and put it into the refrigerator for another 30 minutes to rest.
To bake the shell, heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and prick the bottom of the dough with a fork. Cover the shell with a piece of parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or dry beans. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the parchment and weights. Lightly beat the egg white with 1 teaspoon water and brush it onto the bottom and sides of the tart shell; set aside to cool.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, cream, zest, and salt. Add the blueberries to the cooled tart shell and pour the filling over the blueberries. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The curd should jiggle slightly when done. Cool to room temperature, remove from the tart ring, and serve.
Thank you chef Tyler Florence.
This was a highlight of our weekend.
Chickens are great at eating pests. If I ever start anew with a garden, this is some clever negotiating I'd like to try. (thanks to Mother Earth News).
I have been enjoying E.B. White's meditation on chickens this week.
"Chickens do not always enjoy an honorable position among city-bred people, although the egg, I notice, goes on and on. Right now the hen is in favor. The war has deified her (could we say the Recession?-ed.) and she is the darling of the home front, feted at conference tables, praised in every smoking car, her girlish ways and curious habits the topic of many an excited husbandman to whom yesterday she was stranger without honor or allure.
My own attachment to the hen dates from 1907, and I have been faithful to here in good times and bad. Ours has not always been an easy relationship to maintain. At first, as a boy in a carefully zoned suburb, I had neighbors and police to reckon with; my chickens had to be as closely guarded as an underground newspaper. Later, as a man in the country, I had my old friends in town to reckon with, most of whom regarded the hen as a comic prop straight out of vaudeville....Their scorn only increased my devotion to the hen. I remained loyal, as a man would to a baride whom his family received with open ridicule. Now it is my turn to wear the smile, as I listen to the enthusiastic cackling of urbanites, who have suddenly taken up the hen socially and who fill the air with their newfound ecstasy and knowledge and the relative charms of the New Hampshire Red and the Laced Wyandotte. You would think, from their nervous cries of wonder and praise that the hen was hatched yesterday in the suburbs of New York, instead of in the remote past in the jungles of India.
To a man who keeps hens, all poultry lore is exciting and endlessly fascinating. Every spring I settle down with my farm journal and read, with the same glazed expression on my face, the age-old story of how to prepare a brooder house...."
Mrs. Harton made us a wonderful Norwegian Apple Pie and confided that the few simple ingredients are hanging around in most kitchens. This was definitely more than the sum of those parts!
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
1 t. soda
1/2 c. flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds or chopped walnuts
1 cup diced apple, peeled.
Beat in the order listed with a wooden spoon. Pour into a greased 8 inch pan and bake 30 minutes at 350 F.
"Ideas won't keep; something must be done about them."