lilacs in bucket

lilacs in bucket

Friday, February 24, 2012


Well, I'm sitting here tonight, thinking I need to post something on my blog, something to catch up with you all since it seems that I haven't been here in forever.
I've been working really hard in my real-life job, and I've been obsessed with re-writing a novel I wrote some six years ago, and thinking about publishing it on kindle. I've done my taxes, I've been tending to the bare bones of my life. Uh hunh....
My life right now is sort of like the photo - all that stacked-up stuff in the attic, where I've been going with some regularity. The book has to get done after all, and the attic seems to be the place to find all the secret tantalizing treasures and beautiful masterpieces that will add depth and dimension to my manuscript. So, if you're looking for me at all, I'm in the attic, covered in dust and cobwebs. Send up some soup, if you take a mind to. I'll be here, pouring over old ribbon-bound memories and grainy black and white photographs, and I won't be coming down real soon. Not until I find that treasure I'm seeking.
What's your process? How do you write or where do you write the best?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

February Musings


February. Beautiful, blue and white February.
When I think of February, I think of white tulips in a blue and white vase, blue hyacinths sprouting in a china cup, white plumes of smoke rising from chimneys, and food of course. When don't I relate food to any given topic?
Cinnamon rolls. My mother made the best cinnamon rolls ever, ever on the face of this planet and any other. I've tried to emulate her recipe but, after trying many times and not quite making it, I've found another way.

Wanna hear about it?

First of all, let's just say that rapid rising yeast is the breadmaker's friend. I love it. It takes a lot of work out of the equation.

I take one package of the rapid rise yeast and mix it with:
2 c. flour
1 teas. salt
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. soft butter (unsalted)
1 egg

Just mix it together, don't get too worked up about it. And then, add 1/2 c. warm water, and 1/2 cooled scalded milk. Mix together. Begin working in more flour, just a little at a time until you've added probably 3 1/2 cups.
Turn your dough out onto a floured board and knead, adding more flour, for about 5 minutes. Form into ball, turn into a greased bowl, greased side atop. Lay a clean towel on top of the bowl. What I do is I put my dough bowl in the oven and put a baking pan filled with hot water on the bottom rack.

Sauna time for the sweet dough.

Okay, let it rise for about 1 1/2 hours. Pull it out, punch down the dough, turn it back out onto a floured board and roll it out. Roll it until it's about 1/8 inch thick, and begin slathering with butter, and I do mean slather in the biggest slathering way. Slather to about 1/4 inch from the edge. Drop brown sugar all over your dough, a thick layer. Sprinkle cinnamon over, a lot of it. I sometimes will chase the cinnamon with smoked cumin but, warning, if you do this, don't inundate your dough with cumin as it will become bitter if used ad nauseaum. For once I am saying, don't be liberal. You don't have to use cumin at all, quite frankly. Sprinkle just a little white sugar over and now, it's time for the roll up.
Working quickly, pull your dough toward you and begin rolling up. Roll, roll, roll, til you're at the end. Seal these edges with a bit of water.
Slice the roll, about one inch apart, place rolls in greased pan, cover with clean towel and again, let it rise, preferably in a sweet roll sauna as described above, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, bake for 25-30 minutes and enjoy.

Happy days!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Guacamole



It really is all about the food sometimes. I love good guacamole. When it's fresh, made with quality ingredients, it just rocks, seriously.

So, let's talk about it, guacamole, that sort of mysterious green dip, the green stuff that sometimes looks more like what one would find in a baby's diaper than anywhere else.

Please now. Don't get mad about the reference to the baby diaper.

It's just that I don't do the pureed green upon green thing. I just can't stand that stuff. Here is what I do. I do the chunky version. Okay, see below.


Four, yes four, avadocos, Hass preferably.

Two roma tomatoes, diced

One fresh lime, or two, depending on your preference

One Jalepeno pepper, seeded and diced

Smoked cumin, to taste

Salt

Pepper

Red pepper flakes

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

Cilantro, rough chopped


Good salty tortilla chips


One large bowl


Scoop the meat out of the avocados and drop into a bowl. Chop carefully because the avacodos tend to bruise easily. Throw in the chopped romas, the jalapeno, the cumin, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, the red onion. Squeeze the lime juice over liberally. Just before serving, toss with fresh chopped cilantro.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Winter Memories


I'm giggling tonight, thinking about my childhood and how it all was when we were all together in the present life. I am specifically thinking of our family adventures in winter, adventures mostly having to do with ice-topped lakes, in Minnesota, my motherland.
My dad, well, he liked a little danger. If truth were to be told, my mother liked more danger than he did but she never showed it.
I'll tell you that when us kids were little, for entertainment's sake and because we had no money to do anything that required a fee, our parents would pack us into the big old wood-trimmed station wagon and away we would go...to the lake of course.
Now, if you are a Minnesota or Wisconsin native you know what I'm talking about. We got a lotta lakes up there in that area, every town's got one, and those lakes will freeze over and well, let's just say there are more than a few snow mobiles sunk at the bottom of those lakes. Other stuff too, including people sometimes. I know, plenty of stories there.
Anyway, I am giggling tonight remembering how my dad would drive out onto the ice and gun the engine and let the car swirl madly on the frozen ice. He knew just how far out to go and how long to let those hot tires graze the frozen surface before it got dangerous. I remember thinking, "Wheeeee!" and my stomach would drop in a big happy way. My mother would scream, "Oh Jerome!" over and over again, and of course, at some point she would have to point out that we were all about to die a certain death, a frozen one, and we needed to get out of there quick.

I also remember getting back home, drinking hot chocolate before bed and falling asleep thinking my dad was the biggest guy in the universe, and how fun the twisty curls in the car were, and how beautiful the moonshine and the ice was...I remember all this.

What is your favorite winter family memory?