From Good Stock…

I had a couple of chicken carcasses left over ( Costco really does have the best ones) so instead of just discarding, I popped them in the pressure cooker for 45 minutes with some cold water to make chicken stock.

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Not terribly attractive, but once strained it looks a lot better!

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I know I’ll use this straight from the freezer for sauces or soups over the next couple of months. Once frozen, I just scoop out the portion I need… just like ice cream!

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Winter Blooms

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I started my paper white bulbs yesterday. Thanks to my bestie L for mailing me the giant economy size bags from her Costco, I can start some every two weeks or so from now to St. Patrick’s day and have fresh blooms all winter. I love white flowers in the house, especially during the holidays! Progress reports will be posted….

Wanted: good home

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I have 2 big palm plants and a teenage size fern that have filled in the space by the fountain all summer. In preparation for the inevitable winter that feels like it is moments away, I’m happy to deliver them to anyone looking for indoor plants with a pronounced 70’s vibe! Only missing macrame hanger!

Movie Night

I should have been doing laundry, or starting to cut back the summer flowers on the patio, or sweeping the kitchen floor or keeping up with the Patriots game.

Instead, Mrs. Miniver came on TCM on Sunday afternoon and I was a goner. For those of you who haven’t seen it, well, just get yourself ready.

Now you all know how much I love Greer Garson after my review of Random Harvest on this site and three years after she made that movie, she made Mrs. Miniver. Released about 8 months after the US joins the second World War, the film was meant to illustrate the hardships that the English were enduring in the name of freedom. This movie has it all…

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The movie opens in the summer of 1939 as Poland is invaded and where conversation on the branch line home centers around the “trouble coming”. Mrs. Miniver is agonizing over the purchase of a fetching hat while her husband, played by the stalwart Walter Pidgeon, is contemplating buying an equally fetching, large and fast automobile. They are a solidly middle class couple, living outside London and near an unnamed airfield and with access to the sea. Both details of location will figure prominently in the movie. Kate and Clem have 3 children, 2 younger school age and an older child who is home from Oxford full of “social conscience”.  While he is home, he meets a local lass and joins the RAF all in one weekend it seems and his airfield is close enough that he can bring his laundry home to his mother. His now fiance lives nearby with her aunt, the lady of the local manor, played brilliantly by Dame May Whitty.

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As if the constant air raid sirens, black out curtains and barrage balloons aren’t dramatic enough, we learn that there was a German plane shot down and the pilot is missing. And then at the same time, Mr. Miniver and his motor boat (remember close access to the sea) is pressed into service in the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk. Just when she starts to really fret about her husband and her son, who conveniently is flying a sortie at the same time, she finds the German pilot in her rose bushes and he holds her at gunpoint for milk and bread and then conveniently passes out. Local authorities retrieve him, husband returns safe and sound and word comes from son that he is safe. All before breakfast….

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Greer Garson won the Oscar for her portrayal of Mrs. Miniver. The message went straight to the hearts of Americans and every single woman in the audience could understand Mrs. Miniver. There is great loss in the script, which I won’t give away, but which I will tell you will make you want to open a vein…They don’t write them like this anymore!

 

Charmed I’m sure….

This month’s bracelet is just a little number that my father put in my Christmas stocking one year. I truly believe it was sometime in the 80’s. All the charms are the same size and shape, but if you look close you can tell that each charm represents one verse each from “The Twelve Days of Christmas”!

I especially like “5 Golden Rings”

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My first guest blogger!

Everyone, say hi to my cousin K!
K say hi to everyone!

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K went to Ireland the week before I did, and, we think, returned home on the plane we had just debarked from in Dublin…wish we could have had a cup of tea!

Their party had a successful vacation in Ireland and while there, she fell in love with the scones served at the B & B they were staying at. They wrote for the recipe and here is the response. I’m going to try them soon, but K has them perfected. Read on!

K wrote “Here is exactly what the proprietress of Doll’s Cottage in Doolin, Niamh, wrote to my friend Lynne:

“Hope you enjoy making these scone and Jim enjoys eating them!!
These scone are slightly smaller than the normal scone so its up to you if you want to make them a little bit bigger or keep them the same size as mine. The weights/measurements are in pounds and ounces I’m afraid as we do not use cup measurements here.

I usually get roughly 35/38 scones out of this amount –

1 lb self raising flour
pinch salt
1/2 tspoon baking powder
4 ozs caster sugar
4 ozs butter
1 egg
200 mls approx buttermilk
vanilla essence optional.

You will need 2 flat floured baking trays and a very hot oven.

Sieve flour, salt, bak. pow. into bowl. Rub in butter until resembles breadcrums. Stir in caster sugar.
In a jug whisk egg, essence and buttermilk. Add gradually to flour mix until almost combined. You may not need
all the egg/buttermilk mix or you may need to add a bit more. It all depends on the dough.
You need a dough thats not too dry but not wet either!!. Split dough in half and put one half on a
floured surface and roll to thickness you desire. About 1/2 an inch or a little more. I use a small cutter so I
get more scones from my mix. Place on floured tray and bake for approx. 10 mins.or golden brown on top in a
hot oven. Cool and eat!! “

So, when I got this email, I went out and bought all the ingredients: Self Rising flour (Aunt Jemima brand; who knew?), full fat buttermilk, Kerry gold butter, castor sugar found at Whole Foods. I decided to make them larger than Niamh’s, and rolled them to about 3/4 inch to 1 inch high. I used a scale to weigh the flour, sugar and butter to be sure I was doing it exactly as she instructed. As she said, I didn’t need all of the liquid to get the right consistency.

I used a hot oven (450) and parchment paper. I checked them at 5 minutes and turned them over (read that on another recipe site), so they were browned on both sides. Don’t cook longer than 10 minutes. Serve immediately with more Kerry gold butter and raspberry or strawberry jam……… unbelievably good, and just like they make them in Ireland! “

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She also sent me a picture of her lovely husband and daughters enjoying them, but want to make sure it’s ok to share.

And personally, I think Kerrygold butter makes everything better! I was in a stop and shop checkout one day with Kerrygold in my cart and the woman behind me was questioning why I would ever pay that kind of money for butter….I wanted to tell her, “hey lady, don’t judge…” but instead told her “because happy Irish cows eat happy Irish grass all day long”. Thanks K!

What to do with…

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A single, lonely avocado at peak of ripeness…what to do, what to do?
Not enough for guacamole, used it’s brother in sandwiches and salad during the week, it’s breakfast time…hmmmm…But of course! Avocado Toast!

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IMG_2458.JPGsimply mash the avocado and add a little salt and pepper, some good olive oil and freshly toasted French bread!

Macarons, the magnificent obsession

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In honor of apple season this month’s macaron is apple pie with salted caramel buttercream filling.
The shells were the normal recipe with about a tablespoon of apple pie spice added. I made a standard buttercream and added caramel and sea salt from France to the mixer.

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Also placed a slice of real, dehydrated apple between each layer! Surprise inside!

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Yes, yes it is as easy as it looked…

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Holy cow I had fun in my little kitchen today….I made a batch of baguettes, a batch of macarons ( tune in tomorrow folks!) and most importantly, put my newfound learnings from my pasta class on Tuesday into action

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I got a nice, shiny, elastic disc of pasta dough made from a/p flour, eggs, olive oil and salt. Whazzed it up in the cuisinart just like we did in class!

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Then I attached my brandy new pasta cutters for my Kitchenaid mixer and went to work.

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First cut the rough disc into four quarters.

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Then I fed each quarter through the sheeter attachment six times. Three times on lowest setting, then increasing by two notches for the next three iterations. I got a lovely thin, eggy, five inch wide sheet of pasta that was about a yard long.
You have to feed the dough with your left hand and catch the new sheet on the back of your right hand so as not to tear holes in the dough with your fingertips.
Then you fold it over itself, making sure to spread flour between each fold.

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Then I fed each sheet through the fettuccine cutter and made this lovely pile of egg and flour magic.

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Popped the whole lot into the freezer and the divided it up into ziplock bags for a couple of different meals.

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For dinner with a grilled butcher cut pork chop, I made the arugula/lemon pesto with garlic and Parmesan cheese, pepper and olive oil. Quick and foolproof, everything goes into the food processor! A mere 30 seconds later you have yummy pesto!

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Once the pasta is cooked ( in water as salty as the sea…) toss the pesto with the fettuccine and about 3/4 cup of the pasta water.

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A maze ing! And you can do it all by yourself!