Friday, August 29, 2014

roasted hearts and overnight focaccia bread

posted by jennifer:


















-the roasted hearts:
      san marzano tomatoes
      halved lengthwise and opened up
      some having been trimmed of splits on the top...which caused the pleasant surprise of
          creating a heart shape when opened up
      sprinkled with pepper and kosher salt
      drizzled with olive oil
      roasted slow at 250 degrees for about 4-5 hours
      cooled and then popped into the freezer to be used later


the pan i used to roast the the tomatoes had the best little flavorful bits on it.  as well as now seasoned olive oil.  i left the pan unwashed and then baked my focaccia bread on it.


-the overnight focaccia bread:

     3 1/2 C. flour
     1/4 tsp. active dry yeast  (yes that is it!)
     1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
     1 1/2 C. warm water
   
     mix all in a large bowl
     dough will be sticky and soft
     drizzle the top of the dough with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil
     using a rubber spatula/scraper push down on sides of dough to get the olive oil
         down along the sides 
     cover and let sit at least 12 hours
     i make mine in the late evening before i go to bed and it is ready to bake by the next 
         afternoon
     turn the dough out onto an oiled pan at least 9" x 12"
     using your fingertips make small indentations on the top of the dough
     let rest for about 1 hour or until puffy
     top with a bit of kosher salt (maybe 1/2 tsp or so)  and any other desired toppings
         on this batch i used sliced garlic.  i have also used fresh herbs, artichoke hearts, 
         sun dried tomatoes.  be free!  be bold!  have fun!
      bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden

this is my favorite bread for making hearty sandwiches.   grilled vegetable sandwiches,
chicken pesto sandwiches, california chicken sandwiches.... 

it is also perfect cut up to be dipped in balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

just remember to get it going the night before.  it has happened more than once that i have been standing in the kitchen in my underwear or less at 11:00 at night mixing up focaccia dough because i have already gotten into bed and remember as i am about to fall asleep that i forgot to start it earlier.   sorry for that image.  and run on sentence.

enjoy!

and cheers!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What I brought home from VACATION.


I returned home from the Puget Sound with:

a cup of sea glass 

2 clam shells

5 horse chestnuts

2 books

several stems of teasel


1 pressed leaf

1 pressed spray of wild sweet pea

2 new friends

a couple dozen good photographs

1 heart rock

1 additional pound

garden inspiration


greater appreciation of my abilities


recognition of the advantages of routine

a greater understanding of Seattle history


many happy memories


and

an incredible sense of contentment with my life.

Ahh...vacations!


t.t.f.n. ~ Carol





Monday, August 25, 2014

rainbow cat. meet blue.

posted by jennifer:


                                                               red and yellow
                                                                       and
                                                              pink and green

                                                           purple and orange
                                                                       and
 

                                      
                                                                    blue!

cheers!



Saturday, August 16, 2014

YOLO= the fast life of a fruit fly

a poem by:  jennifer


a glass of wine....
   poured at 8:00
still untouched at 8:45

one might think it intentional

let it breathe

or, maybe...
  things got
   a  bit hot and heavy...
    forgotten until it is upended by a flailing limb
during loves passionate embrace.

but no.  very much no.

i do not live like the fruit fly.

0.3 years

a life that revolves on wine and sex.

and yet, as i gaze...
  into  my wine glass
at 8:55

i find myself curious  as to what life would be like
  only to...

er....

mate.

and then die.

by drowning 
  in a glass of cabernet sauvignon.

because the reason the glass was here for the taking
by the fast living insect now dead

was because of the:
     laundry
            dishes
                   bad dreams
                            tapeworm in the kitten
                                         
while the wine is forgotten

               by me.


cheers!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

money and maturing.

posted by:  jennifer

thursday night my husband and i were able to go out on a real date....that is we left the house without the kids in tow, and were served dinner at a nice restaurant.

this is saying something, as our typical date night of late is eating after the kids are down... or at least after the youngest is asleep.   if we waited until the oldest was asleep, well it would be new york late.   i know that the cool people of the world eat dinner at 10:00, but really.

 anyway, our hot date usually involves one of us going and getting takeout, and then watching a couple of shows on netflix  as we eat our phil's bbq or greek chicken.  
the other night, there was not an episode of weeds to be seen (yeah, we are a little behind on the shows we watch) and dinner did not come in a styrofoam clamshell.  we were celebrating our 21st wedding anniversary, and we were going to mix it up dagnabit!

we arrived at heat bar + kitchen about 45 minutes prior to our reservation.... and happily, a happy hour was going on.   we started talking to a gentleman sitting next to us at the bar, had a nice conversation, and then said goodbye when our table was ready.   stay with me, there is a point this tidbit.  (honestly.... it will come back around)

we had a great dinner... had the best seat in the house, i made sure i mentioned when i was making the reservations that it was our anniversary.... (read:  free dessert and more leverage for a good table)  during the course of my dinner however, i bit on a piece of plastic that had made it into my food... in something that had been pureed... i think it might have been cauliflower, or maybe turnips, i am not really sure, something white and creamy... whatever it was it was delicious. (and just to be clear i do know what my dish was... duck breast and farro.... i just don't know what it was resting on) and i didn't even want to stop eating after i discovered the plastic bit.   but my ever responsible husband thought we should tell the server as i may not be the only person to get it in my food.  the server was extremely concerned and apologetic. she had another plate made.  and it was good... but in during the last couple of bites,  yep, another bit of plastic.  

at this point i thought she was going to think i was planting things into the dish to get a free meal.   and it brought me back to 15 plus years ago.....

we were at a fancy restaurant in coronado,  peohe's, with my husbands dad and his wife.   this was back in the day when we could not afford to go to such an establishment if we had to pay for our meal... or maybe we just didn't have the credit we have now, hmmmm.   regardless.  during the course of my dinner i had a fly in my ice cube, i kid you not.  and i had a big ass rubber band in my salad.  i was informed the rubber band was probably from a lobster claw.... they put them over the claws so they don't amputate part of the chef's finger when they are being lowered into their jacuzzi tub of cooking water.... or something along those lines.   i swear that they thought i had a bag of tricks i was reaching into to try to get a free meal.   but come on, i already was getting a free meal by way of my in-laws.  oh well.  to be young and discriminated against.

back to more recent days.

when we got the bill they had taken off my meal, and the dessert was free (snap!) but the bill was still way to low.  i mean we had ordered a bottle of wine... and the bill was $54.00.  i realized they hadn't transferred our bar tab.  i was determined not to seem like we were cheats trying to get a cheap dinner, and so i called it to the servers attention, as my husband was practically kicking me under the table let it slide... $54 dollars... and you want to make it $90... not really, but kind of.   she checked into it, and the guy at the bar had taken care of our bar tab for us.   now you see, if i hadn't said anything we would have thought we had gotten away with something and not known about an act of kindness bestowed upon us.  and it got me to thinking about money and honesty and how it is kind a funny thing for me.

i love to find money on the ground, and when i do i kind of look around to see if someone may have dropped it, but it doesn't take long before it is in my pocket.  and i am sure that when i was a kid i wouldn't have even looked around before i pocketed it.  but i witnessed a 6th grader a few months ago find a $100 bill on the ground at school, and hand it over to the first teacher she saw.  i have no idea why someone would have a $100 at school (dear god, not for some drug deal i hope.... great something else to worry about), but i hate to say that when i was in 6th grade, i don't know if i would have turned it in.  i hope i would have but i don't know.

and i used to get so upset when my sister or husband would sample the bulk brach's candy at the grocery store.  i thought i would end up in jail or something.  maybe it is just guilt from my days of petty shoplifting.  

like the time i really, really wanted my mom to buy rainbow mini marshmallows.  she said no. so i, oh so sneakily, went to put them back, and on the way tore open the bag to grab a handful.  at the same time a store employee came down the aisle.  i dropped the handful  down the front of the brown corduroy overalls i was wearing, and as i walked, they went down the leg and i left a rainbow trail behind me.

or the time i stole a few random adhesive address numbers from fullerton hardware. i got them home, and hid them under the carpet in the living room of my doll house.  there they stayed, while i sweated bullets every time my mom came into my room sure she was going to lift the blue carpet and discover them.  i finally threw them away.

but i can't let store errors go unnoticed.  and have actually annoyed an employee who really doesn't care about the $1.50 item that i forgot to put on the conveyor belt... just take it, i don't care... the line is 10 people deep...nope i insist on them ringing it up on a different bill. this has only happened with male checkers... they tend to be less concerned with these matters it seems.


and on our summer road trip, i ordered a margarita.  i have recently become an margarita connoisseur... this after a long hiatus from them due to a bad night of tequila shots and red wine.  i couldn't stomach the smell of tequila for about 15 years or so.  i can now.  and a good margarita is a good thing.  a bad margarita, not so much.  anyway, i ordered a bad margarita. after one sip i decided i would rather have a beer.  so i flagged down our waiter and told him i didn't like the margarita, and could i please have a negro modelo instead... i finished with "i will pay for the margarita though"(because i felt bad?!?)  well, after a graceful display of squeezing the lime into the beer bottle, covering the bottle opening with my thumb and  turning it upside down... only to have the beer spray all over me, the table, and perhaps the ceiling... the bill came with both the beer and the nasty ass margarita charged.  and obviously it is still festering.

why? 

well you know what?  as i reflect on what is just wrote, i just shot my theory out of the water.  my original post was going to be why do i not worry about money honesty some of the time, and other times it is great to get away with something.  but i just realized that i must be maturing.  i think i am pretty honest these days.   huh.   and as long as you make it right, and don't charge me for your sub par margarita from a plastic jug from smart and final that i didn't even drink, i am good.  i will be honest with you, but i would appreciate it if you were fair with me.  

and by the way, i no longer even like marshmallows.   or adhesive address numbers.  or brach's bulk candy...... except the butterscotch ones.  only if they are already paid for please and thank you.  

cheers!



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bats!


We have had a couple bats flying above our back yard 
sanctuary at dusk.
Yes, we are excited about having another misunderstood creature in our garden.

My bat encounters have been limited.  We see them while camping.  And  
while visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Texas, I was all atingle when they took me to see a million bats emerging from their roost under the Congress Ave. Bridge. This is the world's largest urban bat colony.  My sister knows what I like!


Also, on my list of bat experiences, I have loved the illustrated bats in Brian Lies "Bats" books...Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Library, and Bats at the Ballgame.  (A new one, Bats in the Band, will be released in August.  I will be adding it to my children's books shelf.  And I will be reading it to my grandchildren.)

Like bees, bat populations are in decline.  And like bees, they hold vital ecological roles.  A little knowledge about these mammals will help calm the fears that myths and scaremongers perpetuate.

Nearly all the bats in the continental United States and Canada are insectivores.  They are too busy hunting and eating flies, mosquitoes, beetles and cockroaches to want to fly into someone's hair.
A single bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour.  

Of the over 1,200 species scientists now acknowledge, only 3 species are vampire bats. All 3 of these species live in Latin America. 
These blood eating bats do not "suck" blood as Hollywood would show it, but lap it as a cat would drink its cream.
Protein in a bat's saliva prevents the host's blood from clotting.  The properties found there have lead to positive use in medicine.

Coincidentally, my niece and her husband had a bat in their yard last week too. They live in Texas.  
This bat was hanging upside down, which is normal, but it was, abnormally, rather close to the ground.
They wisely called animal control.  Bats can have rabies.  And just as any  wild animal should not be handled, you should not touch a bat.
Most bat bites occur while a sick or injured bat is being picked up.

Bats play a crucial role in insect control, in pollination, and in the spreading of seeds.  They are the only mammal capable of true flight.  Their wings contain the same bone structure as a human hand.   Their velvety skin stretches across these bones like the fabric and ribs of an umbrella.  The thumbs cling to surfaces when the bat alights.  The sensitive touch-receptors on the surface of their wings are also found on human fingertips.
Bats roost upside down, because the bones in the hind legs cannot support their body weight. 


A female bat usually has only one pup a year.



 The females congregate together to bear and raise the young.  The pup weighs 25% of its mother's body weigh.  This is proportionate to a human mother giving birth to a 31 pound baby.  Ouch!
On top of that, the mother gives birth while hanging by her feet, and she must catch her baby with her wings as it drops.  The pup drinks its mother's milk from birth and up to 6 months.  A young bat cannot forage on its own until its wings are fully developed.
Where's dad during all this?  He's hanging out with his buddies in some man cave.

Any of you familiar with Brian Lies' illustrations have seen the baby bat being carried by its mother while she is flying.  Pups do ride along with their mothers.  When mom is flying, the pup holds on with its teeth.

In insect eating bats, a highly sophisticated sense of hearing is used for navigation and finding prey.   Fruit bats do not use a echolocation system because fruit doesn't fly move.  Fruit bats have excellent eye sight and a good sense of smell to find their food. 
 But, insectivores emit sounds that then bounce back to the bat.  In a split second, the bat can determine the size, distance, speed at which an object is moving.  Even the texture of an object is known from the sound waves created.

These gentle and intelligent mammals, that live for more than 20 years, deserve our appreciation and respect for the many ways they help us humans.
I hope you can enjoy seeing some bats soon, be it in a book or in the twilight sky.  

t.t.f.n. ~ Carol



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

animal odds

a poem by jennifer:


there used to be five
   3 cats 
   and
   2 dogs
back when the children were none.
as the next decade passed, that number came down until there was only one

cat.

the number of children has now reached three
the cat met her fate,
live fast and die young
and suddenly, the pets number none.

but all is set to change
in the upcoming days.
each child with it's heart set

  one wants a bird
  one wants a mouse
  one wants a fish

all want a cat....

and i can't help but question the tempting of fate
three pets that one cat could put to an end.

the animal odds show that we are left with
what else, 
but one
uneasy mom.



cheers!