Thursday, July 25, 2013



...hooray! My summer vacation starts today! Actually, it started last night with a very silly cocktail with dry ice in it.

Mix equal parts cheap white wine with decent quality sparkling apple juice drink. Add a chunk of dry ice (Chemical substance be shape like sugar cube. Prohibit to eat.) because you have some around, and because it's festive and makes these goofy boobling noises while you drink it. Very refreshing. Also makes you schnockered faster than you meant to be, which is fine because you're on vacation, Bitch!

I also made some more pants last week. Yes, more shorts pretending to be a skirt. The pattern envelope called this a 'scooter skirt', and it has a very hip looking group of young caucasian women in pigtails and knee socks on the front cover. In spite of the illustration depicting some inhumanly elongated beings, the pattern itself required essentially no alteration whatsoever to fit me. Wonder of wonders! I sewed it up in an afternoon.

It is the most comfortable thing imaginable, and the fact that it is shorts, not a skirt, just adds practicality to the whole arrangement.

Above all, it is Thursday in the last full weekend in July, in Portland. The taps begin to flow at 11:30!


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Another Bread Casserole


I still have chestnuts in my freezer. I didn't want a dessert, I don't know what else to make with chestnuts, and this recipe had a nice, attractive picture on the website I got it from. Then I thought the whole thing sounded too fiddly besides calling for sherry and celery root, things that no normal person just has lying around. This is perfectly good, and is much easier.

For the bread part:

4 cups bread cubes. I cut up some stale baguette slices.
1 1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 T fresh sage, chopped
3 T fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Beat everything but the bread until thoroughly mixed. Add the bread and stir. Set it aside until all the liquid is absorbed. Stir from time to time to make sure the bread gets evenly moistened.

For the veggie part:

1 large onion, diced
4 or 5 thick pieces of bacon cut into little bits
2 cups peeled chestnuts
3 ribs chopped celery
1 large green apple, peeled & cubed
1 cup prunes, chopped slightly
3 T minced fresh thyme

cup of water
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper

Pre- heat the oven to 350.

Fry the bacon in a large sauce pan or skillet until the fat is rendered out. Add the onions and saute them until they start to get transparent, then add everything else except the water & vinegar. Continue to saute until everything is hot, then add the liquids. Salt & pepper generously, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 Put the veggie mix into a casserole dish, top with the bread, firmly press everything down. Bake 45-50 minutes or until the bread has poofed up and is nice and brown on top.


1. If you use frozen or fresh chestnuts in their shells, shelling them will add about 30 minutes to the whole process. You can read my other chestnut post for some instructions on how to do it. Remember to allow a few extra because some of them will be no good and you won't be able to tell until you peel them.
2. Use a pretty cheap balsamic. One of the reasons to simmer the vegetable mix at the end is to cook off the acid in the vinegar so the casserole won't be too tart.
3. The original recipe says to use sherry instead of vinegar and stock instead of water, which I'm sure would be great, but whatever.
4. I bet using real parmesan would be a better idea too, but I used the stuff in the green can, and I have no complaints.
5. But on the other hand, I doubt I would use dry herbs instead of fresh. I draw the line there- I'd sooner do without them altogether and choose some other flavoring agent than use dry when the recipe calls for such a large amount of them.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hey look, it's a pineapple!


This is a dinky version of the Big Damn Pineapple found on Knitty. I didn't have the commitment to make the whole version, so I cast on only half as many stitches as called for in the directions and ignored the stitch counts indicated in the rows. Instead of figuring out how many beads I was going to need, I just pulled up the loop of each stitch requiring a bead and slipped one on as I went along. It worked because I was using very fine crochet cotton that would fit through the beads when doubled. Needles were 00000 size.

I showed it to David. I said "Look at my knitting", and he said "Cool! it looks like a virus!" and I said "It's supposed  be a pineapple", and he said "Oh, right on, like Victorian clothing and stuff."


He makes me so mushy.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Purple Pie


It got too hot to bake frivolously, but I wanted pie. I saw a recipe for a refrigerator pie, and the idea of pie that requires no baking sounded good, but the ingredient list turned me off: oreo cookies, toasted sweetened coconut, coconut cream, whipped cream, cream cheese, fruit juice, and raspberries. I thought that sounded like a terrible thing to do to raspberries, so I streamlined the whole flavor/texture thing and came up with this.

for crust:

5 oz gingersnaps, I used Trader Joe's Tripple Ginger
4 T melted butter


8 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup blueberry jam
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup water + a couple tablespoons
1/4 oz envelope unflavored gelatin

1 additional cup heavy whipping cream
a pound of blueberries

Crush up the cookies and mix with melted butter.  Press firmly into the bottom of a pie pan and refrigerate until needed.

In a small dish, soften the gelatin in a couple tablespoons of cold water. Add 1 cup boiling water and stir to dissolve. Once the gelatin is completely dissolved and has cooled somewhat, put it together with the cream cheese, jam, condensed milk and 1/4 cup heavy cream in a blender and blend the heck out of it. Set aside.

Whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. Gently mix in the jam blend then pour half of it into your pie dish. Add a layer of berries, then the rest of the filling. Refrigerate over night, then garnish with whatever you have lying about.

1. Do bother to soften the gelatin in cold water first. If you just throw it in the boiling water, it tends to clump up in this really annoying way.
2. I bet you could use any flavor of jam/fruit/cookie combo for this. Strawberries with a Nilla Wafer crust. Peaches with a pecan sandy crust. Cherries with crust made of almond biscotti. Orange marmalade with chocolate graham crackers.
3. I used a spring form pan. If you want to do that too, first cover inside of the ring with a layer of foil, then insert the bottom to hold the foil in place. When the pie sets up, remove the ring then peel the foil away from the pie.
4. The white stuff in the picture is about 2 oz cream cheese, with enough cream mixed in to make it act like frosting, and enough lemon juice to make it a little tart and enough powdered sugar to make it a little sweet. Dump it on the pie, push it around to make a circle and heap up any leftover berries in the middle.
5. Next time I think I'll use something else for crust. The gingersnaps taste good, but I think they overwhelm the berries. David disagrees, though, so use your best judgement.

Basically, this is just whipped cream with a little jello in it to keep it from going flat. There is a thing called fool which is almost exactly  like this, except without the cheese and gelatin, so it's very sloppy and you just eat it out of a bowl and there's no crust. Fool is nice, but there isn't much textural interest. A cookie crust definitely adds some thing to the whole business. Also, the concept of an icebox pie seems quintessentially American to me, which makes it an appropriate thing to eat for Independence Day, which is when I made this thing.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013



So this is what you do after you put your beet greens in a pie. Again, not a 'real' pizza to my mind, but still good. I saw a picture in the paper a while back of a pizza with garlic tops, or scapes, on it. They had left the scapes whole which looks cool because they're all wiggly shaped, but the fact is that if you leave them like that, they are bloody awkward to eat. Plus, the blossoms themselves get all papery and unpleasant. My pizza doesn't have curly green ropes all over it, but it does have beet slices.

1/2 recipe of the pizza dough

2 smallish beets
6 or 8 good sized garlic scapes
3 or 4 tablespoons olive oil
cheese is optional
salt & pepper
fresh rosemary

Pre heat the oven as hot as it will go without being on broil.

Peel the beets and slice them extremely thinly. Put them in a covered dish and microwave them until they are tender, toss them with a dash of olive oil and set them aside.

Put a generous splash of oil in a skillet, more than you actually need to cook the garlic tops. Snap the garlic into pieces and saute on medium low with plenty of salt and pepper until the stems are tender.

Stretch out the dough. Gently drain the oil out of the garlic onto the dough and brush it around to coat the surface completely. Add a sprinkle of cheese if you want it, then the beets, then the garlic, discarding the blooms. Mince the rosemary and sprinkle it on top. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the dough is a little brown.


1. I altered the pizza dough recipe slightly for this by adding a couple tablespoons of olive oil to it, and I think the improvement is such that  I'll keep doing it. It makes the dough less all purpose and more focaccia or pizza specific, but what else do I really use it for?
2. I used a mandolin on the beets to keep the slices even. I have generally mixed feelings about that thing, because it is dangerous, and I'm scared of it, but also because it is a gadget and I disapprove of kitchen gadgets. But it has its uses.
3. If you use cheese, use something that has character. I used something gouda-like and a bit stinky. Parmesan or blue cheese would also be good.
4. Keep the heat somewhat low when cooking the garlic, it burns quite easily. It helps to add a splash of water to the pan and then cover it for about 2 minutes early in the cooking, the steam helps cook them quickly without toughening.
5. There is no reason you shouldn't use a whole recipe of pizza dough and make a bigger pizza. I just know that regardless of what I make, by the time I get it out of the oven David and I will be ravenous enough to eat the whole thing no matter how big it is. So I just make a pizza that is of a size that when we have eaten it all up, we have no regrets about doing it.
6. Garlic tops are also called Serpent Garlic, which is so cool it deserves capital letters!