Friday, September 30, 2011

Willow Manor Ball 2011 - Can't Wait!

I am looking forward to the Willow Manor Ball. This will be the 3rd ball I have observed, but only the second one I will be attending. I had so much fun last year. Now what will I wear? And who will be my date? Check out the link to Willow Manor and scroll down to see the balls of years gone by. Maybe you would like to attend. Everyone is invited.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

1st Anniversary Wedding Cake

Whoever thought of keeping the top layer of the wedding cake? I need to look that up. What did they do before they had freezers? Anyway, after the trip back from Virginia in the car and a year in my freezer, Steph and Cory finally cut into the top layer of their wedding cake at the beach. Jill is very interested in tasting the piece they are saving for her. Here is what Stephanie had to say on facebook: "Cutting our wedding cake! It survived the first year with very few bumps and bruises- just like us!"

Here is the original. It had a big "C" on top.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

4:00 a.m.

I couldn't get comfortable. A nagging pain at the base of my skull. I went out into the dark kitchen to find a pain pill. I was surprised to see water gushing from the sink faucet. I crossed the kitchen and shut it off and looked down the wide, dark hallway leading to the bathroom. Suddenly, I was afraid to go down the hall. I went another way to the bath by the children's rooms. As I got to the bathroom, I could hear them calling out in their sleep. I needed to check on them.

My eyes snapped open and I looked at the clock. 4:00 a.m. I crawled out of bed and stumbled into the bathroom to pee and take a Tylenol.

Updated to add:
I thought my dream was so interesting that I even put it on Facebook, but it got very little reaction. Maybe it was because I said "pee". I find it fascinating that my body had a little headache and needed to go to the bathroom rather urgently, but my mind put me in a big, scary house with weird clues (running faucet) and crying children.

My dreams always involve interesting houses (or once, an office building) with lots of rooms. I would enjoy that part, but there is always a sense of foreboding and an unfinished and urgent job that I need to do. I know these dreams mean something. I thought maybe I had banished them by deciding they were about wishing I could change the past.

I just hope the day never comes when I can't wake up from these ideas like the people I met at my mother's assisted living home. Only one person I ever met had happy delusions of music and well being. All the others, including my mother on occasion, had disturbing fantasies.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cross Creek Crab Newburg

Pictures from Cross Creek State Park website

I am thinking today of a favorite passage of mine from "Cross Creek" by Marjory Kinnan Rawlings. When I read this I can't help but think of the freshness of the ingredients. Fresh butter and cream from her jersey cow (Dora), fresh caught crabs, homemade bread for the toast points. She describes in detail the process of catching the crabs in a boat on a dark night.

My friend has her mother's recipe for a crab newburg-like dish. She uses imitation crab and cream cheese. She says the sherry is the indespensible ingredient. It is very good but can anyone ever capture the flavor Marjory describes in this rustic dish made in the Florida back woods? Oh, I would love to sit at her table and dive into this crab newburg.

Here is a link to Cross Creek State Park. I have always wanted to visit. I love the pictures.

This passage also brings to mind a camping trip we took with friends on a small island in the St. Johns River when my daughter was small. We spent one day tubing down an icy cold creek and visiting an old plantation-style house.

Here is the passage:

"In an iron skillet over a low fire I place a certain amount of Dora's butter. As it melts, I stir in the flaked crab meat, lightly, tenderly. The flakes must not become disintegrated; they must not brown. I add lemon juice, possibly a tablespoonful for each cup of crab meat. I add salt and pepper frugally, paprika more generously, and a dash of powdered clove so temporal that the flavor in the finished Newburg is only as though the mixture had been whisked through a spice grove. I add Dora's golden cream. I do not know the exact quantity. It must be generous, but the delicate crab meat must never become deluged with any other element. The mixture bubbles for a few moments. I stir in dry sherry, the quantity again inestimable. Something must be left to genius. I stir in well beaten eggs, perhaps an egg, perhaps two, for every cup of flakes. The mixture must now no more than be turned over on itself and removed in a great sweep from the fire. I stir in as tablespoonful, or two, of the finest brandy, and turn the Newburg into a piping hot covered serving dish. I serve it on toast points and garnish superfluously with parsley, and a Chablis or white Rhine wine is recommended as an accompaniment. Angels sing softly in the distance.

We do not desecrate the dish by serving any other, neither salad nor dessert. We just eat crab Newburg. My friends rise from the table, wring my hand with deep feeling, and slip quietly and reverently away. I sit alone and weep for the misery of a world that does not have blue crabs and a Jersey cow."

Friday, September 2, 2011

Signs of Fall

Fall is slow to come to Florida and even then it is very subtle. Beautiful bright, cool days generally arrive in October. I can't wait. Fall is my favorite season. I love the colors, textures and tastes. I want to bake carrot and apple cakes full of walnuts and pecans and rich, warm stews and soups. I want to buy a new leather purse and a plaid skirt and a wool blazer. I want to go for a drive in the mountains and breathe the cool air and see the leaves. But, alas, we have no mountains, the cool air is a month away and the golden leaves are few.

So far I have catered to my fall longings by cooking a Mrs. Smith's Pumpkin pie and a pork roast with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. And I got out a few fall decorations. When I started this blog I thought I would fill it with recipes. But it turns out I'm not a very imaginative cook. I leave that to my wonderful blogger friends like Beverly and Kary and Tess.

What I really like to do is eat and feed my friends and family. A few tried and true recipes seem to fill the bill for me. Have you seen the show on the Cooking Channel called "Mom's Cooking"? The daughter and a camera crew surprise the mom and she teaches the daughter to make a favorite meal.

If they came to my door what would I do? Hopefully my kitchen would be clean and I would be dressed for company. What would I make? Pork chops and fried potatoes or pot roast are all that come to mind. I make several very good versions of bundt cake which I usually start with a cake mix, but I haven't enjoyed baking as much since we have Mia on a low carb diet.

If my mom were here and I could ask her to make a special meal, I think I would ask for her country style steak. She pounded round steak, floured it, browned it and simmered it with water and onions until it made it's own rich, brown gavy and was fork tender. I have never been able to duplicate it though I keep trying. She did teach me how to roast a turkey and make dressing and it was her pot roast that has always been my favorite. Oh, and she taught me to make a good meat loaf. I remember my Aunt Nellie's wonderful pineapple upside down cake, baked ham, stuffed green peppers and crispy fried fish with grits and hush puppies.

There is one reason that Jaime will never surprise me with a camera crew and ask me to teach her to cook. Onions. I love them. She hates them. She is a very good cook herself. She makes all my recipes with her own version minus onions. She does break down and add minced onions to her pot roast. Cory, on the other hand, eats up anything I have when he comes to the house. He and Jill seem to like my cooking even though he once told me his favorite meal from his childhood was Taco Bell.

Fortunately, my husband loves my cooking, especially homemade oatmeal cookies with raisins and walnuts. We always enjoy a nice supper together at night with an occasional glass of wine. Our favorite special meal is little bacon wrapped fillets from Omaha Steak with baked potatoes and a salad.

As you can see I am a little melancholy and longing for the fall.