Posts made in October, 2015

Saying Grace

Posted by on Oct 30, 2015 in New | 0 comments

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You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the play and the opera, and grace before the concert and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

-- G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

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Pumpkin on Parade

Posted by on Oct 28, 2015 in Pasta | 1 comment

 

 

I knew it. If MP saw one more pumpkin chunk his blue eyes would glaze over. But what if I deemed it-- An earthy, heartwarming medley of autumn mushrooms and, ahem, pumpkin tossed with buttered orecchiette and fresh sage?

 

 

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You see, I bought an unusually large piece (like a half pumpkin) and a box of chanterelles too. Sage is still hanging out in the garden and a turquoise box of pasta seemed to line up on a highway in my head; where there are no directions.

This is the road I traveled.

SONY DSCRoast a pound or so of pumpkin for 45 minutes (or until done) at 425 degrees with a touch of kosher salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

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Cool, peel and cube the pumpkin (of course you can use acorn or butternut squash).

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Meanwhile, brush loose dirt from 1 ½ pounds chanterelle mushrooms; remove the tough part of the stem and cut into large pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter in a sauté pan; set 6-8 sage leaves and the mushrooms in an even layer in the skillet. While the mushrooms are browning, cook ½ pound pasta according to package directions.

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Let the mushroom cook over moderate-low heat without salt, pepper or stirring; allowing the mushrooms to give off liquid and brown (about 10 minutes or so). If you season or move them about they will steam not brown.

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Then, add half an onion, diced and 2 cloves of minced garlic to the mushrooms; season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until onions are tender, about 2-3 minutes.

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If you are game; and, you should never be afraid of anchovies, slip two of the beasts and a few more sage leaves in with the onions.

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Add the pumpkin to the skillet. Drain the pasta (reserving a cup of pasta water)

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then, add it to the skillet with another tablespoon of butter. Ladle half the pasta water into the skillet, stirring until the butter is melted and a little sauce is created; use up to the whole cup if necessary. Taste and adjust seasonings; the anchovies will melt into the sauce, leaving that restaurant base note you constantly wonder about!

Serve it up on a platter with a shower of Parmesan cheese and freshly grated nutmeg. Gaze over toward MP.

Here it comes—a sonata of pumpkin praise.

“Dance above the surface of the world. Let your thoughts lift you into creativity that is not hampered by opinion.”

--Red Haircrow

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Tears in a Bottle

Posted by on Oct 26, 2015 in New | 8 comments

None of the tears that you ever cried in your life were wasted or in vain. Everything you wept over honored those moments in life as valuable and important; and those feelings of sadness were sacred to your Soul.

-- Dr. Jeff Mullan

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"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." (Psalm 56:8 NLT)

Happy Birthday, baby boy;

I miss you up to the stars and back.

Touch the Sky

--Hillsong United

♥ ♥ ♥

I was not able to reply to the many, many kindnesses; overwhelmed, I am  so grateful.

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Darkle Darling

Posted by on Oct 23, 2015 in Desserts | 4 comments

 

These Pumpkin-Chocolate Brownies had no time to chill—as suggested by Southern Living; they did, however, make it plated to a family Sunday dinner, à la mode to boot.  Genuine Halloween party colors and make-ahead portable features--make this a potential fall favorite.

 

 

Two casts of characters appear:

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Be prepared to acknowledge this is a marriage of separate batters and requires two bowls and extra love.  Setting out everything in advance (mise en place) makes for a more ordered bake-off. I skip the double boiler and melt the chocolates with the butter in the microwave; 30 seconds zaps until nearly melted.  Make sure you don’t over wave it 🙁 Prepare the pan;

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then combine separate batters per the recipe link.

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First the brownie layer goes over the parchment paper.

(Remember to reserve 1/2 cup brownie batter).

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Then carefully smooth the pumpkin on top.

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After that, think of it as a crafting project-- performing magic with a skewer, no less.

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Baked to a glorious swirl; cool completely and chill for easier slicing,

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The subtle spice and sweet texture of custard-like pumpkin is  enchantingly suspended over a macho chocolate brownie; replete with a lilting marbleized finale.

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hmmm... chantilly cream or à la mode?

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Spill the Beans

Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 in New | 0 comments

 

Ten years ago MP and I drove up to the Central Coast region on a weekend when lodging was sketchy; enter the Skyview Motel above LA (Los Alamos) a self-proclaimed dollar stretching motor stop where cyclists gathered in the parking lot chatting, playing  games, and gearing up for a torturous 100 mile race; notwithstanding  through wine country.

 

We instead, headed down the hill to find a late breakfast and a colossal building housing all things collectable in personalized crowded cubbies.  (MP only tolerates this type of mindless activity). But, that year we also wandered into Full of Life Flatbread.

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Now, sleepy little Los Alamos is a destination where locals, hipsters and us-types spend time eating freshly baked artisan style bread and bakery items and o'so deliciously inspired breakfasts and lunches at Bob’s Well Bread Bakery. 

Bob Oswaks left executive status marketing big Sony Pictures Television, to break bread not bad (Breaking Bad), when he lovingly and laboriously converted an old filling station into a haven for handmade crispy crusted bread,

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stylishly old-world baked goods and

a remarkable penchant for hospitality.

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Bob must have thought MP and I were camping out behind the patio’s Bocce Ball court or considered us stalkers at least, when we stopped in three times to sample aromatic soft centered olive breads, bagels,

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English muffins, with homemade-in- house sweet butter(s),

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French-style baguette picnic sandwiches, and

Stumptown Cold-Brew coffee cuppings.

 

PHOTO SOURCE: www.santamariasun.com

PHOTO SOURCE: www.santamariasun.com

 

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In the fullness of time, we shared breakfast on the patio with a bread-headed chef ordering Breakfast-in-a-jar, Purple Potatoes, Gruyere, a Poached egg, and Lardon; plus Bean Toast on Pain de Mie with a Fried Egg, Toulouse Sausage (pork and white wine) and Roasted Tomatoes.

When Bob came to check in on us I told him he had taken me back to my childhood when my mother put cold pork and beans on white bread in my school lunches; which were oh so soft, sweet and falling apart in my brown bag by noon.  I adored them.

He simply asked me where I grew up.

I replied with my tongue still in my cheek, “ The valley."

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Go... stop at Bob’s,

but never on a Tuesday or a Wednesday

those are days of rest and no yeast.

 

 

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