Thursday, October 29, 2015

Today's picture/regional foods

So pretty I had to take a picture. Only the avocados were from far away - Mexico, but organic and fair trade. The lettuce is hydroponically grown in the next state over.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Easy and fun homemade ice cream

A few years ago we gave an ice cream maker to Margaret and Matthew.The other day I borrowed it, and we made vanilla ice cream with Hazel Nina. A fun time was had by all! 

It is easy as can be to make, and the result is better than any vanilla ice cream I’ve ever tasted. As you must know by now, my sugar choice is Sugar in the Raw but for this recipe I thought I should use a finer white sugar. On top we sprinkled broken brownie pieces from this recipe.

Vanilla Ice Cream 

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/8 cups granulated sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Put the freezer bowl into the freezer a few hours before you make the ice cream.
In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. 
Turn the machine on, and pour the mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes. 

The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.


You may read other food related posts at Weekend Cooking

Monday, October 19, 2015

Today's picture/Old toy

I just walked into the study and caught the sun highlighting Tom's old toy, which now the grandchildren happily play with.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

An Afternoon with Hazel Nina - October 13, 2015

I was so excited when I came up with this topic and thought I'd post quite often about the fun afternoons spent with our granddaughter. But I've posted only once, and that was over a year ago! I can't believe it, but yes, I guess I can. Life is busy, busy these days. Although we take care of Hazel Nina only twice a week now, instead of the four days we did for a year, we still often see her and her cousins, Campbell Walker and Indy Thomas so the days literally fly by.

Today, Tom drove down to get her at 11, and brought her up to the house. We took a walk up the hill with Lucy. The dog always, always grabs limbs of trees left over from the logging, and today just for a joke, I put one in my mouth and Hazel of course mimicked me.

and decided it didn't taste very good.

We came home and walked around the yard for a while, came inside and played with a wooden toy that was Tom's when he was her age, and then she wanted to watch her favorite television program, Postman Pat. A whole blog entry on that show is coming up soon.

Earlier today, Margaret sent us a picture of Hazel watching Postman Pat at her house with dear Piglet the pug, and her toy, Jess the cat (PP's cat on the show).

And then we had our first baking day! We recently bought a "Little Helper" for the cousins to use when they come to visit Grammy and Grampy. It is the best thing. It is adjustable so it will be useful for years, and the child is much safer than when standing on a chair. We made chocolate chip cookies - this recipe.

As the cookies were baking, she fell asleep on my shoulder,

and she hasn't woken up yet to taste her cookies.

When she does wake up, it'll be time to go home. Another perfectly wonderful day with our dear, dear granddaughter.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Quote du jour/my friend

Today I went to a surprise 70th birthday party for a friend. When asked how he did it [made it to 70], his answer was 'I didn't die.'

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Couscous Tabouli

Seven years ago I posted my tabouli recipe which you may find here. Well, today I made a variation using couscous instead of bulgur, and it is just great. I've also made it with quinoa before, which is equally good. I've had people tell me they like my tabouli, and that it is different from others they've tasted. This may be because I don't use onions or cucumbers.

Couscous Tabouli

Mix 1 cup of couscous with a teaspoon of salt, and pour one cup of boiling water over it. When the water is absorbed, add:

1/4 lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, put through a press
a bit of mint (dried works fine)
chopped parsley
chopped tomatoes - I used the local, colorful heirloom tomatoes available this time of year

Sorry the photo is blurry. I took a lot of pictures, but those little couscous were blurry in every one!

Please do visit Weekend Cooking for great food related postings.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What I Learned From TV - October 7

Each time I do a post about What I Learned From TV, I’ll begin with the explanation from the first posting:

Now that my kids are grown, and Tom has retired, I’ve been able to go back to my natural sleep pattern which is to stay up late and get up late. Tom’s natural rhythm is just the opposite. So, he’s the lark and I’m the owl. 

And what this owl does in the late hours is watch television- not in the traditional way but through HuluNetflixTunnelBear, and Acorn TV. Most of the shows are British, though I am a great fan of a few American television shows, and have been watching some from other countries now that we have TunnelBear. Some of these shows Tom will watch in the mornings, but some of them are all mine. So, when I hear a great quote from a show I know he’s not going to watch, I’ll leave him little post-it notes near the computer keyboard. I had a notion this morning to begin a new ‘letter topic’ called What I Learned From TV so I can put up some virtual post-its for you to read and, hopefully, enjoy. Some are funny, some are educational, some are wise.

First from Inspector Morse: Weddings and funerals - they loosen tongues in my experience. 

And echoed in Lewis: At funerals and weddings people tend to let their guard down.

From Bones: Bird droppings are extremely toxic. Bird guano's been known to carry more than 60 transmittable diseases.

From Longmire: History gets heavier the older you get.

From Lewis: Lewis says, "You know what I'm doing? I'm trying to think like Morse." To which Hathaway replies, "Does that mean we're going to the pub?"

Monday, October 5, 2015

The death of Henning Mankell

Henning Mankell, the Swedish creator of the Inspector Kurt Wallander series, in Stockholm in June. CreditTt News Agency, via Reuters
Henning Mankell, the Swedish novelist and playwright best known for police procedurals that were translated into a score of languages and sold by the millions throughout the world, died on Monday in Goteborg, Sweden. He was 67.
The cause was cancer, said his literary agent Anneli Hoier. Last year, Mr. Mankell disclosed that doctors had found tumors in his neck and left lung.
Mr. Mankell was considered the dean of the so-called Scandinavian noir writers, who gained global prominence for novels that blended edge-of-your-seat suspense with flawed, compelling protagonists and strong social themes. Among the others are Arnaldur Indridason of Iceland, Jo Nesbo of Norway and Stieg Larsson of Sweden.
But it was Mr. Mankell who led the way, with 10 mystery novels featuring Inspector Kurt Wallander, a gruff but humane detective troubled by self-doubt, overeating, alcoholism and, eventually, dementia. Most of the action in those books takes place in and around Ystad, a real-life town of 18,350 inhabitants on the Baltic Sea, about 380 miles south of Stockholm, which has become a magnet for Wallander buffs.
Mr. Mankell's "Faceless Killers," published in 1991, won the Glass Key award. CreditOrdfront
Mr. Mankell divided his time between Stockholm and Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, where he was the artistic director of the main theater, Teatro Avenida.
“I came to Africa with one purpose: I wanted to see the world outside the perspective of European egocentricity,” he wrote in an essayfor The New York Times in 2011. “I could have chosen Asia or South America. I ended up in Africa because the plane ticket there was cheapest.”
Though Africa was rarely the main setting for Mr. Mankell’s detective novels, it informed his sensitivity to the mistreatment of non-European immigrants in enlightened Sweden.
“Solidarity with those in need run through his entire work and manifested itself in action until the very end,” Robert Johnsson, Mr. Mankell’s literary agent for Sweden, and Dan Israel, with whom he founded the publishing company Leopard, said in a statement.
In “Firewall” (1998), he managed to adeptly intertwine financial cybercrime with colonialism. That novel begins with the discovery of the body of what appears to be a heart attack victim lying in front of an A.T.M. in Ystad and the seemingly unconnected murder of a cabdriver by a teenage girl on the outskirts of the town.
The novel ends with the villain — a white doctor in Africa driven by anticolonialist rage — flying to Sweden in a frantic attempt to ignite a meltdown of the global financial system. Wallander saves the day, but only after stumbling into the conspiracy through his hapless affair with a woman who is the villain’s accomplice.
Mr. Mankell grew irritated over attempts by readers to trace elements of his life in Wallander’s. Still, the parallels were there. Born in Stockholm on Feb. 3, 1948, Mr. Mankell was abandoned by his mother, along with his two siblings, and they moved in with their father, a judge, in Sveg, a small community in northern Sweden.
Through his father’s court activities, Mr. Mankell learned about criminal cases in a small-town setting not unlike Wallander’s investigations in Ystad. And like the author’s mother, Wallander is an errant parent who abandons a child — though the two reconcile in the course of the detective series.
Mr. Mankell, whose grandfather was a composer, passed on his love of classical music to his famous detective. Wallander spends many lonely nights listening to Mozart operas or walking the windswept beaches of Ystad with his dog, Jussi — named after Jussi Bjorling, the great Swedish tenor.
And Wallander’s repeated failures at lasting romances echoed the author’s own: Mr. Mankell was married four times, the last to Eva Bergman, daughter of the Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman. “It shows I am an optimist,” Mr. Mankell said in a 2013 interview with The Guardian.
Mr. Mankell embarked on a literary career early. Hoping to emulate Joseph Conrad, he went to sea in the Swedish merchant marine at 16. But he quit when, after numerous voyages, he got no further than the British industrial port of Middlesbrough.
Besides, when he was 19 a play he had written was produced in Stockholm. A year later, he was named an assistant theater director and traveled around the country with touring productions.
It was not until 1991, when he was 43, that the first of his Wallander novels, “Faceless Killers,” was published. In the opening scene, Ystad police officers, led by Wallander, are called to an isolated farmhouse, where they find the owner, an elderly man, tortured to death. His wife, who has been bludgeoned, survives only long enough to utter a single word: “Foreign.” That incites Ystad mobs to attack local immigrants in revenge. The novel won the Glass Key award, given annually to a crime novel written by a Scandinavian.
Mr. Mankell’s popularity grew with each Wallander mystery. In “Sidetracked” (1995), a series of aged men, apparently model citizens, are killed in increasingly grisly fashion and then scalped by the murderer.
In “One Step Behind” (1997), three young revelers, dressed as 18th-century nobles, are found shot to death in a forest. And in “The Man Who Smiled” (1994), a depressed, alcoholic Wallander comes out of brief retirement to investigate a double murder that may be linked to a wealthy philanthropist.
Like almost all of the Wallander mysteries, these best sellers were adapted for television. The British actor and directorKenneth Branagh played Wallander in several BBC broadcasts. Perhaps the most successful Wallander screen portrayals were for Swedish television and starred the Swedish actor Krister Henriksson, whom Mr. Mankell often said came closest to his own image of the detective.
Income from his novels and their screen adaptations made Mr. Mankell a multimillionaire. But he continued to espouse often controversial left-wing views.
A virulent critic of Israel, he denounced the two-state solution as fraudulent. Writing for a leftist political blog, Pulse, after a visit to Israel and the West Bank in 2009, he called for “the fall of this disgraceful apartheid system.” In 2010 he was aboard one of the ships in the flotilla that tried to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza. In a confrontation with Israeli forces on one of the boats, nine people were killed. Mr. Mankell, who was on another vessel, was arrested and deported back to Sweden.
He is survived by his wife, Ms. Bergman, and a son, Jon.
Mr. Mankell chafed at his failure to reach a broader audience outside of Sweden for his many works besides the Wallander series. In all, he wrote more than 40 volumes of fiction and 40 plays.
But some critics suggested that, like other mystery writers seeking higher literary recognition, Mr. Mankell could not escape the stylistic limitations of the detective genre.
In a 2007 Times review of his World War I-era naval novel “Depths,” Lucy Ellmann asserted Mr. Mankell was “encumbered with all those irritating little habits mystery writers can develop: staccato sentences, paragraphs and chapters,” as well as “that old audience-grabber, plot for plot’s sake, in the form of a murder every now and then (even the cat gets killed).”
Mr. Mankell eventually tired of Wallander. He ended the detective’s career with the publication of “The Troubled Man” (2009), in which Wallander bows out of the police force because of Alzheimer’s disease. “I shall not miss Wallander,” Mr. Mankell told The Guardian in 2013.
But his readers and many reviewers did.
“Detective Chief Inspector Kurt Wallander has solved his last case,” Marilyn Stasio lamented in a 2011 Times review. “Making this news more bitter, the alcoholic, diabetic, antisocial and perpetually dour Swedish detective is at his gloomy best in ‘The Troubled Man.’ ”

Friday, October 2, 2015

Quote du jour/Buddy Guy

If you haven't had a bad time in life, just keep living.
Buddy Guy from the movie
Keith Richards Under the Influence