Monday, August 3, 2015

It's Better Than Fig Leaves

Perhaps I lack a sense of fashion, but I have never felt drawn to animal print outfits or crocodile handbags. To my mind zebra stripe belongs only on zebras, snakeskin makes better snakes than boots, the leopard can keep his spots to himself and, giraffe print only ever looks right on someone with a 12 foot neck (so pretty much just giraffes and the guys from beyond alpha centauri).

The seeming public obsession with animal prints continues, circling round every few years with varying degrees of accuracy and imagination. Looking at craft and fabric store faux furs I have to wonder if there really are that many people seeking turquoise tiger stripes or, say, spandex-knit pant-weight skin of an animal I'm guessing it was half cheetah, half komodo dragon? I don't know.

But then, as I was pondering yet again the dubious wisdom that causes someone to put together an outfit consisting entirely of leopard print (in this case a swim suit and sarong edged in wooden beads no doubt meant to look tribal somehow) the answer came to me: It all goes back to the garden of Eden.

And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. ~Genesis 3:21

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Wrong Inner Child

...except ye be as a little child...

I have a friend who claims to not only not have had a childhood but to not believe a childhood is necessary. I have another friend who is currently living in a prolonged state of selfish adolescence. 

What is the balance? Not everything an be excused by pop psychology and blaming your inner child.

What makes childhood sweet but childishness hard to put up with?

How do we balance the innocence against the ignorance? Make room for irresponsibility in a life of responsibilities?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Simon Says: Po-tah-to

Po-tay-to, po-tah-to, Simon says. Don't we have enough of those already?

Simon is, himself, not much of a potato eater. Though he would eat the butter from on top if I gave him one of my baked potatoes.  He has been perfectly clear about that on previous occasions. So I can't really be surprised to find he is not getting worked up over this fascinating blog article (link) on how to breed your own new potato varieties.

I on the other hand am super excited and can hardly wait until morning to see if any of our potato plants are still blooming and ripe for hand-pollinating. Aren't you excited? I ask him.

I can't wait, Simon says, for you to turn out the light and let me sleep in peace. Does that count?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Dilly Lily Apple Jelly

green apple

When critters come calling and birds begin to peck your produce how do you protect your fresh growing food?  One way is to bring it in early.  Tomatoes, for example, can be ripened on windowsills when the bunnies begin to get thirsty and bite into the juicy red goodness hanging on the vine.

Apples brought in early can be used in an even better way, to make jellies. The tartness of a green apple, makes it not just higher in pectin but a perfect punch up for a dill weed jelly.

dill flowers
the feathery leaves were used in this recipe

Did she say Dill Jelly?
Why yes, I did.

In this case a dill weed (leaves), daylily, and green apple jelly that balances on the sweeter side of sour for an unexpected bit of loveliness that I call Dilly Lily Apple Jelly (partly because it's a fairly accurate name but mostly because it's fun to say). You'll need:

5 cups Sugar
1 package Sure-Jell (pectin)

4 cups of Green Apple Juice (puree)

  • made by chopping about 2 cups of apple into a sauce pan, covering with water and bringing to a boil. Once boiling remove from heat and puree. It can be refrigerated before or after straining out the skins and lumps, and will keep overnight if everything else isn't ready yet.

2 1/2 cups of Dill Weed Infusion

  • made by pouring two cups of boiling water over  3/4 cup fresh dill leaves and allowing to sit/steep for at least 3 hours before use.
2 cups of Daylily Water

  • made by pouring boiling water over the diced up (green stem parts removed) bits of about 7 large daylilies and allowing that to sit in an air tight container for about 36 hours until it is sort of thick and then strain out the petals. Aside from the fact that it will be a pinkish hue it should look exactly like someone put Thick-It in a glass of water.
use the old fashioned orange daylilies
and confirm that your cultivars are in fact edible, not all of them are

Follow instructions with pectin packet for cooking and putting up the jelly.
  • made, basically, by combining 1/3 cup sugar and pectin with liquid and bringing it to a boil. 
  • Have the rest of the sugar measured out and waiting to dump in all at once when you get to a boil because you are stirring non-stop with a long handled wooden spoon. 
  • bring it back to a rolling boil for one minute (ish) until it tests
  • remove from heat and jar in prepared sterile jars. 
  • Refrigerate or use waterbath canner to seal for shelf storage.

If you're not sure about your daylilies, Green Apple Dill Jelly is also a big hit, just leave out the 2 cups of daylily water and reduce the sugar 1 cup.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mexican Sweet Potato Salad

4 cooked chopped (large) sweet potaotes
3 large tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 can pinto beans -- whole
1 large videllia onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice

mix and toss with salad to coat

Monday, July 27, 2015


"They will live so cheap! Their housekeeping will be nothing at all. They will have no carriage, no horses and hardly any servants; they will keep no company and can have no expenses of any kind! Only conceive how comfortable they will be!" -- Fanny Dashwood (from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen)

What we chose to do without and what we view as necessities, we all define our comforts differently. For me simplicity is comfortable. Frugality is less a farce and more an admirable way of life that I am working towards. But that's me.

Several friends believe that anything less than once a week at the movies would be deprivation indeed. I laugh at that. I haven't been out to the movies in many years. I don't miss deafening, crowded, overpriced movie theaters at all. Especially not the ones that are minefields of used chewing gum and sticky soda spills.

Within ourselves we decide to view our life, our experiences and expenditures, as either hardship or happiness. Will we be content to live within our means? Below our means? Our society (media driven) tells us we require many things. But do we really? Perhaps we would all actually be more comfortable with less. I have not noticed extravagant lifestyles making people so much happier, in fact, to judge by the tabloid headlines in the checkout line, I would guess that fame and fortune are actually harder to live with comfortably.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Simon Says: Cheese

It is good, Simon says, to buy local cheese. You should do it more often.

He says this having eaten almost the entire wedge by himself, after I found the flavor to be a piquant manure with a hint of sick and an undertone of sheer horribleness. I will never buy that cheese again.

They had described that particular award winning cheese's flavor as grassy with an "earthy" subtlety. In my opinion, a little too earthy unless you happen to be someone who regularly enjoys the flavor of bird poop and rabbit dung as Simon does, despite my best attempts to civilize him.

I wonder why so many of the "wonderful" local cheeses which are also so often recommended to be served with wine, make me think you would have to be on your third bottle and drunker than a skunk to find the cheeses remotely edible. Perhaps that's the point?

Either that or, Simon says, you know nothing and I'm the real foodie in this family.

...he did enjoy the cheese.