26 June 2010

Pink Saturday ~ Art Deco Pinks, Part 2

Pink Saturday is hosted by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound. She loves pink and graciously invited the rest of us to play along. Check out her blog to see who all else is enjoying this week's pink party.

Continuing with what makes me the deco lady and the pink art deco theme from last week, I've moved from my dressing area to the bar area. I just love these campy little decanters. Made in Japan, they are not the greatest quality, but I think they are so cute. The pink bellhop I have had for a long time. It was missing some of its cups, but I found a totally different decanter with the same cups and got it so I would have cups for this little guy. Then just last year, my daughters found the little green bellhop. He had no cups with him, so I gave him the pink ones. I think these must have been made by the same company. The heads seem to be made from the same mold. And they make me smile whenever I look at them.

As it's summer, this drink recipe booklet is just what we need. The pocket flask is covered with pink leather and the clock lets us know it's 5:00 somewhere.

Harkening back to something I mentioned last week - the lovely packaging manufacturers used in times past. Mohawk Liqueurs were put up in these lovely skyscraper style bottles. They came in a number of different colours and plain clear glass, depending on which liqueur was in the bottle. The pinkish ones held Blackberry Liqueur. Many of these are found without their labels and I use them to hold my homemade drinks such as limoncello and vin de pamplemousse. The smaller bottles say they hold 25/32 pint and the larger bottles hold 25/32 quart (that would be 12 1/2 and 25 oz respectively).

Last, but not least, a beautiful pink waterfall light globe. This is not in the bar area, but in the nearby foyer. It came to me from Belgium. The Guy (not so jokingly) says I furnished and decorated this house via eBay.

All you art deco fans out there who like pink, don't give up hope. There are pink items out there. Keep looking. Happy Pink Saturday!

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25 June 2010

Today is the day ~ Bloggerette Sorority Party

We've been getting ready all month, going through Rush and such. Today the Bloggerette Sorority is launched. Our Rush assignment was to take the bloggerette sorority vintage photo and create something with it. Didn't matter what it was: a banner, a hanging, an ATC, a piece of jewelry, a tag, a card . . . anything! Then we had to print the picture and place it in a frame. The hard part of the assignment was: we had to put a photo of ourselves into the photo.

So here is the original photo.

And here is my altered image (made into an ATC) where I've magically become a member of the group. And still wearing red, of course!

Currently I am enroute to the Blue Ridge Mountains so I have scheduled this post ahead of time. When I get back to computer access, I'll be checking in to see everyone's photos. In the meanwhile, click on the button below to see a list of all the sorority sisters and links to their blogs.

Won't you join us?

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20 June 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday #74 - Alton Brown's Creamed Corn

I have never been much of a fan of creamed corn and hadn't really eaten it since my grandmother passed away. I liked hers OK, but it was a bit sweet for me. And the stuff that comes in a can is just nasty - mostly sweetened cornstarch goop with some corn kernels. Around five or six years ago I was watching Good Eats and Alton Brown made creamed corn. Hmmm. It looked different than what I was used to seeing, didn't use a lot of sugar and was seasoned with rosemary. That might be something we would like. So I gave it a try.

Well, let me tell you, it was delicious. It is now my go-to recipe for creamed corn. I like to make it several times during the summer. This year I am hoping to make enough to put some in the freezer to have when corn is out of season.

And as when I think of corn, I think yellow, this is my MellowYellow Monday post. Check out who else is joining Drowsey Monkey at this week's Mellow Yellow Monday party.

I got corn in the last CSA veggie box and decided it was high time to make Alton's Creamed Corn. So I gathered all the ingredients together:

Next I got the corn cut off the cob.

The directions say after the corn is cut off the cob, you should use the dull side of the knife to scrape off the remaining pulp and corn milk. Do not be tempted to skip this step. I probably got another cup full of corn goodness to add to the skillet.

Sauté the onion in butter. I did this in my lovely Lilac Mist Le Creuset pot. Have I mentioned that I just love my Staub and Le Creuset pots?

Add the corn to the pot.

Then the seasonings. I picked the rosemary about five minutes before I put it in the pot.

Luscious creamed corn, ready to serve:

Better Than Grannie's Creamed Corn
Alton Brown

1/2 onion, diced
1 Tbsp butter
2 pinches kosher salt
8 ears fresh corn
1 sprig fresh rosemary, bruised
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 Tbsp yellow cornmeal
1 cup heavy cream
Fresh ground black pepper

Sauté onion in butter with salt in a saucepan until onion is translucent.

Cut corn off cob, removing only the tops of the kernel with a knife, using long smooth downward strokes. After the cob has been stripped, use the dull backside of your knife to scrape any remaining pulp and milk off the cob.

Add the corn mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium high until the juice has thickened. Add the rosemary and sprinkle with sugar and turmeric. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the cornmeal onto the corn, using a whisk to combine. Add the cream and cook until the corn has softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the rosemary sprig, and season with freshly ground black pepper. Now it is ready to serve.

1. I had 10 ears of corn in the veggie box and used them all. Then I increased all the other ingredients slightly so it would be seasoned correctly.
2. Because this was Silver Queen corn, I used 1/2 tsp turmeric in order to give the finished dish a more yellow colour.

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Wedding Anniversary ~ The Guy and I

32 YEARS!!!

On this day in 1978 Mike and I eloped. Mike is 2 years older than me and we had known each other for several years. His sister, Pam, is my age and was my college roommate. I call him The Guy because that's what Pam called him. (Pam and I called each other room persons, and when we talk to one another always say, Person instead of our names. Abbey started out calling Pam, Pam Person, but shortened it to P Person. Mike's mother told us one time our moms gave us perfectly good names and they weren't Person. But I digress.) The Guy and I actually went out a few times after astronomy lab the year he was a senior and I was a sophomore. But that was really just as friends. Except for the night Pam and I graduated (when he told me to have a wonderful life!), I hadn't seen him again until December of my second year of graduate school. By that time he had his Ph.D. and was hired to work for Texas Instruments in Dallas.

I went to visit The Person between Christmas and the New Year. This time something clicked and we started our relationship. Pam was getting married in July. Her wedding began getting complicated. And interestingly Mike was Best Man and I was Maid of Honour. One day in May Mike looked at me and said, "We should just elope." And so we did!

I was still working on my Master's degree at LSU, so we had a commuting relationship and big phone bills. And I have never been exactly traditional. He had an engagement ring made for me: a square emerald-cut emerald solitaire, which I still adore. Planning around his work and my summer school schedule and work, we decided I would come to Dallas on the weekend and we would get married on Monday, the 19th. Best laid plans..... He had come to get me, so I didn't have my car. And the bearings went out in one of his wheels. Wedding delayed until the 20th because of car repairs.

But it worked out just fine. He left work early on Tuesday and we went down to the old red brick courthouse in downtown Dallas to get our marriage license. Then we walked across the street to the new courthouse and took whichever judge was doing weddings that day.

We had to wait in the jury box of an empty courtroom till the justice was free. In his office the judge asked us if we were related. I was SO nervous. Except for that question and looking down at our hands when we exchanged rings and seeing mine shaking, I don't remember anything else until we were walking out and some deputy made some comment. Now of course, The Guy tells me I promised all kinds of things I would NEVER have agreed to do. LOL.

I love The Guy more than I ever would have thought anyone ever could. There have been ups and downs. We've faced both good times and bad times. He is my rock and the love of my life. He is a good man. He's been a more wonderful father to my children than I ever could have imagined. He is kind and protective, but he has given them room to grow up and become amazing young women. He loves them. He loves me.

He loves to read and he loves books, though the last year or so he's really been getting into his Kindle. He is an intelligent man. He enjoys science, math, ham radio and woodworking. While he's not an avid fisherman, he likes to fish. He taught the girls how to fish. He and I go fishing at the farm. And he takes care of all the nasty stuff to get the fishies to the kitchen. Then I take over the prep. He's a good son to his mother and to my mother. I love The Guy. And I am in love with him. He is also my best friend.

I don't know how I would have gotten through the MDS and transplant without Mike, as he has been caretaker extraordinaire. From him I have truly learned the meaning of unselfish love. So thirty-two years and many happy times later, I dedicate this song by Orleans to my beloved:

You're Still the One!

We've been together since way back when
Sometimes I never wanted to see you again
But I want you to know, after all these years
You're still the one I want whisperin' in my ear

You're still the one I want to talk to in bed
Still the one that turns my head
We're still having fun, and you're still the one

I looked at your face every day
But I never saw it 'til I went away
When winter came, I just wanted to go
Deep in the desert, I longed for the snow

You're still the one that makes me laugh
Still the one that's my better half
We're still having fun, and you're still the one

You're still the one that makes me strong
Still the one I want to take along
We're still having fun, and you're still the one
Yes you are

Changing, our love is going gold
Even though we grow old, it grows new

You're still the one that I love to touch
Still the one and I can't get enough
We're still having fun, and you're still the one

You're still the one who can scratch my itch
Still the one and I wouldn't switch
We're still having fun, and you're still the one

You are still the one that makes me shout
Still the one that I dream about
We're still having fun, and you're still the one...

You're still the one
You're still the one
We're still having fun, and you're still the one...

And just as I was on this afternoon in 1978, I am so looking forward to the rest of our lives together!

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19 June 2010

Cherry Blueberry Preserves

Still working on blueberries from this week's CSA veggie box. This is another recipe I have been wanting to try, so I went to Publix this morning and got some cherries to go with my blueberries.

Blueberries and cherries. Aren't the beautiful?

To get those beautiful cherries, do yourself a favour. If you do not have a cherry pitter, get one. This tool makes it so easy to stone the fruit. (Works well on many olives, too.) You will save a lot of time and have a lot less waste.

Another tool that is invaluable - a nutmeg grater. Mine is over 100 years old as it belonged to my great-grandmother. But shiny new ones are available at kitchen shops. I just prefer to use hers because it makes me feel as if she is in the kitchen with me. And freshly grated nutmeg is so much better than the ground nutmeg in the spice aisle at the grocery.

Berries and such cooking to come to temp (in once again the Lilac Mist Le Creuset pot). A candy thermometer is the way to go to determine the correct temperature of 220°F.

Once again the jars in the makeshift canner:

Six beautiful half-pint jars of Cherry Blueberry Preserves. And there is another piece of a jar in the refrigerator.

These preserves are just delightful. The flavours all go together really well. This is one of those foods where the total is more than the sum of the parts. I will likely make another batch next week so that I can have some for gifts!

Cherry Blueberry Preserves
Makes 5 or 6 half-pint jars

4 cups cherries, washed and pitted
3 cups blueberries, rinsed, picked over for stems
4½ cups sugar
1 Tbsp thinly sliced lemon zest
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan. I really like Staub and Le Creuset for this. Stir over medium heat to dissolve the sugar. Boil over high heat, being careful not to burn, until the mixture reaches 220°F on a cooking thermometer. Mash the blueberries and cherries while cooking so that they are not in whole pieces.

Ladle into hot, sterile jars, allowing ¼” of headspace. Cap and seal. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.

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Blueberry Opal Basil Jam

This week's CSA veggie box had lots of blueberries, so I spent some time this morning going through my recipe file to look for some different recipes for jams, preserves, etc. After making the Blueberry Lavender Jam I was on a roll using herbs, so second up is another recipe I have had in my files for a while and been wanting to try: Blueberry Basil Jam. Because I have a huge pot of opal basil and this seemed like a good use for it, I changed up the recipe to use the opal variety. This recipe only makes 2 or 3 half pint jars, so it is not overwhelming.

Here are the ingredients. I just love opal basil and feel like I don't really use it enough. The kitchen twine holder was a gift I got last year and I am really finding it useful.

Now the ingredients have moved to the pot (once again my Lilac Mist Le Creuset):

Jars of jam in the makeshift canner:

Blueberry Basil Jam in the jars and waiting for the ping.

I really like the flavour of the basil with the blueberries. For years now I've been making a Peach White Wine Sangria that uses peaches and basil, so I thought this flavour profile would be good. It's even better than I thought!

Blueberry Basil Jam
makes about 2 half-pint jars

3 cups blueberries, cleaned, stems removed
½ cups sugar
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 sprigs fresh opal basil
¼ cup water
1 tsp pectin

Toss the blueberries with the sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and let sit for one hour at room temperature.

Take the sprigs of basil and tie them together using kitchen twine.

Put the basil bundle in a heavy saucepan and smash the leaves to release the aromatic oils and flavour. Pour in the blueberry mixture and water and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Mash the berries so they are not chunky. Boil, stirring frequently for approximately 30 minutes. Stir in the pectin and cook 5 more minutes. Remove the bundle of basil from the jam using a slotted spoon and discard.

Ladle the jam into the jars leaving ¼” headspace. Top with lids and rings. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Remove from canner and listen for the ping to let you know the jars are sealed.

1. If you do not have opal basil, regular basil will do.
2. This recipe can be tripled successfully.

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Blueberry Lavender Jam

This week's CSA veggie box had over a gallon of blueberries, so I spent some time this morning perusing different recipes for jams, preserves, etc. First up is one I have had in my files for a while and have been wanting to try: Blueberry Lavender Jam. The recipe calls for dried lavender, but as I have some growing in a container, I just picked some of that. This recipe only makes 2 or 3 half pint jars, so it is not overwhelming.

So I've gathered the ingredients. It only takes three.

My lavender sachet. Wrapping in cheesecloth or putting the flowers in a tea ball makes it easier to remove them later.

Blueberries, white grape juice and sachet in my Lilac Mist Le Creuset pot.

Jars in my makeshift canner:

And here we have them cooling and waiting for that telltale ping that lets me know they are sealed.

The lavender is subtle, but it gives a hint of a different background flavour to the jam. This one is a keeper. Next time I make this I think I might use just a little bit more lavender.

Blueberry Lavender Jam
Makes about 2 or 3 half-pint jars

2 Tbsp dried lavender flowers or a few blossom sprigs of fresh lavender
11½ oz can frozen white grape juice concentrate
3 cups fresh blueberries, washed and drained
1 tsp powdered pectin

Make a lavender sachet: Cut a piece of cheesecloth into a 6-inch square, place lavender in the centre, and tie into a bundle with kitchen twine. Or, place lavender in a tea ball and secure lid.

Cook the jam: In a heavy saucepan (I used a Le Creuset) over medium heat, bring lavender sachet, grape juice concentrate, and blueberries to a boil. Stir constantly to prevent burning for about 20 minutes. Cover and steep for 2 hours. Bring jam back to a boil and stir in pectin. Remove from heat and discard the lavender sachet. Ladle jam into sterilised jars. Put lids on jars and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. If you do not want to can the jam, place it in jars and store in refrigerator for up to 1 month.

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Pink Saturday ~ Art Deco Pinks, Part 1

Pink Saturday is hosted by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound. She loves pink and graciously invited the rest of us to play along. Check out her blog to see who all else is enjoying this week's party.

There is a reason for the name of my blog. For years my friends have described me as that deco lady because I collect art deco. Pink is not a colour that normally comes to mind when thinking of art deco. It's more associated with Victorian times. But if you look around there are art deco pinks to be found. I thought I would begin share a few with you today.

We'll start with things in my dressing area. First is this little pin tray. I bought this on eBay from a guy in Germany. It's made of glass and is about 6" long. I keep it on my bedside table, as I invariably forget to take off my rings and earrings until after I have gotten in bed. The pin tray is a perfect thing to hold them.

This is a pink glass powder box. I use it on my dressing table to hold pins.

More pink glass. This set of vases I picked up some years ago at a shop in York, England. They are Bagley Grantham, date back to the 1930s, and also live on my dressing table.

I like pink in my dressing area. These pieces are by New Martinsville, an American glass company. It is pattern #33, Modernistic. Design patents are dated 1928 and 1929. Modernistic was not made very long, but there are nine known items and it is found in eleven different colours. These are in the acidized satin finish with black cold paint decoration. I have a few other pieces in different colours, but I am still looking for the pink candleholders and perfume bottle.

Manufacturers used to package things so beautifully. These bottles were used by Marinello to hold Acne Lotion and Astringent Lotion. The little round jar is part of a dresser set.

These two items are pottery. On the left is a deco lady figurine and on the right is a perfume bottle. The lady is unmarked, but the perfume bottle is made by Franciscan. It was made for Fragrance de heriot, Hollywood and New York. While the perfume bottle is shown in the book Franciscan, Catalina, and other Gladding-McBean Wares, this is the only one I have ever seen for sale. It is missing it's top, but I was still thrilled to find it. The bottle was used for more than one fragrance. In the book there is a foil label on the base that says, "La Premeire de heriot". The foil label on mine says, "Wood Lilac de heriot".

If you like pink and you like art deco, don't give up hope. There are pink items out there. Happy Pink Saturday!

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