Archive for February, 2011

I Faced Temptation; I Lost the Challenge and Loved the Taste of Defeat.

Posted in Uncategorized on February 22, 2011 by drycreekherbs

I just thought I was going to work today…I even think I had an appointment but it is, after all, President’s Day, so at 8:30 I texted Mary and asked if we were ‘open!’ No and hallelujah….so I had to cook. Possibly because of the Central Market Cooking Class as inspiration. I decided to make Dulche de Leche pound cake and Blood Orange Sorbet for the Mah Jongg group tomorrow. So like anything I do, it was an I Love Lucy episode gone South. Four hours after pulling out the ingredients I had on hand and sending Len, quick like a rabbit to Brookshire Bros for UNSALTED butter, I had flour in my hair and nostrils, but two loaves of an uninspired, Americanish-Oprah pound cake….yikes….looks like a plebeian pumpkin loaf. Grrrrrr.

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So about the temptation. I bought what I believed to be Dulche de Leche…but it turns out to be a Mexican version of Eagle Brand Milk***. I tried, oh God, how I tried just to use the one cup noted for the recipe. But there was a 1/2 cup left in the can. Just one tiny little dip with ‘pointer’, as in preschool songs. I fell into the depths of joyful lust. It was sooooooooo good. I did it and I am only moderately ashamed, no not ashamed at all. It was good and I am somehow richer for the experience. I ate that dulche de leche and I spiraled into bliss–even if am called Barrel Butt for ever more. Who invented condensed sweetened milk anyway? Pulitzer Prize winner or burn em’ in effigy?

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Then came the garnish….candied lime peel…an hour of scraping the pith off, boiling and plunging into an ice water bath THREE TIMES….what did I get? It looks for all practical purposes like candied dill pickles and tastes only a bit better. HOWEVER, the Blood Orange Sorbet i very tasty. Sadly the machine it required at $60.00 and the blood orange juice sent directly from Italy ($5.00) put the product over the national stimulus package. Mah Jongg refreshments should be limited to Ritz crackers except I just adore this kind of Home Eckish kind of day. I could have turned out beautifully.   

Finally at the end of thi very busy day, I met Karen M. and Kim H.at BJs Brewhouse to discus Katie’s shower. We are all set. AND of course, we had a wonderful time remembering Pam…each in our own individual way. We share that common love for a good friend. We agree that we all want to be remembered and loved as we loved her and now our dear Katie. I wish I could take Katie to San Miguel….hmmmm. Food for thought. I wonder if Colin, fiancee, is open minded?

***Eagle Brand Milk…who knew this? I am wiser beyond my years.

In 1856 Eagle Brand® was introduced in 1856 by Gail Borden to combat food poisoning and other illnesses related to lack of refrigeration and preservation techniques. The Civil War brought Eagle Brand the recognition required to make it a household name. The military needed milk that would keep well and Borden’s product filled that need. Additionally, Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk was credited with significantly lowering the infant mortality rate in North America. I just knew there was something righteous about this stuff. Gail Borden’s discovery provided milk that would remain safe and wholesome—at that time, an important contribution to the nourishment of infants and children!!!! Hallelujah!

Dinner Date: Central Market’s Beef Eaters Feast Cooking Class

Posted in Learning Curve on February 19, 2011 by drycreekherbs

I drove back home from San Antonio for a quick make over then Len and I headed South again so we could have our belated Valentine dinner date–at Central Market’s cooking school.

Discoveries:

After 40 years of marriage, dinner dates aren’t necessary for conversation–we do that while brushing our teeth, emptying the dishwasher or cat’s litter box, making the bed, doing laundry, etc. So the cooking class was really a kick…very stimulating and lots to talk about. Len had never been to a cooking class and loved it! I need to get him to go with me to the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival.

We both had our very first201102222130.jpg Beef Carpaccio! I mean it is raw meat! You know I thought I would probably swoon or even get sick…but NOT–we liked it!

Beef Wellington is so-so.

I love Beef Bourguignon.

Len tries harder to please than I try.

I love Blood Orange Sorbet and will definitely learn to make it.

i learned a lot more than I thought as a Home Ec major….

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Another Installment on the Process of Aging

Posted in Uncategorized on February 17, 2011 by drycreekherbs

large image211311191.jpg I have a lot to say and bet I won’t come near getting it said. I finished reading

The Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardham. It is the sequel to Old Filth. I selected Old Filth for my book club selection this year after it was recommended to me by my ‘neighbor’ in Santa Fe. After reading it, even though I really liked it, I switched to another because one of our members is a recent widow and I felt it could be disturbing for her. So, now that I have read the sequel, I want to talk to a lot of people about it. I am not going to debrief the book here; I could never do it….but the combined books did a wide sweep over 80 years of two lives and absolutely captured the essence of aging. Key words for the two books–Raj Orphans, Hong Kong, Aging, Barristers, Adventure, Travel, Marriage, and Relationships. I am reminded of , “Every dog has his day, Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end,” and several other pithy sayings. I suspect there was just something about the books that made it all resonate for me…someone else might read them and go, “Well, they are so-so.”

Today Mom’s attorney came here and did an actual house call. I am sure that will set Mom back a pretty penny. At any rate, I think Mom’s will will be finally put to rest. It was hard to sit there and discuss her life’s earnings. I want the thinking to be over. Certainly Mom at 89 should have finished this all up a long time ago. Yes, she had a will but not to her liking. I think we have it all straight now.

Tonight I went to the McNay Art Institute for a Texas Watercolor talk and to see their exhibit. I enjoyed it immensely, it was short, easy to understand, and I really liked most of the paintings. This is a first. Two visits to the museum gift shop and I only bought a $1.00 postcard. I really was impressed with The Cocktail Party sculpture/tableau–made of cheese doodles. Hmmm. It was interesting. skog.jpg It was surreal.201102172335.jpg

Tomorrow morning I want to be on my way back North so to miss Mom’s housekeeper who means well, but kind of drives me nuts. Also Len and I are going to Central Market Cooking School’s Beefeaters Feast for a late Valentine Outing.

Here is an item that may haunt me. I have been selected to serve a two year term/sentence on the International Association of Continuing Education and Training’s Board for Standard Development. Ed V. asked me for 150 words or less about my role and responsibilities that could be posted on the MCEC web site. I confessed that I didn’t know, but Mary is pleased as punch. I think she hopes it will increase our likelihood to be re-approved this next year. Maybe it will fire up some of my neurons. Maybe.

Oh please God, don’t let the world get crazier. Please don’t let the drug lords destroy Mexico. Please save San Miguel. Please don’t let the US fall like the Roman Empire. Please let mercy reign. Please forgive me for everything mentioned in the Book of Common Prayer’s Confession of Sin: “We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which we from time to time most grievously have committed, by thought, word, and deed , against, they divine Majesty, provoking most justly they wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, and are heartily sorry for these our misdoing against us, the burden of them is intolerable. Gads, those are some somber words. I think it would be an interesting book about the authors of these words. The human condition, huh?

Frrreeeezing: Making soup, Judging 4H Projects, Flouzy Dressing, and Procrastinating!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 10, 2011 by drycreekherbs

It is soooooo cold–but no snow. I have been holed up most of the day….I made some really good and healthy mushroom and barley soup. I mean really good….Brother Denton came by to get some for his dinner since Becky is out of town doing kinder care. I froze some for Mom too. I think she will like it unless she figures out there are some porchinni mushrooms in it. Also roasted some asparagus with pine nuts to accompany the stuffed pear salad. I did all this because I can’t make myself get involved in an MCEC project that is already overdue. How scared do I have to be to get fired up? And in-between soup making and fire building, I have danced around listening to Barry White….what a sexy voice?! Oh, and playing Word with Friends with Edward who whips me pitifully. It is almost like getting skunked. So much for the advanced degree.

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Yesterday I judged at the Bell County Youth Fair for the second time. I love it. I get in a real zone. Judging sewn items. This time I was paired up with Jackie’s cousin, Renee F. We had so much fun talking and judging….she might even be interested in going to Boston with Belinda and me in August for the St. Anthony Feast Days. Susan Lawson was there too—so it was even better….after we finished our tasks, Suz and I had lunch in Salado.

Len is still freeeeezing too in El Paso. He seems to like the work and colleagues out there. He thinks he might have a two month TDY trip in Huntsville, Al in April and May. I asked if he wanted to do that long out of town and he said yes….he likes the money and the work too….I understand that. It is hard for him to be unoccupied so I hope he gets to do it. Also, every kitchen appliance is breaking so maybe it is time to remodel. I bet he would rather spend the money on a new bike!

Mickey and Morris are worthless today….they haven’t even been into the cat nip. Mickey went out and chased a few puny birds but had to come in quickly so she could use her litter box. Disgusting.

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OK, opera talk: Just after being home 24 hours, I met Jackie at the Dairy Queen so we could drive to Austin to see The Italian Girl in Algiers, another opera boufé. It was very boufé-ish and we liked it. We really like going early to hear the lecture about the opera by Margaret Perry, I think. She is verrrrrrry enthusiastic about opera. Here is something funny I want to remember. Jackie and I do like going to the opera and we really like commiserating on what we will be wearing, etc. So as I donned my almost a mini, leopard velveteen skirt, black rouched sweater, dangly earrings, and a head full of ringlets, I decided to text her: “Looking verrrrrry cheap. tall, and wearing the wrong shoes.” I purposely left out the leopard skirt! Her response: “I will be trying too hard to look younger–wearing boots and glittery top. We will be an interesting couple (and I use the term loosely–do not be afraid.)” I wrote, “OMG, I AM AFRAID.” So with all that being said, we got out of the car and started toward the Long Center. Two older women were getting out of their car when one said, “You two are sure flashy!” No kidding. Yup, I guess we were/are. IMG_1456

After the performance we did a quick run through at Central Market so I could load up on Spirutein Protein Powder–then went for dinner at the Roaring Fork. Nice dinner and nice visit with Jackie.

A Week in Atlanta for the Guard and Reserve Conference–Then Stranded!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 6, 2011 by drycreekherbs

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Dee M-G and I flew into Atlanta this past Monday where we met up with Keith M. We consider ourselves to the A Team for MCEC in the Exhibit Hall. I mean we can really tell the story and get a lot of people to our table/booth. Keith is great at networking….I mean great. I am sorry I don’t have a picture of the three of us…next time. We will go again next year and there may be another one I can go to this summer if it doesn’t conflict with the International Music Festival in San Miguel. Nothing can bump that event! Anyway, it was fun….We always hitting the other tables for their promotional items. This year we were given lots, as in 15, toothbrushes and 2 cases of protein bars! Sally P. flew in from Rochester, NY to do a presentation…she was fantastic and did MCEC proud.   

The Hilton was so-so but well-connected…literally by sky bridges to all sorts of other hotels and little mini malls. Because the weather was so hideous—cold, rain, and fog, I never left the indoors for four days. That was yucky. So I walked indoors through five buildings using the sky bridges. From my explorations I found a round of nicer restaurants and bars for us after the conference was over.

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One of the major highlights of the trip was seeing my very old friend, Ken K., from my high school days at Kaiserslautern American High School. It had been 23 years since we had seen each other at the all-class reunion in Houston in 1993. I love Ken. He is a joyous person and great fun. He met the entire A Team….bonded with all. t was a great evening. Ken was hilarious telling us all about some of the funnier times he had in Viet Nam. I hope I get to see him again next year. Keith and Dee will insist! I wish I had a photo of him….he has aged nicely….reminds me of Gordon A.

Dee discovered that we didn’t have to stay through Friday so we changed our flight to Thursday night since central Texas was expecting snow and ice….we were pretty smug….we checked out of the hotel, broke down the display, packed and were ready to get the shuttle when we received a call from Delta….Our flight was cancelled and rescheduled for Saturday!#$%#@&. Although we missed it all, I guess Killeen, Temple, Belton, Salado, etc. were crippled with ice and snow. But not as bad as North Texas. Sooooooooo, what to do. We spent another night at the Hilton but decided to move to the Marriott for the last night. It was cheaper and waaaaaaaay nicer. The sports bar became our dining hall and also served the BEST Southern Comfort Manhattans. Too good. So what to do on Friday? THe weather was hideous…..freezing raw cold and wet. We met a young woman at the bar who was in town for the Apparel Market….the idea was born….we should go. So I called Kristi to email me copies of my Texas Tax Certificate…it was all very techno…and it worked. We printed it up and headed for the Apparel Mart through even more sky bridges. AND they let us in….although it was tricky. Dee and I were overwhelmed with the clothing and jewelry. We hit a few cash and carry jewelry showrooms….then just as we were about to leave I saw them…..my favorite hats. Max had sent me an earlier email telling me that all was well here at the houseand to enjoy myself even if I was stranded…but he followed it up by saying, “Just don’t buy a hat!.” He has to help me storethem in the top of closets and under beds. Well, I took the attached picture and emailed him….”I didn’t buy a hat, I bought 12!” It was the minimum order. Dee bought two of the 12 so I only have to store 10! They are verrrrrrrrrry cool hats.

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IMG_1450.jpgIMG_1454.JPG We were whipped after this outing but steady enough to venture on to the train and out to the Lennox mall where we did just a bit of looking and had the best pizzas at the California Pizza Kitchen. We flipped for Apparel MKT badge.jpg the pear and gorgonzola with caramelized onions. Ok, by then we were really exhausted so we went on back to the Marriot, wet and cold and ready to come home. We were on the shuttle to the airport at 7:20…we expected a mad house but it was really very efficient and quick and we made it home to sunshine by noon.

My cats were glad enough to see me and grateful for the sunshine too. Kristi said they had cabin fever which probably means they were naughty and distractive in my absence. After a nice 5 mile walk I went over to see Katie and Colllin’s new house, right here in Salado. I love that little gal. Tomorrow the opera with Jackie.