Monday, February 25, 2013



After such a long absence, it seemed to make a kind of zany sense to attend to things in a sorta Memento chronology---despite my having absolutely no resemblance to Guy Pearce in artistry, aspect or appearance.
  Though my brain does take frequent flights and detours, with nowhere near his excuse.
So, starting at the newest of things, hoping to place just ONE of the recent celebrations within some semblance of nearness to its holiday, this is our Valentine's Day Dinner.    Celebrated on Monday, 18th February.
Flowers from Caro, in a lovely old square mercury-glass container.

Our simple table setting---if you could have seen the REST of the room, well, SIMPLE was the way to go.

Dinner, courtesy of Caro.   I made the salad and Sweetpea and I set the table.   The beads and goblet were HER idea, and we all donned our fancy bling as we picked up our napkins.
(Which seem to have escaped---perhaps to a romantic tryst with some missing socks).

Cold, crisp Romaine with thin sweet onion, olives, pepperoncini, garlicky croutons, and a lively sharp Dijon vinaigrette.   Makes my tongue curl to describe it.

THE LASAGNA.   This stuff perfumed the house all day long, from beginnings of the sauce to the lovely aromas of the baking.   And it was SCRUMPTIOUS.

 Tortellini and meatballs as the second pasta, for it's Sweetpea's favorite, by her Mommy's recipe.
Oh, My.   You coulda just stepped in and lounged forever on this bread.   It was cut all kinds of ways, with slices of Provolone all tucked in with green onions and garlic butter, then fresh Mozzarella grated on top.  Just grab a pinch of crust and PULLLLL off a warm hunk of that gooey goodness.   We could have just filled the salad bowls, tossed this foil packet in the middle of the table and called it GOOOD.

Little crimped hearts with cherry filling.   I always think of Menolly's little Bubbly Pies when I see such a wonderful, juices-escaping dessert.  The sparkle-sugar heart "crust cookies" were for You Know Who.

Dessert Plate---sugar cookie and a scoop of Homemade Vanilla.  

Simple and unruffled, but I'd wager Limoge and Sheffield have seen less sumptuous fare, and WAY less interesting company.

I hope all your holidays were wonderful; will try to catch up sometime before the calendar makes full circle.

moire non,

Friday, February 8, 2013


Good Morning, and my apologies for such a lengthy absence.  Many, many things and doings and happenings to tell, and they're all scrambled into jottings and memories and thoughts-to-compose, with scarce time to gather them.

So for now, just a remembrance from the first year of this blog, of other Winters, other times, and of settling into a snowy day---it's just sort of a miraculous, disheveled comfort, somehow:

We went out and about today, in the slow, drifting-down flakes the size of cornflakes; their warm reception from the ground sent them melting the moment they hit. We strolled the dampening aisles of the grocery store, in company with fellow-gatherers intent on those gallons of milk and loaves of bread.

And you know, that's our Southern upbringing---ten flakes past a window, and the school buses started carting the cheering younguns home, as their parents sought the earliest moment they could desert their own posts at work, to get to the grocery store. Milk, I always understood, but how all those clumpy soft loaves of Wonder Bread would save the day in an emergency situation was a mystery past my solving. During all my years of living below the M/D, only once did the power in our area go out for any length of time, and that was during an ice storm, in which the relentless freezing rain coated every tree and bush and shrub with unbearable weights of diamond-clear ice.

The valiant plants shouldered the burdens as long as they could, then with resounding cracks akin to the calving-cries of the ice itself in colder climes, the limbs gave way and surrendered, tumbled, fell. The landscape took on the look of a vast planet on which giants had lumbered through, shearing off the tops of things and smashing the bits to ground, shattering away the sheathings crystal clear, and leaving the dark bones like some wasteland where old beasts go to die. Tarzan's legendary Elephant Graveyard must have looked something like our devastated pecan grove.

And as the layers grew on the harp-strings of power wires, they sagged ever lower in their ponderous glaze, in symmetry of drop-string on cakes I'll never bake, pulling the supporting poles with them into tinkertoy bows and bends. And the lights went out for miles.

Except mine. I'll never explain that, for the power people worked for DAYS, re-attaching and re-positioning and raising the poles, and surely SOMEwhere between us and the power station, there was a complete break. But we had lights at our house. The Grandparents and the Great-Grandparents had gas heat and plenty of lanterns and lamps and candles, and could cook and stay warm; they laughed and said it was just like "living back at Home"---the homes of their raisings---to have to spend an evening around the kitchen table, with only the glow of coal-oil lamps, and a jig-saw puzzle for entertainment.

So today is nothing in the scheme of weather things. The snow fluff had taken on a new energy when we emerged from the store, whitening the streets and our driveway, and we crunched up the sidewalk with our bags, our hair full of drifty clumps and our footprints filling before we could return. We stomped in, put away groceries, changed to warm dry socks and soft flannel pants, and have been cooking a couple of old family favorite recipes for supper---the meatballs in "red gravy,"---not the pasta kind of sauce, but the raw peppers/onions/canned tomatoes layered in the covered skillet of browned meat with a good shake of black pepper, some salt, and a smitch of sugar, perhaps a bay leaf according to your whim. It cooks down into a fragrant hearty peasanty dish, delicious over rice or mashed potatoes.

I made a big Ziploc of the dry spiced tea mix DD2 likes so much---I'll send that tomorrow if the weather warrants getting out to the P.O. And now the house is again Christmas-perfumed of cinnamon and orange and clove, with a faint haze of goldy-tan upon the kitchen counters. Whisking all the dry ingredients together is an impossibility in the weights of things---the dry tea floats on the arid heft of the sugar and the Tang, and rises like lines of thin flotsam on the edges of a tide. I set the kettle, poured a cup, sipped the familiar old flavors of the Seventies, when Tang was a marvel of wholesome fare, and the dry mix stirred up in countless kitchens for a comforting cup at home, or for bringing out Mrs. Heafner's samovar to impress the visiting Grand Matron, as ladies in hats sipped dainty sips of the exotic, heady brew called "Russian Tea."

I also minced an onion, sweated it in a little knob of butter and some salt, then laid in about 3/4 of a pound of chicken livers, left from the giblet-gravy-making on Friday. I'd saved one boiled egg, as well, from the ones boiled for devilling, to make Caro her holiday favorite: Chopped Liver, to spread warm on little pita-points toasted crisp.

And I just finished cutting up what was always known in our downhome Meat 'n' Threes and cafeterias as Combination Salad---iceberg, sweet onion, bell pepper, a bit of cucumber, some grape tomatoes---to be served with the last of the pimiento dressing from the Christmas Eve slaw.

Caro and I are having a Girls' Evening---dinner on trays at five, and my choice from the big stack of "Classics" DVD's she gave me for Christmas: Austens, mostly, with Jane Eyre and Middlemarch in the mix as well. And since Middlemarch is seven hours. . .