Saturday, May 19, 2012

Of Plums, Chick Flicks And Picnics

It is a beautiful day here in Vermont, looking to be a gorgeous weekend!   Grandma is busy doing dishes and baking this and that to carry along for a picnic tomorrow.   We're going to be spending the day traveling down to Massachusetts to bring Grandma's eldest daughter back for a bit of a vacation (and help with more unpacking!), but I did want to pass along a few tidbits and a recipe or two between loads of dishes and trips to the oven.

Bread baked in a cast iron Dutch Oven

As I type,  iTunes is busy downloading a surprise!  One of the things that Grandma likes best about her precious, should-be-grafted-to-her-arm iPad is that it plays movies and with the 64Gig HD, there is plenty of space to carry around a small library of films.  We've long lived not too far fromJanet Evanovich's New Hampshire home, so she's been a "local girl makes good" favorite ever since Stephanie Plum made her first appearance in One for the Money.  Not long ago, Grandma and her youngest saw the movie version of One For the Money in the theater and quite enjoyed it - definitely worth watching again.  The movie was released on DVD &  Bluray on May 15, 2012, so guess what is downloading to Grandma's computer as she types so we can watch it during that long drive tomorrow:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Heirloom Tomatoes, Cherry Cobbler & Julia Child!

One of the things that Grandma used to love most about traveling around the US was that every place had their own distinctive foods, available nowhere else.  Going out for a meal was always different and you could almost tell where you were by the food on your plate.   Recently, though, local flavors have become thin on the ground in favor of Chili's and Red Robin and Applebee's and a dozen other chain restaurants, mostly owned by the same one of two companies.  Sometimes the menus are so similar you can't even tell what restaurant you are in and Grandma has frankly become a bit tired of laying out the better share of a $100 bill for mediocre food in a cookie cutter restaurant with, at best, mediocre service.  Recently, though, Grandma has seen a faint glimmer of hope . . .

Photo Credit, Chip Natvig, Black Krim Tavern
A few days back  Grandma and her daughter went to pick up her hubby from work and were informed that he had just learned that a friend from high school had a restaurant in the area, so we were going around the corner for drinks and snacks at the Black Krim Tavern in Randolph, Vermont.  ( For those of you who don't know, a Black Krim is a variety of heirloom tomato that hails from the Crimea, bordering the Black Sea.  Most of them are quite some bit larger than the one in this picture.  They're a deep chocolate on the outside with brown to deep red flesh and usually quite some bit bigger than this one. If you're growing heirloom tomatoes, this is a great addition that makes stupendous sauce! )

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's a gorgeous day here in Vermont!  The sun in shining, everything is just green and gorgeous from the rain we've had the last couple of days and the lilacs have burst into full bloom.   Here's what I see when I look out the window today:

Yes, that is my Christmas Cactus, blooming in May!  Isn't she beautiful?

I've been lazy all week - reviewed a few books, watched some MasterChef on Hulu+, and found the camera but mostly I've just been recovering from the Baking Marathon last week for a Relay for Life Bake Sale and sleeping far too much due to rain and allergy pills.  About a week ago along about 7 pm my youngest daughter called to ask me if I was still going to help bake for her bake sale.  "Sure" says Grandma . . .  "When is it?"  "Tomorrow" she replied!  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Scam I Am!

Bright and early this morning I woke up and decided to review 50 Delicious Meatloaf Recipes free today at Amazon.  When I opened the book, the very first thing that I saw was this:

This is the first page inside the cover of "50 Delicious Meatloaf Recipes"

Not unsurprisingly, the recipes are all scraped up from the internet, often from very reputable sources.  Unfortunately, they have all been fiddled with.  That is the least of the problems with this book, however.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I Am Woman! - And a Mother's Day Giveaway!

"There was a bizarre perfume commercial that ran on TV throughout the late seventies and eighties that must have made many women cringe. The ad presented its own view of the liberated woman: She was someone who was not only able to bring home the bacon, but also able to fry it up in a pan, all the while never, never letting her partner “forget he’s a man.” It popped into my mind as I was scraping cheese off the bottom of the toaster oven." writes Katie Workman in her introduction to her recently released The Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket!

There have actually been a number of commercials that have referred to that song over the years.  The first time Grandma heard that song was on the Sonny & Cher show way back in the 70's.  It went something like this remake, though Raquel was more voluptuous in the original and there was much less of Cher.  (The orignal was also even funnier!)


That idea, that woman could "do it all" - have marvelous careers, be great mothers, keep an immaculate house and serve their loving husband's every need - was first presented to my generation of women along with equal rights and "women's lib." Funny how that worked out. My daughter's generation isn't much more "liberated" than mine was, they've actually ended up with fewer rights in many ways and have lost none of the old floor-scrubbing, meal-making, child-tending responsibilities along with their "gainful employment."  It has become almost a criminal offense in some circles to be a stay-at-home mother.  Lest you think anything has changed on the You-Can-Do-It-All front, have a look at this commercial from 2008:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sneak Peeks - May $3.99 or Less List!

Grandma had a field-day at the Amazon $3.99 or Less May Kindle book sale, picking up a couple of old favorites and a slew of new cookbooks. Here's what she found:

Grandma has had the paper version of Southern Cakes: Sweet and Irresistible Recipes for Everyday Celebrations in her collection ever since the book was published.  Containing recipes for 63 different cakes that include Pound Cakes, seven different Coconut Cakes, classics like Lane Cake and Lady Baltimore Cake, fruitcakes, layer cakes and even a New Orleans version of Dobosh Torte, plus nearly a dozen more recipes for frostings and fillings, most of the included  recipes have been collected from some of the best cooks in the South.

The book is well laid out and features an interactive Table of Contents accessible from the Kindle Navigation menu.  All of the recipes are for "scratch" cakes - not a cake mix in the bunch.  Those new to the world of cake baking will greatly appreciate Nancy McDermott's "Baking 101",  where she does an excellent job of providing detailed instructions in the ins-and-outs of cake baking.  Here's a sample recipe: