Friday, September 30, 2011
My sister told me to stop fretting about global heating (yes, heating) and go find mushrooms. So I did.
I was reading someplace about harvesting seeds from impatiens. You look for the roughly football-shaped seed pod and they pop open when lightly touched to reveal the seeds. I guess the white seeds weren't quite ready but those light brown ones probably are. It's fun to feel the pods pop open!
I thought the original no-knead bread was the recipe from heaven, but then my friend Stephanie told me about Mark Bittman's beer bread.
You turn on the oven to 350 degrees, dump the ingredients in a bowl, stir the dough quickly, pop it in a bread pan, and bake for 45-60 minutes. Done! No waiting for the dough to rise, no kneading, no remembering to start the bread 24 hours before you want to eat it.
And for any yeast-averse cooks out there, you don't need any dry or cake yeast. The beer provides the yeast. Today I shopped for exotic beers and the best I could do was this Guinness stout. But it does say "foreign extra" and "St. James's Gate Dublin" so that at least sounds exotic. And the label has that cute little harp on it.
For the loaf in this picture I used some cheapo beer called Icebox.
Another loaf coming up for dinner tonight, but this one should taste stouty.
Recipe (modified ever so slightly):
3 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 12-ounce bottle of beer
1. Heat the oven to 350. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with a little oil or butter. Whisk together the flours, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add the oil or butter and beer, and stir just until everything is combined.
2. Pour into the loaf pan and bake until the loaf is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan and serving.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
All summer long I've been wowed by the huge bumblebees at my flowers. But I don't think they were bumblebees...carpenter bees is what I now think. Huge!
I'm so not in the blogging mood. I write blog posts in my head but never put them here.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
The hummingbirds have been very active this summer, especially in late summer. I wonder if that's because they are passing through in great numbers as the summer wanes?
I found this somewhere on the big old Internet. Amazing little things.
Ruby-throat Hummingbirds, for example, may travel as many as 2,000 miles between Canada and Panama. The trip includes a non-stop, 500-mile flight over the Gulf of Mexico.
Hummingbirds by nature are tropical creatures. They have been programmed to move north in the spring to exploit the renewed food sources and nesting sites, while escaping the intense competition for the same in the tropics. It is believed that this process began with the end of the last ice age.
[I wish this were a better picture. Kitt has some beautiful pictures of her hummingbirds.]
What's this? you ask. It is my sister's mushroom harvest the first time (I think) she and Bro-in-Law went seriously fungi-hunting this year.
I don't yet know the details of what they ate (if anything), what was poisonous (if any were), and how much more they've harvested since this picture was taken a week or so ago (if any have). Sister Kathy said she felt a mushroom obsession coming on, and she rarely fails to follow an obsession.
In a comment on the kitten pictures from earlier this week, JGH says "Cats pick the oddest places to sleep. You would think the magazine rack is the most comfortable spot in the house."
James' and Robert's Aunt Lucy likes to sleep on a roll-top desk. In a house that's knee-deep in quilts.
*Quote is from my husband Doug. He says it quite often.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
I said I wasn't going to do this* and I tried to avoid it, but I heard Bruce singing this today. Rise up,he said.
*"This" being allowing myself to join in this national weekend of mourning.
Ironically, Bruce wrote this song before 9/11/01.
"The song was written in November 2000, for an Asbury Park, New Jersey Christmas show benefit to help promote the revitalization of the city."
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Apparently there's a big ruckus in the local sports world about the U of MD's new uniforms. I love them. And they won their first game so....
Check out those shoes! And who couldn't love those uniforms. Inspired obviously by the Maryland state flag, the most beautiful of all the state flags by a mile.
Top photo by Rob Carr/Gerry Images. Bottom photo by Patrick Semanksy/AP.
Katia will miss our coast, thanks to Tropical Depression Lee, who is dumping many inches of water on us now. But here comes Ma-REE-ah! And by the way, what ever happened to Richard Beymer who sang Maria in West Side Story? These days you can't ask those questions because of Wikipedia, the best website ever. Richard Beymer performed in a few other movies, and most notably (to me) had a role in Twin Peaks -- I loved Twin Peaks, bring back Twin Peaks! bring back Twin Peaks! -- and he even wrote a book called Impostor: Or Whatever Happened to Richard Beymer?
So there you go: that's what happened to the guy singing Ma-REE-ah! Oh, and he wasn't even singing. That was someone named Jimmy Bryant. And if you're interested in what happened to him you'll have to check Wikipedia yourself.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
I've been remembering 9/11 every single day for nearly 10 years. I've read dozens of books and countless articles about that day, bin Laden, Afghanistan, Islam, and terrorism in general. I live just outside DC and have family and friends in New York. The 9/11 attacks are almost as chilling to me today as they were 10 years ago, maybe more. I'm sorry, but on Sunday I'm putting my head in the sand and trying to avoid the "commemoration." I don't judge those who either planned all this hoopla nor do I judge those who will actively participate in it. But I'll not be among them.
Monday, September 5, 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
These sad tomatoes, plus two from last week that looked equally sad, are the total sum (or is it "sum total"?) of my harvest this year. There are a bunch of small green fruits out there but whatever has been eating at these (stinkbugs maybe?) will surely get them too. Maybe I'll pick them while they're still green and just make fried green tomatoes. The potatoes are the total harvest from two healthy looking plants. Is it me? Or my soil? Or the barely 5 hours of sun the garden gets? Maybe next year will be better.
As Anne at The Complaint Department says:
Katia, I'm looking at you. And, just so you know, I'm well aware that "Katia" is just an alias . . . Katrina! Oh, yes. I remember you from the rotation six years ago. So, now they've given you a new name and shunted "Katrina" off into some kind of witness protection program.
Posted by Pam J. at 12:08 PM
Friday, September 2, 2011
Christopher Hitchens: Love this book, love those bookshelves, hate that booze and those cigs that are taking him away.
He's such a great writer. He makes me laugh, he makes me think. I agree with him only on certain issues. I want to quote so many lines from the book but there are simply too many. He's especially effective when he's talking about his love for the United States and his reasons for becoming an American citizen.
I take the attitude that even though his father died of esophageal cancer, and he obviously knew that all that drinking (man, does he enjoy his drinking) and smoking would mix badly with those genes, it was his god-given (ha!) right to keep on doing both. And now he's dying of esophageal cancer. I think he may have stopped the cigs, but I don't know about the booze. I highly recommend the book if you like grumpy oddballs with a great command of the English language.
And yes, those are book shelves in the middle picture. At first, I thought "oh wow! Hitchens keeps his books in huge piles like I keep mine!" But on closer inspection I think they are shelves.