Friday, August 31, 2012

Blue Moon

A blue moon will grace the night sky Friday night (hope I am not too late), giving skywatchers their last chance to observe this celestial phenomenon for nearly three years.
The moon will wax to its full phase at 9:58 a.m. EDT Friday, bringing August's full moon count to two (the first one occurred Aug. 1). Two full moons won't rise in a single month again until July 2015.
But don't expect tonight's full moon to actually appear blue, unless you're peering through a thick haze of volcanic ash or forest fire smoke. "Blue Moon" is not a reference to the satellite's observed color.
The term has long been used to describe rare or absurd happenings. And farmers once employed it to denote the third full moon in a season — spring, summer, autumn or winter — that has four full moons instead of the usual three. 
Poetry is the champagne of life
quote by Karen Tolkkinen
Publisher and Editor of Northwoods Woman magazine
So here's a toast to the Blue Moon evening with a little bubbly and some poetic words
Whispers of the Moon
by Kathleen M. Krueger
The moon looks down and collects the tales of the earth.
Poets and storytellers overhear her
as she whispers them as secrets to the stars.
What A Show
by Sue Ready
He pulled out the chair
and whispered in my ear
“Madam, just for you.”

Scanning the night sky
I settled in with ease
anticipating
quite the show.

The curtain opened
and the ball began
 a slow ascent
into the eastern sky.

Its vibrant golden hue
illuminated the evening
casting shadows
across the ground.

The crowd murmured
and gasped
for an evening show like this
was well worth the wait.

It was then I knew 
the best moon viewing chair
had been saved
just for me. 

Full Moon 
by Michael Spooner
O,
the big
round moon
is a hole
in the sky,

and 
the day
washes through
like the morning tide.

When 
the earth
is full
and it's time
for night.

then the day 
washes out
to the
other side.

Postscript: The full blue moon did not disappoint me tonight. It was a glorious golden hue as it rose up over the lake. The moon's light was reflected in the water. Now this was the time I wish I owned a better camera to fully capture such a sight.  
The time period between two pictures was only 15 minutes.



Thursday, August 30, 2012

On The Grill

If you truly love nature,
you will find beauty everywhere.
Vincent Van Gogh

Starry Night Over The Rhone 
I was unable to get a picture of a starry night but did catch the full moon with its reflection on the lake water.
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Pork Roast with Cherry Barbecue Sauce
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
Cook's notes: The recipe makes about 1-1/3 cups. Sauce can be made the day before and reheated. 
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup low salt chicken broth
  • ½ cup cherry preserves
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ tsp, lemon peel
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • Scant ground cloves (taste to see what flavor works for you)
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • ¼ cup orange marmalade
  • 1TB. Ketchup

Directions:
  • In saucepan combine chicken broth, cherry preserves, orange juice, lemon juice, lemon peel, cinnamon, dried cherries and ground cloves
  • Boil over medium heat until broth mixture is reduced to 1-1/2 cups, about 6 minutes
  • Whisk wine and cornstarch together and then add orange marmalade and ketchup  
  • Add wine mixture to broth mixture
  • Simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly till flavors blend and sauce thickens about 5 minutes
  • Use half of the sauce when cooking the pork roast or grilling. Use rest of sauce when serving meat




Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The World According to Bella



Here I am on porch patrol
My home alone adventure being stuck outside for almost 5 hours was certainly traumatic. It was posted August 9th. I seem to be having trouble getting over this and worry a lot it might happen again. So it was suggested that I write about this adventure hoping it would be good therapy.  My adventure story Home Alone 3 can be found in the WWN Community Newsletter Rockport,Texas.  Follow the link
http://www.wwnrockport.com/2012/08/the-world-according-to-bella-home-alone.html#more
On the page that features the story look on lower right (a blue box) My World According to Bella stories are listed under  WWN Stories and Articles Series. Hey, I feel like a celebrity :)
Love, Bella

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Latest Craze

Steampunk Jewelry

This is a pocket watch back bejeweled with assorted beads and baubles made into a necklace.

This necklace was made by my friend Linda. Glued on to the airline wings are the inside workings of a windup wrist watch. The circle below is a discarded  pendant. 


The latest craze in the world of jewelry design are steampunk jewelry. The designers cleverly combine antique components and brand new items, creating modern pieces with a 
vintage flair.
The world of Steampunk is currently enjoying a renaissance.
In my mind there is so much more to Steampunk than cogs and old watch parts glued to rings and pendants, with the repurposing of these components there is an intrinsic appreciation of the skill and artistry of the past, particularly the Victorian era.
Securing old watch parts has become no easy task, as enthusiasts are snapping up vintage timepieces since contemporary watches are comprised mainly of plastic, making them irrelevant.
Sadly broken or less collectable watches were discarded, but with the Steampunk movement the intricate and beautiful objects of yesteryear have been given a new lease of life. On the internet I learned...  

Steampunk has a bit of an obsession with time. As such, watches of all types, including wristwatches and pocketwatches, are popular. In fact, clock parts are often used in the construction of individual pieces of steampunk jewelry. Gears and watch hands are used to decorate larger pieces. Old-fashioned keys are also very popular, as are bits of antique cast-offs, such as pill cases, thread cutters and tiny knives.

In order to reflect an antique feel, steampunk avoids the use of bright, new colors. Instead, favored colors are brass, bronze, copper and dark silvers such as gunmetal, brushed aluminum and titanium. Black and white are not popular; ecru, rich browns and shades of gray are much more common.

Steampunk jewelry is usually handmade and almost never mass-produced. Follow this link to see more ideas  

http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&fr=yfp-t-701-s&va=steampunk+jewelry+designs 
Perhaps this might be your new obsession
_________________________________________
Cheese and Vegetable Rice Casserole
adapted from magazine Ultimate Casserole BHG 2012
Ingredients:
  • 1-16 oz. package frozen mixed broccoli, cauliflower and carrots thawed (or use 2 cups fresh ingredients just make sure carrots are thinly sliced)
  • 1 package Virgo Yellow Saffron rice
  • 1 can of black beans rinsed and drained or use kidney beans
  • 1 small can of corn drained
  • 1 small jar of roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 cups of shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • 1-1/4 cups chicken broth low sodium
Directions:
  • Preheat oven 350 and grease a 3 qt. baking dish
  • In a large bowl stir together mixed vegetables, cooked, rice, beans, roasted peppers, corn 
  • Stir in broth and cheese
  • In a Cuisinart grate 2 slices of whole wheat bread, 2 TB. parsley flakes, 2 TB. melted butter
  • Sprinkle on top of vegetable mixture bake uncovered 35 minutes  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cucumber Salad


"Be fearless. Have the courage to take risks. Go where there
are no guarantees. Get out of your comfort zone even if it
means being uncomfortable. The road less traveled is sometimes
fraught with barricades bumps and uncharted terrain. But it is
on that road where your character is truly tested. And have the
courage to accept that you're not perfect, nothing is and no
one is -- and that's OK."
 Katie Couric 

Cucumber Salad
Cook's notes: After reading the above quote I decided to take a risk with a tried and true recipe. I had previously made a similar cucumber salad recipe but wanted to change some steps and amounts. After splurging on a gourmet burger recently thought it best to get back to a more healthier food item :) The original recipe I started with came from a friend and that recipe was credited to Louise Fox. Reading reviews on line of several similar cucumber recipes helped in my decision making. 
I really liked the end result with the sweet/sour taste. My only regret was not serving it with the gourmet burger. It would have been a match "made in heaven."  
Many recipes I looked at called for cucumbers to be unpeeled and scored before slicing. I thought I would try a different approach for this recipe. . 
Be sure to let these cukes marinate in sauce for 24 hours before serving.
Serves 6 and used a 13 x 9 pan 
Ingredients:
  • 5 cups peeled and thinly sliced cucumbers
  • 1/2 red onion cut into rings
  • optional sliced green peppers
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1-1/4 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. dill weed
  • sea salt

Directions:
  • Slice cucumber-lay flat in a 13 x 9 pan
  • Sprinkle with sea salt  
  • Add onion rings and let sit for one hour
  • In a saucepan medium heat bring to a boil vinegar, sugar, celery seeds and dill weed-stir to help sugar dissolve
  • Pour this vinegar/sugar mixture over the cucumbers and onion-cover with plastic wrap-refrigerate
  • After 24 hours drain liquid 
Serving suggestions: serve over torn spinach leaves
Some recipes suggested adding ice cubes toward the end of marinating to keep cucumbers crisp





Saturday, August 25, 2012

Outdoor Beauty and a Gourmet Burger

Moonflowers
I am sure Moonflowers are a fairy flower favorite. Its delicate, fragrant flowers are  trumpet shaped. Their petals unfurl in late afternoon and early evening and stay open until sun rises. 

It would be the perfect spot for fairies to curl up inside the petals during the day resting before their evening work as the flowers open in late afternoon. After watching these flowers which seemed like magic open up before my eyes last evening at my neighbors I decided this flower would be a great addition to patio gardening. They bloom late in the summer and are a close relative to the morning glory. Moonflowers are well adapted climbers and require some type of structure to help then grow. They are heat and drought resistant and quite easy to grow from seeds. I've put Moonflowers on my Spring gardening list. 
  
A walk in the woods seemed to lead me right toward what looked like a fairy home at the base of this tree. Look carefully on the right under the mushroom for the entrance. These four mushrooms reminded me of awnings for fairy windows. 
Now this sight stopped me right in my tracks. A maple tree turning and its only August!! Everyday more and more color appears in the woods. Must be the same reason why my pumpkin went from yellow to bright orange so early in the season. I fear a long-long winter:)  
________________________________________________
Kentucky-Style Bourbon Onion
Gourmet Burger
Cook's notes:Sometimes a burger needs to elevated from just plain and ordinary to something more spectacular in taste and looks. This is just the recipe that can do it.  The unusual list of ingredients really caught my attention. I wondered how can this work and what will it taste like. The recipe does take more effort than just placing burger on grill  adding sliced onions, cheese and tomato. 
Serves 4
Recipe adapted from magazine Real Food Summer 2012 (Byerlys and Lunds)

But the end result outweighs the bit of extra time and can be refrigerated till burger cooking time.    
Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of bacon
  • 1 large onion halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee
  • 2 tsp. molasses
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 TB.cider vinegar
Directions:
  • In a large fry pan cook bacon pieces on medium high heat adding sliced onions and a sprinkling of sea salt
  • Cover and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally till onion are browned and well caramelized
  • Remove bacon  
  • Pour bourbon into the onion mixture and cook uncovered till bourbon is almost evaporated
  • Turn heat down to medium stir in coffee, molasses,mustard, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce 
  • Stir and bring to a boil until liquid is nearly evaporated and onions well coated 
  • Make beef patties and cook on one side
  • Add 1 heaping tablespoon to top of each burger and complete cooking   







Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bountiful Harvest



"Trust that little voice in your head that says 'Wouldn't it
be interesting if...' And then do it."

-- Duane Michals 
American photographer
Hot dish or casserole is a regional term. Only in the Midwest can you go in a local hardware store and find this unique item. But really ts a must for those who take their hot dish meals seriously. 

Watermelon Corn Tomato Salad
serves 2-3
Ingredients:
2 ears of corn husked (about 1 cup)
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese,cubed or feta cheese
2 cups cubed watermelon
2 TB. basil  chopped or mint 
1 cup chopped cucumber 
optional red onions
Directions:
Cook corn in boiling water for 3 minutes-drain and cut kernels away from cob-set aside
Cut tomatoes and pat dry on a paper towel, add cucumbers,corn and watermelon-sprinkle with sea salt and let set 15 minutes-drain
Add dressing and toss with salad ingredients
Dressing:
2 TB. olive oil
1 -1/2 tsp. white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. lemon zest
pinch of sugar
use a whisk to mix ingredients




Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Twisted Hot Dish

Haiku is a very small literary form made up of three lines (5-7-5) and seventeen syllables. It was invented by Japanese poets hundreds of years ago. But what makes Haiku so unique is it focuses on a single image. Often Haiku will describe something in nature or a season. Imagine using Haiku to describe a hot dish. It certainly takes a very creative mind and Pat Dennis is one such person. She is the author of a small unique book titled Hot Dish Haiku. Not only is she an author but also performs as a stand up comedian in the Twin Cities area.
A hot dish or casserole is something unique to the Upper Midwest region. It usually means a dish made up of some type of creamed soup, noddles or rice, beef or chicken and some type of vegetable. It is a baked dish. Hot dishes have been standards to bring for showers, weddings, family events, funerals and any other get togethers from the late 50's well into the 90's. This culinary comfort food did take a hit when cooks began to look for more healthy lighter alternatives in their cooking.
But mention Tater Tot Casserole and Green Bean Casserole and people have many fond  childhood memories to share about these foods.
Some of my favorite Haiku from the book include
First day meal delight                                         Precious (tater) tots
Second day is better yet                                      This is a reason to live 
Third death could cause death                           In Minnesota?
Wendy Nelson                                                     Pat Dennis

Not only is the book peppered with a collection of 50 Haiku honoring hot dishes it also includes 30 oriental hot dish favorites recipes.
Pat has written several other unique books. Hot Dish To Die For is a collection of six culinary mystery short stories and includes 18 hot dish recipes. You can even order it for your Kindle.

Who Died In Here is an anthology of 25 mystery stories written by 25 master writers. Each story   is connected to bathrooms. Since I just wrote about outhouses in a previous posting this cover certainly caught my attention.
____________________________________________
Cook's notes: I picked a few hot dish casserole recipes you might enjoy trying even if you aren't from the Midwest. But I picked recipes that did not use any creamed soups to keep them a bit more healthier.


Chicken Alfredo Casserole
serves 4
recipe adapted from Midwest Living
if using asparagus pieces blanch them first
Ingredients:
  • 1-10 oz. container refrigerated light Alfredo pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2-1/2 cups cooked white or wild rice
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken 
  • 1 cup broccoli or frozen peas or chopped asparagus pieces
  • 1/3 cup bottles roasted red peppers
  • 1/4 cup silvered almonds
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. parsley flakes
  • 1 cup bread crumbs(using whole wheat bread works quite well) 
  • 1 TB. melted butter
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 
  • In a large bowl combine pasta sauce and milk. Stir in rice, chicken, vegetables, sweet peppers, and basil
  • Add this mixture to a 1-1/2 qt baking dish bake covered  30 minutes, uncover and stir 
  • Combine bread crumbs, parsley flakes, nuts, Parmesan cheese and butter in Cuisinart  sprinkle over the top of chicken mixture
  • Bake till crumbs till golden brown about 15 minutes
  • Let stand 5 minutes before serving 
Chicken Florentine
recipe adapted from Midwest Living
Ingredients:
  • 8 oz. dried bow tie pasta
  • 1 small onion chopped
  •  1 TB. butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1- 6.5 oz. jar of artichoke hearts drained and diced (I used product called Cara Mia)
  • 1/2 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeeze out liquid (use a couple of paper towels) 
  • 1/2 cup oil packed drained dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1 TB. butter melted 
Directions:
  • Preheat oven 350
  • Cook pasta till al dente and drain
  • In a skillet cook onion in 1 TB. butter until tender
  • Remove from heat and set aside
  • In a bowl whisk eggs, milk, seasoning, salt and pepper to taste and crushed red pepper
  • Stir in chicken and Monterey Jack cheese, artichokes, spinach, tomatoes half of the Parmesan cheese, cook pasta and onion 
  • Transfer mixture to 3 qt. rectangular casserole 
  • Bake covered 20 minutes
  • Combine rest of Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, paprika and melted butter
  • Sprinkle over the chicken/artichoke mixture
  • Bake uncovered 10 more minutes 




Monday, August 20, 2012

Some Big Questions

Will this pumpkin growing outside my garden with leaves now spreading down the hill last 71 days till Halloween? Will this pumpkin survive deer, rabbit and possible alien attacks? Will this pumpkin survive an early frost (that is if we have one)?
So many unanswered questions with my first ever attempt at pumpkin growing. I took several pictures today for posterity-just in case it should
a. be abducted and disappear in the night
b. get attacked by wild animals
c.  rot and lose shape
d. get stolen by nearby garden gnomes
So now the best I can do is remain ever hopeful for 71 days of survival!
___________________________________________
Please look back at yesterday's posting of  Tomato Mozzarella Tartlets. I posted another companion recipe even simpler that the first underneath it.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tomato and Mozzarella Tartlets

Tomato and Mozzarella Tartlets
Cook's notes: Serving these tartlets with a simple salad or a fruit cup makes for a 
light summer meal. The sauce on top of the tomatoes should have been just a drizzle. In the photo I used a teaspoon which was too much. This recipe is a great way to use a  bountiful harvest of tomatoes this time of the year. The tartlets have a great flavor. 
This recipe makes 5. For the photo above only 4 appear since my husband got to the tartlets before picture taking:)
Ingredients:
  • 1 puff pastry sheet thawed (thawing takes about 40 minutes) 
  • 1 large tomato sliced and drained on a paper towel
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 5 fresh mozzarella cheese slices or provolone
  • 3 TB. whipping cream
  • 4 TB. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard 
Directions:
  • Preheat oven 400
  • Lightly roll out thawed pastry sheet on floured parchment paper to 11 inch square
  • Use a glass 4 inch diameter and cut out 5 pastry circles
  • On a cookie sheet cover with another sheet of parchment paper and add the 5 pastry circles
  • Prick the circles with a fork and bake 8 minutes-remove and cool 10 minutes
  • In a small bowl add cream, mustard, Parmesan cheese and chopped basil
  • To each the pastry circle add mozzarella cheese slice and then top with tomato slice 
  • Drizzle with white sauce and return tartlets back to oven
  • Bake about 7-9 minutes more watch carefully so pastry does not get too browned

"Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light."

Groucho Marx 
Here is another companion recipe to the one above 
Bite-Size Tomato and Mozzarella Tarts
recipe from Ihj.com April 2008
Ingredients:
  •  1 thawed sheet puff pastry
  • 3 TB. shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 large tomato
  • 3 oz. fresh mozzarella thinly sliced (8-9 slices)
  • 2 TB. chopped fresh basil

Directions:
  • Heat oven to 400
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper set aside
  • On a lightly floured surface unfold pastry roll slightly and use a 3 inch biscuit cutter and cut out 8-9 rounds and transfer to prepared baking sheet
  • Place 1 inch apart and prick round in several places-bake 5 minutes
  • Sprinkle each round with 1/2 tsp. Parmesan cheese, then cover with 1 tomato slice and season with salt and pepper-top with mozzarella slice
  • Bake until pastry is puffed and golden about 12 minutes
  • Sprinkle each tart with basil and serve warm

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Bit of Nostalgia


It is funny how some images stay with you a long time and for many different reasons. My husband and I recently revisited an area in northern Minnesota where his family once owned a cabin.  I enjoyed seeing the lake and cabin but it was the outhouse that brought back a flood of memories for me and not necessarily good ones.
Now I know some people are nostalgic for outhouses so much they decorate their bathrooms in outhouse themes. Some even erect fake outhouses in their yards to be used as a garden or a tool shed. Others are inventive coming up with new ideas like designing the privy as  a sauna, ticket booth and even a little playhouse.
The first time I visited the family cabin was some 40 years ago.  I was young, from the suburbs and used to indoor plumbing. It was shocking to find out the cabin did not have indoor running water. Unfortunately, I had committed to stay at the cabin for five whole days!  My fears were heightened even more when I saw the outhouse. It was this  weathered little building precariously erected covered in tar paper. But my anxiety level was raised  when I saw bear claw marks all over the outside.  And I did not find the family stories amusing about nightly treks outside with bear and raccoon encounters.  To me it took courage just to go inside and survive to tell. Yes, I really wanted to leave. But in the end I was persuaded to stick it out.  This is the photo of the privy which has remained unchanged for decades.
And now I find myself years later living in the north woods and loving every minute of it. But  we are are lucky. We have indoor plumbing!  

From ancient times the ‘sun” had been the symbol of something masculine and the “moon” something  feminine. The crescent moon and star cutouts on the door of many outhouses goes back to Colonial times. Since most people at that time were illiterate the cutout signs were an easy way to identify which outhouse to use.  The cutout served a purpose to let light into the outhouses to provide  ventilation. The average outhouse was 3 to 4 feet square by 7 feet high with no windows, heat or electric light. Due to the odor, most were built 59 to 150 feet away from the main house, and often facing away from the house.  
Some little known privy facts:
At Mount Vernon there were four outhouses called “necessaries” by their users.  Inside there were beautiful mahogany seats with lids.
 The White House had a telephone before they had indoor plumbing.
There actually exists The Outhouse Preservation Society founded in 1996.  It is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 
Online there are websites devoted entirely to outhouse photos.
Privy poetry and songs have been penned evoking nostalgia adding a bit of humor.
When we visited Texas last winter we saw photographs of The Thunderbox Road Art Exhibit in several art galleries. The traveling exhibit included 12 full size thunderboxes or outhouses painted and decorated in true Texas style. The exhibit went on the road to several cities to be a part of local art festivals. The exhibit began in 2008 and ended in 2009. At that time the outhouses were auctioned off. Here are some of the photos from the exhibit. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Deep Dish Skillet Pizza


Thought for the Day
"I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and explain

or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't
know what is.'"
by Kurt Vonnegut,author 

Early on I learned quickly that living up north does require a bit of thinking ahead with advance planning to shop for needed supplies. One can never be too prepared:) You need to know there are no pizza deliveries in our area nor fast food restaurants.The nearest small grocery store is an 18 mile round trip so you want to think hard and ask yourself do I really need it. Big box stores are an hour away and cell phone connections can be spotty and for some who visit us even non-existent. But that is why we enjoy being in the north country for a more simpler laid back life.
Imagine my excitement when I found a recipe that when my husband finished it he said it tasted just like Green Mill Deep Dish Pizza!!!  I had to laugh because unbeknownst to him the pizza sauce I used came from the store and said Green Mill on the label.
I did my homework on this recipe and how to best use an iron skillet for cooking a deep dish  pizza. 
Deep Dish Sausage Pizza
Cook's notes: I am sure the recipe would have tasted even better making a homemade pizza dough but I opted for using Pillsbury Pizza Dough Classic found in the refrigerated section of the store.It worked just fine and is so much easier. I made by own sauce the day before as well as cooking the Italian sausage ahead, This made the assembly a snap. I did start with a recipe from Plilsbury but made numerous adaptations. This pizza can be a vegetarian meal by omitting the meat and adding mushrooms and peppers.
Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1/2 can Hunts diced tomatoes Basil, Garlic and Oregano-use more of the chunky tomatoes then juice when adding to the sauce
  • 1 jar (14 oz.) Classic Pizza Sauce Green Mill (there are other brands found at grocery store)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
Sauce Directions:
  • In a saucepan on medium heat heat 2 TB. olive oil and saute onion and garlic cooking about 4 minutes
  • Add rest of ingredients and turn heat down to low bring to a slow boil uncovered about 25 minutes-stir occasionally 
  • Sauce should be thick-remove from heat and discard bay leaf
Skillet and dough preparation:
  • Sprinkle sea salt on pan bottom and sides-wipe clean with a paper towel
  • Add 1/2 tsp olive oil to cleaned skillet and spread around bottom and on sides
  • Sprinkle bottom with cornmeal
  • Remove crust from tube and pat into skillet making sure the dough is even around sides 
  • Heat oven to 425 and prick crust with a fork on the bottom and sides
  • Place crust in heated oven for 5-6 minutes
  • Turn oven temp down to 400
Filling
  • Italian sausage 1/2 lb. cooked and crumbled
  • Mozzarella cheese and Colby Jack mixed together to equal 3 cups
  • optional sauteed mushrooms
Assemble
On top of crust add 1-1/2  cup of cheese
Sprinkle sausage mixture
With a spoon ladle sauce on meat
Grate Parmesan cheese on top of pizza sauce and sprinkle rest of cheeses on top
Baking
Bake at 400 for 25 minutes watch crust so doesn't get too browned

Serving Suggestion:
Let set 10 minutes before cutting 




Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Casey at the Bat


Casey at the Bat

by Ernest L. Thayer

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought if only Casey could but get a whack at that--
We'd put up even money now with Casey at the bat

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey's getting to the bat

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Johnnie safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat

There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile on Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped--
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one," the umpire said

From the benches black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted some one on the stand;
And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two."

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again

The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville-- mighty Casey has struck out.


With many more weeks still left in the baseball season its not too late to post the classic baseball ballad Casey at the Bat. This piece was written June 3, 1888 by Ernest Lawrence Thayer.  He  occasionally contributed humorous pieces to The San Francisco Examiner. Thayer had signed the poem with the nickname "Phin" which he often used to sign his writing. It was the last piece he wrote for the paper as poor health forced him to return to East Coast . He worked sporadically for several years at one of the American Woolen Companies that his family owned. Thayer also continued to write light verse for different publications. Several years later Thayer moved to West Coast where he was active in stateside war relief efforts during World War I. Toward the end of his years he did publish several scholarly articles. It took two decades for Thayer's poem to become popular due to the efforts of DeWolf Hopper. His dramatic recitation of the poem launched his career as a monologist. Over the span of five years he recited Casey at the Bat  as many as 15,000 times in theaters and other public and private gatherings.  Thayer's verse became an American favorite of all ages.
      August 14, 1863- August 21, 1940

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Birthday Celebration


YOU AND I
Only one I in the whole wide world
And millions and millions of you,
But every you is an I to itself
And I am a you to you, too!
But if I am a you and you are an I
And the opposite also is true,
It makes us both the same somehow
Yet splits us each in two.
It's more and more mysterious,
The more I think it through:
Every you everywhere in the world is an I;
Every I in the world is a you!
posted September 2002
from My Song is beautiful
Mary Ann Hoberman
Mary Ann Hoberman
August 12, 1930
Mary Ann is a poet and an author of over 40 books for children. In 2008 she was named The Children's Poet Laureate. She is a master of meter and rhyme. Her poetry speaks of the subject of a young child's world and fancy.  Ms. Hoberman's first novel for middle grade readers Strawberry Hill was published in 2009. One hundred of her favorite poems are collected in the book The Llama Who Had No Pajamas.

Follow this link to Amazon to a more complete list of her book titles
 http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Ann-Hoberman/e/B000AQ3X6M
Happy Birthday !
In honor of Ms. Hoberman's birthday I thought you would enjoy adding another easy summer salad recipe to your collection.
Tomato Caprese Salad
Cook's notes: Insalata Caprese is a simple salad from the Italian region of Campania (Capri). It is traditionally made with vine ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella slices, basil and seasoned with salt and a little olive oil. The following recipe comes from a friend with a little different take on the traditional recipe.
Ingredients:

  • tomato slices
  • mozzarella or provolone cheese
  • spinach leaves
  • prepared vidala onion and poppyseed dressing
  • grated Parmesan cheese  
  • optional red onion slices
Directions:

  • starting at one end of serving plate alternate pieces of torn spinach leaves, 1/2 cheese slice and tomato (large slice cut in half or use a small slice)
  • grate Parmesan cheese over entire plate and drizzle with dressing 
Serving Suggestion: Individual salad plates can be made following same procedure as shown in the picture alternating spinach leaves, cheese and tomato