mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
It's been an interesting evening.

We had a meatless supper of corn on the cob, zucchini, carrots (tri-color!) and black-eyed peas. It was yummy all around. I still don't care for black-eyed peas, but I don't actively dislike them either. Enough salt and pepper makes them tolerable. I was more okay with a meatless meal that I supposed I would be. Heck, I'd even do it again.

I did mow the lawn after supper. Hot as hell outside, but with a good breeze it was tolerable. I hope that the lawn goes dormant for the rest of July and August. I got through it without any difficulty in the heat; my joints are feeling it, though. Tomorrow I meet again with my orthopedist to see what he has to say. The drug he prescribed initially isn't cutting it - or indeed even sanding off the edges - any more. Arthritis, as if there were any doubt, sucks.

Michelle went to an autism support group tonight, and Katie's having a friend over to spend the night. This is a first for Katie. Most kids don't want to invest the work it takes to be friends with someone who is autistic, but Friend doesn't seem to mind, if indeed she even notices. An only child, she's accustomed to doing her own thing and, thus, when Katie checks out she takes it in stride.

In any event, I told Michelle to go ahead and go even though that would leave me at home alone with three kids. Katie's friend is a good kid, and they've been pretty much on their best behavior, but my nerves are still frayed.

Her friend likes to chat. I'm not what you could call chatty. "When's Michelle going to be home?" has come 'round about every twenty minutes. Re-read: "Are we there yet?" Fingernails on a chalkboard, that.

I haven't even really had to do anything; help make the hide-a-bed and provide ice cream, yet I'm still waiting anxiously for Michelle to arrive home which, thankfully, has just happened.

The new kitten, Sarah, has settled in to the routine and, while still a kitten, we're starting to catch glimpses of the cat she'll be. We have gone out of our way to find pets that are lovers, and I think she'll be one. She is sweet, lacking that crazy, chaotic-neutral, half-mean streak that a lot of cats exhibit. She can be very attentive, is more or less boneless in the way that only kittens and ferrets manage to be, and loves to sleep in the crevices a seated person creates while, say, watching Star Trek. She and the parakeet have reached what appears to be an understanding - neither appears more than mildly interested in the other. She got bitten through the bars of the birdcage tonight: call that detente.

Skipper would love to be friends, but Sara's not having any of that yet and Skipper treats her like old dynamite, careful to avoid setting her off. Shiner just waits for the couch to be cat-less before jumping up and going to sleep, though "jumping" is a generous description for that old, arthritic dog.

It took us a year to come around to the idea of having another cat, and, as it was with Skipper, when the opportunity arose there was no question in anyone's mind, not even really stopping to think about it. It was Right.

If there is a downside, it is that she is creative and quite liberal in her interpretation of "litter box". I'm hoping she'll get over that quickly. Nothing assaults the olfactory processors quite like kitten shit.

Michelle has declared lights out for the girls - Jami checked out ninety minutes ago - and I think I'll take her advice for myself.

...aaaaand, plans change. Katie's friend - on her first sleepover away from home - got terribly homesick as soon as the lights went out, tears and everything, so Michelle is taking her home. I feel bad for Katie: her first sleepover ever, and it falls through. I've assured her it's not about her - which I think she understands - and I'm sure she'll be okay, but she is mightily disappointed.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
It's been an interesting evening.

We had a meatless supper of corn on the cob, zucchini, carrots (tri-color!) and black-eyed peas. It was yummy all around. I still don't care for black-eyed peas, but I don't actively dislike them either. Enough salt and pepper makes them tolerable. I was more okay with a meatless meal that I supposed I would be. Heck, I'd even do it again.

I did mow the lawn after supper. Hot as hell outside, but with a good breeze it was tolerable. I hope that the lawn goes dormant for the rest of July and August. I got through it without any difficulty in the heat; my joints are feeling it, though. Tomorrow I meet again with my orthopedist to see what he has to say. The drug he prescribed initially isn't cutting it - or indeed even sanding off the edges - any more. Arthritis, as if there were any doubt, sucks.

Michelle went to an autism support group tonight, and Katie's having a friend over to spend the night. This is a first for Katie. Most kids don't want to invest the work it takes to be friends with someone who is autistic, but Friend doesn't seem to mind, if indeed she even notices. An only child, she's accustomed to doing her own thing and, thus, when Katie checks out she takes it in stride.

In any event, I told Michelle to go ahead and go even though that would leave me at home alone with three kids. Katie's friend is a good kid, and they've been pretty much on their best behavior, but my nerves are still frayed.

Her friend likes to chat. I'm not what you could call chatty. "When's Michelle going to be home?" has come 'round about every twenty minutes. Re-read: "Are we there yet?" Fingernails on a chalkboard, that.

I haven't even really had to do anything; help make the hide-a-bed and provide ice cream, yet I'm still waiting anxiously for Michelle to arrive home which, thankfully, has just happened.

The new kitten, Sarah, has settled in to the routine and, while still a kitten, we're starting to catch glimpses of the cat she'll be. We have gone out of our way to find pets that are lovers, and I think she'll be one. She is sweet, lacking that crazy, chaotic-neutral, half-mean streak that a lot of cats exhibit. She can be very attentive, is more or less boneless in the way that only kittens and ferrets manage to be, and loves to sleep in the crevices a seated person creates while, say, watching Star Trek. She and the parakeet have reached what appears to be an understanding - neither appears more than mildly interested in the other. She got bitten through the bars of the birdcage tonight: call that detente.

Skipper would love to be friends, but Sara's not having any of that yet and Skipper treats her like old dynamite, careful to avoid setting her off. Shiner just waits for the couch to be cat-less before jumping up and going to sleep, though "jumping" is a generous description for that old, arthritic dog.

It took us a year to come around to the idea of having another cat, and, as it was with Skipper, when the opportunity arose there was no question in anyone's mind, not even really stopping to think about it. It was Right.

If there is a downside, it is that she is creative and quite liberal in her interpretation of "litter box". I'm hoping she'll get over that quickly. Nothing assaults the olfactory processors quite like kitten shit.

Michelle has declared lights out for the girls - Jami checked out ninety minutes ago - and I think I'll take her advice for myself.

...aaaaand, plans change. Katie's friend - on her first sleepover away from home - got terribly homesick as soon as the lights went out, tears and everything, so Michelle is taking her home. I feel bad for Katie: her first sleepover ever, and it falls through. I've assured her it's not about her - which I think she understands - and I'm sure she'll be okay, but she is mightily disappointed.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Tonight was sea bass (for me) or cod (for the rest of the fam) with a yellow pepper/basil sauce, risotto, and zucchini/carrots. The sauce was ... interesting. Try it, see what you think.

1 yellow pepper
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4C white wine
1T white wine vinegar
1/4 water or light stock
5-6 basil leaves
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the onion, garlic and yellow pepper with salt and pepper, until the onion is mostly cooked through.

Add the white wine vinegar and white wine, and reduce.

Add the water or stock and the basil, and reduce.

Place in a blender and liquify. After plating, finish with a drizzle of olive oil.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Tonight was sea bass (for me) or cod (for the rest of the fam) with a yellow pepper/basil sauce, risotto, and zucchini/carrots. The sauce was ... interesting. Try it, see what you think.

1 yellow pepper
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4C white wine
1T white wine vinegar
1/4 water or light stock
5-6 basil leaves
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the onion, garlic and yellow pepper with salt and pepper, until the onion is mostly cooked through.

Add the white wine vinegar and white wine, and reduce.

Add the water or stock and the basil, and reduce.

Place in a blender and liquify. After plating, finish with a drizzle of olive oil.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
I started this as a reply, decided it would make a good post. So here we are. This was predicated on the post I wrote for The Road Less Ordinary, Of Mice and Traps.

To Chester:

Michelle has watched (correction, helped, she says) her grandfather, an avid racoon hunter, skin and field dress a racoon on several occasions (I'm pretty sure it was a different racoon each time). She has changed a variety of diapers. She held me once while I was being violently ill from a bad reaction to a prescribed pharmaceutical. She will insert her hand into the body cavity of a dressed chicken to remove the giblet package and scrape away any innards the butcher might have missed.

But she will not touch a dead mouse, or bait a fishhook.

I told her yesterday as we were making pizza that I'd like to try rabbit. She agreed, guardedly, like she knew there was more coming. There was: I told her why.

Our neighborhood is lousy with rabbits, making them a cheap source of edible and, with the right seasonings and cooking method, I would guess delicious protein. As my predation creates less competition for food, their population would grow, providing more food for us, and so on. It's a win-win. Outside the city limits this is "normal." Inside them, it's "weird." I don't get the distinction.

We try to eat naturally and seasonally. I can field dress a broccoli blindfolded, chop an onion with nary a tear, and I am ... curious ... to try my hand at our world's fauna, to pay, as Michael Pollan says, "the full karmic debt for my meal."

I'm a kid of the suburbs. I am not a hunter or trapper, but I am keen to try.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
I started this as a reply, decided it would make a good post. So here we are. This was predicated on the post I wrote for The Road Less Ordinary, Of Mice and Traps.

To Chester:

Michelle has watched (correction, helped, she says) her grandfather, an avid racoon hunter, skin and field dress a racoon on several occasions (I'm pretty sure it was a different racoon each time). She has changed a variety of diapers. She held me once while I was being violently ill from a bad reaction to a prescribed pharmaceutical. She will insert her hand into the body cavity of a dressed chicken to remove the giblet package and scrape away any innards the butcher might have missed.

But she will not touch a dead mouse, or bait a fishhook.

I told her yesterday as we were making pizza that I'd like to try rabbit. She agreed, guardedly, like she knew there was more coming. There was: I told her why.

Our neighborhood is lousy with rabbits, making them a cheap source of edible and, with the right seasonings and cooking method, I would guess delicious protein. As my predation creates less competition for food, their population would grow, providing more food for us, and so on. It's a win-win. Outside the city limits this is "normal." Inside them, it's "weird." I don't get the distinction.

We try to eat naturally and seasonally. I can field dress a broccoli blindfolded, chop an onion with nary a tear, and I am ... curious ... to try my hand at our world's fauna, to pay, as Michael Pollan says, "the full karmic debt for my meal."

I'm a kid of the suburbs. I am not a hunter or trapper, but I am keen to try.

Hot cocoa.

Dec. 28th, 2009 08:15 pm
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Hot chocolate has become a bit of a ritual on these cold Winter evenings. The recipe is simple: 16oz milk; 1T Natural, high fat cocoa (Penzeys, of course); 2T sugar; a dash of double-strength vanilla; a dash of cinnamon if we're feeling saucy. Sometimes, we doctor it up a bit.

Tonight, I made cocoa for Jami and myself, and I added a shot of Jameson Blended Irish Whiskey to mine.

Now, the kids are used to seeing large green bottles. We cook with wine, and if the kids are helping, I encourage them to taste everything, not just the wine: a bit of mushroom, a bit of shallot, the dill, the thyme. As to the wine, just a sip, mind you, and why not? I asked Katie at table the other night while the in-laws were there, "Katie, what does a good chef always do?"

Her reply came with the longsuffering patience of a nine year old answering a parent's question for the hundredth time: "A good chef tastes his ingredients."

Good girl. And it's only been a few times*.

"What's THAT?", Jami said, seeing the bottle. "Wine?"

"Nope," I measured the shot. "Whiskey."

"Whiskey, huh? Can I have some in mine?"

Okay, I'm prepared for that question. I put my finger in the shot glass, where several drops remain. 

"Stick our your tongue," I commanded. He did so. My finger, with a drop of golden liquid glistening on the tip, drew a line down the center of his tongue. As I've taught him, he smacked his lips a few times, considering. 

"It's yummy!" he decided, and held out his cup for a shot of his own. 

As if, boyo, I thought. I up-ended the nearly empty shot glass over his cup, and two or three drops fell in. Not enough even to taste, but son and dad shared the moment and he walked away happy.


* I've also taught them, when they're helping in the kitchen and I give an instruction, to say, "Yes, chef."

Hot cocoa.

Dec. 28th, 2009 08:15 pm
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Hot chocolate has become a bit of a ritual on these cold Winter evenings. The recipe is simple: 16oz milk; 1T Natural, high fat cocoa (Penzeys, of course); 2T sugar; a dash of double-strength vanilla; a dash of cinnamon if we're feeling saucy. Sometimes, we doctor it up a bit.

Tonight, I made cocoa for Jami and myself, and I added a shot of Jameson Blended Irish Whiskey to mine.

Now, the kids are used to seeing large green bottles. We cook with wine, and if the kids are helping, I encourage them to taste everything, not just the wine: a bit of mushroom, a bit of shallot, the dill, the thyme. As to the wine, just a sip, mind you, and why not? I asked Katie at table the other night while the in-laws were there, "Katie, what does a good chef always do?"

Her reply came with the longsuffering patience of a nine year old answering a parent's question for the hundredth time: "A good chef tastes his ingredients."

Good girl. And it's only been a few times*.

"What's THAT?", Jami said, seeing the bottle. "Wine?"

"Nope," I measured the shot. "Whiskey."

"Whiskey, huh? Can I have some in mine?"

Okay, I'm prepared for that question. I put my finger in the shot glass, where several drops remain. 

"Stick our your tongue," I commanded. He did so. My finger, with a drop of golden liquid glistening on the tip, drew a line down the center of his tongue. As I've taught him, he smacked his lips a few times, considering. 

"It's yummy!" he decided, and held out his cup for a shot of his own. 

As if, boyo, I thought. I up-ended the nearly empty shot glass over his cup, and two or three drops fell in. Not enough even to taste, but son and dad shared the moment and he walked away happy.


* I've also taught them, when they're helping in the kitchen and I give an instruction, to say, "Yes, chef."
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Note to self: It doesn't matter how hot the pan is, or how good the sear: if you want the inside of a 1-1/2" thick piece of meat medium rare, you have to butterfly the damn thing. This is much easier to do before searing, and when done so avoids burned fingers. Alas, I skipped that opportunity.

Also, flounder cooked in white wine and olive oil is very nice.


p.s. Yeah, I usually finish my steaks in the oven, but there wasn't time. The flounder and veggies - broccoli, carrots, green and yellow squash, sauteed with butter, salt and pepper - cooked much much faster than I anticipated.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Note to self: It doesn't matter how hot the pan is, or how good the sear: if you want the inside of a 1-1/2" thick piece of meat medium rare, you have to butterfly the damn thing. This is much easier to do before searing, and when done so avoids burned fingers. Alas, I skipped that opportunity.

Also, flounder cooked in white wine and olive oil is very nice.


p.s. Yeah, I usually finish my steaks in the oven, but there wasn't time. The flounder and veggies - broccoli, carrots, green and yellow squash, sauteed with butter, salt and pepper - cooked much much faster than I anticipated.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
We totally missed Halloween this year. Between Katie's dietary restrictions and Jami still running a fever off and on, we did nothing toward the celebration of the day. We decorated the house for the season, but that's about it.

We're still coming to grips with how to deal with Katie's dietary restrictions and event/holidays that are in large measure about food. In the past, when we had to money to do so, we'd buy Katie appropriate candy, wrap it up in little bundles and distribute to our neighbors the day before so she could trick-or-treat like the other kids. To my mind, as an option it lacks the thrill of discovery I remember from my childhood.  Giving tootsie-roll pops earned you a polite "thank you."  Giving out plastic toys marked your house as a place to be avoided as effectively as crime scene tape. Chocolate was worth at least one costume change and second trip around.

Not so for Katie. We're trying to think of ways to de-emphasize food and candy. It's exceptionally tough - birthday parties, Sunday School activities, church functions, neighborhood gatherings all involve food. Foods that you take for granted are dietary landmines: Doritos, Oreos, Cheez-Its, CocaCola and all its variations, M&Ms - and we're not just talking about the idea of "junk food." Each has at least one chemical in it that goes off in Katie's mind and emotional makeup like a bomb: imagine watching every channel on the TV at once, at high volume. Every love scene, every murder, every touchdown and fumble, every news story, every cooking show, all of it rushing in front of your eyes and ears, and you can't shut it off.

Katie's gotten very good about politely declining offers of food and drink when she isn't sure of the ingredients. It breaks my heart that she has to.

In all of this, I feel sorry for Jami, even moreso than Kate. Because of some angst-driven need to be "fair" , whatever that means, we have all fitted ourselves into her dietary mold, which means no trick-or-treating for him, either. Until he is old enough to go places on his own without us - or until we get over this equality ideal (an ideal that I find unnecessary, and have said so) - he's screwed for a "normal" childhood as well.

Next year, with a little planning and effort, we're talking about having  a "spook walk" around the house - little vignettes out doors that the kids can walk through and past. I've done such things in the past - the distant past - and I still remember how to build a scarecrow, mad scientist lab, and "bloody bride." We've got a perfect path around the house: the space between our house and our neighbor to the North would be the perfect entrance.

In the meantime, there's the coming holiday season to consider. Santa's elves love to hand out candy canes, the little assholes.

mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
We totally missed Halloween this year. Between Katie's dietary restrictions and Jami still running a fever off and on, we did nothing toward the celebration of the day. We decorated the house for the season, but that's about it.

We're still coming to grips with how to deal with Katie's dietary restrictions and event/holidays that are in large measure about food. In the past, when we had to money to do so, we'd buy Katie appropriate candy, wrap it up in little bundles and distribute to our neighbors the day before so she could trick-or-treat like the other kids. To my mind, as an option it lacks the thrill of discovery I remember from my childhood.  Giving tootsie-roll pops earned you a polite "thank you."  Giving out plastic toys marked your house as a place to be avoided as effectively as crime scene tape. Chocolate was worth at least one costume change and second trip around.

Not so for Katie. We're trying to think of ways to de-emphasize food and candy. It's exceptionally tough - birthday parties, Sunday School activities, church functions, neighborhood gatherings all involve food. Foods that you take for granted are dietary landmines: Doritos, Oreos, Cheez-Its, CocaCola and all its variations, M&Ms - and we're not just talking about the idea of "junk food." Each has at least one chemical in it that goes off in Katie's mind and emotional makeup like a bomb: imagine watching every channel on the TV at once, at high volume. Every love scene, every murder, every touchdown and fumble, every news story, every cooking show, all of it rushing in front of your eyes and ears, and you can't shut it off.

Katie's gotten very good about politely declining offers of food and drink when she isn't sure of the ingredients. It breaks my heart that she has to.

In all of this, I feel sorry for Jami, even moreso than Kate. Because of some angst-driven need to be "fair" , whatever that means, we have all fitted ourselves into her dietary mold, which means no trick-or-treating for him, either. Until he is old enough to go places on his own without us - or until we get over this equality ideal (an ideal that I find unnecessary, and have said so) - he's screwed for a "normal" childhood as well.

Next year, with a little planning and effort, we're talking about having  a "spook walk" around the house - little vignettes out doors that the kids can walk through and past. I've done such things in the past - the distant past - and I still remember how to build a scarecrow, mad scientist lab, and "bloody bride." We've got a perfect path around the house: the space between our house and our neighbor to the North would be the perfect entrance.

In the meantime, there's the coming holiday season to consider. Santa's elves love to hand out candy canes, the little assholes.

mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Yesterday, we met our food.

I don't mean that metaphorically, as it happens. I mean it quite literally. We met, for instance, a lamb - which Katie bottle fed as a part of the festivities - that sometime in the future will be slaughtered and sold to us as chops, or shanks. We drove past the pen where the broiler chickens are kept - one of their number is upstairs on our stovetop, thawing. I caught and held for the children one of the chickens that provides us eggs. Katie made a challenge of catching the chickens, not an easy task. She ran around the pen where the Chester Whites are kept that will provide us ribs, roast, and bacon.

We met our food.

Since Katie's diagnosis of Asperger's and suggested treatment of an all natural diet (not low fat/no sugar, just natural) we have made the effort to find suppliers of better quality food than we can get at, say, Price Chopper. Animals raised in good conditions, free of growth hormones and antibiotics. Michelle found Parker Farms at a local producers gathering at the Sermon Center back in March, and signed us up for meat. (She also found Door-To-Door Organics, and now we get a delivery of fruits and vegetables to our door every Saturday.)

Yesterday, the Parker family had a picnic for their customers, and took us on a tour of the farm. The chickens, hogs, cows, and sheep run free, have adequate water, food, and shelter, and were all active and apparently healthy. The food was good; the company, after the ice thawed among all us strangers, was mostly pleasant. (The only animals we didn't meet were the cows, who were a good mile away in another pasture.)

It was a very good day. I am now satisfied, more than I ever was before, with our decision to buy from them. You can't beat locally grown, there's no doubt about it. We're also saving money, which is a definite plus.

mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Yesterday, we met our food.

I don't mean that metaphorically, as it happens. I mean it quite literally. We met, for instance, a lamb - which Katie bottle fed as a part of the festivities - that sometime in the future will be slaughtered and sold to us as chops, or shanks. We drove past the pen where the broiler chickens are kept - one of their number is upstairs on our stovetop, thawing. I caught and held for the children one of the chickens that provides us eggs. Katie made a challenge of catching the chickens, not an easy task. She ran around the pen where the Chester Whites are kept that will provide us ribs, roast, and bacon.

We met our food.

Since Katie's diagnosis of Asperger's and suggested treatment of an all natural diet (not low fat/no sugar, just natural) we have made the effort to find suppliers of better quality food than we can get at, say, Price Chopper. Animals raised in good conditions, free of growth hormones and antibiotics. Michelle found Parker Farms at a local producers gathering at the Sermon Center back in March, and signed us up for meat. (She also found Door-To-Door Organics, and now we get a delivery of fruits and vegetables to our door every Saturday.)

Yesterday, the Parker family had a picnic for their customers, and took us on a tour of the farm. The chickens, hogs, cows, and sheep run free, have adequate water, food, and shelter, and were all active and apparently healthy. The food was good; the company, after the ice thawed among all us strangers, was mostly pleasant. (The only animals we didn't meet were the cows, who were a good mile away in another pasture.)

It was a very good day. I am now satisfied, more than I ever was before, with our decision to buy from them. You can't beat locally grown, there's no doubt about it. We're also saving money, which is a definite plus.

mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
2T cocoa (I used Natural process)
2T + 1t sugar
1t vanilla
1oz shot of espresso

Mix well. Serve over Bryers All Natural Vanilla Bean ice cream.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
2T cocoa (I used Natural process)
2T + 1t sugar
1t vanilla
1oz shot of espresso

Mix well. Serve over Bryers All Natural Vanilla Bean ice cream.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
I'm a big fan of Gordon Ramsay. He is a man totally at ease with his arrogance, and I can respect and even - dare I say it - admire that.

One wonders what he must have been like as a child...





mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
I'm a big fan of Gordon Ramsay. He is a man totally at ease with his arrogance, and I can respect and even - dare I say it - admire that.

One wonders what he must have been like as a child...





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