Sunday, March 29, 2009

Messy Sunday

I've got mountains of laundry awaiting my attention, but for the time-being, I'm enjoying a rainy Sunday morning, and some of the messiness only seems like evidence of happiness.
Bed head...

Wet, muddy dogs...

Empty cappuccino bowl...

Along with a perfect spiced pumpkin bread...

...and a cuddly cat.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Trying to be a locavore!

For some time now I've been meaning to sign up for a local produce box, and reading Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle spurred me to seek out an organic source and get started.
This is my first pick-up, and I am really impressed with the quality.
The arugula has a fantastic flavor, and the basil is lush and green -- no black spots like you're sometimes stuck with when buying the plastic-wrapped herbs from the supermarket.
I also got radicchio, eggs, Boston lettuce, gorgeous fennel, Italian parsley, strawberries, and a giant onion.

All of this was presented in the cute basket for a grand total of $27, which seems like a great price to me. I think I would have paid a lot more at Whole Foods, and it would not have all been so fresh and locally grown. There's no need to compare it with the stuff from the supermarket b/c that shit's been travelling around the globe in dark boxes. So, I feel good about what I'm getting for the price I'm paying, while giving support to local farmers.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Foolish Charlotte

Strawberries are in season here and we've been eating a ton of them. I finally found some rhubarb at the grocery store, and stewed it down with some sugar and then combined it with whipped cream, the berries, and some ladyfingers to make a combination fool/Charlotte. Very light and delicious!

I regret not getting the Charlotte pan I was contemplating when Julie and I shopped at E. Dehillerin a few years ago -- it would have been much more elegant than my aluminum foil contraption. But it works.

Oh, and I used Siesta Key rum hot off the still, mixed w/water, to dip the biscuits in before placing them into the mould.

Now that I've learned the formula, I find Charlottes so easy to make and they're very pretty. It's just a matter of assembling and then letting the form sit for an hour or more to allow all the components to meld together.

Try one!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Birds

One of my favorite places in Sarasota is Jungle Gardens. It's a laid-back, old-school FL attraction, with magnificent tropical birds and reptiles, primarily. Visitors are able to observe the creatures up close. The grounds are lush, dotted with ponds filled with turtles. Flamingos roam freely...which sort of freaks me out...

...but, still, I like this environment so much more than any slick park.
This is Roxanne the Macaw. She weighs about 5 lbs. Isn't she beautiful?

Friday, March 06, 2009

We have rum!

The big cardboard container is filled with molasses.


Today's the day!

To make the rum!
Here's the pristine set-up, ready to go.

For the past few days, the molasses mixture has been fermenting, and today Troy will run the first distillation of white rum. Alex & Nick are here for support and to make sure everything works as it should.
We'll get to taste it tonight! I'm ready with my "[Fill in your city] Sunset" cocktail recipe.

2 drops of grenadine syrup in the bottom of an ice-filled glass
1 jigger white rum
splash of Amaretto
Top off with pineapple juice, don't stir.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A moment in time

Yesterday there was the most striking sunset, it stopped me in my tracks. I stood outside for a while. You can see Venus in the sky.
It was so beautiful, but also sad because I knew that at sundown, the search for three poor young men lost in the Gulf would be called off by the Coast Guard. It never fails to amaze me how life can be simultaneously so awesome and tragic.

A Boundless Moment by Robert Frost
He halted in the wind, and--what was that
Far in the maples, pale, but not a ghost?
He stood there bringing March against his thought,
And yet too ready to believe the most.

'Oh, that's the Paradise-in-bloom,' I said;
And truly it was fair enough for flowers
had we but in us to assume in march
Such white luxuriance of May for ours.

We stood a moment so in a strange world,
Myself as one his own pretense deceives;
And then I said the truth (and we moved on).
A young beech clinging to its last year's leaves.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Our Favorite Books III - Nancy's Fancies

Please forgive me for that header, cringe cringe, but I couldn't help myself, since I'd rhymed the previous "Our Favorite Books" lists.
My friend Nancy is a naturalized Texan-->Californian, which says a lot and represents many of the best traits a person can possess. She studied Faulkner and is a real live-wire, so much so, that I see she doesn't stop for caps and other superfluous punctuation that can slow down the reader -- just like our Texan favorite, Cormac McCarthy.
After recently finding myself up clenching my teeth reading "All the Pretty Horses," I fired off an email to Nancy to try to feel out whether or not the main character was doomed or not. She didn't get my hopes up nor spoil the ending for me, which was just right. She also occasionally reassures me that my son will grow up to be a civilized and contributing member of society.
Here then, are some of her favorite books, and I'd like to say thank you and wish her a very Happy Birthday today!
Or rather happybirthdaygirl!

"east of eden" is one of my favorites also - likewise "the grapes of wrath" - i like so many books, hard to choose - "lonesome dove", more recently "the kite runner" and "water for elephants", anything by annie proulx, "the historian" (so much so that i may reread it sometime soon, "seabiscuit", "flyboys", and "no country for old men".

add to list bel canto, poisonwood bible, perfume, and don't let's go to the dogs tonight - as for cormac, never hope for a happy ending - his most recent novel i couldn't even attempt to read, and i am a huge fan.