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Archive for September, 2012

And You Shall Have No Pie

I didn’t buy pie.  I passed the world’s best pie place today TWICE, but in the sunny-warm afternoon, I didn’t know just how badly we would need it until it was dark and cold and way too late.

It’s autumn, and that’s great, but the nights are getting chilly and it’s too soon to turn on the heat.  I feel like pie is the only thing that works (I mean, how much tea can one drink?) and there we were tonight after a very lame dinner of leftovers, pie-less and cold.

But then it hit me: how about we fake it in a pretty dish?

So I chopped up 3 apples, sauteed them in a teaspoon or so of butter until they were soft and brown (5-10 minutes), then I added fresh nutmeg and some cinnamon and about a tablespoon of water until a nice glaze formed.

Fresh whipped cream on top and SHA-ZAYM. The still warm apples and the cream….. nobody missed the crust.

It was so simple and basic and necessary.

I think we might make it through now;)

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Stuffed Artichokes

So! Let’s make some nice artichokes!!  Although these aren’t my favorite kind   (I won’t pretend to know their names), this is the kind with the thorn on the end of each leaf.  Sometimes I get the kind that look like beautiful green roses.  They are much friendlier for obvious reasons, but these tasted REALLY much better than ever, so maybe you should try for thorns, I don’t know.

Anyway, my grandmother used to make these for us and sometimes I took one to school wrapped in foil.  They were so delicious and soul warming (even cold) that it was worth the eye -rolls that flanked me there on the group W bench.

Directions:

1. Cut off the stem as close to the base as you can and set aside.

2. Slice off the tips with a good knife.

3. Pull off any sad. tough looking leaves from the bottom.

4. With kitchen scissors, cut the tips off each artichoke leaf and the rub a lemon over all of the cut leaves.

5. Peel each of the stems and then dice them.

6. Saute them in olive oil until they are soft and brown.

7. Then crush 2 cloves of garlic under your knife and peel them. Add the garlic to the saute for 2-3 minutes (whole crushed cloves for less flavor, diced for more…more is better).

8. Now in a bowl, mix seasoned breadcrumbs and some freshly grated cheese. Also add some fresh parsley if you’ve got it.

9. Then add the saute and all the oil.  Mix in a few splashes of additional olive oil until the mixture is moist. Then stuff the artichokes.

10. Before placing the artichokes in a covered pot to steam, place a little water in first.  Otherwise they will stick to the bottom and it will be gross and terrible and awful.

Cooking:  Pour enough water in so that it comes about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the artichokes. Cover with a lid (clear is best) and steam these guys, checking every 10 minutes or so to see if you need to add water.

They are done when you can easily remove a leaf from the bottom of any of the artichokes.  To eat, bite on the leaf and pull it through your teeth. It will get messy, but I find it so very worth it.

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How sad is this little thing?  It used to have lots of  bright yellow attachments (which have long since become robot parts wrapped in layers and layers of tape) and a black hose which someone hit me in the leg with once and was never seen again. (It stung.) Anyway, sad indeed. Rescued multiple times from the Goodwill box (I mean it still turns on!), it eventually went (insert sad music) down to the basement where I suppose it’s been talking to all the other mistreated and neglected toys in a Woody and Buzz kinda way. *Sniff*

But things started to brighten up for it  last week when my daughter developed an urgent need for a pink vacuum cleaner toy and I was really in the mood to spoil her (I got stuck in the hospital for a while and she reeeeaaallly loved that I was finally home).  So that very minute we jumped into the car and went to MANY toy stores and found NOTHING that was pink. We even hit Goodwill and several consignment stores and niente. I gave up and started adding stuff to my Ebay watch list thinking maybe I’d try again at Christmas.

So this morning, I was in my crazy studio (room heaped with fabric organized in no particular way) looking for some felt for her to cut up and glue and I saw the sad little vacuum and brought it up with the felt. She started cutting and I started cutting….

     I found some other “attachments” and in about 15 minutes, she had a new little pink vacuum cleaner (well, new to her).

Anyway, she’s very happy and I am very happy. In fact, I so love that it was so easy to keep something so big and plastic out of the ground that I’m going to make it a weekly tradition. Nothing huge, but I’m going to try and do something little to refresh something that’s already ours and currently, well, gross.

I mean, don’t hold your breath or anything. We’ll see. I say I’m going to do a lot of things. Meanwhile, I’m being told I should also be vacuuming.

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