Thursday, October 24, 2013


Our view from the front door looking NE at our neighbor's maple which is in a fine Fall livery of gold, the predominate hue of Autumn here in the West. We're just poised...rakes, brooms and leaf blowers in hand awaiting the big wind of a Pacific storm to blow the leaves into our yard!
Meanwhile, Chase is barking 'em down in the backyard...he has quite a nice pile started!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Yeah, these crisp nights are turning the maple leaves and turning me to thoughts of pumpkin....yumm! Here's a quick way to do a pumpkin pie...
1 small can of sweetened condensed milk, 2 eggs, a pinch of salt, pumpkin from the can and some pumpkin pie spice makes a fast, scrumptious classic pie... or in my case, a not so classic rectangle. I always add a little real maple syrup or molasses to zip it up a notch. Bon, bon, bon appetit!

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Experts and chefs ( including Julia) warn us about the handling of raw poultry products. But I wondered about "fresh frozen" chicken and turkey..."Does the Salmonella 'die' when it's frozen?" I asked hopefully. The USDA say, "Nope, sorry, studies shows it might be a bit degraded but still present." Evidently the only way around this is to do what is recommended by the experts, handle carefully and cook thoroughly.
 I like Julia Child's idea of laying down newspapers on the counter, using a plastic or non porous cutting surface and rolling up all the paper towels and packaging into the newspaper when you are done and chucking it all in the garbage. Then it's just a matter of washing everything thoroughly in soapy hot water (sometimes I add bleach but I don't know if that really makes a difference). When you think of all the chicken and turkey we've eaten in our lives...
We used to have Fircrest brand chicken in was the main brand and it was a small Oregon company and I don't recall any "scares". It's only with the big chain stores that we've gone to Foster Farms. Even Costco uses Foster Farms. I heard they just threw out 40,000 pounds of rotisserie chicken!
So I guess the "Looks done to me!" test for chicken and turkey doesn't cut it...back to using my instant read thermometer on stove top or baked chicken and not trusting the pop up on the turkey breast...I'll stick in my meat thermometer from now on. 

Monday, October 7, 2013


 Since it seems to be "KITCHEN IMPROVEMENT MONTH" here at Angel Crest Manor, Ty from "The Cutting Edge" paid me a visit today. He has his sharpening shop set up in his van. I hadn't had my knives sharpened since 2007, I think, so it was time!
I got all these sharpened, including my left-handed serrated ones for a very reasonable $32.50!

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Here you see a 6' Jack posing with 9' tall that I bought at the Grange this spring, thinking it was a dill. You can never have too much dill, I thought, so I quickly threw another pot into my shopping cart. Love that stuff!
It wasn't until about 2 months later that I realized that the licorice odor coming from the garden was from the "dill", a fennel in disguise! That's what I get for not wearing my glasses when picking out starter plants!


 Sunday morn and time for some yummy pumpkin pancakes, I thought. Okay, no big deal... just follow the directions for my first use of my new griddle on my new range.
I knew that this ceramic top cooks much hotter than my old, scaggy electric but good grief! I used my "bridge element" which is stove speak for cooking with both the front and back burner along with a center "bridge" so you get a continuous area of heat. Oh yeah, did I ever! It didn't help that I was using a pumpkin pancake mix from Trader's with more sugar in it than plain old Bisquick. The first batch burned quickly, even though I had turned down the burners from a "7" to a "5" (as recommended in the manual) as soon as I put the batter on the griddle. Seems like I can't use the Frigidaire manual for this...way too hot! So I tossed the gooey, burnt cakes into the trash and started over...using a "5" for heating and turning it down to a "3." Better result but still darker than I wanted and maybe not quite all the way cooked in the middle.  "Good but not great," as Julia Child would say.  
So we ate 'em anyway, along with some homemade applesauce and some Taylor's sausage. Gee, at least the plate warming drawer worked very well!

Saturday, October 5, 2013


One of our favorite things is Taylor's Sausage Liverwurst. So yummy for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Not like that icky, squishy stuff you find at the supermarket deli section. This is the real deal, mild but full flavored. You get nice, firm slices that you can sauté.
 I buy a 24" long log of it and cut it into sections. It freezes well.


 It's Fall...that time of year when my thoughts turn to...well, pork! Almost every year for about 40 years I've made the "pilgrimage" to Taylor's Sausage in Cave Junction, Oregon (about 30 miles SW of Grants Pass) to fill up my freezer with luscious pork products.
 The cold cases are full of delights, from all the sausages you could ever think of to hams and bacon.
Here you can see just a few of the things I wood smoked bacon, Italian sausage, Swedish potato sausage and the best breakfast sausages ever. Yeah, they also make lots of varieties of brats and tons of hot sausages for those that dare.
As Jack says, "This bodes well for good eating this winter!"


Congratulations to's a range! This proves that miracles can happen! Yes, this Frigidaire range was delivered to me today, 175 lbs, no ounces with all burners and doo-dads intact.
 I've been studying the manual online for a week to familiarize myself with this wonder. Now I can't blame the range for any mess ups that might occur.

The main features are a "bridge burner" meaning I can use my new griddle on the left burners and there is a fill in burner between the front and back burners for even cooking of stuff like pancakes and grilled sandwiches. It has a convection oven along with the regular oven which heats up in no time. The cooktop has a 3-size burner on the right front cooktop. And no more scrubbing drip pans! It also has a separate warming element between the back burners to keep food nice and hot. And instead of a drawer for cookie sheets below the oven, I now have a warming drawer to warm plates with or without food!
Gee, what to cook first? I think I'll start with some pumpkin bread...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


 "What is this gumba doing?" you just asked. Well, he's hot after the latest 'honey-do' project which started with my often uttered phase..."You know..." quickly followed by Jack's, "Oh shit!" He knows something's coming!
But we are both up to a challenge with our Angel Crest digs to "make it our own." That's a favorite phrase of real estate agents when showing a run down property to a client, suggesting that they can fix it up to their own taste. Uh huh.
 I wanted a backsplash design but I didn't want to invest in real tile and I am sick of the design show use of the ubiquitous 'subway tile'. Not for me! But what to do. "How about doing a faux painting job making a row of decorative tile?" I ventured. (After all, we had faux painted an ugly black metal fireplace mantle to look like custom done oak. In fact it looked so real that the condo owners thought we'd done a major reno job.)   
 Above is the first step in taping with the border and "grout" taped off. Then I rolled a coat of paint maybe 2 shades darker than the wall over the taped area.
 Next, and the hardest part, which luckily for me could only be done by Jack with his long arms, he taped every tile (all 49 of 'em) with a big, fat "X."
 By the time he got done with that, he retired to the heating pad with a glass of wine.
  I brushed on a coat of a darker shade in the bottom part of each "X." Then I could have my glass of wine and wait for all to dry.
 A couple hours later we pulled the tape to reveal our design. I had to touch up the pencil lines with wall color using a small artist brush.
Here is the finished product...subtle but nicely decorative.
And with Jack's refrain of, "That's it, right? We're done with the painting?" what could I say but, "Yeah", (for now!).
(Total cost of this project was about $35 for a roll of masking tape and 2 quarts of Miller semi-gloss latex paint and a couple of Ibuprofen.)