Wednesday, September 14, 2022

A Movie and a Supper. What Happened to Conversation?

 

What? Doesn't everyone put a picture of a movie playing in the background on their blog posts? Sorry, but Sergeant York is one of RH's all time favorite movies and he was about to have a hissy fit when I had supper ready and suggested turning off the television to take pictures.

But there's a story behind those two green pitchers I used as vases so I'm going to tell it. It looks like a flower design on them, doesn't it? No, they're cabbages.

I first saw them in a British magazine, my favorite Period Living, in October 2018. 


 

See? It says Ceramic Cabbage jug, by Paperchase, only 12 pounds--what is that in dollars? Anyway, that's my kind of green and I remembered them.
 

Two years later a large and a small jug sat on my kitchen shelves, for only $15. 

I found them, unbelievably, in our local antique mall for $30 but everything in the shop was 50% off. They were mine!



The jugs make perfect pitchers for sunflowers because sunflowers just turn the water nasty looking in a glass vase.

Thanks to Lorrie and Gretchen's advice I finally cut some of our zinnias to go with the grocery store sunflowers. They were past their peak but pretty in candlelight.

And I brought the pretty little cabbage tureen from the kitchen to the table too. I don't use it for food as it says Holland Mold and I'm afraid it might not be food safe.


Did you notice the pretty farm tablecloth with the sunflowers? It's my favorite tablecloth for August and early September. 



That's chicken salad in a croissant sitting on the pretty French faience luncheon plates I found at the Goodwill years ago, a dozen taped together for a dollar each, if I remember right, which I may not. The chicken salad is a mix between Ina Garten's and the chicken salad we had in Blowing Rock, North Carolina at the Storie Street Grill but no recipe here because everyone has their own favorite version.

And the Cauliflower Soup is Lulu Powers, link here.
I think next time I'll add a little dry mustard to perk it up a little and maybe add a couple of potatoes for more body.

And I'll break my pretzel rod garnish into much smaller pieces but  the simple recipe for them was really good. 

 They're Seasoned Pretzels from Half Baked Harvest's Super Simple that goes with her Broccoli Cheddar Soup. 

My daughter-in-law Court gave the cookbook to me for my birthday and some of my new favorite recipes are from it. 

Her Strawberry Pretzel Tart, that I made back in May, is in this cookbook, much prettier than mine, but so delicious with its Whipped Mascarpone filling. 

I tried to find a link to the recipe online but couldn't find it. So many of Ms. Gerard's other pretzel-strawberry desserts are online so maybe this 1922 cookbook hasn't yet been linked to recipes online? I haven't tried a single recipe from the book yet that we didn't like.


 Time to say goodnight. Fair warning, I wouldn't be surprised if most of any future supper table pics here include the television in the background. We're both tired by evening, too tired to talk much, and feel that we deserve a good movie. And then it is football season and I wouldn't dare try to turn a game off. 

Conversation at the supper table? It used to be so important that I even have a label for it. Not so much anymore but don't judge, please, at least not until you reach our age.


 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

September Morning

 

Our garden is a fine place to be on a cool sunny September morning with a "scarf of blue mist around her shoulders."


I try to snap a clear picture of BreeBree and James Mason as they chase madly around trying to pick up the scent of Chester, resident chipmunk.


Hummingbirds zoom in and out to the tiny red flowers of an unknown plant. On one day the flowers dwindle down to a few and I wonder if they should be cut back to encourage more blooms but then the very next morning it is loaded with red blooms, and hummingbirds. Over and over.
 

The hydrangeas are past their peak. This year I'm not cutting bunches for drying. 



We haven't taken down the Fourth of July bunting yet. Hopefully it will come down before the Christmas wreath goes up.


 I'm letting go of summer a little bit at a time this year but a September garden with BreeBree and James Mason is a fine place to be.

September comes to us as a woman blessed with a great inheritance, whose lines have fallen in fair places. She has the flash and frame of leaves that begin to turn, she is colorful with blossoms, and she wears a scarf of blue mist around her shoulders. But to think of all the glories that have been handed down to her from August.

Richardson Wright, Truly Rural


Sunday, August 28, 2022

Nectarines or Peaches?

 

I'm an unabashed lover of nectarines. Whenever our local markets have organic nectarines, we buy a small sackful. 

Here's an easy and delicious nectarine dessert that was in the September 2020 issue of the UK Country Living. Sorry, but I couldn't find an online link to the recipe.


 Baked Nutmeg and Rosemary Nectarines

Oven 400 F (200 C) -- I guessed at the conversion.

1. Lay sprigs of fresh rosemary on baking dish and top with 4 nectarines halved and pitted, cut side up.

2. Grate 1/4 of whole nutmeg over the fruit and sprinkle on 2 tablespoons brown sugar on top and a pinch of sea salt. (I also sprinkled on a little of the Lemon Juice powder that I got from Baker's Catalogue.)

3. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over (I used the Greek olive oil my daughter brought me that I use sparingly in special recipes.)

4. Bake 25-30 minutes at 400 F.

5. Serve with Greek yogurt, porridge or rice pudding. 

I used my favorite mascarpone with a little honey stirred in on top and the flavor was intensely delicious. We didn't eat the rosemary with the fruit but it did add an amazing scent.

 

Here's another wonderful nectarine dessert I make, with pictures from two years ago. I never included it in a blog because my crust looked pitiful. Here is a link to the Garden & Gun recipe for Nectarine and Berry Cobbler.

Their picture:


My picture:


 See what I mean? But it is a yummy recipe.


 I wrote down the following quotation about nectarines some time ago but failed to note the author. I suspect it was either from one of my Richardson Wright books or James Beard's.

Edward A. Bunyard [1878-1939], an English gourmet of the highest flight and one of the most brilliant essayist on fruit (did you read his "The Anatomy of Dessert"?) confessed that blindfolded he couldn't tell them apart [peaches and nectarines] if peeled. He finally agreed that the peach had it all over the nectarine for the texture of the flesh--a smooth, butter-like flesh--and the nectarine had it all over the peach for flavor.

RH prefers peaches. I prefer nectarines.

What about you?


Friday, August 26, 2022

Zinnia Patch

 

We haven't picked a single zinnia out of this bed off the front porch even though it is more stuffed with zinnias now than it was when this picture was taken a few weeks ago. 

I think about cutting a few for a vase and then when I open the front door every morning and look out at them, I just cannot. 

I ordered five packets of zinnias from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. 

These were Polar Bear:


 Pink Senorita:


 A sparse few of Candy Cane Mix:


And tiny orange Peruviana that are darling:


The last packet was supposed to be Queen Lime Red but obviously are not the beautiful Queen Lime variety:

 

RH also sowed two packets of sunflowers, Red Sun and gorgeous Chocolate Cherry. They sprang up beautifully until they were about six inches high until each morning more and more were gone.

Undoubtedly this mama was the culprit but we choose her over sunflowers any day. RH cuts up an apple a day for her and each year she rewards us by bringing her fawns to see us.



I do love zinnias so much and am happy Red doesn't like them for her appetizer. I think this article on tole zinnias was in a 1967 House & Garden magazine I was recently looking at: [House & Garden November 1968]


Those would be the perfect solution to my not wanting to cut zinnias that would soon fade in a vase!

Then again, why am I wrinkling up my nose at them? Metal zinnias?

Would you buy them?

 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Smoked Salmon Spread and Mystery Italian Plates and both my blogs are fixed!

So many times something is mentioned in a book that ends up on my menu. Does that happen to you? I have always written down inspiring menus from books I'm reading.

 

Salmon has been a favorite for RH to put on his smoker for decades but we had never soaked it in rum first before I read that mentioned in Alexander McCall Smith's The Sunday Philosophy Club. 

He smokes it himself in one of those old smoking sheds. He soaks it in rum and then puts it over oak chips. It's the rum that gives it that wonderful flavor.

 


 I recently soaked some wild sockeye salmon in dark aged rum for two hours then dried it well, smeared on a little brown sugar, salt and pepper. RH had the smoker going with oak chips and the air in the garden smelled wonderful as the two sides of salmon smoked.

We had some of it on a big salad that night and I flaked the remainder, put half in the freezer, and used the other half the next day to make Smoked Salmon Spread from this Ina Garten recipe.

I halved Ina's recipe and added a little chopped celery, scallion, and jalapeƱo, plus a little cayenne and paprika. 


 I rarely make appetizers anymore for just the two of us so this called for a pretty old green glass container and a linen towel with fish embroidered on it and one of my mystery Italian plates.

I have a treasured stack of them and they never go in the dishwasher. I haven't been able to identify them online. I've searched for "sea creature plates marked Italy"  to no avail. Every time I've posted a picture of these plates on my blogs I've asked for help in identifying these so if anyone knows what kind of a sea creature this could be, please let me know.

I can't even remember where I got them but they're perfect for summer days. And ever since I read Frances Parkinson Keyes's New England-set novel Also the Hills many years ago, salmon has always been on the Fourth of July menu for me, along with the barbecued ribs for RH that we both grew up eating on Independence Day. Keyes's novels were full of good menus, whether in her New England-set novels or her Louisiana ones or her ones set in France or South America.

As were Laurie Colwin's novels. The best books have good food in them! Are there any fiction authors you find yourself jotting down recipe ideas while reading? 

And yes, both my blogs are working again! I have no idea how. For days they weren't despite everything I tried and then all of a sudden presto, there they were and I was no longer "anonymous"! 

Thank you so much, Google, if it was you that fixed it! 

My best to everyone reading here,

Dewena



Sunday, June 26, 2022

Touble signing in to my blog

 Help, please! 

Both my blogs say to sign in but when I click on it I can't. It just says error message. 

I've spent hours googling the problem, signing out and signing back in but it doesn't work.

Has anyone reading this had trouble with your Blogger blog? 

I've followed every hint I've found online and nothing helps. I don't even know if this post will actually be published but thought I'd try this and see if it appears.

Thank you so much if you have any suggestions! 

P.S. I'm not able to post at my other blog at all and I can't comment on my posts at all. 

6/27 update: I am able to publish my comments here at this blog but cannot at Dewena's Window so I have no way of letting readers there know what's going on. 

And still, at the top of the page of both blogs it says "sign in" no matter how many times I successfully sign in to my blogger/google account. And when I click on "sign in" or "new post" at Dewena's Window it doesn't take me to the post history, stats, etc. for it but instead takes me to that page here at Across the Way. 

I've sent repeated requests to the Help Center about this problem but get no help at all.

Friday, May 13, 2022

It's May! Can you stand it?

 

May is almost too wonderful to bear. 


 When I opened the curtains this morning, the front porch was a bower of purple clematis, overnight!


 The Kousa dogwood that RH planted as a veritable twig a few years ago now fills the window. He planted it much too close to the house but it was a matter of sidewalk and water line limiting spaces to dig. This year is the first for it to be loaded with white flower bracts making it a replacement for the huge Kousa at Valley View that was like a bridal bouquet in front of my bedroom window every May.

And this is what one daughter-in-law brought me on Mother's Day, a sample from the Valley View dogwood. The bracts are huge!

This a bouquet RH brought inside one morning last week, a twig from one of our two black locusts trees here. I could have sworn I dusted that lampshade. The lamp's an oldie that we bought in 1973, made in Denmark, or was it Sweden? 

And the clock radio was a gift from my firstborn after I did a post here hinting to him (if he saw the blog post) that I sure would adore a 1953 Zenith clock radio because it was SO Me!

Unbeknownst [I've always wanted to use that word] to me, he researched it and searched high and low to find this beautiful piece. He told me it was a big seller in its time, nicknamed The Owl Series. If you look at it closely you'll guess why.


 


We have a small locust tree in the middle of some trees in our turnaround and a very large one outside the bathroom window. The week the trees were in bloom we had the windows open and they perfumed the house magnificently. [It helped mask the odor of pee on area rugs. I'm sorry, BreeBree, but you know you do choose not to use the pee pad sometime.]


 Here's the turnaround where the small locust is and another May gift of nature.


 Believe me, we're the most popular driveway in the neighborhood with the UPS and FED-X drivers with this turnaround near the kitchen door.  And look how large the wild rose has grown this year!

A climbing rose planted by Mother Nature!

And to end my tribute to early May's gifts, here is a lovely bouquet brought to me last weekend from our youngest son's garden.


 


The fragrance of these peonies was amazing and they were gorgeous.

Ah, May, you're almost too wonderful to bear! 

But I'm up for the challenge.