Saturday, October 31, 2009

A very good appetizer!

I read on Facebook where my niece, Kim, made Herb and Cheese Poppers twice in one week after reading the recipe in the November issue of Bon Appetit. With a party coming up and wanting to bring an appetizer to go with drinks, I thought I would give these a try. They are actually fun to make. Possibly, a little bland, I might add a little minced green onions next time. They are kind of like popcorn--you just want to keep 'popping' them into your mouth. You can find the recipe here. The herbs came out of my garden, so that was easy.

I baked a few to sample and the rest I froze, as the recipe states it is an easy thing to do. I will bake before the party next week. I thought it was something nice to keep in the freezer for those unexpected moments.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It was a surprise gift!

Have you tried POM Wonderful? It is 100% pomegranate juice grown in California's San Joaquin Valley. Someone from POM Wonderful was reading my blog and emailed me if I would like to receive a sample of POM. No strings attached.

My case of POM Wonderful arrived a few days ago, and I have been enjoying it every day since. It is full of antioxidants with no fillers, added sugars or the bad stuff. It really is quite enjoyable. Researchers say that it is the most potent antioxidant in nature, standing above red wine, grape juice, blackberry juice; you get the picture.

When my case is gone, I will be looking for it at my grocer's. So, thank you, POM Wonderful, for reading my blog, and for sending me this healthy juice.

On a more sober note...the alligator is back in our backyard pond. Be alert, be very alert!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Remembering a lecture

I have hesitated writing this posting for some time. I just don't know what to say without offending anyone, and if you know me, that is something that bothers me a lot. Everyone is free to form their own opinion, and I hope I hear some opinions.

What is it with women? Everything is more difficult, including watching your own head of hair grow gray. I mean, I can just look back into my family tree and know it is inevitable. But, let's go back a few years. I had the privilege to work as a secretary, transcriptionist, "go for " for a very intelligent and talented dermatologist. His speciality was removing birthmarks from babies and small children, but he was expert in many other fields of medicine.

Dr. H's one lecture to me, there were several, was to not use chemicals on my head, i.e. permanents, color dyes. His sway was that if you put the nicotine patch on your skin and the chemicals give the satisfaction of nicotine, why wouldn't chemicals on the scalp seep into the body and do 'whatever?' It made sense to me. In fact, other than once or twice, I have never colored my hair, but I did go through the permanent phase in the 80's.

So, every time I get a haircut, I remember what Dr. H said and stay away from colors. Until three weeks ago. I had not had my hair cut the entire time I was in Montana, so it had been 14 weeks. It was time for something. The trend is to now use "organic" colors without ammonia and therefore they are less harmful. So, I went 'caramel with highlights' and I really like it. It is maybe not such a great difference that it is noticeable, but I know that they gray is gone. This is not the permanent kind that will show my gray roots in several weeks time. It is temporary and when the time comes, I just might not even do it again.

Now, here is the interesting part. I just read this morning in a hometown newspaper that a woman who owned a beauty salon and two of her employees all got breast cancer within a short period of each other. What a shock! The owner researched and made big changes in her salon. All hair treatments are now organic. She isn't sure if this will make much difference, but she is betting on it.

One more reason why women can have a tougher time of it; or is it because I am a woman and closer to the reality of it all.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Still plugging away

I have always liked to watch Michael Chiarello cook on TV. He is very likable, always throws fantastic dinner parties and I like what he cooks. I also receive his catalog Napa Style. During the summer his cover had beautiful wine bottles with candles inside. I sent the picture to my daughter thinking her husband could cut wine bottles to achieve this same affect for much, much less.

When we stopped to see them a couple of weeks ago, he volunteered to try cutting the bottom out of the wine bottle with his wet saw. So, The Trout and I went to the Whole Foods, not looking for the perfect wine this time, but the perfect bottle to experiment with. This certainly isn't a magnum, which would be perfect, but it was large enough to produce an almost identical bottle to M. Chiarello's with a much better price. I really like it a lot. Thanks, Mike and Angie. We are enjoying this new candle bottle.

I think I may have found a very perfect granola recipe for myself. I have been buying expensive and too sugary granola-type cereal, but certainly do not like the price. I then saw that a blog I love to read "For the love of cooking" had a great sounding granola recipe, so I had to try it. You can see it here. Very simple and I had all the ingredients. I also add dried apricots because I had some of those around. Very good on Greek yogurt which is my yogurt of choice right now.

Still cleaning out closets before The Trout gets back. Also went out to dinner last night (smile) with a girlfriend. Kippy went to the groomer today. Life is good.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

And so it goes...

Catching up a lot at home. Found a new dentist today that will be perfect for me. The last one had equipment older than me (yes, it is possible) and the hygienist had her 3 Spanish speaking children constantly chattering in the room the whole time she was cleaning my teeth. Why am I always the lucky one? Possibly because I don't complain much in public---just afterward at home.

The Trout is on his way, flying back to Montana! He is meeting up with his fishing buddy for 10 more days of cold weather fly fishing. He knew better than to ask if I wanted to go along. I am very happy to be back in Florida, thank you.

My Southern Living magazine arrived today. Pleasant surprise to see a six page article on Ree Drummond, known in the blog world as The Pioneer Woman. She does have the greatest recipes and stories.

A lot of cleaning out drawers and that type of stuff while the Trout is gone 10 days. I do things like that best alone, because I tend to make a bigger mess until it is all cleaned up. Anybody been there?

Knitting a new hat for 5 year old granddaughter. She outgrew the hat I knit 3 years ago and wanted the same one. I will post when it is done because it is the cutest thing for a little girl. And....she likes it!! She is home right now with the H1n1 flu which is not good. I pray she will have a quick recovery as well as the rest of the family who are probably getting it. This is a nasty flu. I did hear a doctor say that those born in the 40's and early 50's have a natural immunity since our mothers were exposed to that terrible flu of 1918-1920. Interesting theory. No flu shots available around here anyway this year so we will just go with the flow and carry hand sanitizer everywhere.

Cooking will also slow down in the next week. Need to lose some weight (who doesn't) and it is a good time to clean out the kitchen instead of cooking.

Other than a few extra walks outside, I will be checking all your blogs and if something profound happens here...I'll be ready to share.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Georgian Cilantro Sauce

Driving many miles in a car this summer, we listened to a lot of Public Radio along with favorite CD's such as Jimmy Buffet, Norah Jones, and Delbert McClinton. One PR program was named "The Splendid Table." The topic for the day was "Georgian Cilantro Sauce." The recipe is from Martha Rose Shulman's series "Recipes for Health" in The New York Times. Quoting Ms. Shulman, "Years ago I found an intriguing recipe for a sauce similar to this one. I love it, but it wasn't until I read Dara Goldstein's The Georgian Feast, from which this recipe is adapted, that I realized this sweet, pungent sauce is a mainstay of Georgian national cuisine, often served with grilled meat, chicken, vegetables or grains."

Well, that is all I needed to hear. This is not Georgia, USA. This is the country of Georgia which lies between Asia and Europe. I made the sauce this morning to serve with a pork roast today. The apricots have been soaking since last evening.

Georgian Cilantro Sauce

2 ounces dried apricots
1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup shelled walnuts (1 ounce)
2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste) halved
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne
2 cups cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped mixed basil, tarragon and dill
5 tablespoons walnut oil
1/2 cup soaking water from the apricots

Place the dried apricots in a bowl and pour on the boiling water. Let sit for at least an hour, more if possible. Drain over a measuring cup and retain 1/2 cup of the soaking water.

Turn on a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and drop in the garlic. When it is chopped and adhering to the sides of the bowl, stop the machine and scrape down the bowl. Add the walnuts, and process with the garlic. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the drained apricots, the lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne to the bowl, and process to a puree. Add the cilantro and other chopped herbs and puree, stopping the machine to scrape down the sides several times. Combine the walnut oil and soaking water from the apricots, and with the machine running, gradually add it to the puree. Process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let sit for one hour. Taste and adjust salt. Serve with beans, chicken, meat or fish, grilled or roasted vegetables or grains. The sauce will keep for several days in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.

My photo above shows roast pork, Georgian Cilantro Sauce and roasted potatoes. We both agreed, that this sauce is addictive. I, unfortunately, did not have the walnut oil which is so prevalent in the Dordogne region of France. I used a good olive oil instead. I used the cilantro, parsley, basil and dill and did not use the tarragon. Very surprisingly, each and every one of these herbs, the lemon, the apricots, the garlic; all are very distinct in flavor as you taste this sauce. The lady on the radio said she loves this so much, she simply spreads it on bread to eat it. I will definitely use it on spelt/ferro, a grain we like a lot. I know I will be making this often.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I just have to show you this!

Last Saturday, we were visiting our daughter and family in Ohio. We went to Jack Hanna's Columbus Zoo which is a very beautiful place. It is like walking through a very private park, everything in its place.

We saw the typical monkeys, fish in the aquarium, etc., but there was one animal I had never seen before and actually, I did not know this creature existed. It is called an Okapi (O copy). They are found in NE Zaire and were first discovered in 1900. I just can't believe I have never heard of this animal. Because it is so strange looking, I know I would have remembered seeing photos of it before. You form your own opinion. I just had to stare and stare. My son-in-law summed it up when he remarked that it looked like God had some left-overs to use up when he designed the Okapi.

Be sure to double-click on the photos to get a close-up look. They weren't very cooperative in posing for me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

We are home!!

We are finally home. After almost 13,000 miles of safe driving in a 3 month period, we arrived home with a sign of relief. The work has started. Lots of outside work this time of year in Florida. The Trout smells like a rosemary roast. Our one rosemary plant, planted 3 years ago, is huge again and needs a lot of trimming. I wish I could share the clippings with you. I love the aroma.

Computer tech spent 5 hours here yesterday. Seems our computer, which was totally turned off and unplugged for 3 months developed a lot of 'stuff'.' Working temporarily but will probably need to be totally scrubbed and then reinstalled.

Then after washing dishes by hand for 3 months, the dishwasher seems to be locked up. It happens a lot in the south if you don't use appliances for a while. Repairman coming tomorrow. One year our disposal locked up. I now pour 2 cups of vegetable oil down the disposal before we leave. That seems to keep it working.

I will be posting more often as we get settled. It just feels good to be back even though we had a terrific summer. Met so many wonderful people, including 3 blogger friends. There is nothing wrong with that at all. I hope it will happen more often.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


How did Trout ever find and fall in love with Montana you may ask?? Way back in 1981 or 1982, my brother Gordon called me and invited me to go elk hunting in Montana! He had been buying cattle through a rancher-broker in Drummond who invited him to come out!! Above is his cattle lot where he ships many 1000's of feeder cattle each fall to feed lots all over the country!
This is Garry Mentzer, the owner operator of the lot. Along with his sons, Gerry and Greg, they are about the hardest working ranchers in the Flint Creek Valley, home of the "World's Biggest Bullshippers!" They were great hosts and invited me to come out some summer to try fishing! Well as luck would have it, I was in Tacoma, WA the next summer so I called Garry and he made plans to pick me up at the MSO airport and back to his ranch. He supplied me with a trusty ranch pickup and son Greg to guide me!! It was a great time and one to be repeated many times over the years to fish and hunt with them. I hope I have not worn out my welcome with many stops over the years to bunk up with them. I feel about as contented and full of spirit as I can get while out there with new adventures every day in search of the wily trout!

My heart felt thanks to the Mentzer family and I wish you the very best!!
Garry had some 60 acres on a trout stream that Greg showed me! Below it was a beautiful valley where the stream ran clear and full of cutthroat trout. Its owner, Grace, was a very interesting lady in her 70's. She loved the mountains and used to leave her husband in control of the family as she took a couple of horses and headed into the mountains in search of trophy elk. She taught many men how to elk hunt and her husband shot a bull elk that is in the TOP 10 trophy bulls ever shot!

Every time I was in the area, I would fish her wonderful stream until she died. I had heard her family would tie up the stream for their own use so I left it alone for a few years until I got up the gumption to stop and ask if I could fish. Well I got a good look over by her son, Harold, who gave me the OK after promising "catch and release" fishing. I gave him a couple of beers to keep cool while I fished as a peace offering!

Well, upon my return to his home, I noticed he had set up 2 chairs in the yard for the two of us! Over those beers, we learned a lot about each other and solved the world's problem. By the time the beers were done, I had an open invitation to come back and fish anytime!! I have done so many many times and Susan and I have enjoyed Harold and Alvina's company each summer for evenings out!

These are just two of many great acquaintances I have made in Montana. I have felt most welcome by all but two landowners, to enjoy their resources! My thanks to you all and God Bless!