On Two Acres In Town

I'd much rather read than write so it's not much of a blog...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

My Last Cheesecake?



In an effort to avoid doing what I usually do, I'm taking a moment to finish what I started regarding cheesecake.

I made a cheesecake this week but cut it up before I thought to take a photo. This is at least a fairly good image of the texture, light and perfectly dry the way I like it with a lovely touch of vanilla and lemon.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Ultimate Cheesecake


McCall's Cooking School, circa 1975?

I'm going through old recipe files. This one has been haunting me since I pulled it out a few weeks ago.

Many years ago I think I made it twice before I found a recipe I liked better for the filling but I continued to use the Lindy's version for the crust. I have never liked a graham cracker crust for cheesecake. Who's idea was that I'd like to know.

The recipe I use for the filling is one that the Family Circle test kitchen called "Our Finest Cheesecake" and is attributed to John Clancy, author of "John Clancy's Baking Book". I like it because the cake is lighter and drier than most.

1.5 lb. cream cheese, room temperature
1-1/4 cups sugar (or less)

1/4 tsp. salt
6 eggs, separated, room temperature
1 pint sour cream
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Grated rind of 1 lemon 

Juice of 1/2 lemon
 

With electric mixer on low speed or with a wooden spoon, beat cream cheese in a large bowl until soft. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy. 

Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, until well blended. Stir in sour cream, flour, vanilla, lemon rind, lemon juice and salt until smooth. 

Beat egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Fold whites into the cheese mixture, soufflĂ©-fashion, until well blended. Pour into prepared pan. 

Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees F) 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until top is golden; turn off oven heat and allow cake to cool in oven for 1 hour and then remove it from oven to cool on a wire rack at room temperature.

Chill to ripen overnight before serving. Dust with powdered sugar if desired just before cutting.

There's no getting around it. I'm going to make a cheesecake.

Friday, February 28, 2014

March 2014 Desktop Calendar



I've been looking at a landscape of white for two months. 
I need a bit of green.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Enough Already



I love the snow but I've run out of room to pile it. "Uncle!!"

When the pile in the middle of the driveway gets this size I always wish I knew someone who could help me sculpt it into a replica of the Victor Emmanuel II Monument, Rome's 'Wedding Cake'.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

"Inside Llewyn Davis"



The fact that I'm sitting here listening to the soundtrack should be some indication of how much I enjoyed this film.

I loved watching Oscar Isaac (and his beautiful complexion) but the image of NYC before the days of Trump et al was, for me, the best part of the movie. I loved the cat(s) (they used several) too and I'm not even a cat person.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger 1919-2014


He was still bringin' it at 93. A good soul he was.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Old Lady, New Bike



Every once in awhile I think about coming back here but the moment usually passes quickly and I'm on to other pointless stuff.

This past year however was a little less pointless. I spent it, in large part, losing some weight and, more important, regaining strength and bone density.

I'm pleased with my success but even happier to be able to demonstrate to others that it's possible to get fit at 65.

A year and half ago I was despondent when I put my old road bike in the attic. I simply couldn't ride more than five miles without pain and/or numbness in my hands and/or feet. Fortunately I could still ride my town bike but not on any major roadways or too far afield.

Several people had suggested that I could get a hybrid bicycle that would put me more upright like my town bike and get me back on the road. I wasn't sure about spending money on a new bike but once I felt leaner and stronger I wanted to do more cycling than I could on my town bike.

2013 was, for me, the year I got Medicare and a Bianchi camaleonte tre for my birthday.

Friday, December 27, 2013

January 2014 Desktop Calendar



Don't know where it came from and it's a big file but so worth it, no?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Guessing



I'm having a terrible time coming up with even a modicum of enthusiasm for this year's garden but I do take some measure of comfort in the fact that NOAA is not forecasting drought for the Eastern U.S. thru July.

I have about half the number of seedlings that I've started in the past and I'm planning to grow primarily those things I can't find locally, like several varieties of cime di rapa and cardoon.

At the moment though, while most of my effort in the garden is spent dealing with an explosion of lesser bittercress we have again this spring, the rhubarb is coming on strong and the lovage that I thought a chipmunk had destroyed last summer looks promising.

As with so many other things, the key to serenity in my gardening seems to be in adjusting my expectations.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Winter Wheat



Rosie Meier, a grain merchandiser at the Great Bend Co-op in Great Bend, Kansas, told Bloomberg, "About 30 percent of the winter wheat in central Kansas has already failed, with further damage likely unless there is rain."

Pancakes are gonna get expensive...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Good Griddle



I guess the best way to sum up the past year on these two acres is to say it was one of transition. The process is ongoing but at this point we are pretty much 'retired'.

One of the changes we've made in the past year is the way we eat. We used to eat the conventional three meals every day but now most days we are eating a larger breakfast around 9:00 and a main meal around 2:00 with a light snack in the evening.

As breakfast became more important so did the problem of a griddle. Since I gave up my favorite griddle years ago because of the Teflon coating, I hadn't been able to find a replacement I liked. I had been using a large skillet but sometimes there were tell-tale flavors from previous heavily seasoned dishes and even a hint of garlic is not something I want in my banana pancakes, thank you.

A few weeks ago we made what I expect to be our last investment in high-quality cookware. We used our Christmas gifts from The Mister's father to buy a Swiss Diamond griddle. It is absolutely perfect and the first breakfast of sour buckwheat cakes was delicious as was the sourdough French toast on New Year's morning.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dave Brubeck 1920-2012



You know you're going to outlive a lot of people who have been important in your life but I'm surprised how difficult I'm finding these mounting losses. I suspect it may be that I'm less able than most to offset the losses with some measure of faith in the future but the future was a very different place when I came to appreciate the music of Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond in the 60's.

I saw Dave Brubeck in concert whenever I had the chance, the last time being here in Syracuse in 2007, but of all the concerts and recordings, the image I love best is the one portrayed in a 2001 hour-long interview with Hedrick Smith, "Rediscovering Dave Brubeck". It's not often one can truly believe a famous person known from afar is also a fine human being but Dave Brubeck was just that.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Buttoning Up



The attic is quiet. I'll miss the flying squirrels but not the red ones.

With new coverings of hardware clothe and screening there's only the the sheet rock to replace and a couple of holes to patch. We've considered adding to the cedar trim but I haven't had any problems with moths in the woolens so I'm just going to fill a few old pillowcases with cedar shavings and place them around the room.

I've spent much of the past few months hauling stuff out of the attic. The last boxes of books, crockery & glassware, linens, Christmas decorations, etc. went this week.

The once cluttered and crowded attic is now almost empty and I can't for the life of me decide how I feel about that.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Beautiful Sight



We can't remember the last time we saw a radar image like this. It is a truly lovely thing to see and I feel a sense of relief just looking at it.

The modest amount of rain we've had this month has made a noticeable difference in some of the trees. Some of the trees that were beginning to fade or yellow earlier than usual have actually 're-greened'. Those that are probably stressed by other factors besides lack of water however, are going to need a normal winter of dormancy and moisture to recover.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Good Vibes



I finally got to see "The Intouchables" and while I'm not unaware of the film's flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed it because of the wonderful performances by Omar Sy and François Cluzet.

Now I have Earth, Wind and Fire running through my head 24/7...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Too Little, Too Late


A damaged corn field in central Kansas August 7, 2012.
Credit: Reuters/Jeff Tuttle

(Reuters) - Dry weather will return to the drought-stricken U.S. Midwest crop region, with corn and soybeans ending their growing season on a negative note after this week's rains proved to be too little too late, an agricultural meteorologist said Friday.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Georgian Crystal



So I'm pulling the last of my garlic, 24 plantings of what I expect to be Nootka Rose, and I realize half of them have hard necks. I can't believe I didn't notice the difference when I prepared the garlic last fall but it seems one of the two growers from whom I ordered Nootka Rose last year sent me something else, a porcelain with the lovely name, 'Georgian Crystal'.

It's really quite pretty and not like any of the others I've grown. The silvery outer wrappers have a blush of pink and the cloves have just a bit more color. It has a nice full flavor without much heat. Even though all my garlic is small this year after I planted later than usual, I think I have enough good-sized cloves that I will be able to grow some full-size Georgian Crystal next season.

That's pretty much how I'm coping, by looking forward to next season. The storm systems that do roll through central New York almost always part as they approach us, going north and south, leaving us dry as a bone. We get the odd brief shower and it greens up the grass but does nothing for the more deep-rooted.

Everything seems to be in stasis, waiting for rain.