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

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cheap Entertainment on Two Acres



photo by Linsey Boland

Sunday night I dozed off in front of the fire to be awakened shortly after midnight by a flying squirrel doing laps around the downstairs. I went up to bed but slept with one ear/eye open so to speak.

Last night as we were about to eat dinner the little critter reappeared, still looking for a way out. Actually it was more fun than we'd had in awhile and after a few rounds we were finally able to shoo it out the front door. They are cute but I hope they stay in the attic until spring when we can get someone up on the roof to work on the chimneys.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Too Much Too Soon

We are buried in lake effect snow that continues unabated. It's beautiful but it's also another thing that adds to my growing sense of unease.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Beer Week!


EMPIRE-FARMSTEAD BEER PAIRING

Monday 6:30pm-9:00pm


station #1

The Imaginary Farmer (Hamilton, NY)

food: Elm Oyster Mushroom Bisque

Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, NY)

beer: Hennepin


station #2

Critz Farms (Cazenovia, NY)

food: Pumpkin Spatzel with Beurre Noir

Empire Brewing Company (Syracuse, NY)

beer: Critz’s Pumpkin Ale


station #3

Back Forty Elk Farm (Deruyter, NY)

food: Elk Chili

Brooklyn Brewery (Brooklyn, NY)

beer: Local One


station #4

Meadows Kobe Beef Farm (Cazenovia, NY)

Open Roast Beef Tenderloin Sandwiches

Empire Brewing Company (Syracuse, NY)

beer: Downtown Brown Ale


station #5

Emmi’s Farm (Syracuse, NY)

food: Root Vegetable, Fresh Herb & Sheep Milk Cheese Empanadillas

Empire Brewing Company (Syracuse, NY)

beer: Deep Purple


staion #6

Brick Farm (Cazenovia, NY)

food: Creole Deviled Eggs

Southern Tier Brewing Company (Lakewood, NY)

beer: Phin & Matt’s Extraordinary Ale


station #7

Meadowood Farms (Cazenovia, NY)

Foot Hill Hops Farm (Munnsville, NY)

food: Grilled Lamb Sausage w/ Hop Mustard

Empire Brewing Company (Syracuse, NY)

beer: Empire State Pale Ale


station #8

e-Garden (Cazenovia, NY)

food: Grilled Caribbean Jerk Chicken

Empire Brewing Company (Syracuse, NY)

beer: IPA (India Pale Ale)


station #9

Drover Hill Farm (Earlville, NY)

food: Smoked Bacon wrapped Medallions of Pork

Empire Brewing Company (Syracuse, NY)

beer: Cream Ale


station #10

Kimberly’s Ice Cream (Cazenovia, NY)

food: Belgian Chocolate, Stout, Beer Nuts & Chocolate Covered Pretzel Ice Cream

Empire Brewing Company (Syracuse, NY)

beer: Black Magic Stout


station #11

Jewett’s Cheese (Earlville, NY)

food: Selection of Aged Cheddar Cheese

Primo & Mary’s Heritage Products (Cazenovia, NY)

food: Chips & Salsa

Ithaca Beer Company (Ithaca, NY)

beer: Cold Front


station #12

Thorpe’s Apiary (Cazenovia, NY)

food: Sliced Apple, Walnut & Wild Flower Honey

Empire Brewing Company (Syracuse, NY)

beer: Skinny Atlas Kölsch


station #13

Meadowood Farm (Cazenovia, NY)

e-Garden (Cazenovia, NY)

food: Belted Galloway Slider w/ Heirloom Tomato Ketchup & Pretzel Roll

Empire Brewing Company (Syracuse, NY)

beer: Amber Ale


station #14

Sweet On Chocolate (Syracuse, NY)

food: Hefe-Weizen Chocolate Truffle

Empire Brewing Company (Syracuse, NY)

beer: Empire Hefe-weizen

Sweet On Chocolate (Syracuse, NY)

food: Wailing Wench Dark Chocolate Truffle

Middle Ages Brewing Company (Syracuse, NY)

beer: Wailing Wench


eat where you live™

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Round Lake, Green Lakes State Park, October 16, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

10.10.10 and 10



Thirsty Owl Winery on the western shore of Cayuga Lake

An Irish Lass

We did part of the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail yesterday and one of our first stops was the Finger Lakes Dexter Cheese Creamery.

I would so love to have a Dexter cow.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Kitchen Glass

I've never been a fan of Pyrex. For a while I thought it was me, that I was just clumsy and couldn't keep from chipping anything made of Pyrex. Then several years ago I stumbled across a glass casserole that was made in France and to this day, despite frequent use, it remains intact.

I came to understand that all heat-proof glass is not the same. For some reason the Pyrex sold in the US is made of soda-lime glass while European Pyrex is made of borosilicate glass.

I wanted to replace my US-Pyrex measuring cups with borosilicate versions and I finally found some online at The Container Store. The first 2-cup beaker had the markings placed too low for accuracy. The Container Store sent another, one with markings too high on the beaker. In the photo each measuring cup holds 8oz of water.

Really, what's the point in making measuring cups if they aren't going to measure anything?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Poor Fox

We first saw the fox maybe three weeks ago. It was so sad and scrawny. Last weekend a woman pulled into the driveway to tell us a sick-looking fox had "lunged" at her car but she wasn't from the area and didn't want to call 911 when she wasn't sure how to describe the location. Since I had seen a fox recently I went ahead and called but I never saw the police.

On Thursday I was filling feeders when I saw something moving out of the corner of my eye. The grass hadn't been mowed for a couple of weeks so the undersized fox was almost hidden in the middle of the yard. It saw me but didn't show any signs of aggression. It was spending most of its time scratching and licking.

A police officer came out and gave me the lowdown on how they handle these situations (they don't actually do anything unless someone gets attacked) and then he approached the fox, clapping his hands. The fox reluctantly moved away toward the treeline eventually making its way around the house. I saw it go between the garages before I left to do some errands so I was careful to close the door between the garage bay and the cottage.

When I got home I pulled into the garage and closed the door right away so the fox couldn't get in. Neither of us opened the garage again until The Mister came home yesterday evening and discovered the fox had apparently been inside when I pulled in over 24 hours earlier.

I feel so bad. The fox is already terribly debilitated with what appears to be sarcoptic mange and then I shut it in the garage for more than a day.

The fox made its way across the road and I ran over to the neighbors to tell them not to hurt it, that there wasn't any indication it was rabid.

Poor, poor fox. I wonder if it made it through the night...

15 August - The Mister saw the remains of the fox yesterday a short distance down the road. It appeared to have died quickly when it was hit, probably a better fate than freezing to death without a healthy coat to protect it in the winter or so I'd like to think.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

In a Fog

I'm glad to have this photo from cyclingfans.com. It not only captures my favorite moment in an otherwise disappointing Tour de France but also my strange summer. The video is still making me laugh: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91YQl-89Q04

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bona and Jazzfest 2010


A perfect evening. A gorgeous nearly-full moon rising, Bona's sweet voice backed up by Tatum Greenblatt on trumpet, Andrew Hunter on trombone, Jean Christophe Maillard on guitar, Etienne Stadwijk on keyboards, Gilmar Gomes on percussion and Ernesto Simpson on drums for an enthusiastic audience of more than 5,000 people.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Back Stoop Redo


The issue has been forced, at least as far as I'm concerned. We do nothing around here until we're forced to do it. We're just damned lucky someone hasn't gotten seriously injured making their way to the back door, that someone most likely being me.

So without much enthusiasm I called the contractor. I was fully prepared to have him simply remove the stoop and the walk and leave it at that but he had wonderful ideas about restoring the stoop and using pavers for a new walk. We're figuring out the last details but it's going to happen next month. One little – or not-so-little – thing I can actually affect in the midst of unmanageable chaos. And a chance to play with one of my favorite things: graph paper!


The pavers:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The 2010 Banding


It was the only news item this week that didn't make me want to take hostages. Thank you birdies.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Slow Going



I don't know if I'm just less patient this year for some reason or if things got off to a fast, early start when the weather warmed sooner than usual and then everything slowed to a crawl when it cooled again. Even the tomato starts et al germinated quickly and then seemed to take forever to put out true leaves.

In the garden I still haven't set up for watering so things have been slow out there during the last few dry weeks. But this week we've been getting rain, lovely rain and things are growing again.

And I can finally do some easy weeding because of course the weeds managed just fine in the dry weather.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

At Least Three

I'm not finding much to celebrate right now except for the reports of peregrine chicks hatching in Cleveland, Montreal and many other locations. Here in Syracuse I've spotted at least three and there may very well be a fourth tucked in there. In a few short weeks they'll be on the wing.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Back in Business

My first effort on the new stone was a loaf from a batch of no-knead dough made with half King Arthur organic bread flour and half Red Fife from Anson Mills. It could have baked another five minutes but it was still a treat.


Red Fife was North America’s preferred bread wheat in the 19th century, fathering many of our modern bread wheat varieties. It disappeared from production with the Great Depression and was re-introduced into Canada a little over decade ago, where it has slowly and steadily drawn an ardent cadre of artisan bakers in both countries. Cold-milled, this new crop hard red wheat produces 100% whole grain bread with profoundly herbaceous and nutty fresh wheat flavors, a moist, satisfying crumb, and a lovely crust with deep, toasty caramel notes. As a whole grain bread flour, Red Fife is unparalleled.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A New Stone


Late last summer when I tried to remove my old pizza stone from the oven, I ended up with half of it in each hand. Like so many things around here, it was old and getting a replacement turned into such a pain that I just gave up.

The hardest part was finding a stone that fit my shallow oven, one absolutely no deeper than 14 inches. The one I had is no longer made of course, but those I found that were the right size were reviewed with a lot of complaints about breakage in shipping or usage shortly after purchase.

Finally in my most recent effort I stumbled across Breadtopia and their endorsement of FibraMent baking stones. It was pretty much a done deal as soon as I read that FibraMent stones have a ten-year warranty and include a stone for home bakers in a size that fits my oven perfectly.

I only hope I didn't take too many years off my life during the preliminary oven drying of the stone when it off-gased some pretty strange odors.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Good Year for the Ramps

Excellent ramps this year. They came on early like everything else and then the temps dropped to extend the season. We've had them with homemade spaghetti, mixed into cacio e pepe, in the traditional Appalacian taters n ramps and this weekend I'm going to try a Saveur recipe for Ramp and Buttermilk Biscuits with Cracked Coriander!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Zinio Rocks

I have fallen in love all over again with Saveur, the website and the magazine.

But this time I'm getting the magazine in the digital format and reading it offline with the Zinio reader. It's amazing. Fabulous resolution, easy to navigate and so damn easy to store.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sittin'

I can identify with the ladies this week. The merry widow in Cleveland is only a few days ahead of Fancy this year and they've both been incubating for almost two weeks.

I'm also sittin'. I seem to have hit the trifecta. I'm experiencing a prolonged recovery from a difficult dental implant, wicked seasonal allergies and what is now clearly an upper respiratory infection. At least this morning I feel less stress because I'm not fighting any of it anymore.

It's also less stressful if I stay home alone and away from people. I am no longer able to be civil when people tell me how wonderful this unseasonably warm weather is. IT'S NOT!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

First Sprout


First sprout this year at 3 days was the Isis Candy. About half of the tomatoes have germinated as of this morning and they're under lights on this cloudy day when the rain is watering in the seed I put out yesterday. And so it begins.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bargain Condimento


A few weeks ago when I went to Maines for the best price on my favorite utilitarian olive oil I checked out their vinegar inventory. There was simply no way I could pass up this jug of balsamic condimento for $12.99. As I checked out I thought the total was less than I'd expected but there have been additional price reductions at the register before and there was a line behind me so it wasn't until I'd lugged everything to the car that I checked the receipt and discovered the vinegar hadn't scanned. I hate to admit it but I did not go back in part because I didn't really expect the vinegar to be very good.

But it is. Very good. If I go back for another jug I will tell someone about the first. But who knows if they'll have it then. It's a 5 liter jug. I use 150ml for a batch of vinaigrette so that's 33 batches and I use only olive oils for the homegrown salad greens.

Some of which have been sown along with the fava beans, rapa and some radishes. I've been reluctant to plant salad greens this year with the memory of the mess the slugs made of last year's crop still painfully fresh. And the slugs are out there now just waiting for something to sprout.

fava Supersette
cime di rapa Centoventina, Novantina, Toscana
radish Easter Egg
lettuce Johnny's Wildfire Lettuce Mix

Friday, April 2, 2010

Mates for 2010



Brandywine
Black Krim
Pineapple (back by popular demand)
Carmello
Paragon Livingston (first time, a nod to my Ohio roots)
Jaune Flammé
Costoluto Fiorentino
San Marzano 3
Golden Mama
cherry tomato: Sugar Sweetie, Mirabell, Isis Candy,
Super Snow White, Green Grape, Chocolate Cherry
eggplant: Nadia, Beatrice, Rosa Bianca, Purple Rain
pepper: Islander, California Wonder

Alright then. After a very strange disorienting week, ending with record-breaking warm temps, I have the tomato-eggplant-pepper flat sown. But NO cardoons! I thought I still had seed. Shoot.

update: I knew I had some...
cardoon: Cordo Pieno Inerme

Shoulda



Thursday, April 1, 2010

Guinness Cake



I am so bummed. Everyone in both dental offices made this implant business sound like a piece of cake, so to speak, but it's been 48 hours and I still feel like someone took a 2x4 to my jaw. Yesterday I made another Guinness cake (#3) and now I'm surviving on cake and Fage Total 0% to try to mitigate the effects the damned Clindamycin.

The cake I'm eating this week is the second stab at a recipe attributed to Green & Black's but like the first there's a dense layer at the bottom. I'm beginning to suspect the recipe was meant for a two layer cake instead of one but I'm done experimenting. For now.

Nigella Lawson's recipe, on the other hand, seems foolproof. I used Green & Black's Dutched cocoa but I think the next time I'll use Lindt & Sprügli's Ghiradelli or Hershey's Scharffen Berger for a darker, less reddish color and some additional bitterness.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Too Warm Too Soon




When I posted the weather forecast a week or so ago I was only considering the wonderful possibility of so much sun after a long string of cloudy, overcast days and snow showers. I didn't notice the downside, the failure of night time temperatures to drop below freezing. This year's maple syrup run has been even shorter than the last and, by some reports, the crop smaller.

Maple syrup is now another thing I'm afraid of outliving.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Helleborus Niger

In this neck of the woods it's a treat to see Christmas roses during Lent and Lenten roses before May Day.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Smoked Cherries

This week I put a small stovetop smoker in my Amazon shopping cart. I'm hoping this obsession will pass before I actually order the damn thing but the fact that I went so far as to look for it is a testament to the amazing smoked cherries in a port wine sauce that Phoebe's serves with a seared duck breast on fried polenta accompanied by some lovely crimini mushrooms and their signature sprouts.

To further demonstrate how crazy I am about these cherries, this dish, on Tuesday I dined alone to have it for the second time before I saw "Lookingglass Alice", also alone.

Apparently I'm also currently preoccupied with Alice. Last Friday I did indeed go by myself to see the first showing of 3D "Alice in Wonderland" and enjoyed every minute of it.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Today @ 11:00

I have a very important date.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Our Turn 2010




Record snowfall yesterday. We got all of the 22.4 inches reported for our area. I shoveled the first half in two passes yesterday until The Mister came home and fired up the old Gravely for the first time this winter to deal with the end of the drive where the DOT plows push the snow. He's out there this morning while I cook oats and prepare to snowshoe out to the feeders.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More Arthur Miller


It wasn't really about Valentine's Day – it was about being offered a place to stay for a weekend in NYC – so we ended up spending the holiday seeing some very un-Valentine productions: another Arthur Miller play and "Carmen" at the Met.

I have mixed feelings about big-name film actors being used to drum up business for Broadway but there wasn't anything else we really wanted to see. As it turned out it was one of the best things we've ever seen onstage.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reflection

My friend lives on what used to be open farmland, what is still wonderful bluebird habitat. She's taken a lot of good photos but this recent one is by far my favorite.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Broken Embraces"


"Cruz's is a celluloid face in a digital world, and for Almodóvar,
there's nothing so fragile and
enduring."
Stephanie Zacharek

Anyone who loves "Cinema Paradiso" should feel the same about "Broken Embraces" ("Los abrazos rotos").

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Wicked Winter

When I bought some Green Mountain Wicked Winter™ last week we were still having mild temperatures and rain. This is one of my favorite coffees but I can't help notice that since I've been drinking it our winter has turned wicked cold.

The moon was glorious last night and with the snow-cover everything was bright as day. The price however was a low this morning of -8º/-22º.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Who?

Green Lakes 2008

Everything has frozen again this week. The poor geese haven't been able to raft on the lakes at the park the past few nights because the ice isn't thick enough to support them and they would be in danger of getting frozen-in in the areas of open water.

Despite the cold I went out late yesterday and for the first time in a long time, I heard a great horned owl. I lingered hoping to hear a second voice but I think they may be past the courtship phase if this bird is one of a nesting pair.

Being out in the woods at dusk with the first quarter of the wolf moon, the snow and the call of the owl was a perfect antidote to an otherwise miserable week.

Or is the moon waxing gibbous?

Monday, January 18, 2010

January Thaw


I stepped outside this morning to a chorus of robins and the smell of wet earth.

You have to believe the buds will blow,
believe in the grass in days of snow.
That's the reason a bird can sing,
on his darkest day, he believes in spring. -D.Malloch

Friday, January 15, 2010

Olio Nuovo 2009

My, oh my, oh my. What incredible flavor. I decided to splurge at least one more time for some good olio nuovo and it is fabulous. It even made me go looking for some out-of-season tomatoes and I came across these jewels:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thank you J.

J. gave me an Italian measuring beaker. I love it.
It's even made of recycled glass.

I'm glad to put up a post that doesn't involve meat. Given the modest amount of meat that we eat it's unsettling to see the previous two posts on my own blog.

It took the better part of an afternoon to hack – and I do mean hack – the damn ham into portions I can cook with beans. I prefer to use smoked hocks without sodium nitrite but I just can't bring myself to throw away all the Virginia ham especially after it made for a very tasty batch of Anasazi beans last week.