I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Hydrangea Inspector.

Hello, everyone. A quiet Sunday afternoon, after the beach. Mo and I will head out for his hot day/ brief /dinner walk soon. Now at the height of summer I am doing most of Mo's three daily walks solo. The hot weather necessitates a daily pavement check--I run out at 10 AM and 5 PM and put my hand flat on the black asphalt pavement: is it too hot for me to touch? If I can't hold my hand there then Mo cannot walk on it. I carry him to a patch of cool grass for potty needs; postponing our longest walk til evening.
Other days though we meander far afield, enjoying the summer days. Mo likes to inspect each hydrangea, no doubt in search of hidden messages from fellow doggy friends.

It's a good year for hydrangeas, though a very PINK year, too bad.

Pink! Too pink.

These two are my favorites this year.

 A few other pretties to admire. Aren't the black eyed susans fabulous?

And this is Mo cooling off on our way home.  I shudder to think what he is rolling in. The sequence reminds me of a flip book.

Mo  says , Being the Inspector is so tiring. ZZzzzzz.

So far today I have made Garlic stuffed Roasted Pork Loin [on sale!]; a huge pot of marinara sauce for the freezer, and marinated soft goat cheese. The house smells really good,lol.
 Do you ever cook ahead on a Sunday?



gone to the beach....

below, my handblown rain catcher string. Target, last January. I love it, so delicate like blown bubbles.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Farmers Market

Hi everyone! Finally!  I made it to the  Wednesday farmers market before closing time the other day.

 The FB photos of the day looked so enticing! Posted in the early morning, the market looked well stocked and well-attended. Below, my pics, 1.45 PM.

It seems I am the only person who doesn't enjoy food shopping at 9 AM.There were lots of shoppers when I got there, but the cake lady was gone, the bread seller gone; instead of masses of sunflowers there was a single--but so cheery---remaining bunch. It got snatched up even as I took its picture.

I love the outdoor market  for the colors and vitality, as much as for the food itself. The fountains, the smiles, the ocean breeze.

And I do admire the lovely organic  veggies and fruits.

Tiny plums, smaller than a golf ball. 

Sweet red onions.

If I get there tomorrow I'll pick up pickles for making dill pickles and maybe some Bread and Butter pickles. The season for the dill Kirby cukes is short here.

I love the colors! I still have the notion to make a Baskets quilt of a simple design, using colors as found here at the market.

Picture this block: a rich green, bright fuchsia, dusty pinky blue-grey. A splash of carrot orange and a background of a dull taupe floral toile, note bottom left corner.

Another with all the carrot colors! Note the tiny bit of lime green stem, the bluer green of a curly leaf ---then all that orange, pink, yellow. And so on.

A new vendor, in NO way local or a farmer*, sells ''wellness'' in the form of hemp and cannabis extracts and treats. My friend Debra in Colorado, proud yet baffled parent of Pork Chop the Pug, recc these treats for separation anxiety. Mo was oblivious, without the treats....[you were gone, mommy? Uh.Like, yawn. But I had hoped they'd help him stop sucking his thumb.] so I passed them to another friend who has an anxiety/ aggressive rescue dog. He was terrified of thunder, etc. til he began using these treats.
[you can order online]

*I'm always annoyed when these vendors who peddle wellness are allowed, even when I enjoy or use their items, because my friend L and I weren't allowed to sell my lavender hearts because: 1-I am not a farmer 2- not edible, 3- the lavender is from Cape Cod not NYS or Long Island. 4-"It's a farmers market not a craft show, ma'am."
But scarves from India, Cannabis from Colorado--oh fine, ''wellness, ya know''.

The Brooklyn guys who sell Italian specialties were there and immediately offered a fresh handmade ricotta they saved for me. [Have they saved it every week since I was there a year or more ago? Oh, dear, I felt pleased but guilty.] They're friendly and nice and I love the fresh cheeses and marinated olives, the homemade ravioli.

I made a special treat with the ricotta, we just call it Sweet Ricotta---a mix of cheese, berries and toasted almonds. Recipe at the end.

The tiny box of raspberries, admittedly perfect and pristine, was 4.00, as were the blueberries. Seems $$$$? for about 1/4 pint in volume [half a Cup?]

The zucchini I plan to cut in circles and try dredging in cornstarch, frying in olive oil. I'm looking for a way to do gluten free eggplant in a week or so. [yes I also bought gluten free flour to try; it tastes like school paste.]

I was hoping the market would have fresh cut flowers, especially zinnias, or daisies. Black eyed Susans? But no. I swung by Trader Joe's on my way home---they never disappoint. I could spend a hundred dollars, just on their flowers. So enticing.

Tulips! In July! Swoon.

Their field flowers were 2.99 a bunch.

Look! Queen Anne's Lace, so perfectly roadside wildflower-y; and these beautiful blue grey thistles. We call them Seaside or Dune thistles, I don't know what they really are. EDIT - Sea Holly  ( not holly OR a thistle, but a carrot relative, who knew. Scroll down on link to see the post about them.)

A bit off topic---I asked Lori [Humble Quilts] what a certain wildflower is, from her Oregon mountain and field photos. She said, Mexican Hats or ratibida.... I found the seeds here. Aren't they darling. Gotta have some of these.

This rare, somewhat curious & yet striking perennial bears, from June thru September, a great profusion of showy 2” reddish-brown “Mexican Hat” flowers.

And last, oh well, I didn't finish my BB Schoolgirl blocks this month. New block comes out Wednesday, tomorrow. I sure am glad I am self taught for quilt piecing, because the directions made something very hard out of a very simple design. See: Square in a Square center, with Wild Geese and cornerstones, unchosen as yet. Easy peasy. ( "...I do it MY waaaaay!"]. The two right/ bottom geese are rotated in picture.



gone to the beach....

PS Have you noticed--it's getting dark a  bit earlier. So sad.

Sweet Ricotta Dessert ~ Cannoli Filling 

Container of fresh ricotta cheese, drain it if it's very wet.

In a large bowl, whip the cheese with a fork til fluffy. Add 
1 T of Vanilla, 
2 t almond extract,
 and sugar, honey or other sweetener to taste. 
Optional: liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Amaretto. I only had white creme de cocoa so I used that. I've used vodka  or brandy too. A nice ''glug", 1/2C?  

Beat with a fork again til mixed. 

Add bittersweet chocolate chips, mix. 

Then gently fold in fresh  [or frozen, well drained] berries or sliced fruit like peaches or plums.
 I prefer raspberries. 
In winter dried cranberries are nice too. 

Fold in gently. 
Refrigerate for a few hours. Stir gently again before serving with toasted almonds on top. 

It's very rich, a small amount like one scoop of ice cream is plenty.

 You can add more fresh berries around the edges of the serving bowls, if you have them. [if feeding to children, I do not use the liquor, not sure if it evaporates or not, so I avoid it for them.] And if being fancy, some shaved chocolate curls on top.