Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pizza Crust

I just checked back and, geez Louise, I haven’t done a Weekend Cooking post since March 2012! 

Recently a friend of mine on Facebook shared a pizza crust recipe from here. The first time I made it, I followed the directions exactly, but last night I changed a few things, and it was so easy and delicious that I thought I'd add it to my letters.  

Pizza Crust

Put 1 Tablespoon baking yeast in 2 cups of warm water. Add a little sugar (maybe a teaspoon). I do all my rising in the oven with the oven light on. It gives just a bit of heat, and is away from drafts.

In a bowl mix 5 cups white flour with 1 Tablespoon salt. Add 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil.

Add the risen yeast and stir well. I didn’t knead it. I just stirred it really well and covered it with a damp towel and let it rise in the oven for about an hour.

I floured my marble board and kneaded the dough. I divided it in two, and spread it out on two pans greased with cooking spray, one a round Fiestaware pizza pan, and the other a cookie sheet.

I topped with tomato sauce. The recipe is here which was actually my last posting for Weekend Cooking. 

I added grated cheese to Tom's pizza. The cheese in our house is Seriously Sharp Cheddar. As I have mentioned before I am not a cheese fan, so my pizza is always sauce and veggies, though this time I didn't have many on hand, just some red and orange peppers, and garlic which I gently sautéed. 

They baked for about 20 minutes. Tom’s was done faster than mine, so next time I’ll either use two cookie sheets or two Fiestaware pans.

I’ve posted recipes for pizza crust here and here but this is the one I’ll use from now on. It is so simple to make, and the taste is perfect. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Today's picture/a painting by Nora Heysen

London Breakfast by Australian painter Nora Heysen, probably painted between 1945 and 1948

A long-time internet friend, Linda, posted this painting on her Facebook page, a share from Prairie Lights Bookstore. I left her a comment saying that it could be me! My breakfast is almost a sacred time for me. I eat the same thing every day (2 slices whole wheat toast, yogurt with fruit, glass of water, and cup of coffee with honey), and always read, though not a book but one of the many magazines I subscribe to. As long as they make paper magazines I shall read them. Currently these treasures come in the mail: The New Yorker, Real Simple, Bookmarks, New Hampshire Magazine, Yankee Magazine, and I await one I just subscribed to, Modern Farmer.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hazel Nina at 11 months!

I can hardly believe that this little miracle baby is now 11 months old! She weighed 15.2 pounds today, up from 2.2 at her birth! We are thankful every single day. I made the 1929 Sponge Cake and she loved it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Today's picture/Hazel Nina votes!

Such a treat to bring Hazel Nina to vote in the same hall I used to bring her mother and her uncle!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Year of Afternoon Gardens - November

You may notice all the maple leaves. They have been here every single October for the 33 years we have lived in this house, and for the hundred + years before that. But next October they will not be on the lawn and patio anymore, for we had to have the big sugar maple cut down. A forester friend recommended a good person. He came and looked it over, made those ‘tut tut’ sounds that doctors are famous for, and said it was time. And so, on Saturday, October 18, it came down. Two young men did the cutting while a third did all the picking up and chipping of the small branches. Margaret had to work, but the rest of the family was here watching. It rained off and on, sometimes quite hard, but they kept on working. They came back the next day for the final cleanup. 

We actually feel lucky because we had the tree sixteen years longer than we thought possible. In August 1998, we had a very quick, very strong wind; not a tornado but a microburst. In five to ten minutes we lost trees all over our land. Our road was completely blocked. The tallest section of the maple came down in that storm, and we thought the tree would die, but it leafed out the next spring and every spring since then. That’s what made it hard to cut down. It still looked so good as far as the leaves were concerned. But in amongst the leaves were splits and rot. It wasn’t in good shape, and even a small storm could have taken off branches or sections and someone could have gotten hurt. 

Though we all felt a bit sad at heart, we know we did the right thing and are quite surprisingly happy with the result. The open view is wonderful. And we have more light in the house now. But still, but still there is an ache for what is gone. We have ten windows and a glass door that look out to the south, where the tree was. It was what we saw every minute we were in the house and of course outside. But as Joni Mitchell wrote, ‘something’s lost, but something’s gained in living every day.’ Hazel Nina and Campbell Walker will never know this tree but they will know a different landscape which will be their childhood memory. We have some trees on order for the spring - a rowan, and two hazelnuts. Perhaps we will plant them there, or maybe we’ll leave that open space for games of badminton and croquet. 

This maple tree was in my very first blog posting, and has been in many photographs since then. I thought I’d post a few more I took in the days before it was cut down, during the cut, and some that show how it looks now.

If you are wondering what the chunks of wood are on the patio, Estée had the great idea to make tabletops from the tree. Those in front will go to the kids, 

and Tom and I will have the smaller one. 

Can you see an owl's face? The tufts at the top, the two eyes, and the beak? I am delighted.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Quote du Jour/Katherine Mansfield

Now’s the time when children’s noses  
All become as red as roses
And the colour of their faces
Makes me think of orchard places
Where the juicy apples grow,
And tomatoes in a row.

From Autumn Song
by Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

May Reading

I realized that if I want to jot down what I’ve read in 2014, I’d better get going! My May reading was quite, quite wonderful. Because I am so far behind, and because I don’t have as much time to write these days, I am giving short shrift to some wonderful books. If I could I would write whole posts on each book. 

23. Summer Lightning
by PG Wodehouse
fiction 1929
finished 5/6/14

The month began with my favorite writer, Pelham Grenville Wodehouse. I’m wild about the Blandings books. I find Lord Emsworth and Co. to be the most delightful fictional acquaintances. Summer Lightning is the third in the Blandings series, but honestly the PGW books can be picked up anywhere. Lord Emsworth’s younger brother who has quite a checkered past is writing his memoirs. There is fear among all his contemporaries, as they wonder if their own youthful adventures will be in the book. 

24. Disappeared - book 1 in the Inspector Celcius Day series
by Anthony Quinn
mystery 2012
second reading
finished 5/10/14

I decided to reread Disappeared as it had been a while, and I wanted it fresh in my mind as I read the second in the series. I am very interested in the Northern Ireland of the post-troubles. It is clear that those days are not forgotten. They echo and reverberate. Men who were young then are now old, but their fervor and anger are as strong as ever. Such a good book.

25. Border Angels - book 2 in the Inspector Celcius Day series
by Anthony Quinn
mystery 2013
finished 5/14/14

This one, though excellent, was a bit harder for me to read since the subject was the trafficking of young girls from Eastern Europe. You may read a great interview with the author here.

26. Fifty Candles
by Earl Derr Biggers
mystery 1921
finished 5/17/14

I’ve put off reading this for a while because it was the only Biggers book I hadn’t read. I’m so sorry he didn’t live longer to write more. Such a good writer. Though I read it last, this book precedes the Charlie Chan mysteries. 

27. Little Fur Family
by Margaret Wise Brown
children's book 1946
finished 5/19/14

written about here.

28. News From Thrush Green - book 3 in the Thrush Green series
by Miss Read
second or third reading
fiction 1970
finished 5/25/14

I love Miss Read. I love Thrush Green. I love the characters and the stories. Some of my most pleasant times have been in a Miss Read story.

29. Roast Mortem - book 9 in the Coffeehouse Mysteries series
by Cleo Coyle
mystery 2010
finished 5/29/14

Another fun entry in the series. Not my favorite, but only because I don’t like reading about arsonists/fires.