I should be writing. Instead…a culinary escape

Better yet, just pour yourself some coffee/tea, snag a treat, and follow the links below…
I have watched these shows multiple times and inevitably dream of a pastry/bread-driven road trip. Note: The people are just as appealing as the treats.
No interest or time? At least fast forward to 15:17 of  A Few Great Bakeries to meet my culinary ‘hero’. This guy is classic.

And for those writers who choose to just sit back and enjoy, how about a couple of rationalizations for your productivity hiatus?
The Holstee Manifesto My favorite nugget: “When you eat, appreciate every last bite.” Glad I found this.

I should be writing. Instead…expanding my vocabulary.

brain and its traits

Mentalfloss.com comes through again.

38 Wonderful Words with No English Equivalent

Such as, from the nation of Georgia, shemomedjamo–the inability to stop eating a food item or meal. Usage: He reached for the unopened bag of kettle corn, knowing full well that shemomedjamo was inevitable.

Or, from Ghana, pelinti–to move hot food around in your mouth. Usage: Viewers were subjected to a full minute of pelinti when Guy Fieri chose to dive right into the queso that came straight from the oven. 

I dare you…weave a few of these gems into a conversation this week.

I should be writing. Instead…facing food fears**

Anxiety lurks around every corner.
War ain’t great.
Ditto nuclear devastation.
**And painful alliteration? The worst.
But that all pales compared to…

cinnamon roll

cinnamon rolls without the ooze.

And there it sat, taunting me…Do I have enough cinnamon/sugar/butter goo coursing through my folds and crevices? Or am I just a lifeless, arid mass of flour and yeast?
Taunt away, dough boy! I’m ready for you!

Thank you, Ree Drummond. [And thank you foodie friend, L.O., for the recommendation.]
To quote the Food Network star: “It really should be called ‘Brown Sugar Sauce’.”
Not one to quibble over semantics, I share with you, The Pioneer Woman’s Easy Caramel Sauce.
• 1 cup Brown Sugar
• 1/2 stick Butter (4 Tablespoons)
• 1/2 cup Half-and-half Or cream (Cream will make it thicker.)
• 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
• Pinch Of Salt
— Mix everything in over medium heat. Whisk gently for about six minutes.
— Stop when you’ve reached a desired thickness.
— Serve warm or cold.

Added musings:

  • I’ll be mixing in cinnamon to a portion of the remaining sauce before reheating.
  • I may well add a little maple syrup to another portion.
  • Well, gee, how about some pre-reduced brandy or amaretto to another portion?

Conclusion: Whether it’s straight or doctored caramel, dry, disappointing cinnamon rolls are now a thing of the past.

Two other relevant photos:

cinnamon roll cross section
Question 1: Did this roll’s interior call for the sauce? I say, yes. I give it a C-. Where’s the cinnamon?
My first attempt a month ago had a richer, darker tone, but a certain someone ran out of brown sugar.

Lest you think I’m leaving without another little morsel on writing…

Nine Authors on What They Eat While Writing

Rants and Riffs Installment #16: Dogs as therapy. Pie too.

  1. Okay, I admit it…on my DVR, I still have 40 minutes of Hallmark’s A Happy and Friends Yule Log. Gotta say, it’s nice to watch cavorting puppies and kittens to break from the daily chaos and mayhem…and I’m just talking about my latest forays in the kitchen. Such as…

sunshine squash pieRecipe at bottom of post

2. Could someone please tell me where the TV remote is? I know, I know, one of you out there is going to snark that I’d track it better if I didn’t mindlessly pop it in my pocket and drop it off, say, in the garage.

3. I  know, I know…snark is a noun. Language snobs notwithstanding, it works just as well as a verb.

4. Shouldn’t there be holsters for TV remotes?

5. And finally, here’s a very useful and interesting language website that answers the age-old teacher question of, ‘How is that word used in a sentence?’.sentencedict.com


Sunshine Squash Pie

I picked up this recipe from denisonfarms.com, our CSA supplier.

Squash Pie

Sunshine squash makes excellent “pumpkin” pie. This recipe comes from the 1975 edition Joy of Cooking:

1. Line a pie pan with pie dough.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

3. Mix until well blended:

  • 2 cups cooked, mashed squash (see newsletter week 20 for instructions to bake squash)
  • 1 1/2 cups undiluted evaporated milk or rich cream (or coconut milk for dairy-free)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar & 1/2 cup white sugar (I usually reduce the sugar, since squash is sweeter than pumpkin)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt,
  • 1 tsp cinnamon,
  • 1/2 tsp dried ginger (or 1 tsp grated fresh ginger),
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg,
  • 1/8 tsp cloves,
  • 2 slightly beaten eggs

4. Pour mixture into pie shell.

5. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 45 min. longer.

[Notes from TH: Blind baking the crust worked out pretty well for me. I also add lots more spice than recipe calls for.]

Rants and Riffs Installment #15: Leaf blowers and bloviators…

a man in despair with head in hand1. Leaf blowers…the scourge of Western civilization.

2. On a similar note…I hear these bubbleheads/celebrities/semi-celebrities with the cash to buy radio time to spout their views of the world order [or disorder—take your pick]. Lately, I’ve caught myself telling them to just shut up…and it doesn’t even seem to matter whether I agree with them or disagree with them. Huh…go figure. I think I’m just tired of all the noise. [Unless, of course, it’s legit noise from cranky pantses vilifying leaf blowers.]

3. Why don’t presenters armed with PowerPoints and expert knowledge take a couple of minutes to learn how to zoom their projector’s image so the audience can actually see what the laser pointer is aimed at?

Could 2020 be ‘The Year of the Cheat’?

In my previous post outlining resolutions for 2020, I caught myself proudly ‘cheating’.
Of no surprise, I detoured from finishing the post to tracking down this item from the British Broadcasting Corporation.

A few key points:

  • Cheat days, also called ‘structured flexibility’, can help us stay motivated.
  • By reducing the guilt over breaking the streak, cheating can help us keep focused on the long-term goal.

If this works for you, make 2020, the Year of the Cheat.
Let me know if you have other successful cheats.
Happy New Year
…and if you’re reaching for an extra hit or two of chocolate, we’re not watching [or judging].

I should be writing. Instead, bird watching…

bird-feeding apple
I spent time watching the robins attack the golden delicious that still dot the tree. All kinds of questions arose, like…

  • If the apple the bird is eating falls to the ground, does the bird follow it?

  • Do the birds ever fly away with apple flivel left on their face, thus opening themselves up to all kinds of avian verbal abuse?

  • Do some birds prefer to dive into partially consumed apples while others opt for unsullied ones?

  • Do the robins send just one robin ahead to conduct a recon before the others decide to swoop in?

Amazing how curious and creative we can be when we probably should be doing other stuff. [I can see now why my students were ever more inventive when I had other plans for the day.]

An interesting parallel thought on the intersection of writing and bird-watching…

“Until I went out looking for birds, I did not understand how much I hungered to leave the self-consciousness of the writer behind.”

–Katherine Towler [Why Do Writers Love Birding So Much?]


Speaking of other stuff…managed to dodge the Cyber Monday craze.

Black Friday was another story, as we ‘treated’ ourselves to a new clothes washer.

I guess it was time. Neighbors fled as I approached. On Allied Waste pick-up day, some looked away as I walked by, choosing to linger over their open trash barrels. Subtle…but I finally got the hint. ;-]

Speaking of other-other stuff…

https://retirerenew.com/

https://ednotions.com/

Rants and Riffs Installment #14: In these tumultuous times, ready to take a stand…

1. I realize with the fevered divisions in our society today, this might be off-putting, but I’m sorry. It’s time…

Marzipan? Bleeaack!    **        ***

baby crying
I mean it! That faux-almond flavor is distressing to the nth degree!

2. Trying to decide if it’s worth changing my Medicare Part D coverage.

Something tells me the time I’ve spent reviewing options has cost me more in ‘life currency’ than the couple of bucks I might save on Medicare monthly premiums for the upcoming ‘season’. [It does feel a bit like open season on us doddering old 65-year-olds.]

I mean, I could be watching a Hallmark Christmas rerun in the time I’ve crafted this verbal masterpiece…

3. I guess I’m wrong, but it seems that Amazon could at least cover my tax bill for this year. The accountants think otherwise.


** Ditto spaghetti squash

*** Double-ditto sea urchin. Haven’t tried it, but I’ve seen those things inverted during my years at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and I’m sorry, I’d eat spaghetti squash enveloped in marzipan before dining on that poor invertebrate. [And, might I add that some people eat them with a raw quail egg. Quadruple gag!]