Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fast Planes and Vintage Cars

Toward the end of summer, my husband and I attended an air show with some friends. The day was beautiful -- very hot, but thank goodness there was a breeze, which made the heat tolerable. It was an excellent show. The highlights were a B-52 flyby, a B-2 Stealth Bomber demonstration, A-4 Skyhawk passes, wing walking and some breathtaking aerobatics. There were also some gorgeous classic cars, which I love, love, love! It would be a dream come true to own a classic car or truck, but since our little bungalow doesn't have a garage, that just might have to remain a dream. My husband, who loves planes and aviation, dreams of one day flying in a seaplane, preferably landing on a remote lake in Canada -- one full of big fish to be caught. I think that would make a nice birthday present, don't you?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pears and the First Day of Autumn

I love pears. To me, they are a classic autumn fruit. Did you know there are more than 5,000 named varieties of pears, and only a few of those are grown in the U.S.?

The summery lemons displayed the past few months in this bowl on the dining table have been replaced with a variety of fresh pears: Seckel, Stark Crimson, French butter. My mother used to make red wine poached pears as a healthy dessert. I've never made them, but I think they should be on my list for fall, as they combine two things I love: red wine and pears. Happy first day of autumn!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Still Life

The bathroom shelf ...
  • a jar of organic cotton balls 
  • a few freshly cut dahlias from the garden 
  • a Jadeite planter with cotton swabs
  • an antique apothecary jar holding epsom salts
All backlit by the late afternoon sun.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Polka Dot Glasses

One of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon is to wander through antiques stores in search of vintage items. I especially like kitchenware: Bakelite-handled utensils, refrigerator dishes, canning jars. 

One day, while at an antiques store out in the middle of nowhere, I came across some polka dot glasses, possibly mid-Century, one with green dots and one with orangey-red dots. I thought they were fun, and the price was right, so they came home with me. To be honest, there were actually more than two polka dotted glasses, but the others had more wear on them -- the dots were partially worn off and the glass was more scratched. The two I bought were in the best condition. Also, because our little bungalow has such limited storage space, I knew I couldn't fit more than two in my kitchen cabinet!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chocolate Molasses Cookies

I was in the mood to do some baking recently, but not in the mood for a trip to the grocery. So I scanned my list of "desserts to try," spotted this
Everyday Food recipe for chocolate molasses cookies, and was delighted to find I had all the necessary ingredients already in the pantry. These delicious cookies are quick and easy to make, have a slightly chewy texture and a rich chocolate flavor. It was nearly impossible to not eat the entire batch at once!

Chocolate Molasses Cookies

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, melt 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate and 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter in the microwave on high in 30-second increments, stirring after each (it took me three 30-second intervals) until chocolate is almost melted. Stir to finish the melting, and set aside to let cool. 

2) In a separate bowl, whisk together 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa), 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside. To the cooled chocolate, add 2/3 cup light brown sugar (I did not firmly pack it since the recipe did not say to), 1 large lightly beaten egg, 2 tablespoons dark, unsulfured molasses and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.

3) Measure dough by the tablespoon and shape into balls, placing 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until tops are slightly crackly but cookies are still soft to the touch, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Lucky me, I have two neighbors who have large fig trees in their yards. Fortunately, my neighbors are generous and share their figs. Once the fruit starts to ripen, the picking begins. I have always liked dried figs, but it was only last year that I realized how delicious fresh figs are. My favorite way to eat them is on top of vanilla yogurt with a generous drizzling of honey -- what a delicious breakfast! 

These figs need more time on the tree. Hopefully the birds won't get to them first.

This bounty was only part of what was picked the other evening. I devoured four or five tasty, ripe figs straight off the tree. So delicious!

And here they are, ready to be enjoyed for breakfast on a late August morning.

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