Monday, September 28, 2009

My towels are famous!

Scrolling down my Facebook home page, I was delighted to see the above photo. Those are my towels drying on the clothesline in my back yard.  Weeks earlier, I’d posted said photo on the fan page of Project Laundry List. To quote it’s website, “Project Laundry List is making air-drying and cold-water washing laundry acceptable and desirable as simple and effective ways to save energy.”

Make It and Mend It, a blog dedicated to “making small changes to our lives that have a ripple effect and influence the world we live in,” then wrote an article about Project Laundry List, using the photo of my towels.  

Isn’t it wonderful something so simple has become so heralded? In an age of economic concerns and energy conservation, clotheslines have become chic again.

Growing up, everyone hung laundry out to dry.  I remember playing hide and seek with Mom as she hung out the wash. My brother joined in, running after me. The two of us would peek in and out among the sheets.  As the sheets dried, they would billow out. I’d imagine them to be great sails on ancient ships, ready to carry me to brave adventures. 

After sufficient time, Mom would proclaim, “I’ve got to bring in the sheets.” She would go to the line, returning with white sails perfumed with sunshine. 

It was a simple kind of magic.

In my five-year old soprano voice, I’d sing “Bringing in the sheets! Bringing in the sheets! We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheets!”  Suppressing overwhelming desire to burst out laughing, Mom told me “No, it’s ‘Bringing in the sheaves!’”  My young mind could not grasp the idea of gleeful wheat gathering, but there was something wonderful and romantic about bringing in the sheets. Something worth singing about.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cherries Jubilee, Worry and Kissing Girls

Dear Auntie,

I’m going to have friends over on Wednesday for dinner. I’m not sure what to serve yet.

Would you be kind to give me some ideas? I would love to try something new.


Dear Angel,

To impress guests, the thrill of a harrowing near death experience will get ‘em every time. Don’t worry. It’s only a teeny-tiny blazing inferno.

You do know I’m referring to Cherries Jubilee, don’t you? The threat of certain death is part of the appeal of this classic dessert.

You don’t believe me? Oh, come on. Who hasn’t worried about the nice pastry chef catching afire on a leisurely Sunday brunch? (OK. His ex-wife may not have worried too much, but that’s a little TMI.)

You too, can bring this thrill to your dinner table. A chafing dish or hot plate at the ready and you’re good to go.

But don’t worry. The flames are only for show. You control the flames. They do not control you. Think of it as a magic show.

As the flames soar upward, your guests will ponder in silent terror:

“I never wrote my will!”
“I never finished my novel!”
“I never kissed a real girl!”

After that climax and denouement, it wouldn’t matter what you served earlier. The thrill of living to see another day would dim any thought of earlier courses. Heck, you could have slapped down Frito pie and they would think you’re a star.

Very Cherries Jubilee

This recipe calls for four – count ‘em FOUR – different cherry-centric ingredients! How nummers is that?

2 tablespoons butter
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup cherry juice

1 pound frozen cherries
½ cup dried cherries

¼ cup cherry brandy
2 tablespoons almond liquor

In a large skillet set on medium heat, melt butter. Add sugar and stir to combine. Add juice. Raise heat to high and stir until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to medium. Add cherries. Simmer three minutes, then raise to high heat. (Heating frozen cherries too quickly will cause them to release too much liquid.)

Bring to boil. Push cherries to one side. Pour brandy into pan in side opposite cherries. Heat brandy and ignite. (Use a long match.) Let flames die down but do not stir. After flame dies down remove from heat and add almond liquor.

Serve over ice cream or pound cake.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Picnic Along the Backroads

Scrolling through some old pictures, I ran across this lovely shot somewhere off the main highway in Louisiana. I was driving the back roads to New Orleans to meet up with friends.

This spot, deep within a national park, seemed the perfect place to stop. When you take the highway, you stop in a truck stop for lunch. Your view is pavement and 18 wheelers. Bleech! This was my view when I stopped for my picnic.

And here's the recipe!

Green Chile Cheese Spread

1 (8 ounce) package 2% milk shredded sharp cheddar cheese (2cups)
1 (4 ounce) can peeled & chopped green chilies, drained (1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon onion granules
2 tablespoons finely chopped nuts
¾ cup low-fat mayonnaise (I prefer Smart Balance)

Mix all together. Makes 2 cups