Our latest Menu Favorite(s)

Bloged in food: recipes + dining out by mark Tuesday August 31, 2010

Another interesting time for us this weekend. Somehow, from the prior Picklathon weekend, we didn’t think we had “quite” enough jars of the Habanero Spicy Pickles, so had bought two “small” bags of cukes for Saturday’s completion of the task. **KATE and IAN, from the prior week, who visited while the cousins pickles, decided they too were going to pickle Saturday. We combined efforts and made a full day of it………………(pic from prior week…..we took NO pics THIS day):

By Sunday morning, when our appetites had returned, we realized we had NO food prepped for the week. But we had some things we’d wanted to try. However, fatigue from two busy weekends, meant we took Sunday easy. Monday, however, we got caught up on some NEW Recipe tryouts……..I hope you try them as well, they are delicious.

Once again, we had watched America’s Test Kitchen w/Christopher Kimball last weekend. From that a really delicious Baked Manicotti Dish was prepared by Rodger last night. (**The LINK goes to a video of ATK preparing the recipe.)
**ATK’s video shows an efficient way to stuff the pasta:

**Rodger patiently stuffed each one carefully:

**And, MAC, of course, tried to not be noticed in the background hoping a speck would hit the floor:

Also watched on the Food Network was one of Ina G’s new shows, “Ina Garten: Cooking for Beginners” . . . . from THAT program two new recipes caught our eye, and Mark made: Moroccan Chicken Tagine. He WILL be making “Preserved Lemons” as soon as the lemons are brought home from a store, or orchard which ever’s closer, hah!

Can’t leave without mentioning our stop at a local gourmet bakery out on NE Broadway, and it’s been here a LONG time: Helen Bernhard’s Bakery, and NO, we didnt’ intentionally drive by it, but once we were “there”, and God had provided a parking space by the front door, we were helpless…..WHY? On SUNDAY, THIS choice spot doesn’t bake anything….it’s the one day off in the back. It may be “unadvertised”, but EVERYTHING they have not sold from saturday, goes on sale half off! YEP, we took out a small bag of breads, rolls, pastries and a full Carrot Cake………IF ONLY I’d taken a picture of it before we ate it. . . . . .The photos of cakes on the web page do not exaggerate.

Ah! Late summer! Nothing like it.

The Nancy’s Do Pickles

Bloged in food: recipes + dining out,garden,Scuff Boys by mark Monday August 23, 2010


125 Pounds of Cucumbers were gotten at the Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island Friday Morning…..luckily at the very moment the new load came in from the field! They were placed in 5 tubs like the above to soak in water until Saturday Morning when cousins Nancy M & Nancy P would arrive for a 2 day picklathon. It’s only our 2nd year doing this, and it already feels like a tradition!

The first morning, friend Ian and Kate (& of course, Celeste) arrived to watch the process. Kate intends to make pickles from Grandma Nancy’s recipe herself this year. We enjoyed Kate’s help for a couple of hours:

Yep, we had a good start, and it doesn’t take long for the island to look busy:

During the day, it may look good or messy depending on your point of view:

**By the way, the sliced cukes were for a special batch of pints we canned, you know, for those small “Hamburger on the grill” weekends……

Within a few hours, the process sort of evolves into an efficient operation, and by Saturday’s end, we were 2/3 done…… a good sign! However, we had NO Habanero’s! Yikes! Before Sunday’s work began, we had retrieved said peppers and were well on our way to saving the few jars of Spicy Pickles many DO love:

By early Sunday afternoon, we were finito! Complete!

2 Nancy Boys, and 2 Nancys had finished making another 93 bottles of Grandma Nancy’s Dill Pickles! We were SO proud we hauled off to Russell Street BBQ for some down time! This was a fabulous time for us to be together again…… Mark grew up with these women….. and we both love them completely.

**On the birding side, ALL of our songbirds are now GONE! Flown the coop! The woods are silent again for almost 8 months up here, sadly. We’re currently left with the gangly clumsy Band Tailed Pigeons …….and feelings about them are mixed, but their clowny arrivals are fun to watch:

And once again, MAC had a boring weekend, but he was well behaved, and TIRED somehow after all the company left:

And we’ve heard from Bill H back home in NYC! HE DID JAM while he was here:

And word is out that he’s enjoying serving his friends HIS OWN home-made Raspberry Jam. MOST cool.

Anniversary 21. What gift for that.

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Wednesday August 18, 2010

Other than a big trip to Spain/Italy for the 20th anniversary, we haven’t been good at celebrating these events for some years……… We just passed our 21st anniversary of meeting each other Tuesday evening……Rodger brought gifts!

21 years ago, we had a lot of fun together:

I thought maybe you should KNOW what to expect if you stay together 21 years. The list on his card showed these gifts are in order by year:

So I guess the Gift given to me should not have been a surprise:

**Rodger suggested people might be scared if they see us at 42 years together……in spandex (the list….)

And the bag was even suggestive of………………

So even though we’ve become simply farmers, it appears we’re still having fun together………….

Mac passed it all of while dreaming of running in his sleep:

Yep, I can’t imagine how my life could have been without this partner.

NOW. . . . today, I’m preparing the To-Do List for this Pickling weekend….including watering the GRAPES….well, at least the leaves, since each jar will get one each. ……. ……. AND….the Basil is prime ready so it appears PESTO will be made this PM.

Ah…………..Life’s rich.

Scientists….or Scroundrels?

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Tuesday August 17, 2010

These two put us through our paces this weekend:

I tried my usual “whining” . . . .about something…this time about the heat wave” going on……….. they refused to listen. After all, they came from Tucson, AZ….where the highs have been 105-108, and lows: 80-85. OUR heat wave got up to 96 and cooled to lows of 65…..they wouldn’t let me WHINE about that!

And here’s clue about them…… (would be a Nice Movie title) “THEY CAME FROM TUCSON!” . . . . . Although they both claimed to be professionals, like engineer and archeologist, I’m still not convinced they weren’t really scoundrels …….or maybe Miners from the renegade Hung Far Low Gold Mine LLC….. Maybe they were just running from Gov Jan Brewer’s “NO MEXICAN LAW” (for reasons only they would know about)……………????

WE had a fabulous time. . . . . Seems we always have a fabulous time when someone visits us…… We are blessed to know some great people I guess. Last week, New Yorker Bill H showed us how to really HAVE a good time on the town…. …AND we made Jam. This time, Homer & friend Patrick were here for just a couple days to attend a memorial service for a mutual friend of theirs.

Homer:

and Patrick:

We still managed to gossip late the first night amid rounds of THIS month’s NEW favorite: Hermiston Watermelons, and Guacamole/chips, and maybe a toast or two. We ended the evening having home-made ice cream on top of the peaches we’d picked at the RIPE stage earlier that day.

We did simple things. Saturday we spent simply at the mighty Columbia in some sun…. Mac thinks HE had the best time of all, of course.

Afterward, we enjoyed a lunch, and we split for home while they attended the service. We met up after that was over, and ALL had an evening unexpected when in Portland, the night is VERY warm and dry, the entire city seemed to be out on the streets WALKING everywhere, all clubs packed, dancing….. PORTLAND PEOPLE truly CELEBRATE LIFE when a summer evening is actually over 80 degrees…they are HAPPY………

Fortunately, we still got to spend a last hour or two visiting with Homer & Patrick before they departed for the airport Sunday…..It was great meeting Patrick, he was a delight, and of course, HOMER, I believe, is a valued, true friend. After ALL he DID bring his home-made Watermelon Rind Pickles to share, a rather elegant pickle I believe.

THEN, Rodger and I ended the afternoon at the Newmark Theater watching William Hurt and crew perform a 3 hour production of O’Neil’s tortuous play, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” . . . …..we were EXHAUSTED after it was over………and happy to go home and unwind.

THIS week, we prepare for the Nancy’s Do Pickles Weekend coming up!!!!!

***WILL we get another 90 quarts done this year?

It’s a BUSY SUMMER! THE garden, by the way, is LOVING the heat wave. We actually PICKED a few tomatoes, squash, tomatillos, peppers, lettuce, etc. Nice.

A heat wave Seems to have SOME advantages ………….

Tomato Harvest…….oh really?

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Tuesday August 10, 2010

I am reading of a few but “rare” folk in the region who are actually picking tomatoes out of their gardens. It’s true they live about 700 feet lower in elevation than we do…………. …. .. . and I must admit, we’ve had “4” very small tomatoes getting ripe for a while…. truth is however, they are a result of the couple of blooms that were ON the plant when they came from the grower…..

I’ve been watchin’ ‘em….waiting……and yesterday while watering, knew it was the perfect moment. (There ARE hundreds of blooms, and dozens of tiny very GREEN tomatoes ON the plants)……. So, I picked one…… WHAT? NO! The backside had been eaten out by squirrels! I picked the second one…….SAME thing! NO. So, I got to HARVEST TWO tiny lovely tomatoes out of this garden in AUGUST…..

Squirrels are those lovely cute yard animals you have a love/hate relationship with…………

On other fronts:
1) A bit of company this weekend……. we’re excited about that, although their visit is to attend a friend’s memorial service…… we will be HAPPY to see them. ***UGH, it means I gots to git busy cleaning up in here.

2) They’re from Tucson and we’re looking forward to a break from their heat. Unfortunately, in a RARE event for us this summer, temps all weekend are now forecast to be between 90-95….we have NO A/C……sorry ’bout that. At least, Homer, we got another quart of Raspberry Jam made for ya.

3) We got our Apricot Jam finished……COOL. AND, we picked RIPE peaches…..THAT jam didn’t work so well….have to work on that. The peach ice cream’s okay.

4) House Guest: Buddy…..the pup, is here one more day, and I must check in with him…..HE can’t wait for his morning walk down into the park……

5) I DO hope to finish “The Art of Racing in the Rain”……..a weird little novel told from the viewpoint of the dog, the main character in the story.

Catch up time

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Wednesday August 4, 2010

NO company for a week or so, and some deadlines are………………

1) Garden – WE ARE BACK to JUNE weather! COOL, DAMP, GRAY mornings and just a few hours of sun in PM . . .temps not even reaching 80. That “green tomato” summer actually may come true….. but, with that dumb human trait, “hope” . . . . I’m gonna go out and water the damn garden again for about 90 minutes. I hope it pays off in September.

2) The lovely Pot Roast I started this morning is just finishing up. I believe I’ll have a tasty English lunch after the garden’s done.

3) Get housework done. Ugh.

4) BILL Hawley’s visit was a fun time…………. the Manhattan influence meant WE were out till all hours, and it’s taken the ancient one (me) two days to recoup. But, we ate out, even a new place, CLYDE COMMON, one of Portland’s acclaimed newer restaurants that deserves all the recognition it’s getting. New cuisine, great tastes, textures, and great service. I was surprised it’s right on Stark Street….used to a little gay ghetto here just 15 years ago.

5) Get ready for a BIG Saturday processing one big box-o-Tilton Apricots… We haven’t made Apricot jam for two years. Last w/e they’re available, so they get done this Saturday.

Yard work………..I won’t even start the list.

Busy, but it IS AUGUST! I can’t believe it. Despite most of the country suffering in floods, heat, oil, WE remain cool and damp. LAST YEAR by this time? 24 days over 90. This year? 4. Bad.

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