Thursday, October 29, 2009

More cooking adventures..a cautionary tale and the solution.

This is how I would ideally like to roast my peppers when I am making Tamale Pie. However, I don't have a gas stove. I no longer have exposed electric burners, I have a flat top, which does not allow happy grilling of peppers.

I had tried roasting in the oven previously but it took forever. So I thought I would try an oven proof glass casserole dish on top of the flat top burners. Well, that worked fine for the first few minutes. The peppers were getting a few nice blackened areas. The glass casserole dish was rattling merrily away (huh!?), I turned my back and KABOOM SHATTER the dish broke into several large pieces. Shoot, spit and dirty socks! So I turned everything off, gathered up the big pieces with tongs and turned off the burners. When everything had cooled I cleaned the stove top and surround meticulously.

I completed the cooking process with my good old humongous frying pan to roast the peppers etc.

I have been thinking that I need something to really grill stuff, so I just ordered a flat stove top grill. It will grill peppers nicely and from the looks of things, I should be able to grill just about anything else as well. Steak, other innocent veggies.

Saturday, October 24, 2009



This recipe is for approximately seven pounds of green tomatoes. Do not bother trying to use cherry tomatoes they turn soft and mushy. Select a smallish variety of tomatoes in order to fit in the jars.

DAY ONE: Slice 7 lbs. of green tomatoes into ¼ inch slices.

Cover with two gallons of cold water mixed with 2 cups of pickling lime (slaked lime). Let stand for 24 hours.

DAY TWO: Rinse and cover with cold water let stand for 3 hours. WARNING: Do not under ANY circumstances pour the lime water down the drain. I’m not exactly sure what happens if you ignore this warning but I would guess that the pipes either seize up completely or the lime eats its way through them. I’m betting massive blockage. Gonna make some plumber happy no matter what.

Drain and cover with 2 quarts of white vinegar mixed with
9 cups sugar,
1 tsp. celery seed,
1 tsp. ground cloves,
1 tbsp. whole pickling spice and
1 tsp. of salt ( I used Kosher).
Add enough water to cover. Allow 24 hours.

DAY THREE: Heat slowly, bring to a boil and boil for 35 minutes. Can while hot and seal.

This is the second batch I made this summer courtesy of the bounty of friend’s gardens and out right begging for pickles from at least one of them. This batch all fit into twelve half-pint jars and will be Christmas gifts lemme see that’s Hannah, Joyce, April, Vickie, Reggie, Sarah, Sue and Gale. Yay! FOUR jars left over for…. ME!!! Members of my family have been kind enough in the past to actually make and send me a jar of these luscious pickles. Thanks guys!!

Occasional Grandma Horn would fix hamburgers if I were staying with her. She would grill the burgers, gently grill the buns, slather on some Mayo and the only topping was a lovely big old slice of green tomato pickle.

Oddly enough we never had fried green tomatoes even though Grandma was from Missouri. She loved the pickles THAT much.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

traveling man

Husband called me last night about 8:30 pm from Indio. He had left 4 am with a friend on their way to Texas to retrieve some stored belongings. They will make it to El Paso by tonight. Good grief that last time I took off cross country was in the mid 60's with Judy Jones. We drove from San Rafael CA to Bluefield West VA in 33 hours. We drove in a Bonneville Pontiac, very cushy ride. We tried sleeping by the road for a few minutes but the truck traffic was so heavy we kept getting shock waves from passing trucks and decided we keep going. We only got lost once and that was in the foothills of Kentucky. We stopped at the top of a mountain that had three roads leading down somewhere. Some guys in a truck stopped and between them and Judy they managed to come up with a familiar location and we navigated from there. I slept for 13 hours.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Conversations regarding Pictures, The Grand Canyon and Conspiracy Theories.

It all started with a few of our staff physicians displaying some of their very large and colorful photography. One in particular was a huge 4 x 6 foot photograph of the Grand Canyon, all purple, deepest twilight, no stars were out yet. I could almost feel the breeze and smell the faint hint of sage brush and mesquite. I lust for a room large enough to hang that piece.

A few weeks ago, whilst browsing in my favorite junk shop in Bandon, I noticed a largish print, about 1 foot by 2 foot of the Grand Canyon. It had in large letters on the bottom “1909”. It was hung too high to take a good look at it and had a price tag of $250.

I mentioned the print to the physician who had taken the purple picture. He spoke about the early explorations of the Grand Canyon and how the photographers used huge glass plates to make the pictures and had to go by mule back to get any decent pictures. He also mentioned that an original print would be quite valuable.

I was curious and decided to Google “1909 Grand Canyon pictures” and got lots of hits but the main two pictures were of “Rust Camp” and “El Tovar Hotel”. These prints are readily available on the net for 25 bucks or so. I told the Doc of my Internet search and we both wondered just how old that print was in the Bandon shop.

Still curious, I Googled again seeking further information and up popped several references to an article printed in the Arizona Gazette April 5, 1909 about an expedition to a location in the Grand Canyon that held miles of underground caves, tunnels, mummies, hieroglyphs, statues that looked like Buddha etc. The Smithsonian funded the expedition. Unfortunately there were no pictures. This sounded interesting until I found a hit for “Coast to Coast” a late night radio show that specializes in woo-woo, the utterly fantastic and conspiracy theories. The conspiracy of course being that no further word of this expedition was heard because the government was protecting sacred lands, Elvis' underground bunker, secret White House, etc.

Dang….. I hate it when a story ends like that. Maybe it was a slow news day in 1909 and someone thought it would make a good April’s Fools joke.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I used to sew...sort of...

Mom purchased a Necchi-Elna sewing machine when I was about 12 years old. I remember the salesman telling her that they would throw in sewing lessons for me if she wished. That never came about and while I was often tempted to "play" with her sewing machine she got wise and started hiding the pedal.

I remember sewing a dress in Home Ec when I was in the 8th grade or so? I brought the dress home to show Mom, she screamed, tore it out of my hands and re-sewed the thing. It was too late to get a grade on it but I did need it for a fashion show at school.

I purchased a sewing machine of my own in the mid 70's. I sewed some outfits. The last outfit that still hangs in my closet is a sheath dress and jacket I sewed for a business trip to Denver. I kept the dress because it was fashion neutral. One of these days I will try it on to see if it still fits.

At any rate I accumulated a pile of paper patterns. Some I used over and over and contemplated replacing my favorites made of unbleached linen etc.

However, I got to thinking what if the fabric stores offered a service such as a computerized pattern maker? I would pay 5 bucks to get a pattern that actually fit me.

I decided I had better Google this matter. Guess what!?

The Aussies have something called

For prices between 1295 and 2575 Australian dollars you can purchase a CAD program that will make you a dress pattern or what ever. AUD$ converts to 1152 to 2291 US. Something to think about. However the last time I actually looked at a pattern book the patterns were at least 5 dollars. I would imagine prices have jumped a bit. Lemme see must visit a Joanne's to check prices.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Finding Stuff on Saturdays in Bandon

Occasionally husband and I drive to Bandon on Saturdays. I have noticed a rather scrubby looking shop called "Benjamin's Attic" that is always closed when we first get to town and then is open by the time we leave. Unfortunately leaving town puts us on the wrong side of the divided highway for us to easily navigate our way there.

One day husband was busy at a meeting and I decided to drive by and take a better look at how to actually get to the building. Because it said "Low Priced Used Items, Antiques, etc" How could I resist? I turned into the strip mall and found a back road to the shop and parked there. Inside were a wonderful assortment of glassware, odds and ends, unfortunately the lady only takes cash. I looked the place over and decided I would return cash in hand. And then I forgot all about it.

A couple weeks later husband went to Bandon on his own and stopped in at the Attic on his way home and picked up a couple of small cat statues. So I thought I better go next time. So I did and I found the articles shown below, six pieces of painted coral and a sand dollar, complete with sand.

I gave the pieces to my friend, Sue, and she presented me with the necklace below at lunch today. It is on a stretchy string so it will go over my big head and when worn with a black blouse looks like it should be on Survivor Samoa as the fake hidden immunity idol. Nice work, Sue! Thanks.


Today I am reviewing "Ruth Fielding In The Saddle" or "College Girls In The Land Of Gold" By Alice B. Emerson. Copyright 1917 Cupples & Leon Company.

I was introduced to much more care worn books about Ruth Fielding when I was a child. My Grandmother Horn let me read her copies I'm not sure if Grandma ever read any book but the bible but I'm sure my Mom and Aunt Wilma read them. The books were Girls Adventure books, a precursor to Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys.

In this book Ruth is a freshman at Ardmore College, she and her girl friends are on their way to Arizona to spend six weeks at an old abandoned mining camp. Ruth has a job writing a screenplay for a movie producer and the film is called "The Forty-Niners". Basically they wind up discovering gold miners, and gold. This book is not exactly politically correct. One of the characters is explaining how he came to be in Arizona and he tells a joke.

There were some miners arguing about which smelled worse; sheep or greasers. They decided to have a contest. The jury was seated and the sheep were brought in. The jury fainted. The greasers were brought in and the sheep fainted.

See, I told you it was politically incorrect. In a book dealing with successfully independent young women, quoting such casually accepted prejudice was an eye opener.

I will have to dig around and see if I can find the rest of those books, they are in pretty bad shape. I purchased this book from the Antique Center of Sonoma in 1996 for five dollars. Today was the first time that I actually read the book.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A touching story

Husband has quite a collection of cat memorabilia. He started with some Gary Patterson plates when we lived in Barrow. But there was never any place to display them. He would often say, "Boy I sure wish we had a display case for those dishes." I would grunt in acknowledgment and go back to reading what ever book I had my nose buried in.

During my Labor Day trip to Idaho, he decided to go shopping at Schroeder's and Son's Furniture in Myrtle Point. All of our new stuff has been purchased there; beds, roll top desk, stove, fridge, etc. The only other stuff in the house has been yard sale items ie; water fall desk, water fall bed, waterfall vanity. He found the top half of a display case that was missing the bottom half. It was lighted, had glass shelves, three drawers, and chicken wire in the doors for that Country look and he got a deal on the price. When I got home he had the delivery guys set it on top of the roll top desk and it hung out a good foot on each side. Hmmm, this was not esthetically pleasing. In addition, we discovered that the lighting had no switch so it was either unplug or unscrew lights.

We went shopping at Whoozit and found two Danish Modern end tables that match the color of the wood. We unloaded the display cabinet, and gently set it on the floor, moved the desk and slid the end tables end-to-end and loaded the cabinet on top of the end tables. Well dang it, husband could not get lights to come back on. Phone call to Schroeder's resulted in them schlepping it back to Myrtle Point for repairs. They called a couple days later and told us the problem was fixed. Didn't need a switch, didn't need to unscrew the light bulbs. The cabinet was delivered in the next day or two and we now must hunt for the little plate display thingies instead of jamming heavier stuff in front of the plates.. oh and the secret of turning on the lights?

Just put your finger on the metal hinge and touch it three times for dim light, brighter light and brightest light. Duh....