Monday, December 31, 2007

kale pie

Yes, I love kale. But even I , a self professed kale lover, cringe at the name of the recipe that follows. I can't decide if I should take it upon myself to rename this recipe or if I should try to spearhead a kale revolution. Even people who love the taste have a negative association for this underappreciated brassica that is so often used as an ornamental in the garden or a sad garnish for a dish with half the robust flavor and healthful properties.

KALE PIE or melange of green goodness with tangy, golden puff crust

bunch kale, thinly sliced
med. onion, sliced
1/4 c. herbs,( parsley, thyme, chives, mixture of)
2-3 tbs. butter
1/2tsp. baking powder
2 tbs mayo
6 eggs
1 c. plain yogurt
salt and pepper

preheat to 375

saute kale and onions in butter ( I added some mushrooms cause I looove 'em)

hard boil 3 eggs, chop and add to kale after sauteeing

add chopped herbs to mix.

mix the rest of the make batter.

pour half batter in bottom of buttered 9x12 pan.

pour and cover with rest of batter. bake 45min or until puffy and golden.


holiday crash

I am having a sad couple of days. I pour a ton of energy and thought into the anticipation of the holidays. Our little vacation is packed with visits, traditions and general merry making and when it is all done I feel a bit like I do when I have had too much delicious, happy-making coffee and the downward spiral has begun. This is all compacted by my close friend dying, beginning my first job in two years and preparing myself to leave my two year old for 3 days (to visit the aforementioned dying friend). Oh and the damn cockroaches, which I hate to mention on my lovely homage to domesticity. We live in an apt.complex and although I have bouts of true O.C.D they are not to be gotten rid of easily, esp.with my natural and non- toxic methods. AAArrrgghhh. So, I don't even know what the point of this post is. I thought I might create a little somthing to honor Rose but I am not ready for that. I am compiling some nice photos in preparation.

I did have a wonderful holiday though. I love both of my families, the Irish, Italian/Lebanese foodie, intellectual, less bubbly side that I have married into and the Scotch/German, Afro-Carribean, Cherokee/Portuguese, French side that I was born into, equally smart but a bit more relaxed and more, well bubbly. Wow, that was a mouthful and that proves that my children are true united nations babies. It is also a severe simplification of the true personalities of our families. The bubbly factor comes up because I consider myself sometimes effervescent with gusto and emotion and I used to feel that I had to tone myself down with some of my in-laws. I guess I was trying to comment on the two atmospheres that we travel between during the holidays. Maybe sometime later I will delve into that further.

I don't have any great holiday photos yet. Here is a pensive photo of myself.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

squeaky clean chowder eating monsters

Christmas is so close! I still have a bunch of things to do. Henry and I got sick and messed it all up. I had wanted to make special gifts for his teachers. Luckily the room parents( boy am I glad that I applied too late for that volunteer position) collected money for gift cert. and a brick in Ms. Felix's honor. Henry really loves his teachers and I get teary eyed when I think of how grateful I am that my first born, who is especially sensitive and unique, was given the perfect teachers for his first year of school. Artistic, sensitive, flexible, affectionate...and there are three of them!!! So, they are each getting some homemade currant jam from this past summer, which isn't too shabby, I suppose.

Today, I have a few secret projects to work on and I am going to help my neighbor do something crafty which is entirely new for her. She wants to make stockings for her new little family ( 6mo.old Cathil and her husband Niall). So we are off to JoAnn's for some felt and trim.

I meant to talk about chowder first. I made some great chowder the other day. Every once in a while I am proud of a meal. It isn't usually because it is gourmet or anything fancy. I am proud when I have made something yummy, relatively healthy and with ingredients on hand. This fish chowder qualifies. Chowder is easy. I saute onions, celery and potatoes. Add stock. Add frozen corn and maybe fish or crab, when I am not feeling really poor (once a year, after a glass or two of wine). Speaking of wine, throw some in there (white of course). At the end, add some cream or half and half or whole milk, if you want to be puritanical. If you have fresh basil, that is a good thing. Also a fresh salad of winter greens ( mache, arugula, tat soi, kale) grown (illegally) outside your front door is always excellent. All you need now are some chowder-eating monsters, always plentiful around here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Absolutely Official Certified Notarized and Recognized Carlisle and Ferrari famiglia Recipe For CCC ( chewy and tender, crisp if overdone,NOT CAKE-LIKE)
(adapted from auntie Michaela's recipe from mary)

1.5 c melted butter
1.25 c gran sugar
1.25 c packed brown
1 tbs vanilla
2 eggs
4 c flour
2 tsp.b. soda
1 tsp. salt
1 pckge c. chips

heat oven to 350
mix wet. sift together dry, add dry to wet. add chips and bake 12 -15 min.orless.i like to underbake them slightly so they are soft and chewy.

sometimes I reduce sugar a bit, add an extra pinch of salt and 2-3 heaping tbs.of orange marmalade....very good.

cookies, chowder and moving on

A good friend of mine from college has decided to let go and stop attacking the cancer that she has been fighting for about ten years. I am still processing. I knew this was coming eventually. So, I am going to talk about choc.chip cookies and fish chowder. I know Rose would approve.

Ahhh cookies.

Monday, December 3, 2007

our tannenbaum

school cancelled

The sound is a benign scraping. There is a vague hint of metal on metal. A rumbly motor noise emerges from a young boys drooly mouth. The rumbly noise quickly turns into a high pitched shreak. " Your'e too fast, wait for me....heeeeeelp meeeee."My two young boys are on their knees on the linoleum floor playing with matchbox cars. It could last minutes or hours, probably the latter. As a young woman who used to love dolls, loves to wear skirts, loves Jane Austen, chocolate, Miss Marple and knitting and sewing, the Andrews sisters, Masterpiece theater and fragrant lotions, this unabashed fascination with motors, speed and violence is, well, strange. And yet, I must say I love tractors now and gears are beautiful to me. I pride myself on knowing the difference between a skid steer and a caterpiller. Ha Ha tricked you, they are the same thing. Having two boys has changed me for the better. And while my two boys are so very boyish, my older son shares a bit of my fascination with fabrics and craft and he does love a good fragrance. We'll have to see if my younger one show the similar developments in a few years.

Friday, November 30, 2007


Found this bike on the side of the road. Ezzie loves it and is now riding a bike like a big boy. He announces to all that it is " my own, own, own, big, big, big, bike". There is no question.

Henry's came. I didn't pay for them and I am glad. Check out my kdg. picture. Our eyes are the same. And we are both showing our cute lower teeth.

My curtains are almost halfway done. I tacked them up just to check out the color. I am so glad that Matty is an openminded bloke who actually likes my almost over the top color choices.

And that's all about farmer Small.

vintage fabulous

see below

Lots of good things are happening today. Christmas tree getting. Coffee drinking ( so thats everyday but still special), new zipper pouch ( very imperfect but I am a beginner) and my beloved little sis is coming to visit. I miss her terribly. Matty is blasting baroque harpsichord music in the kitchen, Ezzie is dancing, Henry is absentmindedly getting dresed, I have more pictures to post. Sometimes if I try to post them all at once it doesn't work so I do it in batches. Here goes.


Monday, November 19, 2007

new bag

I just made this bag. It didn't take very long at all. I followed the tutorial on tinyhappy or you can find it at sewmamasew which is introducing a new sewing/giftmaking project for every day in November. I made the bag from an old pink mostly wool blanket that has developed some holes.The lining was made from a number of scraps that I sewed together before I could even cut out the templates. The button was the only thing I bought for the project, I like the pearly, granny flavor of the button. I am going to try to dye the rest of the blanket to make things with, I'd like to make some gifts and I don't think many people want such a pink bag!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

my wee corner

my little corner

This is my little corner. I made the cushion on the chair out of an old April Cornell pillow cover ( I just used the back envelope part) that was all busted up. I love the pink fabric from Denyse Schmidt's Fleamarket Fancy line. I love pink even more since having two boys. I live with a lot of testosterone. Pink does not show up often and usually it is tempered with a lot of brown, but it is there. So here are my paints andpaper, sewing machine rests in the corner on the floor. I need to make a sewing machine cozy...

henry's interpretation

This morning it is rainy. Henry did not want to go to kindergarten, he and Ezzie were playing together so well. He went anyway and Ezra got a lunch pail and pretended he was going too. I was able to distract him with something else and go through a box of drawings of Henry's. Some were a couple years old, like the flowers he copied from the batik I made in college. Others were from last year. I keep most of his drawings in folders with the rest of our files/bills etc. Other drawings are kept in binders and sit with his books. I love taking them out and looking at them. Henry has always been so intense and busy, but he has always been able to sit down for a long time and draw. He does it well. His people/creatures are really engaging. I am so glad that Matty and I have been able to draw with him. It is a gift really, in so many ways. he will always have it. Can you guess which drawing is my little sis Molly's??? She is so amazing, she will sit down with the boys and draw anything they want her to. "Make me a knight Auntie Molly, Make me a cowboy riding a horse, draw a beautiful princess!"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

applesauce in nana kitty's china

I made applesauce today. Not a lot, just enough for lunch and a couple quarts more. Applesauce is one of those magically easy things to make that transform your home into a domestic haven of bliss. A dash each of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla elevate this simple concoction to another level. Just make sure you invite someone over soon afterwards so they can gush over what a fabulous mother/father/domestic superhero you are.

I don't measure when I make it. I just cut up some apples into chunks, add some spices and make sure there is a little bit of water at the bottom of the pan so the apples don't burn. Then I cook them slowly until they fall apart. Pink applesauce is lovely but you need a food mill. Just leave the skins on the red apples and put it through the mill. You can also roast the apples to make sauce.

I think I may make some bread today....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Yes, that is what I would call this blog if it were all about crafting. I can't finish anything quickly or even in a timely fashion. This hat was begun last Spring, it no longer fits my son. It will fit a new friend if I get it done in the next month. I am going to add ear flaps of brown fleece, a lining too.

7 Things I love

Okay, I know a list of things I love is so cliche, silly really. Silly, if I list things that everyone loves. But if I try to make a list of things I love that are perhaps unique to me, Well then it is an interesting list. I think if we all search back through our personal histories we will remember things that we used to love that are still part of us. That perhaps we still love them. Like that old boyfriend that my husband jokingly asked me to get over. I said, deadpan,"I never will", not that I am in love with him, not that I don't love my husband, but to my 16-17 yr.old self (which, let's face it, is still in there), I still love him.

#1. Alizarin Crimson, oil color, 1997-1999, I painted in this color almost exclusively for a few years in college. It is a beautiful sheer bluish red, absolutely gorgeous.

#2. The scent of a fresh orange being peeled. It brings Christmas to me. I only buy oranges in winter. It is a strong association.

#3. Christmas. I unapologetically love Christmas. I can say in all honesty that it has nothing to do with the consumeristic hullabaloo that the holiday has become. I love the ritual, I was raised Catholic, it's in me. I love the food, the sweets especially. I love the parties. I love being with my family and friends. I love sharing it all with my two sons, who don't even notice that mommy and daddy get them one present each for Christmas, probably because they have a zillion relatives that like to spoil them...The candles, the music, I could go on and on.

#4. Splinters being taken out and vice versa. Strange but true.

#5. French films, I hardly ever see one I don't appreciate. I think it may be a combination of the beautiful women who aren'tafraid to be a little curvacous, unlike many american actors and the openness about sex and the body and all that.

#6. Jane Austen. Let's face it she was brilliant. Her novels are timeless. They are funny and smart at the same time .Her heroines are intelligent, witty, young women. The language is beautiful. Her characters are so vibrant and alive. I especially love Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey who manages to be one of (or perhaps the only) young male character who is kind, funny, smart and yet unpretentious. I didn't name my Henry after him exactly, but in hindsight, I could have. What about Persuasion? The quiet Anne Elliot, patiently putting up with her snobbish father and boob of a sister. Obeying the family friend and not marrying the man that she loves only to meet him years later, the dashing Captain Wentworth. The restraint... it's heartbreaking. I haven't even mentioned Pride and Prejudice. I reread at least one Jane Austen novel a year.

#7. If I mention novels I get stuck. I love to read. I must mention one more and then I will make myself stop. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy is a favorite as well. It is a swashbuckler. I am not generally a fan of this genre, but I make an exception. Here again we have a strong heroine. The novel's title is misleading. The central character is not, in fact the Pimpernel ( a man) but a woman. A brave, smart and couragous woman who loves her husband but because of his politics and an incident involving her family is cold to her. The story takes place during the French Revolution, a mysterious character who goes by the name of Pimpernal is rescuing aristocratic families from France by bringing them to safety on English shores.

And now I am tired, to be continued...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

cereal and pomegranates

That is what we had for breakfast. Henry and I had a great date yesterday. We so rarely get to be just the two of us. We had to shop for a friend's birthday and get some groceries. He is not usually excited about grocery-getting but he loves food and I let him pick out some things and that helps. He wanted cherries but they were too expensive and came from Chile so we got a pomegranate instead. He looked like a vampire this morning after breakfast.

My quilt top is down there. I can't tell if it is ugly. Isn't that funny? I just got the new Amy Karol book, "Bend the Rules Sewing". It has some great projects in it and advice for different kinds of crafters. I am a speed demon crafter and one of the pitfalls of being one is misfiring and mixing patterns in a strange/ugly way. The reason I am a speeddemon is that I have an hour to work ( during Ezzie's nap) a day, and I desperately need to create something.

I am reading an interesting book right now. In a strange way it is helping me be a better mother. I think it validates my frustrations with staying at home. On a day when I have more time and less of a crazy caffeine buzz, I will elaborate.

Halloween was fabulous. I made our traditional colcannon, although it was more like champ this year. It was delicious. We went to a great party at our neighbors house. As you can see, we looked fabulous. There I am, Queen Kelly and her knight, Sir Henry with his page, Ezra.

Colcannon, Irish dish traditionally served on the eve of the Celtic new year. Aren't we all a wee bit Irish??? If you're not Irish you must know someone who is or at least you love potatoes, right?

4 lb.s large red potatoes, quartered, peeled if you want

lots, ok maybe a stick and a half of butter

1/2 small head of cabbage, thickly sliced, you could use leeks instead but then you are making champ

2-3 cups of greens, less is probably more traditional but my family likes greens, chopped

11/3 c. milk

4 scallions, chopped

salt and pepper

1. Steam potatoes until tender, 45 minutes
2. Saute cabbage in butter and a bit of water 'till tender. Discard liquid.
3.Melt 2tbs. butter in a large skilletover med. hi heat. Add chopped greens and saute until just wilted. Add cabbage until heated through. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
4.Put milk, scallions, and remaining butterover med. heat simmer until scallions are wilted.
5. When potatoes are done, mix everything together and mash with potato masher. Lumps are good. Season to taste. Serve hot.

We love this dish, it is adapted from a recipe found in Saveur magazine, number 91.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

beauty...and the beast

I wanted this post to highlight some things of beauty that surround me. So yes, my red clogs, my sprouts, the crab apple tree juxtaposed against a bright blue sky outside our front door, collaberative artwork ( with Henry), Aunt Sheila's velvet stencil painting, and a few other things.... the ugliness of today lies in the fact that our president vetoed a children's health insurance bill. Apparently, he just doesn't understand that there are income levels between extreme poverty and middle class. I know people who can't afford health insurance but don't qualify for medicaid. It's really disgusting how in the dark he is. He would rather spend billions of dollars in Iraq killing people and setting up the ever important "democracy" than making sure low income children in this country get health care. I need to add some more beautiful things to cleanse us all.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

goodbye to summer

By planting flowers one invites planting pines one invites the planting bananas one invites the rain, and by planting willows one invites cicadas. Chao Ch'ing, quoted in Gardens of China by Osvald Siren

Ah, the garden in the early summer. I am easing into the planning cycle of gardening slowly. I have been planting successions of Tatsoi, Arugula, Mache and Snow Peas (although the latter were promptly eaten by those scrappy little chipmunks). These winter crops keep me somewhat happy during the long, cold and gray season in the Happy Valley. Soon, I will post an image of my beautiful broom corn and my feet amongst my sprouts.


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