Archive for the ‘food’ Category

My pizza

Since Ernie moved to RGT, I have not been motivated to prepare good dinners for myself. While he was with me, I did a lot creatively to enhance the food we get carry-out from our dining room. I have lots of ingredients on hand and always some frozen vegetables and other foods, as well as some fresh produce. But with Ernie gone, I’ve just been eating what comes from carry-out, right out of the box. Often it is very unpalatable and I throw away some of it. But I’ve also been throwing away produce that has gone bad in the refrigerator.

Recently I decided to make a real effort to feed myself better. Last week I made a big pot of thick vegetable soup with some tiny pasta, a little bigger than couscous and I froze it in single portions. The same day I made kedgeree–a fish-and-rice dish, using canned mackerel that’s been in the cabinet for who knows how many years and I froze individual portions of that. I also hard-boiled some eggs

The next day I pressure-cooked a pound of pinto beans, spread them on a tray and froze and packaged them, so I can use handfuls at a time.

One evening I thawed a portion of the soup, flaked the baked fish from carry-out, and added it with Old Bay seasoning to the soup. With it I had open-face melted Swiss cheese on Atwater’s excellent Country Peasant whole wheat bread. A very good meal.

Today I made myself a pizza, starting with a Boboli thin crust. Early in the afternoon I broiled thin slices of eggplant and zucchini and slightly microwaved thinly sliced onion and peppers. When I got back from being with Ernie at his place, I built my pizza on the peal.  First I put 8 oz. of shredded Mozzarella cheese all over the crust, then the broiled eggplant.

Next came the onions and zucchini.

On top of that, the peppers and mushrooms. I used canned mushrooms because I’ve trashed so many fresh mushrooms that went bad, unused.

Finally, black olives and Parmesan cheese, grated at home.

Right out of the oven:

I ate half of it and froze the rest as two quarters.

Another satisfying meal. The carry-out dinner is in the refrigerator, in case I get an inspiration for how to use it in a way I will enjoy.

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Pizza party

Though we don’t have regular Saturday night parties anymore, the pizza I  made for our dinner last night was beautiful to behold and absolutely delicious to eat. I enjoy making pizzas with a variety of toppings. Only occasionally do we have a pizza with tomato sauce. On this one, in addition to several cheeses, there are eggplant slices, onions, green peppers, garlic, and fresh sliced tomatoes.


With it we had kale salad with grated carrots, chopped olives, red onion thinly sliced, currants, pignolia nuts, and Balsamic vinegar dressing.


A great Saturday night dinner.

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Last night Ernie and I celebrated my birthday by going out to dinner, a rare event for us. But first I opened my gift–two courses from The Teaching Company: Particle Physics for the the Non-Physicist and String Theory, The DNA of Reality.

Ernie and me, ready to go.

At 71

We went to a Greek restaurant and began our meal with a mezze–spinach pie, hummus, taramasalata, stuffed grape leaves, feta cheese, tzatziki, cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, and peperoncini, with Greek wine, of course.

A real treat!

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Ernie and I no longer celebrate Christmas, but we do celebrate the Solstice. It has a special meaning for us. Fifteen years ago at Solstice, we were in the process of going into retreat, spending the night in a motel about 25 miles from our new home, while awaiting the arrival of the moving van.

Because I was breaking down with undiagnosed symptoms, we had sold our house near the Inner Harbor in Baltimore and everything else we could sell and bought a house on a remote wooded lake in the hills of West Virginia. There, away from the stresses of work and family responsibilities, I expected to get well. Our new home was 100 miles from Baltimore, 50 miles from the nearest family members, and 20 miles from the nearest town. It was the beginning of a new life, a very different life, for us. We lived there, in solitude, silence, and simplicity, for five and a half years–a beautiful retreat.

And so, last night, we celebrated our 15th anniversary of this new way of living, which we continue here at Charlestown, with champagne and a typical Maryland meal–crab cakes, French fries, and cole slaw, prepared by Ernie. Music by Dave Brubeck, “Just You, Just Me.”





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Thanks to Kathy, I now have 12 ounces of shelled pecans.


You may remember that Kathy contacted me after finding my blog to tell me that we were neighbors. She has been making textile art all her life, and she brought some of her work to show me. When she read about my misadventure with the 2 3/4 pounds of pecans, she emailed an offer to shell them for me. Can you believe that? Here’s what she wrote:

“If your pecans are not already gone, give me a call. I’ll pick them up, crack them and return them to you sans shells.”

Although our trash bag with the pecans had already been put outside our door for pickup, it was still there. I retrieved the nuts and emailed back to Kathy. She picked them up, and true to her word, brought them back shelled. What a neighbor!

Today I went to return her container and take her a thank-you gift—-and to see more of her fine work. Here’s Kathy, knitting in hand. Her husband built the grandmother’s clock behind her.

She does all kinds of needlework besides knitting–sewing, hand embroidery in several techniques, machine embroidery, felting, and recently she acquired an embellisher. Although she has done traditional work, she now is more interested in contemporary textile art. Here are a few pictures of her work.

Needle-felted bag


An early embellisher project– fabric postcard with machine embroidery also


I think this postcard also featured embellisher work and machine stitching. The grasses are floating free above the surface.


Machine embroidery on another postcard. It looks to me as though the foliage is made of slips that had been machine stitched, then attached, but I don’t know.


A small quilt wall-hanging. I forgot to ask Kathy whether she had dyed the fabric. I know she does that.


Kathy knit these angels. Notice the knitting angel, with real stitches on her needles.


I didn’t need to look for the apartment number when I saw her doorway.


A closer look at the postcards on her shelf


And if you’d like to see some more outstanding doorways decorated by residents, click here and click Slide Show at the top. Since I had my camera with me as I returned home, I couldn’t resist taking a few more shots.

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A half hour of labor with pliers, lacking a nutcracker, yielded five ounces of pecan nutmeat and a sore hand.


The rest of the pecans are going out with the trash tonight. I find it hard to throw away good food, but spending more time dealing with these pecans would be nuts.

Said Ann, “There’s a reason why people with pecan trees give away the nuts.”

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Ann, our housekeeper, brought me a bag of 2 3/4 pounds of pecans. They were sent directly from the tree to a neighbor who offered them to Ann. Having no use for them, Ann offered them to me. So now I have my work cut out for me. It’s not hard to get the nutmeat out of the outer shell, but separating it from the inner divider shell is. I’ll let you know how many I shell.


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