Category Archives: Food

Potato salad

For last evening’s welcome gathering for our new Dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts, I made a potato salad.

The recipe comes thanks to Todd Neff; he served this salad at a luncheon a couple of years ago, and I’ve made it ever since when cooking for a crowd or for a table-full of people.

Lemon zest and juice, olive oil, onions, fresh parsley and chives, chopped capers — all combine with new potatoes for yummy goodness!

Ted Drewes

I have adopted (in my own mind at least) three brothers as my circus nephews. The trio are all stars at Circus Harmony, where I adore all the students and am anxious to make more music with them later this year and in January.

But these three are standing in for my own nieces and nephews who are scattered across Missouri. We went to Ted Drewes this week. Philip, the youngest, wanted a banana split. I thought that there was no way an 8-year-old could eat an entire Ted Drewes banana split.

Witness:

I stand corrected.

And my own apple pie concrete was pretty darn good too.

Saturday at home

I have but two relaxed Saturdays left before the onslaught of what is promising to be a rugged (but fulfilling) semester.

Yesterday was a day for me.  Laundry.  Wash the car.  Weed the garden.  Make lavender and honey ice cream.  Go to the public library.  Read.  Write.  Pay some bills.  Issue private-lesson agreements for the new school year.  Get rid of several dollars worth of coinage.  Stop by the grocer’s for provisions.  Read Morning and Evening Prayer and chant the psalms to the ancient plainsong tones.

And buy some flowers to adorn a) the piano and b) the living room.

And that ice cream?  Delicious!! (After an evening meal of grilled burgers, fried corn and red pepper, cucumber/onion salad.)

 

Kung Pao chicken

Cooks Illustrated recently sent me a recipe for Kung Pao chicken for two.

I had all the ingredients except for the peppers, which I easily found at Global Foods in Kirkwood (about which city I blogged last week).

So on Friday, I whipped up a terrifically tasty and quite (strongly? powerfully? almost-overwhelmingly?) spicy dish of Kung Pao chicken. This was SO good!!

I also made, for the first time, rice in the insta-pot cooker, rather than on the stovetop. I shall never make stovetop rice again. This was foolproof.

I’ll get two more meals out of this, so it’s Kung Pao chicken for three!

Tearful

I’m a sap.  And I know it.

Charlie Ingram, several years ago, was elated when I reacted to his singing with joyful tears at a voice lesson.  “Everyone knows that when they get you to cry, they are singing really well,” he told me.

At my first viewing of Les Miserables, years ago in Kansas City, I sat in tearful silence during intermission, and proceeded to cry through the second act.  The Nutcracker inevitably reduces me to tears at the final scene.  My niece Anna didn’t understand my body-wracked, Merkel-esque tears and quivers the last time I saw (with her in NYC) the big “Seize the day” dance break in Newsies.

Give me a happy or meaningful moment with a student, a dying moment in a movie, any dog in duress, and I’m gone.

So I’ve spent a few days trying to figure out what about the Apollo 11 anniversary makes me so weepy.  Memories of a happy moment in my childhood?  Wonder at the incredible determination of hundreds of thousands of Americans those many years ago?  Awe at the vital spirit of discovery and exploration?  Loss of a time that was easier, when we believed our leaders and revered Walter Cronkite? Grief over the fact that those days will never come again?  All of the above?


Sunday morning. Two weeks since I’d last worked up the sourdough, so after making and resting the dough on Saturday evening, I baked on Sunday morning.


Why did a whole pot of petunias die?  I’m replacing them with vinca.


Summer holiday is down to ten days and counting.  And I still have so much to do.  My new compost barrel is not going to build itself. And the basement is not going to clean itself.  And the books are not going to read themselves.


I’m hurting today for one of my private students who is in some duress.  Kids can be so insanely cruel.

Notes on a birthday

I have spent many of my recent birthdays out of the country — last year in Vienna, three years ago in Exeter, four years ago in Prague, six years ago in Bristol, seven years ago at Interlochen (not out of the country, but in the different land of Michigan).

This year I wanted nothing more than to be home and be happy. I received a note yesterday, from the Dean at Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal) in Saint Louis.  Part of that note said “I pray that the anniversary of your birth will bring reflections of care, love, and hope.”

And that’s exactly what July 17, 2019 brought me.

Crepe myrtle makes me happy. This is from the Saint Louis Zoo on my birthday.

I spent part of the totally July day (intense heat and humidity) at Saint Louis Zoo, wandering around with three surrogate nephews.  I call them my ‘circus nephews.’    (Zoo photos follow tomorrow.)

My niece Anna works at the zoo, and I stopped by to say ‘hi’ to her.

Then after dropping the boys at their home, I stopped by Sugarfire to purchase an entire Key lime pie, something I’d been craving for a few days.

I dealt with birthday greetings from far and near on Facebook, having heard from people in Morocco, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Brazil, Italy, Sweden, and the USA.  And as I take stock of those greetings, I find Shirley Ward, who has known me since I was six years old; college roommate Steve Davis; boyhood friend and now stepbrother Greg Herriman; Linda Hodges, sometime surrogate mom who with whose children I grew up and who was with us as my father was dying; and current and former students, people with whom I’ve made and lived theatre; people with whom I’ve sang; colleagues, friends, chums, classmates, acquaintances from around the world.  This is a rich tapestry indeed!

I ran some errands and tidied my life a bit by returning things and dealing with gardening recycling.

And I cooked, which for me is spiritual and physical sustenance.  The dinner menu, shared with my dear friend D., was lamb kebabs (broiled after the storm came through and squelched my charcoal plans) and homemade tzatziki, garden salad with mango dressing, and Key lime pie.

And then we sat out doors in the temperate weather and talked for an hour.

[The ground lamb, by the way, was flavored with ginger, garlic, shallot, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon, as well as salt and pepper.  This is one of my favorite grilling dishes!]

Evening Prayer from The Book of Common Prayer closed out my day.  Then some Downton Abbey.

Surrounded by love, reminded of love from afar, with a growing sense of newfound centeredness and qi that is positive and healthy, with new determination to right some physical and emotional listlessness . . . “care, love and hope” indeed.