Last week was the first week . . . of school, of a new reality of teaching in COVID times, of having a furry companion and being a teacher at the same time.
I continue to enjoy cooking homemade meals. (I mean, come on . . . of course I do!)
From top, pork schnitzel with potatoes and carrots. Homemade peach and toasted almond ice cream. A Dutch baby with blackberries and fresh lemon curd. And firecracker meatballs on rice with green beans.￼
Getting Hello Fresh, and two new cookbooks for soloing — well, my repertoire is invigorated, and my creativity in the kitchen refreshed.
I must thank my friend Grace Jones for the inspiration to make some whipped feta cheese.
This has quickly become a daily favorite, taken with slices of cucumber and sweet pepper.
I made a batch last weekend, using about half a small tub of crumbled feta, enough olive oil and milk to yield the consistency of tzatziki or a good hummus, a healthy dose of white pepper, and the zest of one small lemon.
The result, after pulsing in a pint-sized food processor, is simply heavenly.
You’ll know when the consistency is right. I think my milk v. olive oil ratio was probably 2:1, but I just eyeballed the whole thing. The first taste wasn’t quite piquant enough, so I added more olive oil and another tablespoon of milk, give or take.
Grace is a fab cook, and I love talking food with her . . . and stealing her recipes!
Here’s what Grace made for her daughter’s birthday:
The whipped feta is in the bottom of the plastic cups.
I realized the other day that I have spent quite a few days of July abroad in recent years. Here are a few photos from July excursions to Europe.
Scenes from Montreal, Vienna, London and every one of the countries in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Stockholm, Antwerp, Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, Florence, other points in Austria, and Paris. I think that’s it.
Travel was by jet, plane, car, bus, train, and bicycle!
Many of these adventures were with my friend Kevin Cherry, or with the choir from Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kansas City. I’m grateful to Webster University for the Messing Award that allowed me to spend three weeks in Vienna in July 2018 for curriculum development.
My world is opening back up, if only slightly.
I enjoyed some coffee time Thursday morning with a friend, on my patio, distant but not masked.
I saw a masked allergist on Monday, and found out that I’m allergic to the same allergens from 30 years ago — mold, the pollen from hickory and ash and elm and maple trees, ragweed, dust mites. Cats. And dogs.
But dog dander is manageable, and my peace of mind is more important. So Nelson stays. In comes the HEPA air filter for the bedroom, though!
Webster is ready to welcome administrators back, and I may need to start going to the office again.
I got to the Missouri Botanical Garden on Saturday for two glorious hours of walking and literally smelling the roses. Photos will roll out over the next five days.
Webster University’s BLACK LIVES MATTER banner was stolen sometime Thursday evening. A posting about this on Facebook led to an outpouring of support, and the usual idiots posting their venom as well. How disheartening, that college-educated alumni of a progressive school, one founded on tenets of social justice and inclusion, are venal and noisy and unrepentant.
Friday was a dark day as Trump and His Toadies finalized a rule rolling back some queer and trans protections established under the Obama Administration. Trump et al. chose to do this on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando. Their evil knows no bounds, and their places in some loveless afterlife are secure.
On the other hand, Trump got a slight slap-down from numerous ex-military leaders, and more than a thousand retired DoJ employees. The Unhinged Man continues his ways, however. Our national election cannot come soon enough.
Unemployment high. Stock market tumbling again. World standing continuing to decline.
My local Episcopal diocese ordained our new bishop on Saturday. Our first immigrant bishop in this diocese. Our first gay bishop in this diocese. And the youngest bishop in the Episcopal Church.
And then there’s Nelson. Wonderful, wacky, weird Nelson. He is more voluble now that he is comfortable. He is clingy and needy. He is clearly a lady’s man. And I adore him.
Nelson left me a little present this week after I was gone too long. He is deliriously happy when I arrive home after being away even for a few minutes. He loves car rides, being outdoors, getting wet in the sprinkler. And this week he went with me to a garage voice lesson out in Ballwin, where he kept the rest of the family entertained whilst I taught.
Nelson does like to sleep with his legs in the air.
Nelson is also a helper in the kitchen, joining me as I made passionfruit curd:
And no matter where I turn, he seems to have his eye on me, or at least on my escape route:
On the flip side, Nelson had a gambol in the gladiolas, to their detriment:
Note to self: Nelson cannot be outdoors when the neighbors are having their HVAC serviced.
I made two batches of pot-stickers this week. And a couple of Dutch babies for breakfast. And a new batch of slow-rise bread is in the works!
So many people are corona-baking. I am as well.
But I’ve started this year’s canning early, and am spending time over the stove every weekend.
In the past few weeks:
- Two batches of blackberry preserves
- A batch of raspberry preserves
- Passionfruit curd
This weekend it’s been sweet pickle relish, from scratch (English cucumbers, onion, red pepper, garlic, salt, white vinegar, sugar, turmeric).
And a few quarts of my famous lime pickles.
I have been ordering produce from SunFarm Produce, a wholesaler who is selling to the public. Two days ago they delivered a $107 order, since the neighbors and I went together to place an order.
They had pickling cucumbers. I ordered 10 pounds.
I pickled. Simple.
But the homemade sweet pickle relish? Heaven! I could really learn to like this stuff. As usual, though, I’m giving most of it away.
(The photo is from previous pickling sessions.)
Actually, a Monday tale that I’m posting on Tuesday….
Salad of Boston lettuce, yellow pepper, marinated artichokes, and green onion, with a homemade creamy Parmesan dressing. Main of mushroom ragout on noodles, with a side of focaccia baked this afternoon by my next-door neighbor.￼￼
Dessert was raspberries in cream.￼￼￼￼
Dinner with friends on Zoom was a success.￼