Archive for July, 2014

July dinner: The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook, Pam Hoenig, and Chocolate Ecstasy, Christine France

July 30, 2014

Two cookbooks this month, one for the appetizer and main course and another one for the dessert. Since the weather is agreeable for cooking outdoors, I thought this would be a good month for some cast iron cooking on the sacrificial altar out back. The cast iron cookbook does have dessert recipes, but we don’t have that many cast iron pans, so this also seemed like a good time to dip into Chocolate Ecstasy for a dessert recipe.

We had a few hiccups in the preparations. E. had a night of bad insomnia, which made for a difficult day. I got up in the morning not long after she finally got to sleep. I needed to go grocery shopping for supplies, but our local grocery store is a Market Basket, whose workers are on strike, so I had to go to a different store. I was able to get the things I needed, but it took me a lot longer than usual, so I got started on cooking a few hours later than I had hoped to. In the end, preparing tonight’s dinner took all day. I wouldn’t want that to happen all the time, but it wasn’t a bad way to spend a lazy summer day.

A fittingly summery table

A fittingly summery table

For a starter I made clam, corn, and sausage chowder. I’ve had clam chowder and corn chowder before, but not together, and I’ve never had chowder with sausage in it. The corn was fresh and local, roasted on the grill before I cut the kernels off to put in the chowder, which gave it a nice smoky flavor.

Chowdah

Chowdah

Our main course was chicken with olives and artichokes. This was rather similar to the paellas I’ve made before. The olives overwhelmed the other flavors in the dish, but otherwise it was good.

Chicken from our local farm

Chicken from our local farm

Dessert was black and white chocolate mousse. I made the two mousses early and let them chill in the refrigerator. They were a great success, really smooth and rich.

Half-and-half, black and white chocolate mousse

Half-and-half, black and white chocolate mousse

Neighborhood friends

July 26, 2014

A couple pictures of the local wildlife.

Turkeys

Turkeys

The pair on the right were fighting, their necks wrapped around each other and pushing and pulling all over the yard.   As far as we can tell, both were females, probably fighting over the neighbors’ bird feeder.

Fawn

Fawn

This guy came nibbling at our raspberry bushes today.  It looked like he was eating the leaves, too, not just the berries.  I can’t imagine what kind of a tongue you must have to be able to eat spiky, thorny raspberry leaves.

Noise next door

July 12, 2014

Two house lots were recently carved out of the large property next to us and sold, one on our side of the road and one on the other. We’ve been dreading the start of construction, and now the day has come. Yesterday, we were woken early by chain saws and wood chippers running at the far lot. The noise continued today. They’ve taken down a number of trees and are now loading the logs onto a truck, so with any luck they’re done with the cutting. We have lots of noise still to come, if the construction is about to begin. We are not looking forward to the rest of the summer, especially if they’re going to keep starting up in the wee hours.

(Okay, it was 8 when they started. I know that’s not early for some people, but for us, especially in the summer, it is. And it’s especially noticeable in this neighborhood which is usually so quiet. I felt bad a couple of days ago for starting the lawn mower at quarter of ten.)

Summer weather

July 4, 2014

We’ve just come down from the first heat wave of the season, which was broken by the first hurricane of the season. It’s been a quite week in Lake Woebegone…

I spent most of June editing an article and preparing for fall classes. I’ve now sent the article out and am waiting for the rejection letters to start rolling in, and my preparation for fall is largely done, leaving the rest of the summer open for other projects. I’m glad I got the work done early since it’s been too hot to concentrate for the past few days. We still talk about maybe getting air conditioning one of these years. So far we’ve decided that we’d rather deal with the heat than deal with AC, but we might yet change our minds one of these summers.

The pond has gotten very low. When I take off for my morning swim I have to wade through the plants I usually swim over just to get into water deep enough to start swimming.

The peas and cucumbers I planted earlier in the summer are both starting to flower. I’m hopeful that we’ll have a harvest before long.