this entry is not about food, but rather a short story of observation, my look at the day. when we get out of bed each morning, she feels that it is necessary that i should go outdoors and i am obliging for the most part. there is something that i must find to take outside with me. call it security or just fun, but it is very important. the door is opened and i hesitantly walk onto the back porch, waiting for the door to the back yard to be opened, and there it is....my world. a large yard with a fence on my right and along the back, and the neighbor's old barn to the left. one time, after a snow storm, there was a deep blanket of snow on that roof and when i was checking out the smells, that snow slid off the roof and i nearly jumped out of my skin and over the fence. my hearing is very acute and i was sure that a freight train or many elephants were heading my way. getting back to my morning, it is necessary to make sure that no other animals or birds have decided to sneak into the yard and when i have determined that i am alone, i do my thing. then with the precious orb that came outside with me, i go back to the porch where i will sit on the top step with two feet resting on the second step. at this vantage point i can see over the fence on my right. usually there are birds at the many feeders that my neighbor enjoys. me, not so much, but i tolerate the situation, as long as those feathery little things stay 'over there'. every once in awhile a squirrel runs along the fence and i am positive that he is looking at me looking at him or her. squirrels know that they are fair game as far as i am concerned, so they are hesitant to get off the fence, while i'm watching. sometimes, i stay at my post for twenty minutes or so, until i am absolutely positive that the yard is free of nuisances and safe for my family. i am fascinated by the smells and sounds and while i have kept my eye on the ball i brought out with me, it's now time to bring it inside. after all, my world is a small one, and , some would say, very simple, but i am so happy to be here to enjoy all life will offer. ahhhh, or should i say, 'woof'.
i noticed that my last entry was march and i am not proud. life has caught up with retirement and i have become a lolly-gagger. what a funny term....however, my best excuse is that my most faithful reader and staunchest critic had the audacity to die at the end of june. she left me wordless and friendless (one less).. because she had been in ill health for a couple of years and on oxygen for the last, she had lots of time to read my silliness. and i also forwarded to her my grandson's blog, "the boy of eob" (einstein on the beach). my friend took great pleasure in viewing the myriad of pictures taken by my daughter-in-law, while they toured with the opera and she chaperoned her eleven year old son..the summer dragged after june and i found solace in cooking for a wealthy couple five or six nights a week. an easy gig. and now, we are in the holiday season. today is the day after thanksgiving and i am thankful for the time that i did get to spend with my friend. she was not a lolly-gagger! i will try to be more timely.
i have been very remiss with blog writing and my only excuse is retirement....it does sound odd, but being in that euphoric state causes me to lose track of time and all responsibility. i never neglect my goldendoodle, however, and our daily 11/2 mile walks sometimes cause me to take to my bed....for a nap. and there goes the day, so to speak. i have managed to busy my retired self in a few groups and there's always the occasional "out to dinner". my housemate is lolling around sarasota so the simple responsibilities toward house "maintenance" that have befallen me are pretty much IT. but aside from the cutesy adventures of said dog, i did find a yummy sounding recipe that i will be making for a party this weekend. it looks easy and a little different. here it is.
CHEDDAR WALNUT CRISPS
2-1/2 ounces aged cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
2-1/2 ounces parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
2 ounces walnuts, chopped small (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1. preheat oven to 400 degrees and set the rack in the middle of the oven. line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. combine the cheeses in small bowl. drop mixture by rounded teaspoonfuls onto sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them. flatten with back of a spoon. sprinkle the tops with a few chopped nuts and some thyme.
3. bake only 1 sheet at a time on the center rack, for about 5 minutes or until crisps are bubbling and the edges are golden brown. let stand for several minutes, then slide off the paper with a spatula. blot gently with paper towels and serve at room temp.
4. makes about 5 dozen
when i was little, i realized that i was an only child. it was evident that my mom had her hands full with me and that my chances of a sibling were nil. so i decided to make the best of the situation by conjuring up games. there were no rules and no maximum or minimum number of players...just me. i was totally accepting of the fact that i would probably be the only one playing. there wasn't any score-keeping either unless you counted the number of balls i lost. that was the sad part. losing a ball. and i thought i had the best nose, but some things are not controllable, even for the best of us.
the game. yes, the game. so i get a ball (we'll call it THE BALL) and my mom throws it into a snowbank in the backyard. god, i love snowbanks! i race down the porch steps with my eye on the ball, (always keep your eye on the ball, unless of course, you don't) and run toward the exact spot where the colorful orb hits the pile of snow. this is when the game begins for real. i pounce on the ball, then gaze toward my mom who is standing at the top of the porch steps. yes, she's watching me. i'll do my best to show her what fun is all about. looking down at my ball, i pounce again, burying it slightly in the pile of magical stuff. it's soft and flies well when i start to dig furiously. now here's the good part. as i dig, the snow flies between my back legs (you must stand with your legs 10 inches apart) and all of a sudden, the ball also flies between my legs and the game is on. now i have to quickly change direction, always keeping an eye on the ball. and there i go again. pounce. i can't help it. excitement builds. the digging begins again, the snow flies, and my god, the ball flies, too. is she watching? are they watching? who's watching? quickly, i change position always with my eye on the ball. this time the ball has rolled down the snow pile and is lying in plain sight. i'll need to carry it back to a high spot (so everyone can see me), and bury it slightly. this done, i pounce again and digging furiously i send the ball flying at an amazing speed between my legs. look! are you watching? isn't this fun!. wanna play?
just found this great sounding recipe in my favorite newspaper and really need to pass it on. november is history and as we head into the crazy month when all hell can break loose for many of us, think about this simple vegetable dish to take to a gathering or serve whenever....
SWEET POTATOES with APRICOT PRESERVES and PECANS
4 medium-size sweet potatoes, cooked and peeled
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup brandy or rum
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1. preheat oven to 325 degrees. lightly butter a shallow 1-1/2 quart baking dish. cut the cooked potatoes into 1 inch pieces and place in dish.
2. combine the preserves, brandy and butter in small saucepan and simmer for 3 minutes. spoon over the potatoes and sprinkle pecans on top.
3. bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes.
now what could be easier!
it certainly became a quiet place in this tourist town when the summer people left and now the sagamore resort has also closed its doors for the season. so....the (almost) highlight of the day is walking the dog to the post office. invariably there is someone to visit with and always a person or two to say hi to. my "doodle" waits patiently outside attached to the bench, actually enjoying the wait since everyone says hello to him. the weather has been exceptionally nice this fall and we have been able to take long walks. until hunting season is over, we don't go to our usual places, but instead to a touristy area that for now has no tourists. even though the lake temperature is in the 40's, my dog goes for a dip. i really thought he was a little smarter than that, but i guess the water-thing is in his genes. one day he actually fell off a dock that was u-shaped and couldn't figure out how to get out. we had to "lead" him around the "u" by walking slowly on the dock.. the whole time he was making little high pitched squeally noises. i think he was scared. and cold. oops! look at the time. off to the post office we go.
after the storm last week that devastated much of the eastern coast and did not do much damage to our region, it was a blessing to know that we had been spared. my friend and i did not miss a day of dog-walking. our route, during hunting season, has changed to a more familiar and populated area. my goldendoodle and her briard play the most amazing game. bear, the briard, is a french herding dog and bodie, my doodle, looks for all intents and purposes, like a very fast floppy-eared sheep. bear has a job to do and the "sheep" does his very best to keep him from doing that job. at all! it makes for an interesting hour long walk, to say the least. on wednesday, after we walked and bear's job was thwarted by a squirrelly doodle, we returned home exhausted. i was in the kitchen when my dog, wet from his swim in the lake, started to growl, something he never does. i looked out our front door and saw six teenage ducks wandering around on the porch. immediately, i closed the inside door to keep my "boy" from totally losing it. then i went out the back door and quietly walked to the side of the house to watch our visitors. they were perfectly content to saunter from one side of the porch to the other, snubbing their proverbial "noses" at my doodle who was having a terrible time of it, being completely left out of the excitement and the visit. you can't readily reason with any teenager, especially teen age ducks, so i figured i'd leave them alone and at some point they would decide that they had visited long enough and would move on. that did eventually happen, but not before four of them left a "bit of themselves" on the porch. later, when bodie went outside to sniff around, he was totally engrossed with the amazing smells on the porch floor. ...i got a brush, some disinfectant and water and went to work. so much for the visitors
aha....the two lights in our little town have been turned to BLINKING. that's a sure sign that fall is here, winter's coming and the tourists have gone. the streets are ours again, and nearly empty. dave's market does not have a line for deli sandwiches that extends out the door. the grand union prices are at last a little lower and i can back out of my driveway without taking huge chances. we have begun walking our dogs again to the sagamore and at rainbow beach. my goldendoodle, bodie, hurt his leg and i noticed this morning he is limping. no walk today. i will baby him til monday and if he is not better, will take him to the vet. my great fear is him getting hurt as vet bills are horrifically high. today is a beautiful and sunny, if chilly, day and if my bodie wasn't feeling hurt, it would be a perfect day! guess i'll run the vacuum cleaner.....
where did all the people go? it's just a few days after labor day and our little touristy town has a quiet all its own. happens every year, usually in the late afternoon of labor day monday. by tuesday they're all gone. back to everyday lives, school, work, stress and the fading dreams of time spent in the adirondacks. we who live here year 'round (oh i am so glad i chose this place!) realize how tremendously lucky we are to be left behind, to not have to travel on route 87, to not have to wish we could stay just a little longer. we can and we do. the businesses will now decide what day or days to close, to still attract weekend travelers and to pacify the whims and desires of those of us who can now enjoy the "leisureness" of the beautiful place we call home. five of us tried two different restaurants this morning, hoping to enjoy breakfast without waiting in line. those two places were not open today, tuesday, so we drove through lake george village to a "sure thing". the diner was busy, but we were happy. we decided that we couldn't expect more. it is 9/11 and as we enjoyed our meals, we reflected on the beauty around us and how very fortunate we are.
whew! what a busy summer. i am fortunate enough to have a private chef position with a summer family. i have cooked things i never even thought about before. the couple is very appreciative and sweet. even though the home is on the lake, the kitchen is extremely hot. the water there is from a well and delicious, good thing cuz i get hot and drink glasses of it. my poor goldendoodle has definitely had to take a back seat as they say, since i go to the home twice a day, usually about 5-6 hours total. i keep telling him that summer is short and we'll have the Fall to "do" things. we do go for a dip in the lake every morning, but the long walks have been put on hold. it's too hot, anyway. my housemate has managed to produce a beautiful flower garden and a scrumptious vegetable garden so we eat well (after i get home) at a beautiful table. we both enjoy a good bouquet!