Thursday, March 29, 2012

Just Kinda Cool!

Early-ish this morning I took the dogs, my cup of coffee and my journal out to the back patio to get some fresh air and settle my mind before I committed whole-heartedly to the day. The morning was perfect - not too hot, not too cold, and not raining. I needed this because today had on its agenda a few moderately stressful tasks. I had my pen in hand ready to start writing my Morning Pages (I am a follower of Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way and other books that stoke the fires of the artist within.). A singing bird above grabbed my attention and I looked up to see if I could catch a glimpse of this feathered chorister. As my eyes turned skyward I saw this.

For reasons that I can't really explain, I was mesmerized by this pattern in the sky. It's not miraculous; it's not even mysterious. It is the result of contrails, easily explained by science. Nonetheless, I had quite the philosophical discussion with myself about the imagery, symbolism and metaphorical meaning of these three intersecting lines. I could bore you with my thoughts; but instead I will leave you either to wonder why someone can be so easily amused by contrails or to enjoy the magic of the image yourself.

Happy Thursday!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Nothing Beets A Good Friend!

A few weeks ago I wrote about the fact that I had beets that I didn't know how to cook and was fairly sure that I wouldn't like them even if I did know how to cook them. I asked for suggestions from any of you who may have a better relationship with beets than I do.

As is usually the case when I make such pleas, at least one of you always comes through. This time it is a wise friend and student who is offering her insight on just how to best share your dinner table with beets. She brought me a recipe from this cookbook -

- given to her by her Danish mother-in-law when she (my friend and student) married her Danish husband . . .let's just say, a while ago. I suppose that it is fair for such a mother-in-law to assume that an American girl from Dallas, Texas can'y possibly cook well enough for her son. Or, maybe she'd heard about chicken fried steak and cheese grits and feared for his gastric health. Whatever the case, my beets and I now are reaping the benefits of this gift of a cookbook.

The recipe is for Pickled Red Beets. If you like pickled things, it sounds good. The truth is that all pickled things taste pretty much the same. Okay, not pickled pigs feet. All pickled VEGETABLES taste pretty much the same once they are overtaken by sugar and vinegar. The "secret ingredient" in this particular recipe is caraway seeds.

I must admit that though I am grateful for an idea of what to do with my beets, it is some of the culinary techniques offered here that fascinate me the most. Particularly with regard to the cooking the beets before beginning the pickling process.

I love the fact that the cook is instructed to check the doneness of the beets with a knitting needle! The author of this cookbook is a woman after my own heart. Or is she . . .

Are Danish woman instructed to test the doneness of their beets or their cakes with knitting needles because all Danish woman knit?
("Insert knitting needle into center of cake. If it comes out clean, your cake is done though not necessarily your sweater.)
Because cooking beets is simply a distraction to their knitting?
Because it is assumed that they will always have a knitting needle in their hand?

If this is the case, I want to live in Denmark!

I must admit that I haven't tried this recipe yet because my knitting needles have been busy.

However, now that my needles are free, I will move on to trying to make the pickled beets. I might even eat a bite of them.