The Professor and I have been spending our summer working outdoors, digging in our garden beds and fighting off the critters for our share of the vegetables; so far it’s been critters who have reigned supreme but we’re replanting and hope we get to enjoy more than a handful of this year’s veggies. Such is the life of a country gardener where groundhogs and raccoons are abundant . . . much to my dismay.
I have spring on my mind even if Mother Nature isn’t quite cooperating; we enjoy a handful of glorious days with perfect temperatures and Robin’s Egg blue skies and 48 hours later it’s overcast and gloomy. However, my peonies have poked their plumy-pink stems up through the ground as has our rhubarb patch so I know spring is here; the koi pond has been cleaned, the fountain is running and it looks like this coming weekend will be our first mow of the season.
Can you believe it’s September???? Does this surprise you as much as it does me???? And why am I using multiple question marks???? I have no idea. Other than I’m truly gobsmacked September is here and I’m not ready to let go of summer – can I just get an ‘amen?!’ It’s still hot and humid and because the Winter of 2013-14 was so. very. long., I’ve got a death-grip on summer and will not release her until Mother Nature pries summer from my slightly wrinkled, tightly-clenched fist, one finger at a time. Even then, I predict I’ll drag myself into fall kicking and screaming.
Hard Cider has quite the colorful history here in America; in fact, during Colonial times in the Eastern States, Cider was more popular than beer, wine or whiskey. It was far more difficult to grow grains for beer than it was to grow apples so seeds were brought over from England, orchards were established and cider-making was as popular here as it was in England. By the mid-1800s, the New England states were producing nearly 300,000 gallons of cider every year.
I met Grace via Twitter long before we actually met in person; eager to share, to assist, to help in any way, Grace is one of those people you want for your neighbor. And not just because of her genuine kindness but also because Grace is a master when it comes to making jaw-dropping Italian desserts.
Musical pairing – Baby Mine by Alison Krauss
Do you know Amanda? If you don’t, you should! She is the fabulous phenom behind blogs i am baker and i am mommy; this girl is not only talented, she has a heart of gold as is evidenced by this post. She is such an incredible baker and in fact, this cake got Martha Stewart’s attention, then there is this cake and how about these cookies? Talent in spades and a heart of gold . . . just doesn’t get much better than that folks.
Musical pairing – Missed Opportunity by Hall & Oates
Last March, The Professor and I took our first trip to Charleston, SC and absolutely fell head-over-heels in love! Instead of staying in a hotel, we rented a house about one block from one of the prettiest beaches I’ve ever seen and spent the entire week riding bicycles, combing the beach for shells and discovering all that Charleston and it’s rich history has to offer – including the food . . . oh my stars-and-garters, the food.
Musical pairing – Bang Bang by David Sanborn
Well here we are, 4th of July weekend . . . also the end of the week and you’re either having guests for the holiday or you’ve been invited to someone’s party. And you’re supposed to bring something to share . . . problem is you just don’t have the energy to flip through magazines or that binder of recipes tucked away in a kitchen drawer to find something to make. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. In fact, this is me right now. So here’s what I’m making – this super delicious, cool and refreshing Watermelon Salad with Jalapeno and Lime . . .
Musical pairing – Lucky by Jason Mraz
As a child, I remember having rhubarb plants in my backyard and my mother making stewed rhubarb – I L-O-V-E-D it; but I also remember mother saying that the leaves were toxic and gave me direct orders that I wasn’t to eat them . . . ‘hmmm’ . . . my defiant 8-year-old mind asked, ‘Is that really true or is she just saying that so I won’t eat it all raw? Do I tempt fate, try it and see what happens? What would happen if I only ate a teeny-weeny little bite – would I die and more importantly, would they ever find my body?’ (I was a bit dramatic). In the end, I decided to obey – a rarity for those of you who know me well . . . let’s just say that I have never been one to conform . . .
Musical pairing – Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps by Doris Day
Anyone familiar with Director Baz Luhrmann knows that the title reference is to one of my favorite movies, ‘Strictly Ballroom’ – have you seen it? If not, rent the movie or borrow from a friend. ‘Strictly Ballroom’ is probably one of Luhrmann’s lesser known films, but it’s a fast-paced, cheeky and satirical romp through the life of the ballroom dancing world.