Thursday, July 26, 2012


As a couple, we have a special meal, Chateaubriand. It's a tenderloin of steak, always, it seems, served for two. It is named, according to that encyclopedic source Wikipedia, for a member of Napoleon's staff. We rarely see it on a menu and when we do, we cannot resist.

Why this gastronomic obsession? Before we were engaged to be married, we were in Mexico City on a college study. Across the street from the Hotel Geneve in the Zona Rosa was a restaurant that, as best I can tell from Google's Street View, is no longer there. But we went there one night and had Caesar salad prepared tableside and Chateaubriand. Quite a splurge for two college students and probably one my future other half paid for.

A year and a half later, we were back in Mexico City and celebrating our first anniversary. I know we would have dined there. I can't remember the Chateaubriand.

And so it lay in our memories until we dined at Dallas' Old Warsaw some years ago. There, nestled in the menu, was our old friend. A quick peek at the menu finds it still exists, but by the price is a solo offering. Sigh. Sharing is so special.

Now, we are looking for a spot to celebrate our 40th anniversary. The reservation was cinched when we saw on the menu Chateaubriand for two.

The only difference is that now we have much better taste (and pocketbook) in wine.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ah, July

It has finally truly turned hot. Hot as in 100-degree-plus days and no wind. Stifling. The heat just sits on your skin and there's nothing to brush it off and tell it to go elsewhere.

We really can't complain since it's past the middle of July and we're just now to this stage of things. Last year we were knee-deep in drought and unseemly high temps in June.

So it's best to just stay inside, run from air-conditioned car to air-conditioned building. I've been doing a bit of cleaning out, kitchen things, the five tubs of old linens I've stockpiled. I reduced them to maybe 4 1/2. I found a bunch of old ties I'd forgotten about. Really old things, 40s and 50s old. Wish I'd known where those were when I'd done my last tie project, a quilt for the library to have a buy-a-chance on. It raised over $300!

Right now, I'm thinking I need to clean out a couple of drawers. Well, I need to do more than that, but I think I can manage two about now.

Re-check the email. Get out of the chair...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A bountiful summer

Whether it was the mild winter followed by the long spring or the splashes of rain we've continued to have, I don't know. What I do know is that we are awash in fresh fruits and vegetables.

At last!

While my cherries did not perform well, I reaped over 100 pounds of plums from one tree. Even my sad container-grown tomatoes have continued to supply us, albeit a small number. But those with large personal gardens or commercial pick-your-own enterprises have seen huge returns. We have been fortunate to be both given of the harvest and to have picked from it.

So far, I've "put by" 35 quarts of hot dill pickles, 8 small jars of green tomato mincemeat, 8 (or so) jars of green tomato relish, 8 pints of brandied peaches, 13 pints of picante, and 54 generous pints of frozen peaches. I think that's all. Canning can be a blur sometimes.

Notice: no jelly. I'm a bit "canned" out at the moment.

But with so much bounty, the competitive spirit has raised its head and I'll be entering the Foods Division of the State Fair. I've won ribbons before for the pickles and picante, but that was over 20 years ago.

I'll keep you informed.

Monday, July 09, 2012

"You can download it, MoKa."

Our grandchildren, Emily and Jack, spent part of the weekend with us. We had planned to fish, swim, and maybe hit a few golf balls. Instead, we got some much needed rain.

Ah, a 5 year old and a 3 year old stuck without their usual toys, although they did seem to bring plenty with them. Emily was more understanding of the situation as she claimed her granddaddy's lounge chair and settled in to watch cartoons. Jack... not so understanding.

So I set him to watching the radar with me between eyeing the cartoons and playing with his multitude of cars. We zipped them up and down the kitchen floor for a while. He tried to hone in on Emily's chair which precipitated a minor skirmish. He gave wishful thinking to the radar screen. Then, he played what he thought was his trump card.

In order to keep peace and have everyone occupied on a recent trip to London, my daughter-in-law had downloaded games to her iPad and iPhone. The children had loved them and peace and sleep had reigned on the plane. Now, in order to convince me that he could be bribed into not being bored, Jack informed me that I could download games onto my iPad.

Clever little boy. Stubborn old MoKa. No games were forthcoming.

Eventually, we went to supper and the skies cleared sufficiently to swim. But we've not forgotten we were really meant to be clearing a pond of perch.

Monday, July 02, 2012

How to eat a peach

Tis freestone peach season here and the harvest is plentiful. I picked a bushel of peaches up in the north part of the county last Friday. From leaving the house, driving 12 miles, picking, leaving some with my in-laws, and returning home: 1 hour 15 minutes. Now that's easy picking!

The trees are so loaded they are breaking under the weight. This particular variety was Red Globe, but Majestic and Loring are to follow. I spent Friday afternoon freezing 18 generous pints. That left about 30 peaches that were not quite ripe enough.

So, one must simply eat them as they ripen.

I took some to my son's house. Come to find out, we don't all eat peaches the same way.

My spouse peels the peach, then slices. My daughter-in-law slices and eats the peel. Her husband, son #1, cuts the peach in half, divests it of the pit, and slices and eats the peel.

Son #2 and I eat them correctly: Slice around the peach to twist it in half and "free" the stone. Peel. Slice and eat or just take slurpy bites because these peaches are now very ripe and sweet and juicy.

I love peach season--no matter how you slice them!