Tuesday, September 29, 2009

We're Jammin'

It's been a little busy here in the 'hood. I'm 'pearly' hanging in here...

It all started when Regina sent out a call on FB for anyone wanting pears. The gang at Energeia Vineyards still has some pear trees left, enough to have bountiful fruit. So I went up to Underwood and got me a load of Bartletts and Anjous. Of course, this meant I had to DO something with them all. SO...

May I introduce you to Pear Butter, cooking away merrily on the stove.

Also, Poached Pears in Red Wine and Roasted Pear Chutney.

And, Ginger Pear Preserves. I love the color of this! It tastes pretty zippy, lots of ginger.

I had to go out and buy more jars and more sugar to finish the project.

I dried three racks of pear slices in my wonderful oven, which has a dehydrate setting. And I made a double batch of pear bread. I recommend toasting it, with a slice of melted cheddar on top. The rest of the green anjous are in my garage fridge, staying cool until I need them. I'm peared out right now. This box was FULL. And I had a cloth grocery bag full of greenies...

Thank you Regina and Lynette, for the mimosa to get started, and to James and John for their entertainment in the orchard. And for all the pears. Sorry I didn't stay longer and pick more (not really), but when the yellow jackets got stirred up, it was time for me to leave. I have some jars set aside for you all.

I'd say it was a productive week. Now to deal with all my apples. Thank God I only have two trees, and only one of them is loaded...

Friday, September 18, 2009

What Happens When I Leave

So I had a little vacation. I was gone three weeks. Here's what I came back to:

The new fire pit is put together down on the patio. The sunflower that didn't get eaten by bunnies or tromped by Lloyd's boots (I planted them all along the wall) is almost ready to bloom.

And the front deck was dismantled. Silly me, I thought he'd take the dog and go camping and fishing up on the Klickitat...

I'll spare you the story about Lloyd walking across one of his plank pathways like this one and having it break, sending his leg down the hole and a free end of board into his forehead. Just like in Looneytunes. He ended up at the doctor's with a very swollen leg and knee.

Or how Brindle went off the edge where there USED to be stairs, falling and hurting her leg, necessitating a trip to the vet, an x-ray (negative) and drugs. What a pair. I can't leave them alone for a minute, let alone three weeks.

Fortunately, there has been vast improvement in the week I've been home.

And here are today's shots, which include supervision by a drugged dog who cannot walk because she messed up her leg again, needed sedation and a full hip x-ray (negative) and MORE super duper (read expensive) anti-inflammatories thus increasing the cost of the deck another $400 total. But we still have a dog.

Here Brindle gratefully watches the installation of the new stairs. Lloyd told her she has surpassed the cost of a new purebred Aussie this month. No more soft tissue damage!

Everyone is 'upright and ambulatory' as my dad likes to say, and I'm glad I have such a handy husband. A deck to get from the front door to the pathway is sure nice to have. I don't do well walking the plank...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Eating My Way Through S. New England

I had a great 3 weeks in Boston. I spent lots of time with my parents and brother back at the homestead in Waltham. Watched lots of baseball because it's on every night. We celebrated nephew Kevin's graduation from Wentworth, and the start of his new civil engineering job almost immediately! Here's Kevin with brothers Ryan and Patrick, his mom Linda and the grandfolk. If Linda looks ecstatic, it's because now she's down to one kid in college...

And I ate my way around town (and southern New England). You must need a restaurant suggestion list for your next trip East. Here you go.

I had two dinner dates with Karen and our college era friends, the first at Naked Fish, where my blackened scallop salad was to die for. The next week, a larger group met in the Grille at Hobbs Brook at Doubletree Restaurant where Amy and Stash were staying. They were very hospitable to our large semi noisy gang. Which reminds me, I need to send Karen a check...and thank her for my new green bumpah stickah!

On to lunches: An excellent lunch was had at Sweet Chili Thai in Arlington with Arthur, one of my oldest friends still in the area. He reminded me that we met in 10th grade when we were lab partners in Dr. Rosa Kubin's Chemistry class. We walked around the town square and checked out the rails to trails bikeway and the Uncle Sam memorial.

A day trip to RI included lunch at the infamous Twin Willows with some NMFS buddies...while I considered a traditional Bill Burger, I was craving chowder and clamcakes that day. My brother Mark drove me and the folks to the Cape one day, where we had lunch at Seafood Sam's with cousins Nancy and Tiba, and long lost buddy Janet. If you haven't had a whole belly clam plate, you haven't lived...clam strips are for HoJo's.

The four of us did another day trip to Ipswich MA, and had lunch at the Choate Bridge Pub with sister Carol and her husband Paul. The lobster rolls were enormous! The waterfront park area behind the restaurant was a good place to walk it off. The murals on the old printing company building are incredible. Even the old cellar windows had historical murals on them. The one shown here is the first of a long series, from native days to present.

In keeping with the foodie theme, we did a girls' night, with Keara, mom, Linda and myself heading over to the Embassy Theater to see Julie and Julia. Meryl Streep NEVER disappoints!

I also picked up Alina in a tropical downpour when she came back from Ireland, then moved her into her new apartment for the year. It was an exhausting day of hauling stuff out of Keara's moldy basement and up this charming stairway to the third floor of Alina's place. I am grateful to the swim team boys downstairs who helped with the bed and futon.

We celebrated with a Pini's Mediterranean pizza and a bottle of nice NZ Sauvingon Blanc on her third floor balcony.

After getting the grocery shopping done the next day, she and I drove over to Cambridge to meet John, Sue and Matt Hohenberger, our old neighbors from Lagos. They were moving Matt into MIT. We had a fantastic dinner at The Asgard Irish Pub. A late afternoon slice of leftover pizza kind of dampened our appetites so we just had salmon salads. The menu looked great, with lots of hearty and authentic Irish comfort food.

Keara, Adam and I met up at Alina's Saturday of Labor Day weekend and tailgated before the BC-NU debacle. It was a sea of gold Super Fan shirts. Except for the young man with the white "You Run, I'll Drink" shirt from Marathon Monday. My poor alma mater, though...the score was 38-0 at half time.

Thanks to Conor's dad Larry for sharing his extra tickets for the great seats...ours were nosebleed end zoners.

We left, and the three of us had a great dinner at The Sunset Grill and Tap. They have a fantastic spinach and artichoke appetizer that is like mediterranean nachos. Keara and I split a salad, too. Adam had a burrito that looked delicious...and HUGE. Unfortunately, we were all 'tapped' out by the time we got there, so we stuck to water, but the beer selection was incredible.

Sunday was my mom's 82nd birthday. She wanted a luau. We did the best we could. We had leis, we had Don Ho on the record player, I played Happy Birthday on the uke, and cooked up a storm with grilled chicken and shrimp with coconut sauce and lots of curry style condiments.

Kudos to Alina for her prep work on the shrimp skewers and to Mark for his grilling expertise.

Linda brought a pitcher of delicious white sangria, and an incredible cake. Here's mom with the cake, and her brother Billy. And yes, sure, she's 28...

Annie and Don brought Don's famous potato salad. I finally got to taste it. It lived up to the raves.

Winding down, Labor Day Monday we had tea with Auntie Marilyn and cousins Beth, Sarah and Maryanne in W. Concord. Tuesday I had a final lunch with Alina before she dropped me at the airport: our traditional Fins sushi date.

By the way, I checked when I got home: I did NOT gain any weight! Must have made good choices...that and schlepping up three floors moving the kid...