Monday, November 30, 2015


Over the weekend celebrated my neighbor's retirement by taking him to the theater.
 Made reservations at Station 4 for dinner before the show where I had the Pork Shank.  Completely delicious and the best thing I've ever eaten there.
The on to Arena Stage for a production of Oliver.
 The production was full of those familiar songs and
 ...wonderful choreography!

 My neighbor enjoyed Fagin the most, but hands down the actor playing Nancy stole the night with her rendition of "As Long As He Needs Me".   A fun time for all.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday Funny

Random Quote #217


Autumn Diplomacy

Norway Maple leaf
finds refuge in the arms of
Japanese Maple.

~ 1511.22

Three Views of Nasturtiums Before the Hard Frost

Three Views of Japanese Anemone Leaves

Cheesy Spinach Baguette Boat

This one was inspired by a post shared by my friend, Jared .  But, of course, I had to change it around.  In doing so, I will rename this Spinach Baguette Boat.  Keeping it simple.


Heavy Whipping Cream
Swiss Cheese
French Baguette
salt and pepper

Start by cooking the Pancetta.  I love this stuff.  (If you can't find this, dice up 4 slices of bacon).
 Next, prepare the other ingredients:  Chop the Spinach (I used just over half the bag), Shred the cheese (I used just under half the block), Dice the Shallot, and have the cooked Pancetta ready.
 Prepare the Baguette.  In hindsight I would have looked for one that was not split diagonally.  It would have been a little easier to hollow out.
 Hollow out the Baguette.
 To the filling: place five eggs in a mixing bowl and scramble then mix in 3/4 cup of Heavy Whipping Cream.
 Next mix in the Shallot, Pancetta, Spinach and Cheese.  You may opt to toss in some freshly ground black pepper and salt here.
 Fill the Baguette boat.  This is messy.

Place on baking sheet.  I didn't have one big enough, but it was just big enough.  Bake at 350˚ for 30 minutes.
 ACK!  My boat sprung a leak!  Not worry, no harm done.  I just trimmed away the excess.  Let cool for 15 minutes to set, and...
 It turned out fine!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pride Birthdays and Memorials for the Week ~ November 22th through November 28th

Random Quote #216

Putzing In The Garden Is Good

 For fans of my container "Zoo", today was a day to move them down to the lower patio for winter.  It is my hope to have the deck replaced over the winter, and so it's just a step in that process.
 And, of course my faithful sidekick is there every step of the way sniffing to make sure that everything is on the "up and up".  My gardening hero!
 First flowers of winter: this white Hellebores.
 Further inspection pays off with fragrant Spearmint and Pineapple Sage.
 And at some point, two new little beds of bulbs got planted.

Welcome to the Union--North Carolina!

The Thing About Shepherd's Pie

Of all the dishes that I love to make and eat, two never even entered my imagination growing up: Tuna Noodle Casserole and Shepherd's Pie.  They just weren't part of either my mom or dad's repertoire.  And while I have a fairly stable way for making Tuna Noodle Casserole, Shepherd's Pie has evolved into more of a state of mind than a hard and fast recipe.  There are three basic concepts: a meat layer, a veggie layer and a starch layer (notice how I didn't say potato). 

What follows is tonight's version...I may never make it exactly this way again, who knows?

 Assemble the ingredients: (Most shown)

Meatloaf mix Ground Meat
Can of Zesty Diced Tomatoes
Green Beans
Red Pepper
Instant Potatoes
Brown Gravy Mix
Colby Jack Cheese

 Prepare the veggies: Thaw Corn, cut and blanch Green Beans, Dice Onion and Red Pepper.

Cook the meat with the onion.  I cover then and cook until meat is done (5-8 minutes)

While Meat is cooking, constitute the Instant Potatoes and set aside

Drain the extra juice off of the canned Tomatoes and reserve for later, add the tomatoes to the meat and cook on low to reduce the excess liquid.

 While you are doing this, combine the vegetables.  I use no salt or pepper in this version because the canned tomatoes have more than enough salt and the zesty gives them the mildly picante flavor.

 Take the reserved tomato juice and add water to one cup.

Pour the liquid into the can and mix the gravy mix drawing in any residue from the tomatoes left in the can.

 Pour onto the meat mixture and simmer to thicken and reduce.

Turn your attention to the Potatoes.  Take about a cup of shredded cheese and stir into the cooling potatoes.  Save a little of the cheese to top the finished creation.

 When the gravy has reduced and thickened you are ready to assemble the "pie". 

 First layer is the meat.

 Second layer is the veggie mix.

 Cap it with the Potato-Cheese mixture and garnish with the little extra cheese.

 You're not technically cooking anything at this point so I mingle all the flavors at 300˚ degrees for 55 minutes.  When out, you want it to set for 15 minutes or so. 

Then just enjoy!