Efribbits.

My friend Steve called me up a few weeks ago and asked if he could stay with us while in town for his upcoming college reunion.  But of course! Could he bring his college roommates too? It wasn’t the first time he’d brought total strangers to stay at our house, but giving me a heads up was thoughtful – and how could I say no? Continue reading

Crazy mixed up.

A bakery here sells Panettone every December, which I tend to buy several loaves of in order to stockpile in the freezer. A traditional sweet Italian holiday bread studded with dried fruits, I happen to think panettone makes an amazing French Toast, particularly on cold, snowy mornings.  I may have once or twice lobbied the owner of said bakery to consider making panettone more than just once a year – pitching a “Christmas in July” idea – so that I could have access to this treat more than once a year. Gerry was not buying what I was selling, but, he did manage to plant a seed that I could learn to bake panettone myself.  I spent some time looking for a recipe, but most of them seemed pretty intimidating. And then this King Arthur Flour Co. recipe came to my attention.

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Finding that mojo and a dog sweater.

Edie asked me a few weeks ago if I would knit a sweater for Betsy the Beagle.  I was game and so one recent evening found the three of us humans spending quality time sorting through dog sweater patterns on Ravelry. Of course the one we liked the most is, of course, one of the more complicated patterns.  And being that I’m not the fastest of knitters, I knew it could be a while before Betsy got herself a sweater.

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In which we shoot.

Edie learned to shoot a rifle at summer camp. Not only is it one of her favorite camp activities, she has been commended on it in the closing ceremonies several times.  The girls don’t shoot skeet like the boys camp does though – only stationary targets. Of course, this made her very interested in shooting skeet, because as we all know, anything boys can do, girls can do better.

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Getting Schooled.

I spent three very delightful evenings this past week assisting down at the Charlottesville Cooking School with my friend Martha, who taught an Every Day Cooking Skills Series.  It’s a three part class that is usually taught over the course of three weeks, but Martha decided to teach it over three consecutive evenings in one week as a trial summer run.  The concept is sort of like a boot camp for cooking – it covers a variety of basic cooking techniques so that participants walk out  with skills to throw together simple seasonal and delicious dinners regularly.  Sounds too good to be true,  I know, but Martha is an amazing instructor who can make this happen and I don’t just say that because she’s a friend.  Martha is a trained chef, who has been teaching cooking classes longer than she wants to admit (which is also longer than I’ve been cooking).

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Lessons.

bluebellsI suppose it started when I found myself saying “Yes” to every kid from Charlottesville High School Band that asked me to buy fruit in their fundraising drive late last fall. We’ve always bought fruit to support the local high school marching band, because my better half, having done that himself, likes to support the local band, although I have to admit that these last few years I’ve been a supporter knowing these are the same families we’re going to hit up when Edie starts fundraising for orchestra next year.  Some of our family are big citrus fans and eat it up rather quickly, but I found a few pieces languishing in the drawer (no doubt a testament to how many times I said YES), so I thought I’d get crafty with it and try my hand at baking with it. Continue reading

A new pickle bible.

I’ve long said that if you like making pickles, then you only really need one book on pickling – Linda Zeidrich’s “The Joy of Pickling”.  In fact, I refer to it as ‘my pickle bible’.  But  I recently discovered another less known gem and I am revising that statement. If you like making pickles, “The Joy of Pickling” is essential, but if you love making pickles, then you also need “The Complete Book of Pickles & Relishes” by Leonard Louis Levinson.

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