Love. Listen/Observe/Read. Act. Repeat.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Horse bling

Sam isn't a belt-buckle-wearing kind of guy. When he'd come home from Chisholm Challenge with another trophy buckle, usually from being the best in English equitation, we'd look at it lovingly for a minute. The organizers of Chisholm Challenge order the trophy buckles each year from the silversmith in Placerville, Calif. That was always fun to see, too. I knew the shop since I worked for the El Dorado Arts Council for three years, back when Sam was an infant and toddler. 
But then, we'd just put the buckle back in the velveteen box and shove it in the dining room cabinet. (Lots of room in there. We don't have many fancy dishes.) After a few years, I felt bad. He worked hard for those buckles and he didn't get one every year for every event. (Unlike Special Olympics medals, but I digress.) 
I figured it was time for a display. I asked Dad, and the next time we were talking on Skype, he showed me what he'd built. I brought it home two weeks ago and showed it to Sam. 
He's not really a belt-buckle-arranging kind of guy, either. I pulled them out of the box, marveled at the craftsmanship and then arranged them. 
I hope he's a belt-buckle-noticing kind of guy. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Overheard in the Wolfe House #179

Sam: Oh, Gus! You're in the office now? I can't stand it if you're gonna stink up the office now!
Paige: (from the other room) Then wash him!
Sam: I can't do that. It doesn't make sense to wash him when he's cutting the cheese.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Okra pickles

If rhubarb is Northern, okra is Southern. Especially okra pickles. I like cooking on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.

This recipe comes from an old Martha Stewart Living show, and my instructions assume you know canning basics. If you don't, read more about here. Here's a hint from a mistake I made one year falling for that everything-is-big-in-Texas way. Don't use elephant garlic. It turns blue in the pickling salts.

Pickled Okra
2 lbs. tender okra
1 quart white vinegar
6 T. kosher salt
16 garlic cloves, peeled
8 red jalapeƱos, (opt.)
8 fresh dill heads
1/2 c. yellow mustard seeds

Wash okra and trim stems, leaving caps.

Prepare 8 canning jars and lids in boiling water bath, according to manufacturer's instructions. Meanwhile, bring vinegar and salt to a boil with 3 cups of water.

Pull jars from water bath, drop in dill head, jalapeƱo, a pair of garlic cloves and 1 T. mustard seeds to each jar. Pack okra in tightly, pour over hot liquid, making sure okra is covered and there is about 1/2-inch head space at the top of the jar. Release any bubbles with a clean wooden skewer.

Wipe rims, screw on tops, and process for 10 minutes. Cool for 24 hours before storing. Let mellow for two months before opening. Keep refrigerated after opening.

Rhubarb-Strawberry Crumble

This is based on a recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook, the first edition (2004) of which I scored on Amazon for $12 because of some kind of production error that made the headings unreadable for people with certain kinds of vision impairments. I hope I never develop that impairment as I age. I adore this cookbook.

2 lbs. strawberries, hulled and halved
1 lb. rhubarb, sliced 1/2-inch thick chunks
1 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1 T. lime juice
1/8 tsp. salt

1 1/4 c. rolled oats
3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp. salt
12 T. unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Stir the filling ingredients in a large bowl and then pour into a 13-inch baking dish. (I use my lasagna pan.) Stir all the topping ingredients, except the butter in another bowl and then crumble in the butter with your fingers. Spread it evenly over the top, bake for 45-50 minutes until the topping is nicely browned and the fruit is bubbling. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Overheard in the Wolfe House #178

Peggy: I hear that lots of girls wanted to dance with you after Special O.
Sam (grinning): Yes. There weren't a lot of leader-follower dances.
Peggy: Oh, you mean things like the Macarena ... and the chicken dance, and YMCA.
Sam: Yes. With leader-follower you can dance with a partner.
Peggy: Like the two-step?
Sam: Two is best for two-step.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Overheard in the Wolfe House #177

Peggy (putting trivet back for a pan of kolaches due to come out of the oven in two minutes): I'm sorry. You need that. It's just that I've been cleaning for 40 years, so I kind of go into auto-pilot.
Sam: Mom, you need to know that once you go into auto-pilot, you can't come back to Earth.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Overheard in the Wolfe House #176

Peggy: How come you're so handsome?
Sam: I don't know. I don't want to look bad.

Mile-marker 700

Ran 5 miles this morning and that took me past 700 miles. That's a nice round number.

I wanted to celebrate the blog sailing past 10,000 visits, too, but that nice, round number was busted by cyber-stalkers and their mega-downloads. Total buzz kill.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Overheard in the Wolfe House #175

Sam: I don't know what grass it is that gives me allergies, but it survived the drought.
Peggy: Yes, it did.
Sam: It just waited for the rain and [claps hands together]. Like a logic bomb.