Speaking of the other blog, I'm starting a Friday Food segment over there too, focusing on restaurants and food shops. Just so you know.
Anyway, the proprietor of the Poplar Creek Guesthouse, Barbara Young, served a delightful breakfast that I decided to try at home. She makes it easy, since the recipe is on her website.
It starts, as all good recipes do, with good ingredients.
Yeah, I know. The healthful quotient appears to be rather low. C'mon, people, this is not an everyday breakfast, this is an event breakfast.
It's very simple. The most planning you have to do is buy French bread a day ahead so it gets a little chewier. Otherwise, you mix the ricotta, cream cheese, apricot preserves, chopped pecans, and maple and rum flavorings together.
Here's the funny thing. I remember the filling as being extraordinarily delicious. But when I mixed it all together, it seemed bland. Hmmm, I worried, had my memory played with the overall quality? But having gone that far, I wasn't going to quit.
You cut pockets into thick slices of French bread, then carefully--and messily--stuff the filling in.
I'm sure there's an artful way to do this, but it was beyond me.
Now it's time for the familiar French toast routine--eggs and milk whisked together, the bread dipped in it, and fried on a griddle.
I also made some potato sausage I bought at Kramarczuk's. The B&B served it with potato sausage, which I'd never had before, and I loved it. Unfortunately, I have to say I did not love the sausage from Kramarczuk's, a first--I've loved everything else I've gotten there. But their potato sausage is spicy, and I didn't want spicy. I wanted potato-y.
That's OK, thought, because the French toast saved the day.
My fears about the bland filling were unfounded. Once the filled bread was toasted and had maple syrup drizzled over, it became a completely different dish altogether, gentle and sweet and thoroughly cheering and satisfying. Everyone liked it. It's a keeper.
But it would be nice if I could go back to that B&B and have it served to me there...
People who know me well know that I view telephones as instruments of the devil, secondary (maybe) only to DPNs. Phones are so demanding. Answer me. Answer me NOW! I'm just not fond of them. I use them because I have to. Well, and as a parent, I do find cell phones to have some practical uses. But beyond that? You wanna talk to me? Send me an email. Not a text message, not an IM, just a good old-fashioned email.
Maybe it's a backlash against my youth; I grew up with a party line, and it was only later that we got a private line--a very big deal, especially to my parents, who'd both grown up without a phone at all. To this day, my dad races when the phone rings. He's been known to knock over his chair at dinner, he's so afraid he'll miss a call.
Me? Nope. The phone is something I'll Get Around to When I Get Around To It.
Anyway, this morning I took Holli out for her daily walk. Beautiful day--sun shining, not too hot, low humidity, bright blue sky. Squirrels and rabbits for Holli to try and herd. We didn't even see any geese (lately we've been running into gaggles of geese, and they scare Holli--one turned and honked at her one day, and she darned near keeled over).
And, on the same path, another walker with two dogs, and a cell phone. Talking very loudly but about nothing of any worth (hey, if you're going to talk on your phone with your Outside Voice, I'm going to listen). Talking was the priority, not walking the dogs; she frequently came to a standstill to talk even harder, while her two poor dogs waited dejectedly. Clearly she was not appreciating the beautiful day, or the time with her dogs. At one point she complained about how they were pulling on the leashes. Um, sweetheart? If you get the leashes out, oddly enough, the dogs think you want to *walk.*
I must admit she did provide some amusement for me when she tried to balance her cell phone on her shoulder while bending over to clean up dog poop. Because obviously she couldn't pause the conversation.
I felt sad for the dogs. They so much wanted to go, and she so much wanted to stand around and talk on her phone.
Is it just me, or are there times when cell phones should just be shut off and put away?
We lucked out--it was a beautiful Friday evening on the Prairie, and the Relay for Life was a big success, with late evening estimates of well over $110,000 raised for cancer research. Have you ever attended or participated in a Relay event? They're held all over the U.S. and are a great deal of fun. Let me show you.
People set up teams to raise money, and to take turns walking the track all night long (hence the "relay" part of "Relay"). By the way? Those who think that today's teenagers are a lost cause? You should have been there Friday night--there were several teen-only teams, and they made serious efforts with their fundraising. Not to mention their stick-to-it-iveness; you should have seen them out jogging and skipping--SKIPPING--at 4 in the morning.
Our team, the Cure-Rageous Knitters did their part.
The evening started off with the Survivor Lap, lead by the Cure-Rageous Knitters team captain and RFL 2008 Honorary Chairman, LisaD. She's in the middle of the flag-carriers. Team member blogless Jodi is on the left.
Other team members:
That's Kelle on the left, working hard to finish the lap blanket she raffled as a donation, sitting next to blogless Sue and blogless Martha. Sue brought along a table full of small knitted items she sold as part of her fundraiser. Lisa's daughter made beaded jewelry that she sold. See, it's not just about the fundraising ahead of time, but about raising money that night. In other words--yes! There's shopping at Relay! You could buy all kinds of fun things--besides knitted hats and bags and handmade jewelry, you could buy brats and root beer, corn on the cob, glow sticks, haircuts for Locks of Love, chances to play on a putting course, and a handmade quilt. Oh--and these items:
That's Youngest Son. Really--he glowed in the dark:
You could also, for a donation, get a ride on an ambulance gurney, courtesy of the Eden Prairie Police and Fire Departments.
When the sun set, there was a ceremony honoring the victims and survivors of cancer. LisaD gave a beautiful and very moving speech, honoring her sister Julianne and chronicling her own "adventures" with cancer. One of the high points--and most emotional times--of Relay then follows: the Lighting of the Luminaries. The track is lined with paper luminaries, each named for a victim or survivor. There were more than 3400 luminaries at our Relay. Walking through the night and seeing the names, sometimes the photos, and occasionally the stories written on the bags really brings home the reason for the fundraiser. Some were, sadly, names of people I knew; some were of people who died more than 30 years ago, proving that loved ones are never forgotten; some brought tears to eyes, like the ones with childish scrawls of "We miss you, Dad/Mom!"
After the Luminary ceremony, the Relay-ers got down to the serious business of staying awake until 6 a.m. There was plenty of entertainment.
LisaD lead a salsa dancing class. Did you know she's a professional ballroom dance teacher? She is! And here teaches her very own husband to salsa.
There was more dancing at the Cure-Rageous Knitters site later in the evening. Look at those silly knitters dance!
There was a frozen t-shirt event. Don't worry--it was perfectly family-friendly. Teams were given a balled-up frozen t-shirt. The first team to get the shirt unwound and onto a team member won. Our team didn't win. But not for lack of trying and perseverance.
There was also a Relay version of Project Runway. Teams were given a bag full of supplies and 30 minutes to create their own garment.
Look at those Knitters go! If Tim Gunn had been there, he would have been impressed with the creativity and thought going on. He would NOT have had to say, "Make it work."
Our model shows our creation on the far right. While we did not win the overall challenge, we did get the prize for Most Artistic.
There was much talking, walking, nibbling on snacks, perusing of silent auction items, and laughter and tears.
And at 5 a.m., the sky lightened, even while the luminaries continued to glow.
Sorry. Busy day today. Had to go see The Dark Knight (WOOT! BEST MOVIE OF THE SUMMER! HEATH LEDGER ROCKS! CHRISTIAN BALE ROCKS! MICHAEL CAINE AND MORGAN FREEMAN ROCK!!!!). No, I did not go at midnight, although The Teen did. I learned my lesson last time.
And tonight is the Relay for Life, where I'll proudly knit and walk with LisaD's team, the Cure-Rageous Knitters. Hey, if you're near EP, c'mon down and say hi to us--we'll be at the CMS track field until 6 a.m. tomorrow!
So, today is a bit of a rerun. But with a bonus--the last time I talked about these recipes, all I had was the dirty dishes to show you. Since I'm making one of these dips again to take to Relay, I thought I'd share the picture.
Oh hey. What the heck. Here's a bonus, since I made this to take to Relay tonight too:
Mmmm...black beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, green onions...why, it's Loaded Salsa!
I had a kickoff gathering for the 2006 Winter Olympics...I'm thinking of doing the reverse this year, having a closing ceremonies party instead. Sounds like there are a lot of knitters who might be interested in taking up the challenge. What do you think? Are people busy on the afternoon of Sunday, 8/24? We could have our own Closing Ceremonies, show off our projects, talk about what we accomplished.
And, possibly, eat and drink.
Given that I am neither an elite athlete nor an elite knitter, this wouldn't just have to be for people on Ravelry or doing the Ravelympics. Whaddya think? People think they'll be around that weekend?
For you Ravelry'ers out there, looks like Ravelry is revisiting the Knitting Olympics that Harlot did two years ago. Anyone else signed up for this? It was great fun last time. Are there teams? What are people doing? I signed up for the Scarf Stroke and the Gift Knits Pentathlon (hey, I can kill two birds with one stone right there). Speak up! Which of you Olympic knitters out there might be up for some Olympic knitting gatherings in August?
Part of the reason I like having a CSA share as opposed to simply going to the farmers market and picking things out myself is I end up with things I might not have purchased on my own, thus forcing me to be creative (waste not, want not, after all). Case in point: a recent box had a huge bunch of spinach. I like spinach on a salad, in small quantities--makes me feel like I'm eating healthily. But this was a lot of spinach. Fortunately, the CSA box came with some suggestions of what to do with the spinach.
I figured I was on the right track when the recipe started with this:
Mmmm. Bacon. I was immediately predisposed to like this recipe.
While the bacon was cooking, I chopped scallions and garlic scapes:
Aren't they cute? Or maybe cute isn't the right word. Kind of dramatic, in a lean way.
Those were marinated in cider vinegar with a touch of sugar, salt and pepper.
Next I chopped the bacon and gathered some of the drippings and tossed them with the spinach in a big, heatproof bowl, which was placed over a pan of simmering water.
Stir and toss until the spinach starts to wilt, then add the marinated scallions, scapes, and vinegar.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper, serve immediately.
The big surprise for me with this? The kids ate it. The Teen ate it grudgingly, kind of in a "I'm not wild about it but I'll save the battle for the bigger fights, like the next time she tries to make me eat Brussels sprouts" way. Youngest Son wrinkled his nose, then licked a spinach leaf, determined that maybe the bacon and vinegar combo was right up his alley--and he even ate seconds without my asking.
I do try not to offend people, so before you read any further, let me just say this: I'm about to show you the most recent shipment from the Nefarious yarn club. If you, unlike me, do not appreciate morbid and dark humor, I'd suggest you mosey on away and come back tomorrow for Friday food, which will not be the least bit morbid, unless you find cooked spinach to be morbid. Some do, I'm sure.
People who don't like morbid humor all gone now?
Seriously. I don't want to offend anyone.
Here's the latest shipment from Cosmic Fiber's Nefarious yarn club. Can you guess the Nefarious person it's named for?
It's sure bright and cheerful for a nefarious personage, isn't it?
Got it yet?
Need another hint?
Look what came with the yarn.
Got it now?
This yarn is named after the notorious, nefarious Rev. Jim Jones.
Yeah, I know--not everyone is going to see the humor in this. I do. But I am sick that way. And if you're offended, I apologize--but you were warned.
And no, the yarn was not dyed with Kool-Aid, just dyed to look *like* Kool-Aid.