Wednesday, December 21, 2005

christmas travel

our car is an older model bmw. we named it sparkie, years ago...but that sprightly name is becoming less suitable for this venerable snaggletooth. not very sparkie these days; must be the upcoming 8 hour trip to northern ontario. this trip should have commenced about 24 hours ago. the car had other plans. the clutch cylinder which left us in the lurch last saturday, is now repaired and on the creditcard. the breaklight problem, though, is brand new. won't shut off. so sparkie is with his new best friend walter the repair-man for another visit.

to be looking on the right side of things, we are very fortunate that neither of these little issues came up during the trip, we have enough time to remedy them, and a creditcard with some room to spare.

walter is a very lovely german fellow, likely in his early 70's, mindful of a customers' dollar and very fair. he speaks english with a light dusting of his first language, and presents a tally of services written in impeccable european script by his thick-skinned oil-cured hand. he always offers this hand at the end of an exchange. hell. no wonder sparkie likes him.

so when david and sparkie return, we will try once more to hit the highway.

thanks, walter.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

spicy gingerbread things

so, i have been through a few recipes in search of the tasty cookie swap winner. in my haste to create during young esther's nap-time, i made a variation of gingerbread house cookies...yes, with mustard. the jar said ginger, in my own handwriting. very convincing. and yet, mustard. i picked most of it out successfully...but still a little spicy. another attempt, with actual ginger, produced a lovely crisp cookie with the seasonal flavour i was seeking...

1 cup margerine
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 cup molasses

sift and add:
6 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp ginger
1 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves

chill overnight, roll, cut and bake.
350 degrees for 7-10 minutes.

fancy up with royal icing
beat til foamy:
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup merangue powder

add cup at a time til you like what it looks like:
up to 4 2/3 cups icing sugar
until stiff peaks form.

Monday, November 28, 2005

cookie time

it is the time of year to exchange cookies, in a very organized way. dolled up to be both social and practical, the cookie-swap parties are a lovely vestige of oldtimey homemaking. in a way, a bit of fakery, the appearance of diligent baking of so many sorts of bake as many dozens of treats as there are guests, pack them up and meet at the location designated. they are to be shared with all those present, but you don't eat them there. no. they are stowed away to be opened up at home later, offered to other friends over the holidays.

i love 'em. the unknown pleasures lure me. i have, this year, accepted two invites to exchange holiday baking...a total of 17 dozen cookies to bake and pack. shall i make all the same kind? shall i challenge myself with new (and possibly substandard) recipes? yikes! and what in return? the mystery, the deliciousness. and the acceptance that yes, i will eat far too many.

i have a feeling that i'll try for three next year.....

Friday, November 04, 2005

sad face

Learned the lesson I keep forgetting...pluck the pumpkins whilst one may! On Thursday, I hopped into the car to visit a friend. I was zooming by bins on garbage day, thinking that on the return trip I would stop and take advantage...bin after bin topped by untouched, uncarved, un-jack-o-lanterned pumpkins, like autumnal maraschino cherries on a leaf-bag sundae. Oh how the roasted seeds entice me! As does the prospect of a good peanut pumpkin soup or loaf. Even more thrilling was the idea of rescuing these delicacies from the trash!! Came so close to stopping, but was running a bit late, a bit shy, etc. (Dare I eat a peach?) Mid-visit, the telltale rumble of the trucks, and yes, gone pumpkins all. Next lesson please?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

All Saint's Day

Today is a day for deli sandwiches and laundry sorting. And candy munching. Hardly any treaters last night, three pumpkins carved and leering on the steps may have frightened them away. Jack'o'lantern guts filling the oven, toasting up all salty and seedy.
And a little time to figure out how to negotiate this site...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

a brand new recipe...

and now to test this system out...a whole new bold step from stodgy ludditedom into the shiny beeping world of machines...