Tuesday, October 29, 2013

First Paragraph

It's late. But it is still Tuesday here on the west coast... still time for me to join in with:

and all my fellow readers at Diane's blog  "Bibliophile By the Sea"

What you do to join in is, share the first paragraph or (a few) of a book you  am reading or thinking about reading soon. Care to join us?

This is my book and my first paragraph:
Whose Ass is this?

Seriously---that's the first paragraph.
It is from the book "All You Could Ask For" by Mike Greenberg.

So, do you think you'd read it?  Based on the first paragraph?  Intriguing?  Yes?  No?  (I am actually half way thru---at first I thought,  it's okay,  but half way thru I'm thinking it really is tender and  wonderfully insightful.  It's a good read)

Goodreads says:
A tender and wonderfully insightful story of friendship, love, heartbreak, and renewal, played out in the lives of three unforgettable women, from an extraordinary and unexpected debut novelist—the host of the #1 sports talk show in America, ESPN's Mike Greenberg

It says a lot more, but I'll just leave that for you to find out.

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Today I am listening to the 'Frank Sinatra' station on Pandora.  
Just a  few minutes ago, this song came on--"Baby it's cold outside".
This song is on lots of Christmas music albums.  I'm not sure why we associate it with the Holidays, because it doesn't mention them at all.  It does mention weather tho.   And a man and a woman.

I like this song.

My son Dustin and his wife Jessica, tell me that this is  the "date rape" holiday song.   They teased  me about that all last  year and  I was like---yeah, yeah whatever---thinking they were just saying that because the man's part in the song tries to persuade the woman to  stay.

But when this song came on a few minutes ago, I listened.
HOLY CRAP!!  It IS the date rape song of the  1940's!!
Dustin and Jess were right!!
(but I still like it)
It's so funny what was appropriate in different times.

Okay---not that they don't make inappropriate songs nowadays, but they are easy to recognize and categorize.  Back then this kind of suspicious behavior was okay.
I still like the song. It was a product of  it's time.
My son just likes to give me a bad time.
So, what do you think?

What do you think?

Wikepedia says this:
The lyrics in this duet are designed to be heard as a conversation between two people, marked as "mouse" and "wolf" on the printed score. Every line in the song features a statement from the "mouse" followed by a response from the "wolf". Usually the "wolf" part is sung by a male and the "mouse" by a female.
Criticisms of the song stem from a reading of the lyrics not as the "mouse" wanting to stay and only putting up a token protest for the sake of appearance as supported by lyrics such as "The neighbors might think...", "My father will be pacing the floor", but instead as the "mouse" genuinely wanting to leave but being stopped by the "wolf" being coercive in his pleading with the mouse. Examples of questionable lyrics in this regard include, "I simply must go", "The answer is no", "I've got to go home".[3] There is also the line "Hey, what's in this drink", which could be taken to sound suspiciously like the "mouse" has been drugged.

I really can't stay
(But baby, it's cold outside)
I've got to go away
(But baby, it's cold outside)

This evening has been
(Been hoping that you'd drop in)
So very nice
(I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice)

My mother will start to worry
(Beautiful, what's your hurry?)
My father will be pacing the floor
(Listen to the fireplace roar)

So really I'd better scurry
(Beautiful, please don't hurry)
But maybe just a half a drink more
(Put some records on while I pour)

The neighbors might think
(Baby, it's bad out there)
Say, what's in this drink?
(No cabs to be had out there)

I wish I knew how
(Your eyes are like starlight)
To break this spell
(I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell)

I ought to say no, no, no, sir
(Mind if I move in closer?)
At least I'm gonna say that I tried
(What's the sense in hurting my pride?)

I really can't stay
(Baby, don't hold out)
Oh, but it's cold outside
I simply must go
(But baby, it's cold outside)
The answer is no
(But baby, it's cold outside)

This welcome has been
(How lucky that you dropped in)
So nice and warm
(Look out the window at that storm)

My sister will be suspicious
(Gosh, your lips look delicious
My brother will be there at the door
(Waves upon a tropical shore)
My maiden aunt's mind is vicious
(Ooh, your lips are delicious)
But maybe just a cigarette more
(Never such a blizzard before)

I've got to get home
(But baby, you'll freeze out there)
Say, lend me your coat
(It's up to your knees out there)

You've really been grand
(I thrill when you touch my hand)
But don't you see
(How can you do this thing to me?)

There's bound to be talk tomorrow
(Think of my life long sorrow)
At least there will be plenty implied
(If you caught pneumonia and died)
I really can't stay
(Get over that hold out)
Oh, but it's cold outside

Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy Monday

I've been gone for a couple of weeks, helping my parents out after my mom had had a two week hospital stay.  She's on the mend, but as you get older it takes longer.

The weather was gorgeous up in Washington the whole time I was there.  The weather was beautiful down here in Nevada the whole time I was gone....and also this weekend while I was back.

Today, I feel like bringing out the Christmas music!

Outside my kitchen window yesterday:

Outside my kitchen window today:

I feel bad, as the Handyman hadn't raked up the leaves  yet.  And now they will be wet and very heavy.  His nightmare scenario in the fall.

I hope this is gone by Thursday.  Trick-or-Treating in the snow is no fun.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Best of the Best--Junior's Famous No.1 Pure Cream Cheesecake!

This was truly one of the best cheesecakes I've ever had.  And believe me, I've eaten my fair share of cheesecake.
Lots and lots of cheesecake have passed thru these lips.   
I think cheesecake is good for you.  It's creamy and wonderfully velvety.  And tasty!
Of course, this one takes a little bit of work---it's not out of a box, it's FAMOUS!  From Junior's in Brooklyn.  And it has to live up to it's famous name.

I first read about Juniors when I read the book "Wait Till Next Year" a memoir by Doris Kearns Goodwin.   In the book she 'remembered' going to Juniors to eat cheesecake after a Brooklyn Dodgers game.  That stuck in my mind for years, but even when I finally made it to New York City, we didn't make it to Brooklyn, so still I lusted after that cheesecake I'd never eaten in my mind.

Then, I found this cookbook, bought it, took it home where it sat on my shelf for a few years and then finally, last month, I made the famous cheesecake.

Why did I wait so long?   As I said, it is one of the best cheesecakes I've ever tasted.
I was intrigued by the sponge cake crust, in lieu of the graham cracker crust I am used to. And I know that is why this cheesecake is a bit more labor intensive than normal---it's takes a bit to make a sponge cake from scratch.
While I liked the sponge cake and will definitely make this again, I wouldn't hesitate to  use this filling with a graham cracker crust either.
It was really good.

I am linking up to Weekend Cooking, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

I'm also adding it to my very own cookbook countdown  (making my way thru every cookbook in my collection)

Junior's New York Cheesecake

Sponge Cake Crust Ingredients:
• 1/3 cup sifted cake flour
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 2 extra-large eggs, separated
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 drops pure lemon extract
• 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Cheesecake Filling Ingredients:
• 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese (use only full fat), at room temperature
• 1 2/3 cups sugar
• 1/4 cup cornstarch
• 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 extra-large eggs
• 3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
Sponge Cake Crust Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan (preferably a nonstick one). Wrap the outside with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides.
2. In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
3. Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high for 3 minutes.
4. With the mixer running, slowly add 2 Tablespoons of the sugar and beat until thick light yellow ribbons form, about 5 minutes more. Beat in the extracts.
5. Sift the flour mixture over the batter and stir it in by hand, just until no more white flecks appear. Blend in the melted butter.
6. Wash the mixing bowl and beaters really well (if even a little fat is left, this can cause the egg whites not to whip).
7. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar into the bowl and beat with the mixer on high until frothy. Gradually add the remaining sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form (the whites will stand up and look glossy, not dry).
8. Fold about one-third of the whites into the batter, then the remaining whites. Don't worry if you still see a few white specks, they'll disappear during baking.
9. Gently spread out the batter over the bottom of the pan, and bake just until set and golden (not wet or sticky), about 10 minutes. Touch the cake gently in the center. If it springs back, it's done. Watch carefully and don't let the top brown.
10. Leave the crust in the pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Leave the oven on while you prepare the cheesecake batter.
Cheesecake Filling Directions:
1. Place one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl and beat with an electic mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl several times.
2. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one.
3. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one.
4. Beat in the cream just until completely blended. Be careful not to overmix! Gently spoon the batter over the crust.
5. Place the cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform. Bake until the edges are light golden brown and the top is slightly golden tan, about 1 1/4 hours.
6. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours (don't move it at all).
7. After two hours, leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight or for at least 4 hours.
8. To serve, release and remove the sides of the springform, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan. Place on a cake plate. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice the cold cake with a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one. Cover any leftover cake and refrigerate or wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.

 Junior's Tips:
• Bake the cheesecake crust in the same spring-form pan you're using for the cheesecake. Watch the crust closely; since it's so thin, it needs only 10-12 minutes to bake.
• Always bake the cheesecake in a water bath, as they do at Junior's. It keeps the heat in the oven moist and helps the cake bake slowly, gently, and evenly. This helps ensure that your cheesecake comes out of the oven with a smooth top and no large cracks

Friday, October 4, 2013

Summer Ceviche

You cannot trust the Handyman. Nope.  Not at all.  

Well---only when it comes to things that have cilantro and avocados and baby lima beans in them.  You absolutely cannot trust him when it comes to these things.
Because, he'll say it's not good, when in reality everyone else raved about this salad.   Really, they did.
And while you can't trust the Handyman when it comes to these ingredients  you can trust me.  It's so, so , so  GOOD!

I'm very excited for tomorrow.   We are hosting "wiener-fest",  a party, similar to Ocktoberfest where we cook hot dogs, sausages,  chorizos (a Basque hot dog), linguisia, anything 'round and hot doggish looking.    This is our 4th  semi-annual wiener fest party.  We always have a great time---we don't do anything special, but I think people come because of the name.  It's funny.

The Handyman and I just got back from the store, where we purchased all the round hot doggish looking things and all the condiments to go with them.   We do the dogs,  everyone else brings a salad or a side dish.

(Last year, my friend Theresa made these signs for me to use at wienerfest.  I am going to use them again tomorrow. That way everyone knows how to make a 'regional' hot dog.  Right?  I can't believe I've never posted about wienerfest before.)

If it were my turn to bring the side dish, I would bring this salad to share. 
Trust me--IT'S GOOD!  The Handyman has issues.   He's pretty much a meat and potato kinda guy, but me?  Not so much.   I loved all these flavors together. The fresh veggies and the fruit, (if I knew how to do a kissing sound right here, I would do so) and tangy, light dressing--Perfect!
My friend Debbie made it for the "movie-night" party (I think we are a community of partiers) and I made if for a 4th of July party.  There was nothing left.  It's really good. Really.  Good.

Enough?  You believe me?  It's good and healthy.  Try it.

Summer Vegetable Ceviche
from Food and Wine
  1. 1 cup fresh baby lima beans (from about 1 1/2 pounds in the pod) or other shelling bean  ( I used edamame) 
  2. 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  3. 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  4. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  5. 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  6. 1 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
  7. 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  8. Sea salt
  9. 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (raw, from 2 ears)
  10. 2 nectarines, cut into thin wedges
  11. 1 Hass avocado, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  12. 1 large orange bell pepper, finely julienned
  13. 1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
  14. 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  15. In a small saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the lima beans until tender, about 10 minutes (I did not cook my edamame). Drain the beans and rinse under cold water.
  16. In a large bowl, whisk the lime zest and juice with the olive oil, scallion, jalapeño and shallot; season the dressing with salt. Gently fold in the lima beans, corn, nectarines, avocado, orange pepper and tomatoes. Refrigerate the “ceviche” for at least 2 hours. Fold in the cilantro just before serving and serve the “ceviche” chilled.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Outdoor Wednesday

It's late...but it's still Wednesday, so I'm just in time for Outdoor Wednesday meme, hosted by a Southern Daydreamer.

Every Wednesday participants will be posting pictures of anything outdoor on their blog. It can be something outside of your home such as your porch, deck, patio, garden or lawn. Your photo can be outdoor shots of the beach, forest or mountains. (We don’t want to exclude anyone who might not have a yard). Or, you could simply post pictures of a favorite plant or flower. Only rule is it has to be outside!

The Handyman and I took a drive....

The California Trail Interpretive Center is located on Interstate 80, about  90 minutes from where we live.   The Handyman and I had never been. We drive by it all the time, going here and there, but stopping and taking the time to visit it?  No, never.   Until a few weeks ago.   (I think it happens a lot,  people never take the time to visit the things closest to them)

The California Trail.  
Of course, this is  less popular of the westward movement trails.  The Oregon Trail outshines it all the time-- just look at any history book.

Don't worry, I won't give you a history lesson here, but you have had to learned in school about the Donner party?   Right?  If not, go to the library---it's so interesting. Seriously.

The people who went westward had to be the strongest people EVER.

Look---this is what they came to:

and they had these decisions to make--which fork to take:

and this is what they saw---what they rode slowly by in their covered wagons
(and for the record, those covered wagons were not as big as the look in the movies--they had replicas at the Center.  So small, you could hardly take anything)

But, what they saw, oh man, what they must have thought. 
I think these hills are really cool.  We drive by them all the time, but we have a car-- we go fast, we have air-conditioning and heat if we need it.  I can drive by and be home in an hour---those pioneers couldn't make it past these things in day.
I would have seen them and run crying!  
But now, I think they're beautiful.

These were two 'quotes' on the walls going into the Interpretive Center.
They are referring to the river that runs thru our town.  It really is kind of muddy in a good year.  Right now, it's all dried up.

It just dawned (donned?) on me....this Interpretive Center is closed now, because of the Government Shutdown.
Hopefully something can get worked out soon, as I'd hate anyone to miss this.

Friday friend recipe number 274 and 275-Grapefurit Shrimp Salad and Crispy Potato Chicken

  My Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown #274 and 275 My Mother-in-law's Grapefruit Shrimp Salad and Crispy potatoes . and you know all th...