My New Take on Winter Vegetables

 

Celariac (Celery Root)

I have always enjoyed cooking. But somehow, over time, my cooking got stuck. I wasn’t doing anything new. I changed things. I tweaked things. But, they were all variations on a theme.

This last May, I just was not in the mood to cook or even eat. So, I took the drastic action of ordering Blue Apron which is a food subscription service. I get three meals for two each week. So, I figured I would have dinner for six days a week.  At this point, I don’t get the shipment every week.

It has changed the way I cook and think about cooking. I have been introduced to seasonal veggies in a big way. I’m using spices, veggies, proteins and more that I have not tried before. It opened a new world. And I’m trying things I never would have attempted. I’m learning a lot.

Last week, I got some celeriac or celery root. I checked and it is in my grocery store and was just one of those things I didn’t notice.  I had seen it on restaurant menus as celeriac purée and never tried it.

The meal I prepared was chicken meatballs, braised kale and spiced cleariac mash. So I cooked it. My first day was not all that successful. I didn’t use all of the spices given to me for the chicken meatballs and they turned out to be really under-seasoned. The kale had a bit of vinegar added to it so it was not bitter and really was good. I mashed the celariac and it was a just not mashed enough.

Chicken meatballs, braised kale and spiced mashed celariac

 

The leftovers deserved a makeover. The kale was gone so I added steamed spinach. I really mashed the celariac and added a little butter, salt and pepper. I added a dipping sauce of soy glaze and rice wine vinegar for the tasteless meatballs. I also sautéed some parsnips.

 

Chicken meatballs, spinach, sautéed parsnips, mashed celariac and soy dipping sauce

This was really good. Both celariac and parsnips have not been a part of my cooking in the past. I’m glad I found them. The best part is learning how to raise a failed meal to a place where it is enjoyable eating.

Visiting my Home Town…..

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My Grandmother’s dressing table and my inadvertent selfie.
I have lived in and around Detroit for so long that I am now a Detroiter. I haven’t visited my hometown of Minneapolis and environs since my Mother’s funeral. My Aunt Betty has been asking me to come for quite for some time and I finally decided to go for a short family only visit. My brother, Bruce, is living with Aunt Betty. He is a chef and I wanted to taste his food again.

When I walked into the room where I would be sleeping, a rush of memories came back. The room was furnished with my Grandmother’s furniture. In the picture above, it is my Grandmother’s dressing table. I lived in her house for a some time and can remember seeing her at the table putting on her makeup. The picture came flashing back. Aunt Betty reminded me that she kept gum in the top left drawer to freshen her breath. And I remembered that I carefully removed some of the gum on occasion.

There was also a dresser, rocking chair and a reading lamp with an adjustable height so Grandfather could read in bed without disturbing anyone. I used the lamp to read at night. As I used it, I remembered it.

Although I haven’t talked about it much, I am a quilter. I am doing a Grandma’s Flower Garden quilt. I have seen so many of that pattern and none of them have seemed quite right. My Greatgrandma’s quilt was on the bed and it was just right.

20140814-102324-37404047.jpgthe best part of seeing it for me was that it was so well done. It shows a beautiful color sensibility and exquisite quilting. I can only hope that my version will be half as nice.

Palmer Woods Music in Homes, Detroit, MI,

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On Saturday, June 21, 2014, I went to the finale of the Music in Homes series in Palmer park in Detroit. The event came I with a tour of the first two floors of the home, a catered dinner and on this evening a jazz program.

It was a beautiful evening in a older Detroit neighborhood with winding roads. Rounding each curve offers a new view of an elegant home. Most of the homes are derived from Medieval English architecture. The home for this concert was a Dutch Revival home built in 1928 by architect Robert O. Derrick. It is almost 7,000 square feet.

During the recent recession, the bank foreclosed on the house and it was left standing empty for three years before the new owner bought the house. They are in the midst of restoring the house to some of the original features where possible. We got to see the first and second floors. The house has four beautiful fire places including one with the original Delft tiles surrounding the fire place.

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This is one of the many interesting furnishings around the house.

20140714-133154-48714525.jpgThis was a view across the street from the second floor. The house was still in an unfinished state but it was easy to see the care and attention of the new owners and how dazzling it will be when it is finished. Perhaps Music in Homes will be invited back when the renovation is complete.

The jazz was performed under a large tent and after touring the house and socializing a bit, I went to the tent to get a good seat. The musicians were Kamau Kenyatta(keys), Spencer Barefield(gtr), Marion Hayden(bass) Djallo Djakate(drums) and Shahida Nurullah as the vocalist. We got a printed program with ten different numbers listed. Perfect for two sets. They played the first set and then took a break.

We went back into the house for the catered dinner by Potts Style Catering. We had Jerk Chicken, Jamaican Rice and Beans, Summer Citrus Salad with Peach Cobbler for dessert. The chicken was quite spicy, of course. It was not too spicy for my taste. The rice and beans had a way of bringing the spiciness down a bit. The salad was not as much citrus as the name suggested. And the peach cobbler was really very sweet. This was catered and they did a great job considering how long they had to hold the meal. Since I was at the end of the line, maybe the citrus was just gone by the time I got there.

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There was quite a line for the dinner.

After eating and getting settled, the second set began. Over the two set, the song I liked best were “In Walked Bud” by Thelonious Monk, “Mr. Kenyatta” by Lee Morgan. Shahida sang with such depth and passion that it reminds that there are vocalists whose voice is truly an instrument.

It was a really nice evening and I will go back when they resume in the fall.

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Left to Right:Kamau Kenyatta on keys, Marion Hayden on bass, Shahida Nurullah on vocals and Djallo Djakate on drums Spencer Barefield on guitar(hidden).

Battling with Raccoons….

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The raccoon in the picture is a local raccoon but not the one who was in my house.

For about the last ten days I have been battling raccoons that moved into my home. At first, I thought the sounds were mice in my garage or their larger cousins rats. I put out mouse and rat traps and nothing. I put out mouse poison. There was not a nibble.

The sounds continued. The noises got louder. They were loudest at about 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.. After a few days with no results, I looked around and spotted a hole under and eave in my home. That day, that lady next door reported seeing a raccoon on the roof of my attached garage.

That evening. I was in my bedroom closet and heard a sound that sounded like birds chirping. It was a Mama raccoon and her babies. I shut the closet door. My ever attentive dog tried to open the door. She also started barking at walls.

Last Saturday, I called for help. I checked around and found a guy on Angie’s List who does live capture and releases the the invading wildlife back to the wild.

The first night, I heard the trap spring at about 9:30 p.m.. The cage was rattled periodically all night long. It was the Mama and she was not happy. From the sound showing the ability to rattle a rather large cage, I thought it was the Mama. When I checked in the morning, she was curled in a ball and sound asleep. I put in a call to my guy who said he would pick her up and set a new trap.

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Last night, one of the babes was trapped and was reunited with Mama at rehab. When the whole litter is trapped, they will go to the wild site. I have to say that the noise last night was so much less noise that I may just be able to get more sleep tonight. It is just before 9:00 p.m. and I can hear the rest of the babes getting ready to go out for the evening. There is a delicious can of cat food awaiting them.

?.?.? A Sunday Walk in the Park….Disappeared

My post disappeared…trying again….

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Yesterday I decided to take a walk in the park with my 14 and 1/2 year old dog, Bonnie. It was a beautiful sunny day. I usually walk Bonnie in the neighborhood and it was not energizing her this year as it had in past years.

The path in the park is between one and two miles. There is a enclosed playground with many children. There are grills and picnic tables. A stream wends its way through the park. For the most part, the path follows the stream.

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It was a joyful walk. Bonnie tried to run after squirrels. When she went down to the stream, it reminded me of a former dog who would give me a fish eye before trying to dive in the stream. She made it once into the stream. Bonnie perked up at the sight of other dogs, runners and joggers. We socialized with several dogs and their owners. Bonnie loves to meet and greet other dogs. By the time I ended the walk she was strutting her stuff again. I was tired.