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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Windows Extra

Last weekend was warm(ish) after a week of dank, cold, rainy. We left the doors open on Sunday. Little girl did not know what to make of it. After running to and from the open front door several times we figured she thought it was summer again and wanted all the windows open.

We obliged by opening the bathroom window, giving her a choice of vantage points. She was like a little kid on Christmas morning, trying to decide which present to open first.

The windows stayed open most of the day and by evening she retired to her hidey hole, warmed by the central heating, which we turned back on after closing the windows again when it got too cold.

Quotable Quotes; in the category Gone But Never Forgotten

"No amount of time can erase the memory of a good cat, and no amount of masking tape can ever totally remove his fur from your couch."

Leo Dworken

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hyacinth for the Soul

I have been on a flower kick lately. Flowers go on sale at the grocery store and I ask Bill to buy me a bunch.

A few weeks ago it was gladiolas. He brought them home, flaming pink, along with a bunch of equally flaming coral colored roses. Without being asked he tossed the two bunches on the kitchen counter and stated "they were pretty so I bought them". What a guy!

I placed them into two vases at first, but each looked wimpy and incomplete. Then I placed all the glads in a shorter vase and placed the roses at the base of the tall spikes. Within a day or two all the glads had opened and the effect was stunning!

A few weeks went by with no sale prices low enough to entice me until last week. I thought I had asked for a generic bunch of flowers but what Bill brought home was a bouquet of multi colored roses - red, pink, creamy white tipped with rose, yellow, and I placed them all in a vase. They did not have the desired effect.

This week glads were on sale again. Bill said when he got to the store the sign said they were two bunches for the price of one. He brought home a bunch of the pink and another bunch of deep purple glads. Even the stems were a deeper green than the other bunch.

I tried to figure out what to do with them. The roses from the week before still looked pretty good so I rinsed out the vase and cut the glads down to manageable size, interspersing the two colors in the vase. Instead of placing the roses in another vase, I cut them just a bit shorter, both to make room and to give them a boost, hoping they would last a few more days. I interspersed them with the glads and hoped the pink and purple buds would open before the roses faded completely. Glad blossoms open from the bottom up.

Enjoy the pics as I enjoy the blooms.

One of Betty Smith's characters said, in her book "Joy In The Morning", "Man does not live by bread alone. He should also buy hyacinth to feed his soul. I read that somewhere". Well, I read that somewhere too. I don't have hyacinth but I have gladiolas and roses and my soul is enriched.

Quotable quotes; in the category Don't Give Me Flowers When I'm Hungry!

"Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter."
James A. Garfield

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Windows 2009

This past summer was cooler than usual - or at least cooler than the past few have been. We hardly turned the air conditioner on all summer and we kept the windows open most of the time, closing them only when the temperatures got into the 90s and the humidity became oppressive. It was lovely to have fresh air circulating all summer.

Little girl seemed to enjoy having the windows open, too. She divided her time between the bathroom and bedroom window, and the open front door. Considerate cat folk that we are, we kept a stool by the front door so she could sit and observe her world at ease, not having to stand on her hind legs with her paws resting on the screen.

I am pretty sure she appreciated the effort.

Alas, this week we turned on the heat. We had to. Although I like the cool weather, it was nigh onto 60 degrees in the house. Too cold even for me. I set the thermostat for a balmy 62 degrees and enjoyed warm toes and a sweater.

Most cats look forward to furnace day. Our boys loved it. They knew when the furnace would cycle on and when the warm air would pour forth from the vents. They each had their favorite spots (Bill's lap among them) and sometimes had to jockey for the best position.

Little girl could not seem to care less about the furnace heat. She wants her windows! We opened them again over the weekend and kept them open as long as we could but by Monday night they were closed again. Poor baby, she trots back and forth from the bathroom to the bedroom to the front door, gently nudging at the blinds and wondering where her scenic vistas have gone.

We promised her we would open them again if it got warm enough. She would not respond. She is mad and she wants her windows. I hope next summer is a cool one.

Quotable Quotes; in the category Who Shut MY Window?

"In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats."
English Proverb

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Which Sandwich is Which?

The Cuban Sandwich, or Cubano, has been getting a lot of press in Chicago lately. Simply speaking, the Cubano is a hefty sandwich of sliced ham and roast pork, cheese and pickle, layered on a hearty roll with mayo and grilled in a sandwich press.

The Cubano's cousin, the Medianoche (midnight sandwich) is about the same with a few differences. A cursory search of the web shows the Midnight is so named because of the time it is usually eaten, late at night maybe after dancing. It might be smaller for lighter appetites, sweeter than the Cubano due to an enriched egg bread instead of the roll, and/or have lettuce and tomato layered with the other ingredients. One friend told me the Medianoche was not grilled (maybe too much trouble at midnight?) but web sources show it grilled in the same way as the Cubano.

Back in the day, I used to enjoy a Slim Jim sandwich at the Big Boy restaurants in the Detroit area. This was a distant cousin of the Cubano - sliced ham and cheese with "secret sauce" grilled on a "Grecian" roll. Close, but no Havana Cigar!

Enjoy your Cubano with a cup of Cafe Cubano, or as I like to call it, "Have a little coffee with your hot milk"! The Medianoche might go better with a beer, unless you are unaffected by late night caffeine, you're drinking decaf, or you made the Medianoche at noon!

To properly enjoy your Cubano you'll need Pernil - seasoned roasted pork. Failing that, roast your pork in the usual way and make sure to keep enough leftovers for sandwiches later in the week. This may become part of your repertoire.

You need bread - Italian, French or Cuban style. The kind of bread you might use to make homemade garlic bread or a Dagwood or Submarine Sandwich. Slice it in half and spread with mayonnaise. Layer on sliced ham and roast pork, slices of Swiss cheese and pickles. Use sweet or dill. The long pickle slices may be easier to handle. Wrap the sandwich in foil (optional but recommended, especially if you will be heating the Cubano in the oven, or if you have brushed the outsides with melted butter).

Cook the sandwich in a panini or sandwich press. Your George Foreman grill will make a good substitute (you may have to cut the sandwich into smaller portions to fit). Use a grill pan, if you have one, or just use a cast iron skillet. I recommend low heat, preheating the skillet with another smaller skillet resting inside, so the insides will heat and melt while the outsides toast rather than burn. Place the smaller skillet on top of the sandwich and press. You will have to flip the sandwich over to toast both sides (not necessary with the grill or panini).

For oven cooking wrap the sandwich in foil and place on a baking sheet. Place a second baking sheet on top and weight it with your heaviest cast iron pan. Heat in an oven preheated to 350, about 30 minutes until hot and toasty. Unwrap and slice on the diagonal into serving pieces.

For a great recipe for roast pork, google "Pernil" or "Daisy Martinez".

Quotable Quotes; in the category Ah, but THIS I understand!

"Too few people understand a really good sandwich".

James Beard