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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday and Pancakes

Pancakes and Sunday morning go together at least at the F&P and maybe in your home too. Today's Sunday breakfast was extra special thanks to good friends who live in Oregon. During the holiday season, they sent us a wonderful (and tasty) package full of "good eats" from Hazelnut Hill located in the Willamette Valley. Among the treats - all of which included - hazelnuts in various forms was a package of hazelnut pancake/waffle mix which we tried this morning. These pancakes were delicious served with butter, syrup, bacon and homemade applesauce.

Thanks, Thomas and Nancy. We're sorry you couldn't join us for breakfast. The next time, we'll give you a heads-up, in case you want to come east. After all, what's a cross country trip between friends? Interested in trying this recipe mix? Go to www.hazelnuthill.com. FYI, the chocolate covered hazelnuts were delicious and disappeared right after the package was opened!

Taking it on the Chin

Speaking from recent personal experience, these words are much less painful when no physical contact is involved, such as when you are standing up to criticism. Of course, it can be physical too as in receiving the full brunt of say a boxing punch or worse yet falling down and landing on one's chin. Neither is recommended.

Sometimes putting your best foot forward (sorry couldn't resist saying that, OK could, but didn't) is not the best thing when a raised man hole cover gets in the way of your step. And, while the color purple is my favorite color (also a good book and movie title) it's not that pretty when my kneecap is the same color. Thankfully, no bones were broken and the gash on the chin will heal in time. Meanwhile, I get to see how many shades of purple a bruised knee can display. Come to think of it that may be safer than trying to find out how to destroy a man hole cover (not that I'm harboring a grudge).

And having your best friend Grenville bring you a cup of coffee and an ice pack on are things to be thankful for - and I am!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

What You Missed



Here are just a few pieces of the wonderfully whimsical eclectic wood art you could have taken home today. Of course we do ship world wide!!!!!

Live Blogging from the ES Heritage Festival

11:00 am- We are live this morning at the ES Heritage Festival at the ES Community College. This is a shot of the room we are in and the early crowd. Other artists are in other rooms and in the atrium area. There are live musical performanaces and poetry readings going on in the Great Hall sponsored by "Eastern Shores Own" art center. So far there are lots of lookers and hopefully some buyers.

This is a long shot of our Wood N ThingZ display. We will bring you more pics of other artists that are displaying as the day progresses.

12:30 pm- Back again. The crowds are quite large here this year. Here are some of our favorite artists that are here today.




I tried to put captions under each artist but the bolg site is being very uncooperative today and shifting everything around.

Beatrice had some of her photo art here also.

2:30 pm This is a delayed post since we lost the fragile net connection we had. The crowds have thinned out for the most part as is usual at these events. We have both sold some stuff and seen lots of old friends so the day has been good.
Poor Beatrice is still feeling achey after her attempt yesterday to push down a raised manhole cover with her chin. But that is a tale better left to her telling.
So I hope you enjoyed our blog of the day. Till tomorrow, have a beary beary good night.

Weekend UpDate

Hi folks, We are going to try to "live Blog" from the Heritage Festival today, so stand by since we may even try some live video.... Ain't technology great.....

Thursday, February 25, 2010

MUD!!!

I am really tired of mud. That yucky stuff that oooozzzes up over your boots and then refuses to let you retreive them. The goooeeeyyyy muck that leaves that sucking sound echoing in your ears as your foot slides out of your boot (the one that's being held hostage) and your bare foot sinks into the mud on your next step. Since last fall we have had 36 or so inches of rain which is some sort of record for here. Add in 4 snow storms, almost in a row, that left lots of snow to melt. What does this give an area with a water table that is just 24 inches (thats right barely 2 feet below surface).



MUD!!!!



And lots of it. A wonderful squishy feel as you walk in the field (and that is on a nice dry day). The area where we park has always had trouble maintaining grass. Yes thats right, we do not have the evil 'Black Top', no stones and not even shells. BUT this year we may have no other choice or we could lose one of the vehicles soon (not to mention the headache from Beatrice complaining about sinking in to her ankles getting out of the car)

On the bright side I was able to get some fresh Magnolia wood from a nieghbor who lost an old Magnolia tree in our first snow storm of the season. Lots of burls and knobs and lumps and bumps, so some nice pieces should come out of this.


**********Weekend Outlook*********
The Eastern Shore Heritage Festival is going on this Saturday (10am-4pm) at the Eastern Shore Community College. This is a free showcase of many of the fine artist, artisans, performers, and services that are found here on the Shore. If you happen to be traveling on US Rt. 13 this Saturday take a moment and stop by. See what make this such a special area. Beatrice and I will be there in room 150 so drop in and say HI

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Red Beans & Rice - Wed Soup

Monday's red beans & rice dish left a large container of leftovers, including rice. And, we were not looking forward to the same meal twice in one week. It was OK on Monday, but today was Wednesday. Somewhere in a recipe book or in the vast file of online recipes, there's probably a recipe for red beans & rice leftovers soup and maybe it's even called that - how catchy! But instead of looking anywhere, this F&P recipe is entirely from Beatrice's mind and, as such, all measurements are approximate and spices are too, so taste, taste, taste and season away.

Part 1 (see below) is for newly added ingredients, which are similar to what was used for the original red beans & rice meal.Leftovers were added in Part 2.

1 large onion - roughly chopped
2-3 slices of bacon, cut up
1-2 pieces of Andouille sausage or other sausage, cut up (optional)
3/4 C celery, cut up
3/4 C chopped peppers (if available)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
Seasonings to taste - salt & pepper, Cajun or chili powder

Cook bacon in large pot until you have enough released grease to cook the onion, celery and peppers, and sausage, add olive oil as needed. Add canned tomatoes, spices and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer.

Part 2 is really easy: Add leftover red beans & rice and simmer for additional hour. If needed, cook a 1/2 C of rice and add to the mix.

Serve with salad and cornbread. Luckily, there was homemade cornbread in the F&P freezer - perfect with the soup.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Red Beans & Rice "Monday" Food

Since today was Monday and a rainy one at that, it seemed the perfect time to try this traditional Southern dish. It was so-named because it could be cooked all day while the week’s laundry was being done, which seems to have been on Mondays.

No, we didn't take the easy way and open a box. The photo on the left shows a quick way to prepare this dish. But at the F&P, we're trying to prepare and cook as little non-processed food as possible. Our goal is cook from "scratch" using veggies frozen from last year's garden, like tomatoes a, peppers, and onions. This dish is one for which you will find loads of recipes, depending on whether you like it mild, hot, with sausage or pork, etc. The seasonings are up to you - as long as you include the basics - red beans, andouille (or other hot) sausage, onions, celery, tomato products, garlic and spices.

Using dried beans requires a LOT more cooking time, upwards of 2 hours. So if you are in a hurry, substitute (2) 15 oz canned beans (rinse first). Then, you will only have to cook for about 30 min.

1 C dried red kidney beans
½ C chopped bacon
1 C sliced andouille or other hot smoked sausage
1 large onion, peeled & finely chopped
1 C diced green pepper
½ C diced celery
1 tsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled & minced
1 bay leaf
½ tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground oregano
1 tsp hot pepper sauce or cajun seasoning or chili power - your choice
1 1/2 C chicken stock (low sodium)
1 can diced tomatoes

1 C long grain rice cooked in low sodium chicken stock or water (prepare additional rice for leftovers)

  1. Wash beans and drain in colander. Put in large pot and soak overnight or at least 3 hours.
  2. Put chopped bacon and sauté over medium heat to release grease. Add sausage and cook .
  3. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, olive oil, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, salt, pepper, oregano, hot pepper sauce.
  4. Sauté over medium heat 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
  5. Add beans and stock and bring to simmer over medium heat.
  6. Cook uncovered until beans are tender, anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 hours (not necessary if using canned, rinsed beans).

Prepare rice about 20 min. before beans are ready. When beans are done, serve over rice.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sprong (Nearly Spring)

SPRONG is the sound that spring makes while trying to sprout through frozen ground. Listen closely and you might just hear it. While it isn't exactly spring yet until sometime in March, it seems that no one told some of the flowers and wildflowers outside the F&P about that schedule. The snow and ice is just about gone, after several weekends where it snowed a little or rained - usually both. During those weekends, even the "house" frogs (who hang out by the front door) were snow bound. Can you tell we've been reading a lot of Harry Potter these past few weeks? (There's no house elves here.)

Putting the reading aside for today which was sunny and while not exactly warm, at least in the mid 40s, Grenville and Beatrice started some yard cleanup. The usual after-winter (we hope) stuff - picking up downed branches, pruning and cutting back others. And, there they were - wildflowers cavorting all over the lawn in full bloom, Lots of small blue and white clusters of what some call weeds, but which are actually just misunderstood wildflowers, named birdseye speedwell (Veronica persica). Is it true that one person’s weed is another person’s wildflower? And there were other flowers as well, including a single wild violet in the garden.

Not to be outdone, some traditional spring blooms, like daffodils are getting ready to show their colors around the yard and could bloom within the next couple of weeks -if the weather cooperates.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Last Minute Chicken

It's so named because tonight’s dinner wasn't one that was thought about in advance, which means earlier today instead of right before cooking dinner. Ever have one of those days? What to do with 4 defrosted chicken thighs and figure out how a way to do them that would not be hard and not require many ingredients or prep time. Looking through some cookbooks wasn’t helpful – ever notice how it’s harder to find something when you don’t know what you’re looking for in the first place?

Then, the New Joy of Cooking had a chicken in the oven recipe that was for baking a dozen chicken legs or thighs, so it needed some changes. And tonight's chicken thighs already had the skin removed, unlike the recipe drumsticks. The amounts were revised and the chicken thighs took about 1 hr and 10 min to cook compared to the 45- 60 min the recipe indicated for drumsticks. Set oven temp 350°.

Mix in bowl

  • ¼ C milk or yogurt
  • ½ C sour cream
  • ¼ C Dijon mustard
  • ½ tbsp minced garlic or use garlic powder (it’s easier)


Combine in wide, shallow bowl
  • 1 C breadcrumbs
  • ½ C Parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper

  1. Coat chicken pieces with mixture, then roll in bread crumbs mix.
  2. Press the breadcrumbs to make sure they stick.
  3. Arrange chicken in baking dish or on baking sheet. Bake until coating is browned and clear juices run out when pricked with a fork.
Potatoes, Onion and Peppers

Next decision was what side dish to prepare that could go in the oven too. A kitchen check produced some potatoes, onion, and fresh rosemary. Oven temp also set to 350°

  • 3 small potatoes sliced – not too thin
  • 1 small onion chunked or sliced (your choice)
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh rosemary or dried
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper

A small bag of frozen peppers from last spring’s F&P garden was cut up and added.
Mix liberally with olive oil. Put in baking dish. Bake for 45-60 minutes until potatoes are tender.

Steamed broccoli was also on the menu, but it's an easy one to prepare either by microwave or steamer. We cooked it fresh and added some butter and seasonings.
Frog & PenguINN rating...chicken needed more spicing, but not bad for last minute menu planning.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Meatloaf Not the Singer


It’s nearly everyone’s favorite - meatloaf, not Meat Loaf (the performer). The dish is a long-time favorite comfort food and there are countless recipes, but here's a basic one for today’s dinner. This one was simply formed into a loaf shape and baked in an oblong glass baking dish at 350° degrees for an hour. The basics are taken from the Betty Crocker Cookbook, another long-time favorite.

Meat loaf is often bound with egg, breadcrumbs, cracker crumbs, or oats but use whatever you have on hand and experiment for flavor and texture. Some additions like ½ C thinly sautéed mushrooms should be cooked first. More crunch, add: ½ C coarsely chopped nuts. More spice, add: 2 tsp chili sauce, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard OR 1 tbsp drained horseradish.

Savory Meat Loaf
1 ½ pounds lean ground beef or a mix of pork, veal and beef
1 C milk
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chopped fresh sage leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried sage leaves
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground mustard
¼ tsp pepper
1 garlic clove, finely chopped OR 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 C bread crumbs OR 3 slices bread, torn into small pieces
1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
½ cup ketchup, chili sauce or barbecue sauce

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix all ingredients except ketchup. Don’t over mix meat loaf.
  3. Spread mixture in ungreased loaf pan, or shape into 9x5-inch loaf in ungreased rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches. Spread ketchup over top.
  4. Bake uncovered 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until thermometer reads 160° F.

While the meatloaf is cooking, you might want to listen to Meat Loaf - the performer. Who can forget some of his memorable hits...Paradise By the Dashboard Light, Two Out of Three Ain't Bad, or You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth... all time favorites, just like meatloaf!

SPROUTS!!!!

Morning Folks,
As you can see we have sprouts in the BioDome. The ones on the right are Eggplant and the ones on the left are Peppers. They started to pop their cotyledon leaves yesterday but we were on vacation and Finnian is not always observant so our first pictures are from this morning.
In 2 weeks we will be adding our tomato seeds to the BioDome and hopefully on Apr 15 the ground will have warmed to 60 deg and we can start putting them out.
Somewhere around April 1 we are hoping to get some of the cold weather crops like Lettuce, Broccoli, Onions, Leeks, Celery and Spinach in the ground so we can be enjoying them in June.
Our problem at the moment is how wet our fields are. With all of the rain and snow (and melting snow) we mostly have a large mud puddle. With luck we will move out of the storm track cycle we are in and start to dry out. On the down side today, we are forecast for more rain late this afternoon into tomorrow. I wonder if this will be a benefit to us in the summer?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

SPORTS NEWS UPDATE!!!!!

Valencia, Spain- The USA team of BMW-Oracle have won the Americas Cup Race, returning the cup back to the San Francisco Yacht Club after a 15 year absence.

Love is Never Out of Season

Hi folks. I'm Finnian X. Frog, Grenville's and Beatrice's neighbor. They are taking a romantic day off (again) and asked me to hop over and do today's blog.

So here it is Valentine's Day. A day to be EXTRA romantic with the one you Love. Extra because romance should be part of your life EVERY DAY.

Like so many holidays, Valentines has turned into a day when folks try to pack a whole year of romance into a single day. Much like Christmas when folks try to stuff "Peace on Earth" into 24 hours and then back to the old ways. I have heard that in some places it has been reduced to just during the Church service and then once you are in the parking lot you are on you own again. And don't even get me started on the amateur drinkers on St. Patrick's Day.

So how can you fit some romance into everyday when you are always in a hurry rushing here and there? Off to work, get the kids to school, activities after school, rushing meals as folks zip in and out of the kitchen. Well here are some ideas.


Finnian's Top 10 Tips for Romance

10. Always kiss your Love good morning. A hug would be good here too.
9. Now and then get up early, and surprise your Love with coffee in bed, maybe light some candles if is still dark.
8. Sneak a note into your Love's stuff so they find it later. You might want to be careful what you put in your note.
7. Call your Love in the middle of the day for NO REASON at all. Remember to tell them that you Love them. A mushy Email or cybercard is another idea.
6. Try to do stuff together. You may have to make the time for this, but even if it is rushed time, it is time together. How about reading a book together, working in the garden together, doing something your Love likes to do (even if you don't) together.
5. Hold hands, hug, kiss often and with feeling. And don't wait till no one is around. Public Displays of Affection (PDAs) are allowed.
4. Have dinner together as often as possible. Try cooking together, or just cooking something special for your Love. Eat by candle light even if the lights are working.
3. Eat slowly. Enjoy the meal and the company. You might even want to talk a little.
2. Turn off the TV, computer, lights, and just talk (like you did when you were dating,,,, remember????).
1. ALWAYS kiss your Love good night. Hug each other to sleep. AND NEVER EVER GO TO BED MAD!!!!!!

So what do you think? Any good ideas there? You can probably come up with lots on your own. You don't have to be a "born romantic" to slip a little romance into your life and remind your Love how important they are to you.

OK OK OK now get out there and get romantic. It's Sunday and most of you don't have to work. Lots of time for hug and kisses and stuff.

Grenville and Beatrice will be back tomorrow, I hope. Today is their "Harry Potter" marathon. They have been reading the books "together" (see romance all over the place) and have waited till today to watch the second, third and fourth movies. I hope they don't fall under any spells or curses, just stay as Charmed as they are.

Happy Hearts Day

Happy Hearts Day

Today is Valentine's Day, so give your spouse, partner, lover, and honey lots of Bear Hugs and an extra dose of Love. Love to All from Grenville & Beatrice

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love and Friends Go Together


First, let me preface this post by adding part of a message that was sent today by a good friend. Even though it has doubtless been circulated through forwarded emails, it bears repeating, especially on the eve of Valentine's (Hearts) Day.

Friends are like balloons; once you let them go, you might not get them back. Sometimes, we get so busy with our own lives and problems that we may not even notice that we've let them fly away. Sometimes, we are so caught up in who's right and who's wrong that we forget what's right and wrong. Sometimes, we just don't realize what real friendship means until it is too late.

Since this holiday falls on a weekend when most people are at home (and even it if didn't) consider calling or emailing a friend(s). And, if you are really traditional like myself, you could mail a card or note) just to let someone know how special he or she is to you. Spread it around. It's a little thing, but might make a big difference to someone to know that you value their friendship and are thinking of them. After all, anyone can use a little more Love - not only on Valentine's Day but all through the year.

Grenville is my best friend and partner and I'm going to make sure to tell him (again and again) not only on Hearts Day, but every day.

Fingers

OK... lets make sure that we are on the right line...
qwert hjkl;
Righty, you are down a row,,,, come up one.
qwert yuiop
OK, Now lets try the Capitals....
QWERT YUIOP
Ok I think we have it,,,, hey is this thing on??????
I hope not.. lets get started before he wakes up!!!!!!

Good Morning folks. Grenville had a bad night and is still snoozing
Snoring loud enough to rattle the windows is more like it.
OOh whatever. We decided
You mean you decided and dragged me along
OH WHAT EVER!!!!!... we decided to let him sleep in and do the blog this morning on our own.
You might want to tell them who we are Righty.
Oh yea, we are Grenville's fingers. I am Righty Index adn these are my three brothers Middle, Ring, and Pinky, and of course over there is our poor old arthritic Thumb. And that is Lefty and his folks over there.
Oh Righty,,,, you spelled "AND" wrong again.
SO WHAT!!!!! You keep doing double caps, but you don't here me complaining, DO YA!!!!!

OK OK OK it is really hard to tell what the weather is this morning since we don't have any eyes. And we are not real sure what Grenville and Beatrice are doing today since we did't hear anything.
Yea, No ears either. So Righty, tell me again why we are doing this???????

Well I thought it would be a nice surprise.....

OK OK OK Both of you get back to your wrists..... and don't try this again. Sorry but some mornings the body parts have a mind of their own... I'll have more later. Thanks for putting up with the Hand brothers.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bloozerd!!!!

Thanks to Beatrice you know what a let down our last bout with winter weather was.

It huffed and it puffed,
and blew snow around.
Then headed up North
to that Baltimore town.


So do you think i have a career in Poetry????? We are hearing of some snow again tonight and then again Monday night. I want to know what happened to those nice mild, muddy winters here on the Shore. I'm investigating a possibly "Enchanted Snow Shovel" one of our neighbors may have bought. It has been standing on her porch right next to the "Charmed Christmas tree" that has been Transmorgrified into a Valentines bush, and still has blinking lights every night.... Of course it could be an approach light for UFOs. Strange happenings

GARDEN NOTES: Still no activity in the BioDome.
More later folks,and pics from the non-storm.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow...NOT Really

After all that blowing snow and gusting wind all day Thursday, there wasn't much snow outside the Frog and PenguINN this morning. We really got off easy compared to friends and family in other parts of the east coast who got snowed in. There was less than 2 inches in the back yard. The only snow drifts we could find were at the side of house and even those were small.
We had shovels by the back door and were ready to dig out - no matter how long it took - which was about 5 minutes to do the back porch and walk.


We braved the still gusty winds to walk along Main Street in search of more snow. Not only were there no huge drifts to manuever, but the roads were clearer than after the previous two snow storms. There wasn't much to be found despite the all day snow alerts and predictions. Really expected to see a LOT more of the white stuff. But, wait, there's talk of yet another snow event possibly heading our way this Monday and going into Tuesday. OK so this might not result in much accumulation either, but we're keeping those shovels by the back door...just in case.

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup - Not a "Keeper"

OK, so this one was not one of our favorite soup recipes. It was good, but not one we're in a hurry to try again. There's nothing "wrong" with the soup - it's creamy, easy to make, tastes good, uses one of our favorite veggies, and it's fairly healthy too because it has yogurt as one of the ingredients. Hmmm, maybe it's too healthy? Anyway, let's be honest, we've all tried recipes that don't end up as repeats. Sometimes, a recipe looks good, doesn't taste bad, but there's just not that all-consuming passion to try it again anytime soon. Know what I mean...has that happened to you too?

The “cream” in this sweet potato soup is the yogurt. The recipe was on the lid of a container of Dannon® Plain Low-Fat Yogurt. That's not a product endorsement, just wanted to give credit for the source. Most likely the recipe will work with any plain yogurt. This soup was on a December menu (no photos cause it was before we started the F&P blog). All the ingredients were on hand (sweet potatoes had to be used) and it was worth a try - once for us and you might think so as well. If you try it, feel free to comment - good, bad, etc. By the way, this recipe is to serves 12, but that seems doubtful unless serving sizes are small. When reheating any leftovers of this soup, be careful not to boil.

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup with Yogurt
2 tbsp canola oil
1 large sweet onion, sliced
2 tsp ground cumin
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 ½ qt low-sodium chicken broth
1 ¾ C plain yogurt
2 tbsp chopped parsley or cilantro
¼ C pumpkin seeds (optional)

  1. Heat oil in soup pot. Add onions and cumin and saute 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add potatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Puree soup with 1 ½ of yogurt. Add parsley or cilantro. Optional - top with pumpkin seeds.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blizzard?????


So far our blizzard has not been very Blizzardly. In fact the most blizzardish has been the winds today. Our high gust here was 34 mph. VDOT on the overpass has 24 mph sustained winds. Snow has been light so far but if you look at the radar image that whole big green/yellow thing is rotating counter clockwise. NWS SAYS:

Late Afternoon: Snow and areas of blowing snow. The snow could be heavy at times. High near 35. Windy, with a west wind around 39 mph, with gusts as high as 60 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

Tonight: Snow and areas of blowing snow before 7pm, then snow likely between 7pm and midnight, then a chance of snow after midnight. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 28. Windy, with a northwest wind between 29 and 39 mph, with gusts as high as 60 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

So it looks like we will get some serious snow from the west tonight due to the wraparound effect of this system. Police/Fire radio is reporting whiteouts in areas of open fields, and some abandonded vehicles on secondary roads in ditches. Luckily there is a big pot of Potato-Leek soup from Beatrices entry just simmerin' away.

More around 9PM

Potage Parmentier or Potato Soup

Snowy days and soup just go together, which explains WHY there’s been a lot of soup recipes posted on the F&P blog. As you’ve seen from Grenville’s posts, it’s been SNOWing a lot and Beatrice has been busy in the F&P kitchen.

This Potato-Leek Soup was really simple, even using Julia Child The Way to Cook (WTC) which is a very nice cookbook that's not as involved as The Art of French Cooking (yes we did see Julie and Julia). This recipe doesn't use chicken stock, just water, leeks, potatoes and salt in the soup base. If you prefer, add chicken stock and then sour cream, milk or cream at the end, but it’s not necessary. How simple is that! Chilled, potato-leek soup is elegantly called Vichyssoise. (The recipe below serves 6-8.)

Potato - Leek Soup
4 C sliced leeks – white part
4 C diced potatoes (baking, russet/Idaho recommended - see F&P variation)
1 large onion, coarsely diced (optional)
6 to 7 C water
1 ½ - 2 tsp salt or to taste
½ C (or more) heavy cream, sour cream (optional)

Bring leeks, potatoes and water to a boil. Salt lightly, cover partially, simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

F&P variations: Sweat leeks and onion in 3 tbsp unsalted butter for 10-15 min. until tender, just watch that they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan or get brown (trust me, they look better if not). While the WTC recipe called for using baking potatoes, this F&P version has white potatoes, the ones that Grenville used for Lazy Day Braised Pot Roast. Sometimes, you just have to use what’s available. Besides, it was snowing so there was no going out today. The soup was wonderful, especially served with Grenville's homemade rosemary bread.

Blizzard Update-

Just checked the Rail Road Crossing
video

BLIZZARD WARNING

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WAKEFIELD VA
901 AM EST WED FEB 10 2010

...BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT EST TONIGHT...
...WINTER STORM WARNING IS CANCELLED...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN WAKEFIELD HAS ISSUED A BLIZZARD
WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT EST TONIGHT. THE WINTER STORM WARNING HAS BEEN CANCELLED. A MIXTURE OF SLEET AND SNOW WILL QUICKLY CHANGE OVER TO ALL SNOW LATE THIS MORNING...THEN CONTINUE TO SNOW THROUGH THIS EVENING. SNOW WILL BE HEAVY AT TIMES. BANDS OF HEAVY SNOW COMBINED WITH STRONG SUSTAINED WEST TO NORTHWEST WINDS OF 30 TO 40 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 50 MPH WILL PRODUCE WHITEOUT CONDITIONS ACROSS THE WARNED AREA. EXPECT VISIBILITIES TO BE RESTRICTED TO LESS THAN A QUARTER OF A MILE IN THE HEAVIER BANDS OF SNOW.

TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 5 TO 6 INCHES IS EXPECTED IN THE SOUTHERN PORTION OF THE WARNING AREA...WITH 7 TO 9 INCHES ACROSS THE NORTHERN PORTION OF THE WARNING AREA....INCLUDING NORTHERN DORCHESTER AND WICOMICO COUNTIES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...
A BLIZZARD WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. FALLING AND BLOWING SNOW WITH STRONG WINDS AND POOR VISIBILITIES ARE LIKELY. THIS WILL LEAD TO WHITEOUT CONDITIONS...MAKING TRAVEL EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. DO NOT TRAVEL. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...HAVE A WINTER SURVIVAL KIT WITH YOU. IF YOU GET STRANDED...STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE.

Sleigh bells ring, are you listenin'

That's right folks, the sleigh bells are ringing again at the Frog & Penguinn Here is what it looks like from the second floor looking at the back fields. We started to get snow about 30 minutes ago and the NWS is now promising up to 6 inches by tomorrow morning. HEY!!!! I realize that some of you are laughing under a heavy blanket of snow (others are hoping to get to Costa Rica) but for the Shore this has been a big winter. We, well I got so excited this morning i even tried to shoot some video of the storm. Here take a look>>>> OK OK OK , maybe i need to wait for some bigger flakes. Soooo is this cool or what???? We are supposed to be getting bands of heavy to light snow all day long. <<<< NEWS FLASH>>>> NWS has just issued a BLIZZARD WARNING!!!!! Come back for the Noon Report. ALSO... Get ready,,, it's Americas Cup time again. First race should be today if there is wind off Valencia Spain. Hang On!!!!
video

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Drip, Drip, It's raining


But not for long. NWS has promised that this will all turn to sleet and freezing rain soon. AND then to all snow tomorrow morning.

For those of you who may not understand the colors on the radar, blue is ok, green is not so ok, yellow is bad, and red is really bad.

AND Neighborhood Watch Night Field Maneuvers for tomorrow night have been canceled by Col. Jan due to lack of snow boots.

More in the morning!!! if we have power and internet????

Applesauce - Homemade, Easy and Good

The applesauce jar said it was “all natural” which was not entirely true, unless you like corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup, both of which we want to avoid. Apples were on sale in the produce section, so homemade applesauce seemed a better idea. To say this was easy is putting it mildly. It’s SO simple: core, peel and cut apples, add water and sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and cook down. Some cookbooks suggest using a food mill to process the cooked apples, especially if cooking them unpeeled (this way is supposed to produce a better taste). My version used about 8 apples (mix of granny smith, gala and white delicious), added some sugar and spices and added a half cup of cranberries, just because it made for a colorful applesauce. The cinnamon stick is optional too. We enjoyed the applesauce on oatmeal cereal today (not the instant version).

Easy Homemade Applesauce
6-8 apples, peeled, cored, coarsely cut up
½ C sugar
¼ C brown sugar
¾ to 1 C water
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon (to taste)
Cinnamon stick broken up - optional (wondered what to do with these)
½ C cranberries - optional (had some frozen)

Put all ingredients into a heavy duty pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. I used a potato masher to mash the apples and cranberries as they cooked. Remember to remove the pieces of cinnamon stick.

Not here yet ,,,, BUT


It is on it's way, and the radar looks really really nasty with all the pretty yellows and reds. On the bright side there is a loaf of Rosemary bread heading for the oven.
More later!!!

It's Coming- Another Winter Storm Warning!!!

This is what we are looking at this morning. Our local radio prognosticator is calling for rain/sleet later today, changing to snow over night. 4-6 inches possible but if the system sags a little we could be looking at up to 12 inches. Work for today will be refueling the tractor and getting out some rock salt. Definitely too wet to plow and y'all know I can't dance.
More as we go through the next two days.

On the summer side of the street, the pepper and egg plant seeds are in the Bio-Dome and traveling from window to window as the sun moves on. No activity yet but rest assured you will be among the first to see the new "babies."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lazy Day Braised Pot Roast

Grenville made this crockpot roast on Super Bowl Sunday. Lazy is the best way to describe this meal as there’s no browning or fussing with the meat first, which is perfect, and the dinner cooks itself. - perfect! Just pile everything into a slow cooker and thicken the juices later. While the recipe has more liquid than others, it’s the basis for the gravy and keeps the meat moist and tender. This meal is great as leftovers - some of our favorite meals. Use a medium oval or large round (or oval cooker). Cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hrs and go do something else with your day!

Lazy Day Braised Pot Roast
4 lb boneless chuck roast, trim fat and blot dry
½ tsp salt
4 large carrots cut into 3-inch lengths
4 large potatoes, peel and quarter
1 large onion, quarter
2 bay leaves
3 C water
½ C cider vinegar
3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp all-purpose flour


  1. Place roast in slow cooker and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add carrots, potatoes, onion, bay leaves. Pour water and vinegar over meat and vegetables. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.

  2. Transfer meat and vegetables to heated platter and cover. Turn cooker to HIGH. You will have about 3 cups of liquid. In a small bowl, mash the butter and flour together to make a beurre manié.

    OK this sounds like something Julia Child might use (maybe she did) but it's not hard to do. Beurre manié is just an uncooked paste of flour and butter that thickens the thinnest of sauces. Put equal amounts of soft butter and flour in a bowl or small food processor and use a fork or pulsing motion, to mash together until the mixture forms a semi-firm mass. Add to the hot liquid in the cooker, stir with a whisk until it melts and the liquid thickens. Turn cooker to HIGH re-cover and cook about 10-15 min. Pour over the meat and vegetables and serve the remainder in a bowl

Here we go again

The NWS is predicting a real wintry sleigh ride for tomorrow and Wednesday. Rain, Snow, Sleet, Wind, Freezing Rain, Tsunami.






Well maybe not the last one just a high surf advisory, but it should be an interesting meteorological ride. If you haven't checked Beatrice's pics of this past weekend go now.

As we were heading out this morning there were so many flooded places that had frozen over we both longed for our ice skates. Something that is seldom seen down here.
On the bright side we hit the food store this morning and are well stocked for the next two days..... AND Beatrice made FRESH APPLE SAUCE!!!!!

Whoooppppeeee!!!!
The fun is supposed to start tomorrow afternoon. Maybe we will try some "Live Blogging" for this storm.
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