Friday, October 29, 2010

Photo Challenge: Architectural elements



or new,

they reach to the sky.

Bells call the faithful,

ringing through hills and town.

A landmark to guide,

the angels keep watch,

their Light house is dear. 

Photos shot on location in:

Cartagena, Columbia
Nairobi, Kenya
Budapest, Hungary
Celaya, Mexico
Guanajuato, Mexico
Granada, Nicaragua
Debre Zeit, Ethiopia
Celaya, Mexico

Post in response to the photo challenge at Razmataz 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Turning a New Leaf

"Fall Splendor” by Kimberly Santiago

For my next painting class I decided that if I can’t do a tree… maybe I could manage a leaf.

We started by blocking out shapes on our canvas.  Soon a series of triangles became a leaf form (sort of…). 

A few more strokes and some filling in and it did kind of look like a leaf.

What kind of leaf I’m not sure. It looked a little like a cross between a maple and an oak.

Maybe it is a “moak” leaf.

Yep… That’s what it is! It looks JUST like a moak leaf.

(At least I had a lot of fun… )

Monday, October 25, 2010

Good Eats: Broussards of Cape Giraudeau, MO

A few weeks ago I had the chance to have some Cajun food with my parents. I jumped at the chance!

I met them in Cape Girardeau, MO and we rode together downtown to Broussard’s. It’s part of a bar and grill. Even tho there is a non smoking section… you have to walk thru the bar to get to it and some does spill over. So if you are allergic this is something to be aware of.

The menu was full of Cajun staples… jambalaya, etouffe, gumbo, red beans and rice and so on. Fried frog legs, crayfish and alligator. How do you decide when everything sounds so tasty?

You don’t!

I ordered the sampler meal where you can pick 3 items from a list of about 8 different entrée offerings.  I had Shrimp Creole, Jambalaya and Crayfish Etouffe.  It came with a side of red beans and rice.  The creole and etouffe where fairly mild but the jambalaya and red bean could heat you up fast!   I thought it would be 'tasting' portions but it was an insane amount of food!

 As Cajun cook Justin Wilson would have said…

“Whooooo Boy! Dat’s good! I gar-on-tee!!!”

Friday, October 22, 2010

Red-dy For Autumn!

The red leaves say, “stop growing…

… It’s time to put away!”
While birds feast on autumn berries,

We feast on our last tomatoes.

Soon it will be time for cranberry sauce!

And apple pies and tarts and doughnuts.

It’s time for giving thanks.


This is a link-up blog in response to Razmataz photo challenge "Red".

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Orange You Glad It's Fall?

The color orange brings cool weather, appearing slowly in the trees.

Everywhere are signs of harvest…

… as pumpkins pile on wagons; announcing Thanksgiving will soon be here.

Sunny little flowers will come again next summer.

But now the leaves turn orange,

And sunsets glow,

As Fall comes slipping in.

Post in response to the photo challenge "Orange" at:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Movie Review: RED

While my Dad was down we saw a second movie – “RED”. We had seen the trailers before the start of “Secretariat” and thought it looked like an entertaining, ‘mindless’ movie.

The movie boils down to an “old retired dogs” CIA team is forced to get together for one more gig… to save their own hides and the United States.

The cast certainly was fantastic –John Malcovich, Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren.  Bruce Willis is of course, the action hero champ and carries it well.  Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren add a classy finesse with unexpected twists to the team.  And John Malcovich landed the sweetest roll as the paranoid but most of the time right kook… played to scene-stealing perfection.

If you like the ‘action’ film genre, especially if you’re 45 and older, I think you’ll get a kick out of this one.  Lots of chases and explosions (I commented to Dad on the way out that I’d love to have the cash they spent on the pyrotechnics on this movie). 

Be aware… it is an “action” movie with all that implies.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Good Eats: Lambert's Cafe

Yesterday we introduced Little Bird and Little Hoss to another family tradition – Lambert’s Café “Home of the Throwed Roll”.

Lambert’s started in 1942 in Sikeston, Missouri. The monster building it occupies now is actually the fourth location of the restaurant. (There are now 3 locations but Sikeston is where it all started). As kids, both of my parent’s families would eat at the Lambert’s café. I’ve been eating there all my life. I can remember back to the second building. So when Dad went home from this last visit, we met Mom at Lambert’s. Sis came along and brought the babies.

If you go to Lambert’s on the weekend… expect a LONG line. We got there a bit past 2pm on Sunday and the wait time was a bit over an hour.
What is a “Throwed Roll”? It’s a huge dinner roll that they really do throw to you from across the restaurant!  If you miss catching it... they just throw another.

Waaaaay back in the beginning, the café would get really crowded at lunch time. Norm, the owner’s son, was trying to bring around rolls to the customers but couldn’t make it thru. One of the regulars shouted out, “Just THROW &%$@ thing!”.
 And Throwed Rolls were born.

The menu is all ‘common folk’ Southern cooking.  Fried chickens, ham, ribs, even a fried bologna sandwich.  Two sides come with the meal.  And all the “pass arounds” you care to eat.  Pass Arounds are more stuff that is brought round and round to the tables for you to take as you wish.  There are the rolls, fried okra, macaroni & tomatoes, fried potatoes and black-eyed peas. 

Here’s a plate of their famous fried chicken.

And a plate of fried gizzards.  (The diet can restart the next day!)

Little Hoss with his first Throwed Roll.  Too bad he is too young to enjoy it!

However, Miss Little Bird LOVED hers!  She took such big bites we were afraid she’d choke herself.  So the roll was taken away and little pieces offered.

Oh my… when that roll disappeared she was heartbroken! Poor little sad face with big tears running down it. Just couldn’t understand why we’d give her something so good… then take it away from her.

So we gave it back and supervised every bite she took. Look at those tear filled eyes!

Life was good again!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Movie Review: Secretariat

 1973. 5 May… 19 May… 9 June.

I can tell you exactly where I was on the afternoons of those dates. Sitting on the floor in front of our console TV with my Dad sitting on the couch behind me. Bouncing and excited, probably chattering like a monkey.

Back in those days Sports Illustrated magazine had fantastic coverage of horse racing and I would read every article on it. My 10 year old self could spout details of races and breeding as easily as ‘Jimmy the Greek’.

That year was a tough one for me. My loyalty was divided.

 Running in the Triple Crown races was a very nice colt named after a horse from one of my favorite books:  “King of the Wind”.  In the story “Sham” was the call name of the Godolphin Arabian – one of the three foundation sires of the Thoroughbred breed. 

Then there was Big Red.  Secretariat.  What wasn’t to love about him?  Probably the most perfectly built Thoroughbred to ever hit the track.  He was The Rock Star of the year.

 Thirty seven years later Disney pictures tells it again in their movie “Secretariat”. And Dad and I went to see it and relive memories.

The movie is good, fun to watch. The cast was wonderful. John Malcovich steals the show as trainer Lucien Laurin (who BTW was not as flamboyant as portrayed… some in the racing industry are joking that maybe Disney was thinking of Bob Baffert instead!). Diane Lane is lovely as owner Penny Chenery Tweedy. And the real Penny Chenery makes a cameo appearance as a race fan sitting near Diane Lane’s Penny in the stands during the Belmont.

But die-hard Secretariat and racing fans will recognize it has a lot of fantasy thrown in. So don’t expect historical accuracy. As a writer once said, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story”.

If you are a horse lover or racing fan… see the movie and enjoy it. Then after seeing it, go to YouTube and view the real Triple Crown races of Secretariat.

Because he was BETTER than the movie!

(Secretariat running in the Belmont Stakes with his incredible 31 length win).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Salud! at Whole Foods: Salute To Julia!

I grew up watching Julia Child with my grandmother. I enjoyed the movie “Julie & Julia” (I do not like the blog that inspired the book and movie). So when I first saw Whole Foods offered a class called “Salute To Julia!” I immediately went to sign up. And found out the class was full. And each quarter I tried there was the same message; ‘full’. So when I received the Whole Foods schedule by email this summer I tried again… and got in!

I mean, how can you not be excited by this class description:

A Salute to Julia

Join us for a cooking celebration of some of our favorite recipes from beloved Julia Child. More than anything, Julia Child set classic French techniques accessibly in the realm of the American kitchen, pioneering cooking television and education for the home cook. Students learn step-by-step how to make classical French dishes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, then we’ll sit down to eat together, discuss all our favorite Julia recipes, and give a special Champagne toast. Bon appétit! Wine from France will be served.

MENU: Petits Chaussons au Roquefort (Pastry Turnovers with Roquefort Cheese); Soufflé aux Épinards (Spinach Soufflé); Coq au Vin (Chicken in Red Wine with Onions, Mushrooms, & Bacon); Gratin Dauphinois (Scalloped Potatoes with Milk & Cheese); and La Tarte des Demoiselles Tatin (Upside-down Apple Tart).

 We started the class with Merijoy going over the recipes.  She shared that early in her career she had taken some training under Julia.  How cool is that?

 I prepared the Coq au Vin.  It’s actually very easy, there are just a lot of steps to it and it certainly is NOT a “lite” dish.  But it is soooo good!

Another team did the scalloped potatoes.  Look at all the cheese layered in. 

French comfort food, that’s what it is!

There were 3 teams making soufflés.  Everyone who wanted took a shot at whipping the egg whites in the copper bowl.  (Yes, it really does make a difference!) 

Didn’t it come out perfectly?  Merijoy told us a soufflé will raise about a third above the amount of mix.

One of the students showing the proper way to open a soufflé.  You make sure to portion out both the browned edge and the soft center.

The upside down apple tart – before flipping…

… and after flipping.  I really like the pattern the apple slices make.

The finished Roquefort turnovers.  I was actually surprised I liked these as I am not a fan of the strong crumbly cheeses like Roquefort or blue.  But they were quite good.

 What a lunch!  Spinach soufflé, coq au vin and scalloped potatoes.  Yum!

With the apple tart for dessert.

Gratin Dauphinois (Scalloped Potatoes with Milk & Cheese)

2 pounds ‘boiling’ potatoes (6 to 7 cups when sliced)

½ clove unpeeled garlic

4 Tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 cup (4 ounces) grated Swiss cheese

1 cup boiling milk

Preheat oven to 425*F.

Peel the potatoes and slice them 1/8 inch thick. Place in a basin of cold water. Drain when ready to use.

Rub a 10 inch shallow baking dish with the cut garlic. Smear the inside of the dish with 1 Tablespoon of the butter. Drain the potatoes and dry them in a towel. Spread half of them in the bottom of the dish. Divide over them half of the salt, pepper, cheese, and butter. Arrange the remaining potatoes over the first layer and season hem. Spread on the rest of the cheese, seasoning and butter. Pour on the boiling milk.  Set in upper third of preheated oven. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, milk has been absorbed and the top is nicely browned.

Bon appétit!