Thursday, June 28, 2012

Minor League

This post clearly requires pictures, so I'll let you know up front that there are none. Sorry bout that. But if you don't mind an unadorned post I'll tell you about the drink I made up the other night!

We've really been enjoying the Hemingway cocktail I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. In fact we've enjoyed it so much that we drank through our bottle of maraschino. To be fair we had a little help with it, in the form of my brother, but not a lot. Anyway, earlier this week our friends were visiting and while the other drank margaritas (I cannot, for love or money, get over my aversion to tequila. Flavor aversion learning is one of the strongest types of learning, or so said my undergrad psych professor), I used the last of the maraschino for a Hemingway. But what do for my second drink??

Thinking fast I poured some gin over ice, then added unsweetened grapefruit juice and a splash of grenadine. Robert tried it, found he couldn't really taste the gin (this may be a bonus in your book) and declared it lolly water. Our friend Mina said she'd have one and said, with only mild surprise, that it was pretty good.

And that, my friends is a perfect description of this drink. It's pretty good. It won't knock your socks off, but you aren't likely to be sorry you drank it, either. Unless of course you drink too much of it, but I can't be responsible for that. At any rate, its "pretty good" status led me to name this drink the Minor League. It ain't the majors, and you won't mistake it for such, but that doesn't mean it's not worth your time.

Minor League Cocktail

1 part gin
1 part unsweetened grapefruit juice
1/6th part grenadine, or to taste

Pour over ice (crushed or whatever you've got) and enjoy!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

See how they grow...

A month ago I posted about my garden, complete with picture of my seedlings in pots, and the baby plants I'd just transfered to the garden. There were some peas, some bush beans and a lone zucchini plant.

Here are those plants today.

The beans are even covered in tiny, well, beans! They're totally adorable, about the size of toothpicks.

Only two tomato plants sprouted in my first attempt this year (both Isis Candy Shop) so I planted a whole whack of them the second time. Now I have about 18 tomato plants (some are in a different plot in the front of our house). I just couldn't bear to toss any of them! I figure if they all produce I'll can and freeze and give a lot away.

As you can see, these guys still have some growing to do. The zucchini, beans, and peas have a 2 week head start on them.

And here we have my cucumber plants (in back), which are already flowering under their leaves! In front are two more zucchini plants, about 3 weeks younger than the big one. Not pictured are two butternut squash plants, the tomatoes and zucchini and beans in the front yard plot, and my pathetically stunted watermelon plant. I'm not sure what that plant wants, but I'm obviously not providing it. Oh, just yesterday I put in a Jenny Lind melon seedling too! Let's hope we actually get some of the melons, instead of donating them all to the local squirrel population.

So, there's the garden update! Robert bought some praying mantis egg sacs a couple weeks ago, and they hatched out hundreds of little mantises a few days back. He released most of those into the garden (Liel and I even saw one of them perched on the big zucchini this morning), and is attempting to raise the rest in our bug hatchery. Hopefully they will help keep our garden healthy!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pie, baseball and family

See what I'm doing? I'm combining all kinds of things that've been on my mind and in my posts lately. But they really did converge most pleasingly this evening.

First of all, Robert and Zion played catch after dinner. It was Zion's first time playing baseball catch (he's been playing catch with a football since he was 2 or 3), and at first he wasn't very good at it. I was cheering when his glove touched a ball, you know? But after 20 minutes are so he was catching more and more of them, and he and Robert were just tossing the ball back and forth and we were all chatting and it was awesome. And then I looked over and Liel was busily emptying one of the pots on the deck of dirt. But she put it back when I asked her to, so that was OK too.

Then I used the leftovers of yesterday's pie and made pie milkshakes and they were, if possible, even more delicious. In fact, they were so delicious that I announced my intentions to email my sister-in-law and tell her about them, in case she wanted to meet us at her apartment this weekend for some blueberry pie milkshake (otherwise she's just getting plain blueberry pie).

"You know", Zion said, "the great thing about family is, someone can not be in your family and then someone who IS in your family can marry that, a boy in your family can marry a girl..."

"Or a boy", Robert and I said.

"Or a boy could marry a girl", Zion continued.

"Or a boy could marry another boy", we said. "Or a girl could marry another girl."

"Yes", Zion said, "It doesn't really matter. But someone who isn't in your family can BECOME part of your family. And that's a nice thing about family".

And it is.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pie Milkshake

A while back someone (probably Pete) told me about a diner in Iowa City that served a pie milkshake.  Since I love all things pie, I was intrigued by this idea. But since I love all things pie I only rarely adorn my pie with anything at all, and turning pie into a milkshake remained firmly in the realm of imaginary cool.

And then a couple weeks ago when discussing Father's Day plans with Robert I mentioned the pie milkshake, and Robert was way more excited than I had been since he probably loves milkshakes even more than pie. So I told him I'd make him a pie milkshake for Father's Day.

Since blueberries are in season I decided it should be a blueberry pie milkshake. And since the best blueberry pie is the kind I made for Kenny (and blogged about) back in 2009, that's the kind I made this morning. 2/3's of the blueberries are left raw, while the remaining ones are cooked with sugar and cornstarch into a thick jam. Then they're all tossed together, poured into a pre-baked crust, and left to cool and set. It's seriously amazing and any fan of pie or summer fruit should go make one tomorrow.

(Side note: I'm tinkering with my GF pie crust recipe. I'm pretty pleased with the one I made today, but I'll post an updated recipe when I'm *really* pleased.)

So, here we have the pie, with Liel's bat, Count Fabulous, looking on in approval.

Here is a slice of that pie in the blender, along with vanilla ice cream.

Add milk...

And you'll have one super happy husband! And an excellent way of saying "thank you" to that super happy awesome husband for being an amazing dad. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Prohibition-era cocktails, Part 2

In keeping with my summer research I've continued to pursue prohibition-era cocktails. I'd been wanting to try the Colony Cocktail, a gin drink allegedly invented here in NY, but it called for an ingredient I'd never heard of before: maraschino. The recipe I found called for 2 tsp of maraschino, which I first thought referred to either maraschino cherries or the liquid they came in, which didn't sound too delicious. Further poking around on the internet turned up the fact that maraschino is a liqueur made from the fruit and pits of the Marasca cherry. Robert bought a bottle at ye olde Liquor Depot earlier in the week, and yesterday we made the Colony Cocktail.

Colony Cocktail

3 parts gin
1.5 parts grapefruit juice
2 tsp maraschino liqueur

Thoughts: Interesting. This cocktail has a very old-fashioned flavor to it, like nothing else I've ever tried. Robert and I both agreed that it would make an excellent brunch drink since it is very fresh and dry, with the unexpected maraschino twist. As we worked our way through our drink we liked it better and better.

Today we decided to try something else with the maraschino we'd bought, and mixed up something called either a Hemingway Cocktail or a Hemingway Daiquiri. There doesn't seem to be total agreement on anything with this one, other than that it contains grapefruit juice and light rum. Most recipes also include lime juice, and maraschino, and some contain sugar or simple syrup. Proportions vary widely. So Robert mixed us each up a drink containing light rum, grapefruit juice, lime juice, maraschino and simple syrup. Not surprisingly this tastes pretty similar to the Colony Cocktail, though it is sweeter and a little bit more layered, since it has lime juice as well. It's delicious. It has an almost sour-mix style flavor. I think that the Hemingway in my imagination would not have had simple syrup in this drink, so I might try it that way next time. Or I might just enjoy my lolly water.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


My dad likes baseball. Not professional baseball (I've never known him to watch a game), not minor league baseball, nor even Little League. Just casual baseball out in the park with friends. At least, I assume this is the case because my dad taught both Kenny and me to hit, catch, and throw when we were pretty little. Here's me, age 3 1/2.

Dad pitched balls to us pretty regularly throughout my childhood. Sometimes, because I was surely an ungrateful wretch, I hated it and complained, and refused to put any effort into making contact with that ball. At such times my father would bellow, "Sweetheart! Keep your eye on the G-d damned ball!" and then I'd become irritated with him and proceed to do an excellent job hitting for the rest of the session. Or so I hear ;) But really, I loved hitting the ball, and playing ball with my dad is one of my favorite childhood memories. I think the last time we played was shortly after I graduated from high school and was preparing to go to college across the country. I remember asking him to pitch for me and we went out and he threw the ball until it got dark.

Robert loved baseball as a kid too, even though his older brother once accidentally broke his nose with a ball when they were playing catch.

Yet somehow neither Robert nor I had done anything to teach the kids to hit or catch a baseball (they can both catch and throw a football; we haven't failed them totally. Yet). So yesterday we ordered them gloves, a bat, and a case of baseballs. The bat and balls arrived today, and when Zion's friend left we opened them and I suggested to Zion that he ask Robert to show him how to hit a ball. We only had a few minutes before they had to eat dinner so they could get to aikido on time, but they went out in the back yard and Robert showed him how to hold a bat, how to stand and how to swing. He threw a few pitches to him, some of which Zion even hit. And then it was time for food and aikido.

Liel said she didn't want to learn to hit a ball, so I dug out my old photo albums and showed her pictures of me at different ages playing baseball with my dad. When Zion and Robert got home from aikido Zion changed out of his gi and started begging Robert to pitch to him again. So we all went out back and Robert showed Liel how to bat, and pitched for both kids until bedtime.

I gotta tell you, standing there watching my  kids learn to hit a baseball, seeing the grin on Zion's face (and kid's got a good throwing arm on him!) and the look of determination on Liel's, I was filled with nachas. I mean, I know that learning to play baseball isn't exactly rocket science, but still. My kids! Pure nachas.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Yestarday june 5 2012 at jewish farm school

I helped plant a gooseberry plant by digging. I learned humans make gooseberry jam. We met goats.We took them on a walk.  I got to pet the baby goat. He was very cute. The weather was rainy. The goats were very hungry. I enjoyed feeding them.
By Zion.

What I did and learned at Jewish Farm School yesterday, by Liel

Yesterday at Jewish Farm School I got to pet goats . I also got to feed  goats. There  was a baby goat. I got a sunflower . Some goats can jump over fences . I got to go in to the woods.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Prohibition-era dinner

We're having some friends over to dinner tomorrow night and I've spun my interest in prohibition-era cocktails into an entire prohibition-era dinner! Turns out I'm just as enchanted by reading about food from different eras as I am about booze from different eras, and I'm contemplating doing other decade-themed meals. But, one thing at a time, right? Right. Here's what I'm planning for tomorrow:

- Chicken ala king. I've never eaten this, but food history tells me it was invented in the 1890s in NYC, and continued to be very popular throughout the 1920s.  I can't decide if I should serve it on biscuits or rice though. Or pasta, I guess.

-Ceasar salad. We all know what this is, and it was a 1920s smash hit. Nothing like ground up fish in your dressing (no, really. there isn't)!

-Ambrosia. Funny story: I've never made ambrosia. When we were kids my grandmother used to buy it for my brother and me at the deli counter when we spent the night with her, but no one in my family ever made it. In fact, my mother is probably learning that we even ate it right now, and is horrified. Anyway, Robert said his mom used to make it and he'd get her recipe. And you know what it calls for?? Pineapple tidbits! OK, maybe that's not super funny, but the name cracks me up. I told Kenny about it and it cracked him up too (side note: he and Jenny have only used the tooth powder once so far, but they like it!). Neither of us were sure what a pineapple tidbit was (crushed pineapple?) which surprised and amused Robert. He tells me it's like pineapple chunks, only "sliced more".

-Jello "salad". Again, never made this. Not sure what I'm going to do exactly, but something with Jello and fruit. Reading recipes on the internet turned up something I hadn't thought about in, oh, 30 years. It's a dark Jello (blueberry? grape?) with matching fruit and walnuts. Or maybe the walnuts are their own layer, my memory isn't *that* clear. And on top is a layer sour cream. Amazing the things our brains hang on to. Kenny remembers it too. I'm not making this though- I draw the line at dairy in my Jello. Standards, I haz them!

-Cocktails: thinking colony cocktails and french 75s for this. They both seem very light, which would be a nice counterpoint to the rather creamy meal, right?

I am soooooo excited to make (and eat) this meal. I will probably even take pictures!