Monday, November 28, 2016

here, here!

two books going right now, one slowly and one quickly.  the one that is due at the library first is important material, but hard to read.  the other, totally absorbing and reminiscient of the heritage i come from.

the one that is slower going is "a train in winter:  an extraordinary story of women, friendship, an resistance in occupied france" by caroline moorehead.  i say important because i truly like history as well as stories of human strength and courage.  it's so very very non-fiction; more facts and not so much about how the facts affected women's individual lives, connections and relationships as i'd hoped.

what i really WANT to dive into and can't stop reading (but has more renewals at the library than the aforementioned) is "closer to the ground:  an outdoor family's year on the water, in the woods and at the table" by dylan tomine and is published by patagonia books. so refreshing!

of life, my friend says, "eat the best orange first" so in this case it might mean staying up too late to read what i want to...either way, this quote is true!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


while holiday pies were in the oven, i took a moment to make sauce #2 of classical french cuisine:  veloute.  this is a basic roux but with chicken stock instead of milk.  the name means "velvety".  and i have to say, taste testing-wise, i'm very happy with it. 

it turned out smooth (i don't know if i would go as far as to say it's velvety) with good flavor.  i have no idea what to put it on, but it's thanksgiving, so i'm sure that won't be hard to figure out. 

i think bechamel and veloute are maybe the easiest of the five.  three more to go:  tomat, espagnole, and hollandaise...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


from REI and worth passing along:

"one year ago we did something different on black friday--we closed the co-op's doors and invited the nation to join us outside.  and 1,408,117 of you did just that.  you chose to skip the stampedes and celebrate life outdoors instead.  

this year we're closing again and our goal is for millions more to join us in our parks, on the trails, in the mountains and on the water.  but we need your help to make it happen.  so consider this your invitation.  

on november 25, REI will opt outside.  will you go out with us?"

Saturday, November 19, 2016

whisk vigorously!

sauce one of five:  complete!  a report on my first real bechamel sauce and it is delicious.  it's not difficult but does require attention to temperature and color.  a roux (3-1/2 T. flour + 6 T butter) followed by 2 cups of milk and, this made me laugh out loud, some vigorous whisking and voila--there you have it!

i prefer a little bit of salt and nutmeg in my sauce and now have the creative challenge of how to use it with what's in my pantry...i think a harvest pasta with fall squash will somehow be involved.  and now, on to veloute!  sidenote: a popular kitchen store is offering a class on "french sauces 101" this fall at the same time as i am trying mine solo & free (except for ingredients):  ala julia child.

*the answer to the bookworm trivia:  don quixote has sold an estimated 500 million copies to date.  however, as it was first published in 1605 and exact numbers do not exist, many lists put a tale of two cities, published 250 years later, at or near the top spot for fiction.

Friday, November 18, 2016

bookworm trivia

what is widely acknowledged to be the best-selling novel of all time?

a.  twilight by stephanie meyer
b. the scarlet letter by nathaniel hawthorne
c.  don quixote by miguiel de cervantes saavedra
d.  a tale of two cities by charles dickens

(feel free to guess and look for the answer in an upcoming post)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

mother sauces

over the course of the next few weeks, i am enrolling myself in my own kitchen experiments; undertaking the five classic sauces of french cuisine (it's cheaper than flying to french cooking school).

french chef marie antoine-careme organized the first four sauces, all based on roux (fat + flour) and auguste escoffier added one more, codifying it in le guide culinaire in 1903.

the five mother sauces:  bechamel (white sauce), veloute (light stock-based roux), espagnole (basic brown), sauc tomat, and hollandaise (egg-base instead of roux).

being orderly, of course i want to start with bechamel.  from my kitchen to yours, stay tuned...

Monday, November 7, 2016

fiat lux & poet laureates

my friend was reading in a book and came across this phrase, "fiat lux".  "do you know what that means?" she asked.  not only did i not recognize it, but my more shallow inclination toward liking shiny cars kicked in and i must admit my first thought was not at all deep, but more along the lines of a luxury fiat model car. 

in between daydreaming about cars and looking up this phrase, Latin in origin it turns out, the Poet Laureate of Oregon telephoned me at school.  being as it is not every day that this happens, i was momentarily stunned.  "seriously?!" i said to the secretary via intercom, "elizabeth woody is on the phone...for me?!"

after finishing this call, (she is a very nice woman, the Poet Laureate of our Beloved State) i resumed my quest of "fiat lux".  it means "let there be light".  but the translation i found refreshing was slightly different--derived from the hebrew and greek--"let light be made".

because words matter to me and i love how they sound, i rolled this around out loud a few times to myself.

i may never own a luxury car.
i may never be an esteemed poet of an entire region.
but maybe, just maybe i can let light be made in and through my life.