Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Shaker-style Noodles

 I love working with dough but I've never made noodles before. A couple of days ago I decided to give it a shot and asked Mom a few basic questions. She's an old pro. I remember homemade noodles when I was a kid and they were always one of my favorite meals.

 This is the finished product ... not quite a soup because we both prefer the dish to be quite thick. And certainly without chicken because we're vegetarian. I'll post the basic recipe below but Mom adds potatoes, celery, carrots and onions to it,

 She seasons with parsley and garlic (both home grown), salt and pepper. She also adds two vegetable bouillon cubes (Knorr Vegetarian) and Mrs. Dash Original Seasoning Blend (salt-free).

As with any soup, the amount of water is determined by taste and how thick you want the finished product to be. Maybe 1.5 quarts? Mom also adds a small amount of vegetable oil.

 She cooks the veggies in water first and only adds the noodles when the veggies are tender.

Shaker Noodles *

1 cup bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soft butter
1 egg
3 tablespoons water

 I made the dough in a bowl then poured it onto a flowered pastry cloth and kneaded it slightly. I then rolled it out into a thin layer and let it dry for many hours.

 Here's how the dough looked after I had rolled it into a thin layer. It's a little irregular but I've never done this before. Doesn't seem to matter.

 After drying for much of the day, Mom began cutting thin strips of noodles from the dough.

 After she cut a while, I cut the rest. The noodles were then dried further (hours) and eventually placed in a plastic bag and frozen for use today.

We cannot have noodles without thinking of our beloved schnauzer, Ginger. Homemade noodles were her favorite and we'd often tell her we were making "noodlers". She seemed to look forward to her bowl as much as the rest of us. After she ate, she knew to stand at her bowl and await a beard washing. It was funny to watch her wait. She knew that this was a requirement and she never spoiled it by walking away until she had been cleaned.

Bottom Line: How was it? Delicious!

* Credit: The Shaker Cookbook by Caroline B. Piercy
Crown Publishers, Inc. 1953

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Day in Cincinnati

 It was a warm mid-winter day when Tom and I spent some time walking about downtown Cincinnati. Most January days this would have been impossible - to go out on foot wearing no more than a light hoodie - but we enjoyed 61° temperatures yesterday.

 We parked in the Garfield Garage (11 W 9th Street) which is operated by the city and is "cheap" - just a dollar an hour. Most places we drove by wanted $5 to even $10, though I suppose that was for the whole day. But it meant we had to walk.

 Fountain Square was our first stop as it was the site of the Cincinnati Women's March on Washington - Sister March. Though we offered no more than moral support - and two extra bodies for the count - we were at least present, though late.

 How the city maintains the ice at the rink on Fountain Square is a mystery to me. The sun wasn't shining but it was a Spring-like when we were there. I can't imagine these conditions on a usual late-January day in Cincinnati.

 Another view of Fountain Square.

 We have walked through "Ruth Lyons Way" before but this time I took a picture for Mom. The roadway is no more than an alley but at least Ruth's name is still above downtown streets.

 We next toured the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center. I can't say it's my cup of tea but admission was free so what the heck. We walked through only a gallery or two.

 I told my brother, Bob, that I found one artwork that he must have posed for. Or, as he suggested, maybe it was me?

 Across the street from the CAC is a building that's brightly painted (on at least the two sides I saw). I love this depiction of Neil Armstrong on the moon. The mural is by Art Works and is on Walnut Street between 5th and 6th Street

Note: Tom says the main rally/demonstration was at Washington Park and Fountain Square was more of a kickoff point. Our hearts were in the right place anyway.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Dawn's Early Light

 The day was off to a strange start. Heavy clouds scooted across the sky on unseen winds. The temperature, unusual for mid-January, hovered in the upper 50's. A week cold front undercut the warm air and the sky filled with cumulus. It seemed spring.

 But there wasn't a ray of sunshine to be seen as I drove home from the West Carrollton YMCA, Looking to the west, thin light-colored clouds stood in contrast to the darker clouds above and beyond. The slid rapidly to the north, carried on warm wind. The two air masses fought.
 By the time I was within a couple of miles of home, I could see breaks developing, the sky torn open here and there and revealed the blue beyond. These patches opened and closed rapidly.
 I thought, as I stopped at Diamond Mill, how nice it would be to be home now and to shoot a picture from in front of the house with the backdrop of clouds behind. But I was too late. The magic was now and it was retreating north.

 But as I arrived home, I saw that the sun was trying to shine. I opened the back door, threw my gym bag onto the kitchen floor and hurried to the road. A shaft of sunlight poured through an opening in the east and flooded Pinehaven with light. It looked like a jewel. I snapped a picture, the timing perfect.

 We live for such shafts of unexpected light in an often dreary world. The sky opens and closes with a wink. But in that instant, the new view gives us appreciation for what we can briefly see before the clouds again close in.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Eve - 2016

 Tom arrived just after 11 am and brought with him almost everything he'd need to cook the three of us a special meal for New Year's Eve. It pretty well fit in a cardboard box. But that doesn't illustrate the time it took to gather the ingredients and to do some advance preparation.

 Tom's working on the pasta dish here, The pan in his left hand contained two entire slices of melted butter. This isn't an inexpensive dish, I'll post the recipe below but, seeing as how I don't like hazelnuts, Tom substituted chestnuts. Of course he left out the meat, too.

 Tom even brought fresh sage which he chopped on our cutting board.

 This is a veggie "roast". We had one of these for Easter, too. It seems to be made with texturized vegetable protein (i.e. soybeans) and when sliced makes a wonderful meat substitute.

 Here's the finished pasta dish just out of the oven. The recipe follows.

 This recipe is courtesy of the Arbor Day Foundation.

 Later I made a dessert that consisted of angel food cake, a dark chocolate ice cream bar (Klondike) cut in half, cherry sauce and whipped cream.

 It was a nice way to prepare for 2017's arrival. Tom left about 5 pm and I watched a little TV and then read throughout the evening (I'm reading a Horatio Alger book that was my grandfather's from 1913). I was in bed by 9 pm and didn't wake until 2:30 am. So the "neighbors" must have been quiet. In past years I'd hear fireworks and pots and pans being hammered. But not recently. The new year came in quietly.