We baked All Hallows' Eve cupcakes today at the old homestead where my niece and nephew now live with their parents, my brother and sister-in-law. Above is my niece Barbara showing off our masterpiece.
It is great when you give someone a present and that person really uses it, you know? I do not have that experience all the time. My sister Katie told me years ago that I get people presents that I would like myself and maybe she is right. And if you do that, your gift could fall flat because you are actually the one who likes it. The other person might not.
Wait till everyone I know gets books about Leonard Pennario for Christmas!
I love Barbara for loving this cupcake cookbook, titled "Cupcake Heaven," I gave her for Christmas. She studies it all the time and when I got to her house she had the book open to Halloween Cupcakes. And this was so cool, in the front of the book I saw all kinds of notes she had made. There were lists of page numbers, and check marks. I do stuff like that. She is like me!
We had no orange frosting but my smart niece knew that red and yellow made orange. We had to seek the advice of my sister-in-law, Natalie, to get just the right shade of orange. Natalie is a crafty artistic person and knows about color. "More yellow," Nat advised. And she was right!
Sprinkles I had found for a buck at Ollie's gave an additional artistic touch.
Barbara sometimes says these wistful things and after lunch, when we were finishing up our project, she said to me, "Why does everything have to end?"
She added, "I wish things could just go on forever and ever."
Man, how often have I thought that same thing! I told her that.
I said, "Barbara, this is one thing I think about heaven, it must be a place where there are no time limits for things that we love."
If there is one thing I love it is getting an extra free hour with no strings attached. And on a Saturday night! And this Saturday night is All Hallows Eve. As I put on Twitter today I like this new trend I am seeing toward using that formal name for the occasion. It is the Eve of All Hallows which is the eve of All Saints Day.
That extra hour can be used to meditate on that!
Or to do anything else. I will probably eat. After that it will get dark before most of us get out of work but that's OK, I can live with that. Sacrifices must be made.
It is getting into the best time of year. October is the month I met Leonard Pennario, speaking of which, with the darkness falling early, that means it is a good time for writing and editing. It is a good time for cooking and eating. Right now I am making Rotkohl. That is German red cabbage. With apples. It is simmering on the stove right now.
Another thing that happened besides the market madness is that the repairman showed up and finally fixed the Bosch stove. Above is a picture I snapped of the repairman doing the job, to the tune of $219.
Jeoffry helped the repairman.
That was the caption Howard wrote on Facebook for the picture I took and it is most apt. We were talking about how nice it is that Jeoffry is sociable. So many cats run and hide and there is nothing wrong with that, but we like that ours comes out, says hello and sometimes even offers assistance.
In celebration for the stove being done I roasted some of the cauliflower I had bought at the market on my spending spree, plus I roasted and stuffed an eggplant. This morning I made peanut butter/ oatmeal bars for church coffee hour. The recipe is from an ancient Pillsbury Bake-Off competition. The booklet shows the winning entries being judged by Pennario's friend Greer Garson so I know the recipes are good.
Wow, look at this. Naively I go looking to see if I can find the recipe online and I cannot. This is what I found on the Pillsbury site .. a bunch of recipes built on convenience foods and prepackaged mixes. One of them even starts with "a roll of Pillsbury refrigerated chocolate chip cookies."
Clearly with Greer Garson gone this contest has hit the skids.
Oh well. Aside from that life feels right again with the oven working.
It time for the weekly brain teaser of trying to add up what I bought at Bailey Clinton and how much I spent. Today I went with my friend Lizzie so the totals may well be even higher than usual.
Lizzie and I operate in tandem and cannot resist a deal. Once we went in on a whole bushel of scratch and dent, use it or lose it winter squash. I think it was a bushel. It might have been two bushels. All I remember is that both of us went to our respective homes and crammed our ovens with this squash, that very day.
It all had to be roasted at once!
That was the year that Lizzie learned what we all learn sooner or later, that you can make pumpkin pie with butternut squash and it is just as good and nobody knows the difference. Perhaps it is even better! Because butternut squash is richer than pumpkin. In any event all Lizzie's Thanksgiving pumpkin pies were squash pies that year.
So, today's account.
Squash: $3.50. We actually found a half bushel for $7, down from the $10 most folks were charging.
It is acorn and butternut.
Zucchini: $3. We split a big quantity marked down because they were non-traditional vegetables, as they say at the Erie County Fair. Here is a picture I took at the fair of a non-traditional potato. My friend Ryan pointed out the non-traditional vegetables and I had to take a picture.
Back to my shopping. Apples: $5 for a half bushel. We split a bushel of drop apples, meaning kids pick them up from the ground. These were from Elaine the honey lady. She has her grandkids picking them to make money for Legos. The apples were two varieties whose names I love. They are Crispin and Ida Red.
Cauliflower: $5 for two. I could write an entire post on cauli because I bought the same amount last week and had tremendous fun with it.
Cabbage: A red cabbage ($2) will go great braised with those apples.
What am I up to? What did I miss?
Oh, $3 for nine beautiful big red and green peppers. Those are Bailey Clinton peppers at the top of this post! They were so beautiful I had to take a picture.
Two big eggplant for $1 each.
Corn, $2. Howard loves corn.
I think that is it. It adds up to $24.50. That is not too bad considering it will get me through the week and I am good to go now with squash and apples.
The deal was, Orville's repair shop does not tell you if the repairman, on the appointed day, will arrive in the morning or the afternoon. I did not realize that. Innocently I called the day before the appointed day, which was yesterday, to ask if the repair would be in the morning, which I hoped, or in the afternoon.
Ms. Orville said, "We can't tell you that. You will get a phone call between 3 and 5 telling you."
I said, "Between 3 and 5 tomorrow?" Tomorrow being my repair day.
She said: "No, today."
I looked at the clock. "It's 2:58 now," I said. "It's two minutes till three. Can't you tell me? Maybe you could look it up.,"
She put me on hold.
There was a long pause. I waited.
Finally came the bad news. The repair was in the afternoon.
I, ahem, work. I had an assignment in the afternoon that could not be broken. So there I am, out of luck. Unfortunately I was nice as pie, please and thank you. Nice as pie gets you nowhere, you know? I always think of the last time I went to California to see Leonard Pennario. The rental car place lost my reservation and showed no compassion and I actually lost it to the extent that I complained and then I cried. Publicly. End result, as we say here in Buffalo: Compassion. Satisfaction. Finally!
I asked them if they could move me to the morning and you could tell this bureaucrat really enjoyed herself as she told me no.
It didn't make sense, when you thought about it. If all the calls went out between 3 and 5 that meant I was ahead of the pack. Why couldn't they move me and then call one of the previously scheduled morning appointments and simply told them the afternoon?
Rage, rage against Orville's.
The repair had to be rescheduled for Saturday, zut alors.
But meanwhile there can still be fresh bread, thanks to the bread machine! People wonder why you need a bread machine. This is why.
The loaf has risen very high and a wonderful aroma is filling the house.
Because of my kaput oven I am discovering what the Dutch oven can do.
A Dutch oven is an oven, right? I started thinking about that the other day. Dutch meaning German in American parlance, it is a German oven. Well, I think they are pretty much used everywhere in the world. Everyone cooks in pots. You could go to Africa or Australia centuries ago and find people cooking in heavy pots, if not cast iron then earthenware. It is as old as humanity.
People did not always have electronic ovens telling you the temperature! And yet people have always baked breads and such.
The pot pie has a biscuit crust and you can do that in the Dutch oven. Just put it on simmer, spoon the biscuit dough over the bubbling stew, put the lid on, turn it to low, and in 15 minutes, there you have it, yummy biscuits.
I hear you can also bake cookies on the stove top. I have been researching that. As Leonard Pennario's biographer I have learned to be resourceful.
Next I want to bake a cake in the Dutch oven. I hear that is possible too. Where there's a will there's a way!
I will report how it goes! It is funny, you know? The high-tech oven goes blooey.