Friday, February 21, 2020

Snow Day


Kids all over western North Carolina were thrilled yesterday when snow closed the schools. And I was a bit surprised to find myself doing a little happy dance too as I cancelled my writing class.


I enjoy my classes. And this class will be made up. But somehow this cancellation felt like a little mini-vacation. 

Woo hoo!


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

In Search of Meaning




On a day when the person in the White House is commuting the well-deserved sentences of a gaggle of white collar criminals, it seems reasonable to wonder about the Meaning of Justice, of Right and Wrong, of Good and Evil. 

Perhaps the young people who knocked at my door earlier, wanting to talk to me about the Bible felt they have the answers. 

But I'm pretty sure that they and their Bible-thumping ilk are part of the problem-- enablers of a corrupt regime and an evil man.

I was polite to them, nonetheless, telling them that I had read the Bible, as well as a great deal of history concerning it and the texts from which it derived and the various translations that had ensued and the errors therein.  Than you, but no thank you, I said.



I could have gone on at length but I was in the midst of house cleaning. Besides, it's useless to argue with members of a cult--be it religious or political.



And I have some more research to do on state  and local candidates so I can vote on Thursday--early voting here in NC.  Nationally, I'm torn between Warren and Klobuchar. Need to look into K's history a bit. I suspect I'm drawn to her because she's such a wholesome contrast to the Orange Embarrassment.

 I like Sanders' ideas but am concerned about his health. And I'm still of the opinion that he was the spoiler that gave Trump the win in 2016. Also, like Biden, he's another Old White Guy. If I knew who his VP choice might be . . . I like Mayor Pete but would prefer someone with more experience. 

Electability is the thing, of course. But trying to guess who would be the most electable is difficult. 

I hope it isn't Bloomberg. If it is, we might as well concede that the Presidency is for billionaires only.

But if it it is, I'll vote for him. Though I'd prefer the proverbial yellow dog . . .




Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Update on Reconstruction

 

Work continues, somewhat slowed by lots of rain, not to mention other obligations. Justin is having fun on the exterior . . .


while continuing with the mundane block-laying on the interior.


I'm loving this look.


                            Meanwhile, cleanup continues -- 


sifting through the piles of ash and discovering sad artifacts.



For those who asked after the big hydrangea that blooms so extravagantly, I'm happy to say she's alive and apparently undaunted.


If only our beloved country can survive the current regime-- its corruption, its shredding of norms, its attack on the environment and our national parks, its irresponsible and cruel policies--as well.










Monday, February 17, 2020

A Quilt for Chase


A new nephew meant it was time to put together a baby quilt.  Twelve little squares embroidered with simple  chain stitch images -- dog, cat, tree, house, car, boat, bird, fish, sun, moon, airplane.


It was such a fun little project and the best was sending it off and getting in return a picture of the new guy, waving at me.


Sunday, February 16, 2020

Sicilian Ricotta Pie


I made this as dessert for Valentine's Day. I really love it -- lighter and not as sweet as standard cheesecake, with a nice lemony flavor, it's a recipe I'll definitely make again.

I found the recipe online (credited to Nadia Fazio.)

              INGREDIENTS 

·      For the crust:
·      1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
·      1/3 cup granulated sugar
·      1 tsp baking powder
·      6 tbsp. vegetable shortening (I used Crisco)
·      2 eggs, lightly beaten

·      For the filling:
·      1 1/2 lbs ricotta, drained if very liquidy. I used a double cream ricotta--heavenly! No draining needed.
·      4 eggs
·      1/2 cup granulated sugar
·      grated zest of 1 lemon
·     dash of Tunisian 5 spice or cinnamon, plus more cinnamon for dusting

MAKE THE CRUST
·      

1.If using a food processor: In the bowl of the food processor combine the flour, sugar and baking powder. Add the shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles a course meal. Add the eggs and mix on low speed until the eggs are incorporated. Pour the mixture on a clean, lightly floured surface. Press together until a dough is formed (do not over knead), shape into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 

2. Alternately, if making the dough by hand, combine the flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter or use your fingers to mix the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly. Make a well in the center and add the eggs. Shape into a dough as above.

MAKE THE FILLING

1.            Place all filling ingredients  in a large bowl and using a wooden spoon stir until well combined.
2.            To form the pie: Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a 9-inch pie plate. 
3.            Cut off 2/3 of the dough and reserve the remaining 1/3 for the top. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a 1/4 inch thickness. Dust your dough and work surface with more flour if it sticky. Carefully place the dough on the pie plate. 
4.            Pour in the ricotta mixture, then roll out the remaining piece of dough and place on the filling. Crimp the edges as desired. 
5.            Dust lightly with cinnamon and bake for 55 minutes until golden. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours.

NOTES


Do make sure you chill your dough for at least 30 minutes (or even longer) before rolling. My dough was well chilled and it was still very fragile --perhaps I should have added more flour. I rolled it out but when I tried to transfer it to the pie pan, it fell into large pieces. I ended up just patting the dough into the pie pan. I wanted a lattice topping and managed to make some strips--which also fell apart.

 Perhaps one needs to be an Italian nona. Still, I cobbled together a ragged lattice top that looked pretty good when baked. And I was very happy with the way the crust tasted.

The pie is meant to be served cold and I made it the day before. The time in the fridge allows the lemon flavor to develop.

I had to talk myself out of eating a slice for breakfast--it's that good. 



Saturday, February 15, 2020