Archive for November, 2016

Shoreline Reflections!

November 30, 2016

LakeReflectionHere is another original painting (acrylic) that I acquired last summer while vacationing in the Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties of Michigan.  I found this piece at the 56th Annual Outdoor Art Fair  (sponsored by the Crooked Tree Arts Center) on the campus of the Northwestern Michigan College on the last Saturday of July.  I have already collected a couple of other paintings by this particular artist (Deborah Hoover).  The title of this one: “Shoreline Reflections.” The colors and the brush strokes drew my eye to this one (as well as the size and the landscape orientation).

Seasonal Holiday Tart!

November 29, 2016

If you are looking for something new this holiday season, here is a recipe for an amazing tart (courtesy of Sqirl’s pastry chef, Meadow Ramsey).

Hazelnut-Rosemary Caramel Tort

Ingredients
Pastry
1 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons of all purpose flour
1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar
3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt
1-1/2 sticks of cold butter, cubed
2 large egg yolks
Ice water

Filling
1-1/2 sticks of butter
1 Tablespoon of chopped rosemary
1-1/2 cup of hazelnuts
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 cup of packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup of brown rice syrup
1/4 cup of honey
1 teaspoon of fine sea salt
2 Tablespoons of heavy cream
1 Tablespoon of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Flaky sea salt (for garnish)
Whipped creme fraiche (for garnish/serving)

1.  Make the pastry.  In a food processor, pulse the flour with the confectioners’ sugar, baking powder, and fine sea salt.  Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Ad the egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of ice water and pulse until the pastry just comes together; add another tablespoon of ice water if it seems dry.  Turn the pastry out on to a work surface and pat into a disk.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled (about an hour).

2.  On a floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a 12-inch round.  Ease the round into a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing it into the corners and up the side.  Trim off any overhang.  Freeze the tart shell for 30 minutes.

3.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights.  Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes before removing the pie weights and parchment; bake for an additional 10-15 minutes longer, until it is lightly browned.  Allow to cool completely.

4.  Make the filling.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat.  Remove from the heat and add the rosemary (allow to steep for 20 minutes).  Strain the butter into a small bowl and let cool.

5.  Spread the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven  until fragrant and golden (the skins should just be starting to split, about 12 minutes or so) .  Let them cool slightly then transfer the nuts to a kitchen towel and rub together to remove the skins; let them cool completely.  Coarsely chop the hazelnuts and spread them in your cooled tart shell.

6.  In a large bowl, beat the whole eggs and yolks with the brown sugar, brown rice syrup, honey and fine sea salt.  Gradually whisk in the rosemary butter then whisk in the cream, flour, and vanilla.  Pour the filling into the tart shell and sprinkle the flaky sea salt on the top.  Place the tart shell on a rimmed baking sheet and bake the tart for 50 minutes at 375 degrees (until the filling is set at the edge, but slightly jiggly in the center).  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Store in the refrigerator.  Serve at room temperature (or just slightly chilled) with a dollop of whipped creme fraiche (or plain whipped cream).

Source: the November issue of Food & Wine magazine, p. 98.

Things Are Getting Cloudy!

November 28, 2016

Here in Oklahoma, especially during tornado season, I have witnessed many a storm that obnubilates the sky.

obnubilate

\ ob-noo-buh-leyt, –nyoo– \, noun;

 1.  to cloud over; becloud; obscure.

Source: The Highly Selective Dictionary for the Extraordinarily Literate by Eugene Ehrlich.

College Football 2016, Week Thirteen!

November 27, 2016

The regular season is drawing to a close . . . and the Spartans were once again over-matched against #7 Penn State.

There are only two unbeaten teams remaining (Alabama and Western Michigan) and the Big Ten Conference has five teams in the CFP rankings (four in the top-10):   Ohio State [#2], Michigan [#3], Wisconsin [#6],  Penn State[#7], and Nebraska [#16]. But following the Michigan/Ohio State  and other games this weekend, this may change (we’ll know on Tuesday evening).

Next up for the Spartans: No one, our season is over.  We’ll see what 2017 brings.   Now, on to college basketball where the Spartans have already  had their share of challenges in November.  Go Green!

The upsets this week included:
Louisville (#11) losing to unranked Kentucky by three (3) points.
Nebraska (#16) losing to unranked Iowa.
Tennessee (#17) losing to unranked Vanderbilt.
Boise State (#19) losing to unranked Air Force by seven (7) points.
Houston (#20) losing to unranked Memphis by four (4) points.

The close calls this week (games that were won by a touchdown or less) included:
Ohio State (#2) defeated Michigan (#3) in double overtime by three (3) points.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included:
Alabama (#1) defeated Auburn (#13).
Ohio State (#2) defeated Michigan (#3) in double overtime by three (3) points.
Washington (#5) defeated Washington State (#23).
Colorado (#9) defeated Utah (#22) by five (5) points..
Florida State (#14) defeated Florida (#15).

Slow Down, or Stop?!

November 26, 2016

Happy Saturday.  This is what I’d call a “teachable moment.”  This joke has been around for a while, but it is a classic.  So for those of you who have never heard this one, enjoy; and for those of you who have, enjoy again!

A police officer pulled over a guy driving a red Corvette after it had run a stop sign.
Police Officer: “May I see your driver’s license and registration please?” asked the cop.
Driver: “What’s the problem, officer?”
Police Officer: “You just ran the stop sign back there at the last intersection.”
Driver: “Oh, come on pal, there wasn’t a car within miles of me.”
Police Officer: “Nevertheless sir, you are required to come to a complete stop, look both ways, and proceed with caution.”
Driver: “You gotta be kidding me!”
Police Officer: “It’s no joke, sir.”
Driver: “Look, I slowed down almost to a complete stop, saw no one within twenty miles and proceeded with caution.”
Police Officer: “That’s beside the point, sir.  You are supposed to come to a complete stop, and you didn’t.  Now if I may see your license and . . . ”
Driver: “You’ve sure got a lot of time on your hands.  What’s the matter, all the doughnut shops closed?”
Police Officer: “Sir, I’ll overlook that last comment.  Let me see your license and registration immediately!”
Driver: “I will if you can tell me the difference between slowing down, and coming to a complete stop.”
Police Officer: “Sir, I can do better than that.”
He opened the car door, dragged the obnoxious motorist out, and proceeded to methodically beat him over the head with his nightstick.
Police Officer: “Now sir, would you like me to slow down or come to a complete stop?

Source: http://www.yuksrus.com/police.html

Fun Fact Friday, Number Three

November 25, 2016

Did you know . . .

. . . that the nine-banded armadillo gives birth to quadruplets each birthing and that they are always the same sex?

Who knew?!

Source: http://www.snapple.com (Snapple Real Fact #745)

Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving officially became a holiday 153 years ago (President Abraham Lincoln proclamation, October 3, 1863, declaring the last Thursday of November as the holiday).  I know you are curious and just dying to know some of the facts that follow, so sit back and relax, here is a list of some truly trivial Thanksgiving facts . . . Thanksgiving by the numbers:

  • 4 places as well as 11 townships in the U.S. with “Turkey” in their name
    • Turkey Creek village (Louisiana)
    • Turkey city (Texas)
    • Turkey Creek (Arizona)
    • Turkey town (North Carolina)
  • 7 places or townships with “Cranberry” in their name
  • 33 counties, places, and townships with “Plymouth” in their name.
  • 65,975 = the number of grocery stores in the U.S. (2014)
  • 3,109 = the number of bakeries in the U.S. (2014)
  • 2,798 = the number of fruits and vegetables markets in the U.S. (2014)
  • 243 million = the number of turkeys raised in the U.S. (2016)
    • 44 million (Minnesota)
    • 33 million (North Carolina)
    • 26 million (Arkansas)
    • 20 million (Indiana)
    • 19.7 million (Missouri)
    • 17 million (Virginia)
  • $19.3 million = value of live turkeys imported to the U.S. — mostly from Canada (2015)
  • 850 million pounds = cranberries produced in the U.S.  — 521 million in Wisconsin (2016)
  • 3.1 billion pounds = sweet potatoes produced in the U.S. (2015)

Source: U.S. Census, https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2016/cb16-ff19.html

The Excuse!

November 23, 2016

Here is the next installment of poetry generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (circa 1730).  Enjoy!

The Excuse

An honest man, in wane of life,
Had got a young and wanton wife,
Who, though she never gave offence,
Was given to benevolence.
Her husband played a husband’s part,
And loved his wife with all his heart:
But yet she made demands that he
Had little power to gratify.

One night, as in their bed they lay,
The wife became exceeding gay,
She kissed, she tickled, and she toyed,
And wantonly her hands employed;
Betwixt his lips her tongue she thrust,
And showed a deal of lawful lust;
But spouse was unprepared quite,
And sleep preferred to soft delight.
But, by his wife’s endearments, guessed
It was in vain to hope for rest:
He found himself for love unfit.
Yest saved his credit by his wit;
For, giving her a close embrace,
He with his finger touched the place,
And smelling at it, sighing, said,
“You are not well, I am afraid:”
Then whispered softly in her ear,
“Your marigold doth stink, my dear.”

“Lord help your head,” replied the wife,
“I was never better in my life!

” ‘Tis fresh and sweet indeed it is;”
Then gave her spouse a glowing kiss;
Who answered, to the fair one’s sorrow,
“If sweet, let’s keep it till to-morrow.”

Note: printed on the page following the title page was the following: “from a collection of poems that have been generally ascribed to Thomas, sixth Earl of Harrington. He was the son of Charles, the fifth Earl, and Margaret Lesslie, Countess of Rothes; and fought on the Royal side at the battle of Shirreffmuir, along with his brother John Lesslie, Earl of Rothes, and his own son, Lord Binning. These poems, according to Pinkerton, were printed about 1730, and have been reprinted in 1753, 1765, 1767, and 1777. He was also the author of Mia treatise on forest trees, which has gone through several editions. He died in 1735.” However, if these dates are correct (and I am by no means an expert historian in such matters), these poems could only have been written by either the first or second Earl of Harrington (William Stanhope and W.S. Jr.).

Some Librarian Humor!

November 22, 2016

Here’s an oldie, but a goodie based upon the book “Book! Book! Book!” by Deborah Bruss.

A librarian was working late one night at a small-town library. She had the door open for a breeze, and a chicken walked in, hopped up on the desk, and said, “Book, book, book!”

The librarian was a bit startled, but she quickly handed the chicken three books. The chicken put one under each wing, one in its beak, and walked out.

A few minutes later, the chicken returned, dropped those three books on the floor, hopped up on the counter, and said, “Book, book, book!”

Once again, the librarian gave the chicken three books, the chicken tucked one under each wing, took the third in its beak, and walked out.

It must be a full moon tonight, thought the librarian, getting back to her work. Of course, since everything in jokes comes in threes, the chicken came back. It dropped the books on the floor, hopped up, and said, “Book, book, book!”

This time, the librarian decided to get to the bottom of this. She gave three books to the chicken, and when it walked away, she followed it. They went across the parking lot, down into a ditch, and through a damp culvert. Good thing I wore my sensible shoes, she thought. They emerged into a little moonlit pool. There, the chicken stopped in front of the largest bullfrog the librarian had ever seen. He took one look at the books the chicken was carrying and croaked, “Read it, read it, read it!”

Source: this joke was a portion of a children’s book, Book! Book! Book! by Deborah Bruss

A Jar By Any Other Name!

November 21, 2016

Next time you are thinking about using the word “jar,” here are a host of other words you could use instead.  Of course, each and every one of these will probably have a specific use, so you may just want to stick with “jar.”  Enjoy!

alabastron
albarello
amphora
aryballos
askos
cymaise
dolium
hydria
kalpis
lekythos
loutrophoros
pelike
pithos
potiche
psykter
stamnos

Source: http://www.dictionary.com and The Highly Selective Thesaurus for the Extraordinarily Literate by Eugene Ehrlich.