Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mr. Hawthorne!

Mr. Hawthorne's birthday is today and I'm taking time out from hurricane clean up to bake him a cake. Plus I'm dog-tired after working for three days cleaning up. I needed a break. Will resume clean up tomorrow.
He requested his favorite cake - my Pineapple Cake, which is unquestionably the easiest, quickest, and one of the best cakes I've ever made. Pineapple Cake 2 cups flour 2 cups sugar 2 tsp baking soda 2 eggs, beaten. 1 20-oz. can of crushed pineapple Mix dry ingredients. Add in beaten eggs and crushed pineapple with juice. Pour batter into greased 9 x 13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
Dry ingredients are mixed. Eggs are beaten. Crushed pineapple on deck.
Add in beaten eggs to dry ingredients.
Dump in the pineapple.
Mix well and pour into a buttered 9 x 13 pan.
Batter is ready and the oven hasn't even heated up yet. That's how quick this recipe is. And this is NOT my personal best time.
Bake at 350 degrees. Ready in 35 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
Cream cheese frosting. 1 package cream cheese, softened 1 cup powdered sugar 1 TB vanilla Mix all together. Wrong! My original recipe called for an additional 1 stick of softened butter and 2 cups powdered sugar, instead of 1. I forgot the butter, but the frosting didn't suffer at all, except for not having enough of it.
I realized the icing did look a bit thin when I spread it on, so if you make this, which I heartily recommend, use 1 package cream cheese, 1 stick butter, 2 cups confectioners sugar, and 1 TB vanilla. Don't forget the buttah!
Mr. Hawthorne's birthday present arrived yesterday. I have another present ordered and I do hope it comes in today.
It's a new, larger pizza stone to replace the one Mr. Hawthorne broke last month. Hope you had a happy day, Mr. Hawthorne. And the Hawthornes wish a very happy birthday to Zzzadig, as well. Happy Birthday, Zzzadig!

Rosie Makes A Strawberry, Kiwi, And Basil Granita.

After a day of working in the yard
 picking up branches, limbs, debris,
 and random floatables from Hurricane Irene,
 it's nice to come inside and have a refreshing granita on hand.
I'm taking a much needed break from hurricane cleanup
 and preparing a strawberry, kiwi, and basil granita with a twist.
 The basil adds an unexpected savory note to this granita
 and the peppered balsamic vinegar,
lightly drizzled over top,
 offers a well-rounded tangy component.

Strawberry, Kiwi, And Basil Granita
1/2 cup water
1 /4 cup sugar
1 heaping cup hulled strawberries, sliced
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
small handful of fresh basil leaves
juice of 1 lemon
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar freshly
cracked black pepper
pinch of sea salt
 Make your simple syrup by combining water and sugar
in a small saucepan over medium high heat
. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and cook,
stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves.
 Remove from heat and let cool.
 In a processor, combine strawberries,
 kiwi, basil, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
 Process until thoroughly combined.
Pour into 8 x 8 inch baking pan and place in freezer.
 Every twenty or thirty minutes,
 fork the icy edges into the middle to incorporate.
 Spread the mixture evenly and place back in the freezer.
 Continue with this process every 30 minutes or so for about 2 hours.
 For the Balsamic Vinegar:
In a small bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar
 with a liberal amount of freshly cracked black pepper and a pinch of sea salt.
Stir to combine.
Give the granita a scant drizzle over top
and garnish with a small sprig of basil and kiwi and lime slices.
I love the pattern in a kiwi.
Combine the strawberries and kiwi.
Add the lemon juice.
Add in the basil leaves.
Add in the cooled simple syrup.
Pour into a glass baking dish.
 Do the 30 minute rakey thingie for about 2 hours.
And serve.
I always like to garnish.
I used kiwi slices, strawberry slices,
and a purple Thai basil flower top.

Apply but a slight drizzle of the balsamic vinegar mixture.

Take a hurricane clean up break. Sit back, relax, and enjoy. Your body will appreciate this.

The Good Lord Works In Mysterious Ways.

This is what I saw when I opened my front door this morning. And I just about lost it.
Just in case you missed the original post about the heads, here it is.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What Rosie Did Today. And It Was Not Fun.

Is today Tuesday? I really don't know at this point. If it is, then I spent Monday and Sunday cleaning up most of the branches, limbs, and debris in the yard. I'm oblivious to time right now, except I realized a little while ago that tomorrow is Mr. Hawthorne's birthday. I'm in the middle of hurricane clean up and Mr. Hawthorne is selfish enough to throw in a birthday. The nerve. OK. Just checked my calendar and indeedy it is Tuesday, August 30, 2011. Before I show you what I accomplished today, I have to mention what semi-disasters like this do to neighbors. We band together. We help each other out. We talk. We joke. We laugh. Because we need to. We need each other. And everyone gives their all. Friends and neighbors come to help you. It's a beautiful thing. And something I appreciate very much. The camaraderie is wonderful and uplifting. I've met so many lovely, hardworking people. They're out here scavenging. In people's crap. I believe they get $250 a load for scrap metal, dishwashers, water heaters, washers, dryers. Steel is in big demand. I'm keeping all the copper we have. People are in pain for cash. They're combing the area for $$$$$$.
Here's the swan that swam into my yard. Hopefully, his owner will see him in my front yard and reclaim him.
I found this waterlogged pamphlet from Main Street Methodist Church in Danville, Va.
Guess who this little cherub in the middle is. I remember Mama Hawthorne cut my hair. She would comb my bangs down my forehead, apply a length of scotch tape where she wanted to cut, and would snip exactly along the tape line. I always hated my bangs. She did this until I was in the 10th grade, I think. I rebelled at that point. And I've been a renegade ever since.
I found this Quarterly Conference Records book from 1878-1882. With the beautiful handwriting artistry.
This is my before carport. In the very back on the right hand side where you can't really see it, there's a huge pile-up, both vertically and horizontally, of an assortment of lumber/molding/pickets/ peg board/cork board/ad nauseum/ad finitum, which Mr. Hawthorne has saved since the house was built in 1987. Just in case he needs them for a project. His last "project" was 15 years ago.
I know. I know.
Rosie is a freakin' slob.
The extra door has been there since 1989. Two years after we built the house, the front door, which is now the side door (We added on.), got a slight crack in it. We informed the supplier and they gave us a new door. So all of this is NOT Rosie's fault. Others are to blame too.
Rosie had a whole slew of slobs contributing.
Slowly, but surely, I'm cleaning up.
Dixie is curious about this new space.
Everything is going outside.
Lookie! Progress!!
Click the pic and check out those lovely rose-colored glass lamps from Mama Hawthorne's. I didn't even know they were packed down there. Need to get Mr. Hawthorne to rewire them since they were underwater.
My front yard is starting to look like Sandford and Son's.
My trash pile in the cul de sac is growing.
Rosie takes time out to relax in her beach chair and read Mama Hawthorne's waterlogged cookbooks.
Check out my carport now! Only eight hours worth of work. Sprayed, bleached, and brushed. You know what? I might just pressure spray this tomorrow. I'm very excited. I can actually get my truck in here now. My truck has never seen the inside of my carport.
Still a muddy mess outside.
Check out Rosie's plaques. I told you I used to be a photographer in another life.
I'm trying to dry out books on the hood of the trucks.
My trash pile is piling up. I can't tell you how happy I am to throw this crap out.
My trash pile groweth.
Neighbor's crap.
My driveway.
This book was high and dry. I've started reading it.