Monday, September 15, 2014

J is for Jalapena peppper

ABC Wednesday
September 17th, 2014
The letter is J - for Jalapena pepper

For the last dozen years the town of Keremeos has held 
Canada's only Sizzle Pepper Fest, - in September
when the peppers are hottest,
and the Jalapena is a great favourite.

This year's event takes place next Saturday.
It is free to the public and families enjoy a great day of fun, music and lots of food.

The day starts with a pancake breakfast, with musical entertainment,
and the music continues all during the day with various local
bands playing hot music.

Vendors offer pulled pork, Jamaican patties, fish and chips, burgers, enchiladas, tamales and other Mexican flavours, and an amateur chili cook-off starts serving at 11 a.m.

There is a hot sauce contest with celebrity judges with some of wine country's top chefs
as well as local sauciers entering their sauces.

But the main feature of the day is the Sear Factor Hot Pepper Eating Contest.

Behold - a video of last year's winning contestant!


For those not interested in eating the Jalapeno in its raw state
here is a very nice Cheddar and Jalapeno Biscuit Recipe.

Preheat your oven to 425F and in a large bowl whisk together one and one third cups of flour, one quarter cup of polenta or corn meal, three tablespoons of sugar, a half teaspoon
of salt, a pinch of cayenne pepper and two teaspoons of baking powder.

Stir in one and a quarter cups of grated cheddar cheese and two tablespoons of diced
fresh jalapenos (more or less to taste)

Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour 
three quarters of a cup plus two tablespoons of heavy cream.

With a light hand gently bring the ingredients together just until everything is wet enough so that the dough will be sticky and clumpy.  (Maybe you will have to add a few more drops of cream)

Turn the dough out on to a lightly flour surface, knead a few times,form it 
into a disc about three quarters of an inch thick, and cut round biscuit shapes out of the disk.

Brush the biscuits with a bit of cream and top them with a sprinkle of cheese.

Bake for eleven or twelve minutes until the cheese is nicely melted and the biscuits are golden!!!


For more interesting Js visit here at ABC Wednesday, with
thanks to Roger and Denise and Jolly helpers.....

Sunday, September 14, 2014

What's on my camera today??

We are having a magnificent spell of warm September weather.  Cool at nights, and a kind and gentle warmth in the day time, - not summer's fierce heat - just perfect for finishing off a splendid apple crop - the sun to size the apples by day and the coolness of the nights to add colour.

I took a few pictures off my camera today, - some from a few  days ago, and a couple of still life pictures (part of an assignment to compose "family pictures" with objects that called the person depicted to mind.

Here is one that speaks a little about my Mother - a petit point picture that she did in later years when
she was confined to a wheelchair, but the picture is mainly about her wedding.

The silken ribbon that tied together her wedding bouquet, a dried rose and a bit of fern (more than ninety years old) her pearls, a random earring that she wore when I was young and one of my father's cuff links, but what I most treasure is the booklet containing the Marriage Certificate and the whole of the Marriage ceremony.

I have made a little list of other precious things I have and pictures that I can put together in remembrance, - my Grandmother's wedding ring and her gold watch, a fan belonging to a great aunt,
my Father's house thermometer that Charles kept always by his bed,  his medals and a couple of books.  Letters and snapshots and old sheet music - I am very enthused about this project.

There were garden pictures on my camera too.  Sunflowers and roses and
 yellow daisies in abundance

And family who came to visit after closing up their summer home, bring with them TimBits and a wonderful Salmon Ball made from freshly caught salmon caught in the waters off the Queen Charlottes  And crackers on which to spread the salmon!

What wasn't on my camera?  
Pictures of a pleasant afternoon spent at tea with the Royal Purple, 
celebrating their Centennial, - at which the Senior Singers sang, and everyone joined in, and it was just a perfect friendly small town affair.  When I get some pictures I will post them....

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Inga Bean and the Ice Cream Tree

ABC Wednesday
September 10th, 2014
The letter is I - for the Inga bean and the Ice Cream Tree


Oh, do you know the Ice Cream Tree, the Ice Cream Tree
The Ice Cream Tree

Oh do you know the Ice Cream Tree, - it lives in Peru
and all sorts of other tropical places that are warm
and damp and swampy.

Any climate that does not dip below freezing is friendly to the Ice Cream Tree
(well, that makes sense!)  It has great appeal and is found in many of the warmer parts of the world.
Definitely not a desert tree it prefers shaded spots and finds the driest months
of summer too harsh.  The monsoon months of summer are much more soothing.

And it grows beans that quite often are at least a metre long and is also known
in some parts as the Inga Bean, and in other parts as the Pacay Tree.

Wonderful beans that are naturally perfectly packaged,  ready to delight as one devours them.

To eat them 'one has to break them like snapping a stick, which is relatively easy, and then peal back the sides.  The edible wedges can then be taken out one by one and eaten.  Each wedge contains a seed which separates cleanly from the fiber around it'.  

It is light and refreshing with a hint of vanilla and a mildly sweet flavor.

The tree itself is native to the Brazilian Amazon.  It grows along river banks,
has wide spreading branches and
bears beautiful white and yellow pom pom flowers when in bloom.
very fragrant and arranged in crowded heads, rich in nectar and
most attractive to bees and humming birds.

Besides providing delectable dessert the tree is medically inclined.
A concoction of the bark is favourable in treating
dropsy and bowel irritations, and provides a lotion for arthritis and rheumatism.

It improves sight, relieves coughing, and the seeds are a good source of protein

A wonderful shade tree, it is a strong wood and provides building
material for beams.   It produces a permanent mulch which encourages rooting.

And most importantly, although lacking in potassium and magnesium,
 it is "nitrogen fixed", providing nitrogen to the soil rather than taking it away.

Truly a friendly tree!!

For more interesting takes on the letter 'I' visit here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Roger, Denise and all iconic helpersw.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Wonderful busy-ness

Threatening rain, but I stop on my way down to the back garden where I must rescue cushions from the dampness by stuffing them in the garage....

I have just added one more welcome visit to this week's agenda, and I am so pleased with all the little notes I have made of things to do and people to see, I just had to stop and write it all down, here, in my first 'activity' posting since summer arrived and I started to vegetate with books and knitting and keeping thirsty pots satisfied.....

Today I will go and visit Margaret after a trip to the bank, and then on to a Museum meeting.

Tuesday I will take my knitting to visit with the crafty ladies at the Senior's Centre and on Wednesday dear family from the Fraser Valley will arrive for tea and orange muffins!

And then out for prawns at the Branding Iron with the regular seafood enthusiasts.

Thursday a baking session as I make a dessert for the Royal Purple Centennial Tea on Saturday, - recipe will follow.  It was introduced to the church and the community by Mrs. C., and also on Thursday I will be meeting with her daughters to arrange music for a Memorial service for her on the 20th.  I have been practicing 'Keep me in your heart awhile' as I have had advance notice that they would like this to be part of the service, - perhaps a postlude as the family departs?

Friday is the day for church bulletins and Altar Guild duties, and Saturday busy, busy, busy with this nice tea we are hosting for the community, - everybody welcome.  The Senior Singers will also be a melodious part of the afternoon...I do not have Charles' fine, sweet voice, but it is nice to share his friends in the group.

Somewhere in the week I have the offer of a Camera Drive with #3 son and that will be a treat.  I have not been down to investigate Ginty's pond for a long while, and although I had a lovely day with #4 son recently, when he was down from the Meadow, I didn't take as many pictures as I would have if the day had been sunny when we went to Summerland.

Well there, - I am infinitely grateful for September and renewed friendships, and here is that recipe I promised you.  Always a great attraction at teas, bazaars, fairs and other gatherings.

First of all you will need two sleeves of unsalted soda crackers, two packages of instant pudding mix (your choice of flavour - be creative even with vanilla) a litre of Cool Whip, thawed, four cups of milk and a 9x13 glass pan.

Beat the pudding and milk until smooth.

Line the bottom of the glass pan with crackers and spread one third of the pudding mix over top.

Add one third of the Cool Whip,  spreading it evenly.

Repeat this twice and then refrigerate for forty-eight hours.

Cut in squares on to a dessert plate and top with a fruit sauce of your choice, made thusly.....

Two cups of fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or any other berry or fruit your heart desires)
One cup of water, one half a cup of sugar and two tablespoons of cornstarch, cooked until thickened.

The texture of a French Napoleon and an enticing sweet sauce - bound to be a hit, and so easy!

Thursday, September 04, 2014


"Summer ends now; now, barbarous in beauty, the
Stooks arise
Around; up above, what wind-walks!  what
lovely behavior
Of silk-sack clouds!  Has wilder, willful-waiver
Meal-drift molded ever and melted across skies?"
Gerard Manly Hopkins, Hurrahing in Harvest 1918

and here is Hopkins with his marvelous poetic language and rhythm
and  above, the 'silk-sack' clouds that September
has brought with her to the Similkameen.

Today yesterday's clouds have all been blown away
and that special magic of blue skies and cooler air lures us outdoors,
me and Callie, the cat.

In the early morning the dew glistened 
in the light from the rising sun, but now the fading pots of flowers
are tired and thirsty, and they make me wonder if a trip 
to Don and Anna's nursery for a few plants to perk them up
and see them through Indian Summer would not be a
lovely way to spend the afternoon!

What wonderful energy September brings with it!
When we have tired of the heat and lethargy of August
September bursts upon us and suddenly even its first day
is full of anticipation.

Yesterday I made beautiful golden apricot jam first thing in the morning,
and then  finished spinning all the rolags I had prepared,
made more, spun them, reeled them off the wheel on to the swift,
tied the skeins, washed them and hung them to dry,
and this morning I wound them into a lovely ball,  full of plans for
comfy green socks, or an emerald scarf????

I have gathered together all my Wallace Stegner books to re-read,
starting with 'The Angle of Repose'.  Such a fine writer and one who 
has been an inspiration, I think, to others, such as Ivan Doig, and
probably even Wendell Berry.

Looking at my blank September calendar pages I begin to fill in dates
for a Royal Purple Centennial Tea, regular Wednesday morning singing 
and Tuesday afternoon knitting afternoons; dates for prawn suppers at the Branding Iron
and lunches with friends, monthly meetings - oh, it really
is a sweet and fulfilling month and one that lifts my spirits right into October
and then through the somberness of sad November.

I do not know if the seasons remember their history or if the days and
nights by which we count time remember their own passing.
I do not know if the oak tree remembers its planting or if the pine
remembers its slow climb toward sun and stars.

I do not know if the squirrel remembers last fall's gathering or if the
bluejay remembers the meaning of snow.
I do not know if the air remembers September or if the night remembers
the moon.

I do not know if the earth remembers the flowers from last spring or if
the evergreen remembers that it shall stay so.

Perhaps that is the reason for our births - to be the memory for creation.

Perhaps salvation is something very different than anyone ever expected.

Perhaps this will be the only question we will have to answer:
"What can you tell me about September?"

"September Meditation"  Burton D. Carley

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Honey Dew and Horseradish

ABC Wednesday
September 3rd, 2014

The letter is H
and the subject is Honey Dew and Horseradish

Such a contrast in taste - the honey dew so smooth, so sweet, so delicious -
 and the horseradish (to me, anyway) so challenging, so sharp, 
so satisfying to those who love it as the perfect condiment to roast beef!

Tewkesbury mustard, - favoured in the United Kingdom; a mixture of grated horseradish root and mustard.

In the United States Horseradish is combined with mayonaise, or with sour cream
 and served au jus with roast beef.

Common as well in Bloody Mary cocktails!!!!

In Japan Wasabi is now often made with Horseradish due to the scarcity of the Wasabi plant.

I find that there are 'Horseradish People' who love it with a passion,
 and 'Non-Horseradish people' who would just as soon pass it by and enjoy their roast beef
without its accompanying sharpness.  
The passionate people, however,  have a medical advantage as the Horseradish root 
contains great quantities of Vitamin C.......

On the other hand - who could not love the Honey Dew!!
The sweetest of all melons, 
with a hint of the taste of honey.  
Perfect as a dessert, sliced, or diced in a fruit salad.

 Or even in a Smoothie

1 1/2 cups of Honeydew
1 cup coconut milk
1 banana
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup of ice

Blend until smooth and enjoy!

For more takes on the letter H visit here at ABC Wednesday, 
with thanks to Roger, Denise and all helpers.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The last afternoon in August

I look askance at the sky.  There are clouds, but there is also blue sky and sunshine. 
 The air is cool and inviting.

I have brought the spinning wheel out of the corner it lives in, into a place of prominence.  It is draped with the icy green roving I bought from the Knotty Knitter,
 begging to be made into wispy nests of rolags to be spun.

The spirit moves me, - it even moves me with a yearning to be outside on this lovely last afternoon in August. So I gather lengths of roving in a basket, pick up the telephone and some music and put the 'out in garden' sign on the front door, - and I make myself comfortable on the rocking seat.  I tease out the first length of green fleece and roll it up into a pretty nest...

It starts to sprinkle, - only small drops and scattered.  I have faith, - surely the rain won't continue. 
Look at all that blue sky!!  Ah, but look at the dark cloud right above me.

It starts to rain more.  I gather up the roving and the phone, cover the pillows on the rocking seat with a small tarp, and retire to the garage to watch and wait. 

 I pull open drawers on Charles' work desk, where small things still remain, - I pick out a couple of tiny screwdrivers, a little hammer, a combination tape and level and a leather case with a pair of fold up steel pliers.  I place them in my basket to keep them/him closer and look again at the sky.  The shower has moved on, but will it be replaced by another??

Oh well, - perhaps I will spend the afternoon of the first day of September in the garden instead and continue with teasing my roving indoors.....

Two poems that today catch my eye and settle in my mind and heart.......

the first by Mary Chivers, entitled   'Late August'

It's as if we're always preparing
for something, the endless roll of the earth
ripening us.
Even on the most tranquil
late August afternoon when heavy heads
of phlox bow in the garden
and the hummingbird sits still for a moment
on a branch of an apple tree-
even on such a day
evening approaches sooner
than yesterday, and we cannot help
noticing whole families of birds
arrive together in the enclosure,
young blue birds molted a misty grey,
coloured through no will of their own
for a journey.
On such an evening
I ache for what I cannot keep - the birds,
the phlox, the late-flying bees -
though I would not forbid the frost,
even if I could.  There will be more to love
and lose in what's to come and this too: desire
to see it clear before it's gone.

And the second I find in the 2010 edition of 'The Best Spiritual Writing' ----

A Measuring Worm

by Richard Wilbur

This yellow striped green
Caterpillar, climbing up
The steep window screen,

Constantly (for lack
of a full set of legs) keeps
humping up his back.

It's as if he sent
By a sort of semaphore
Dark omegas meant

To warn of Last Things.
Although he doesn't know it,
He will soon have wings,

And I, too, don't know
Toward what undreamt condition
Inch by inch I go.

I have exhausted the stash of dinners put away in the freezer.  Too many lazy days, -
 but tonight I am going to cook!

Baked Salmon with celery, tomatoes, lemon and mushrooms
Potatoes Anna, and creamed cauliflower - well, maybe just cauliflower with a bit of cheese on it!

Depends upon how the spirit moves me - I
go a lot by 'spirit' these days!