29 April 2008

Tools of the trade....

I have decided that I am a baker.
I like to cook, but I am not the best cook.
I don't particularly like to grill, roast, sear (who would?), braise, boil, saute', or poach.
But I love to bake.
I bake from scratch about half the time. I also like to modify store-bought mixes. I add crazy stuff to mixes, sometimes it works (cherry filling in Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix) sometimes it REALLY doesn't (same filling in Duncan Hines Brownie mix, YUCK!).
I made a chocolate on chocolate cake for my mother's birthday. I loved to get out all of my "special tools", like the pink cake plate, the silverware and the dishes that my grandmother Bess always used on special visits.
These plates have little glass "beads" around the periphery, and the best part is they have matching Ice Tea coasters. What pray tell is a Ice Tea coaster?
Well if you come from the South you will immediately envision glass coasters that have a sort of rectangular outgrowth to one side, that is the place that you would put your Ice Tea Spoon, once you have stirred in the sugar.
Now, the reality is that most Southerners don't bother too much with all that. We know intuitively that our guests really just want "Sweet Tea", but in deference to the odd stranger, or perhaps someone with a medical need to avoid sugar, we sometimes will not dump the 3-4 cups of sugar into the brewed elixir of the Gods.
Sometimes strangers wonder out loud "How in the world do you people stand this sickeningly sweet stuff?".
Well, there is an answer for that.
Have you ever eaten an abundance of fried food, say fried fish (at the fish camp or Calabash, NC) or a ton of BBQ (eastern, western or Lexington, I do not discriminate).
Well, if you have, you know that at some point your mouth is going to become a little, let's say, sticky. Want to cut the stick?
Sweet Tea! It does the trick.
Another theory is that many years ago, when we did not have air conditioning (truly a gift from God!) in most homes, as I didn't growing up, one needed something cool and invigorating to get you thru the hot evenings out on the porch.
Sweet Tea! Again.
So, unless you have personally lived thru a summer in the South with out A/C in your home, or most of the stores you frequent, don't knock it.

28 April 2008

Favorite things......

I am spoiled beyond belief.
My husband makes my coffee EVERY morning.
He meets me at the bottom of the stairs, smiling....and hugs me, kisses me and tells me he loves me, and asks (as though, he doesn't know) if I would like a cup o' joe.
"Yes" says I.
And off we go...
He to the coffee station, in our smaller than the average kitchen, and I stumble to the living room, hoping to wake sometime this century.
Soon, really soon, he rounds the corner with a steaming cup of heaven, and sweetly deposits it within reach, but not too close, as I am clumsy before noon.
I love all this attention.
I am a Leo after all.
Eight O' clock coffee (brand) is the freaking best. We buy the beans and grind them every morning. We are so adamant about this, that we take our own "coffee stash" with us when ever we travel.
Did I say that I am spoiled?
I love roses. I really love yellow roses, that climb. These are the first that I have picked this year. They smell like sweet butter.
I love Honey. Not in my coffee, but in my tea.
I love spring, not just because it puts an end to winter, but because things start to grow again. Take this Basil for instance, it is so fragrant that I can smell it as soon as I come down the stairs. Summer is on the way and basil will be growing like crazy in my garden. What is better than a fresh ensalada of tomato, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar?
I love my life.....