Friday, December 31, 2010

My New Year's Eve plan is to fall asleep reading The Fourth Crusade, loaned to me by Charles the Brother. (Not Charles the Bird, aka Little Charles, Charlie Big Toes, and Charles Gore. Not to mention Punk.)

So if I don't post before then, I wish you all a happy, healthy, safe, prosperous, sweet new year.
I really don't need this weather today, as if I ever did.

UPDATED: Never mind. All past with hardly any rain.
My mama, on the other hand, ran her household like a drill sergeant. With seven kids to manage, she had to keep things in check. Five boys could have cleared her shelves in as many days.

She also used jelly glasses. Which I'd do if we ate that much jelly. Break or lose one, there's another in the refrigerator. Hard to make a set when you use up a jar of jelly in about three years.

Do they even sell jelly in glasses anymore?
My biggest peeve with the youngs of this household is that they don't respect the commons. Things -- glasses, towels, tools -- have a place and should be returned to that place for use in the future.

Glasses particularly. Oh, I (speaking for the house) own a set of water glasses if I can count those in cars, Natchez and Baton Rouge as a set. Kids don't even have to put them in the dishwasher. Just set them in the sink.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

For ten years, I've been dragging around a ratty checkbook with tatty corners because it was loose in my purse. And I always carried another checkbook with a cheap bank cover because It contained my ID and cards.

So I splurged this year.

Now I am in control of my destiny (at the very least, my appearance at the checkout counter), come hell or high water. We've had some of both at the coast during the past decade.

Monday, December 27, 2010

I am becoming my mother.

It's in the way I touch fabric, or lean over the dishwasher, or want to rip all the Christmas stuff out right NOW, because the season is over. Over, I'm telling you.

Time for a new year.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

In this day and time, people only get "Les Pauls" as gifts.

For you, James.

Merry Christmas!

Santa's welcome to come rest for a lacy nog after he helps the fathers in the neighborhood with the trampolines. Our sons expect them to be working until about 4 am. Maybe later.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

One of my guests is wearing Bulgari perfume. Right off, I'll say I favor her over the other persons in the house.
Christmas wisdom: responsible, home-owning 35- and 40-year-olds like $3 toys. Bingo was a hit.
Chef Tony, the rolls still aren't right.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Alrighty, then. I have my saf-instant yeast and my King Arthur Flour, so let's tackle this recipe for rolls again.

Time to step up now, guests coming Tuesday.

For Christmas, I want a checkbook cover for the beach account and to be successful at making these rolls. Santa can keep his sables, unless it grows colder.
Our young Texans will be passing through again on their way to Florida on Tuesday. They'll stay two nights. I like them.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My, that was a bracing walk across the parking lot to the pool this windy morning.

The morning or evening swim might become a habit when we're here in the future. Feels pretty good after working.

But I'm ready for the fireplace at home.

Friday, December 17, 2010

We are staying today. I have my suit. Sandra and I are going to swim (indoor pool), then we might have a Bloody Mary, and dinner tonight -- she has a disloyal boyfriend, a brother recovering from a severe motorcycle accident, and a case of the blues.

The girl needs some company. She's been lonely. Did I tell you that I like women? No, silly, not that way.

UPDATE: We've been taking care of details, but our first year renting through VRBO has given us a place in better shape than the rental company ever did. Our cleaners are better, and inventory is right on. I want to publicly thank the people who rented here for being so considerate. Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to you!

UPDATE: What a fool I have been. That was a lovely swim. Dummy, dummy girl.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

60 degrees this morning. How nice.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oh, for Pete's sake.

I was taking the tape down after I'd completed a repair to the bathroom ceiling popcorn when the tape stripped some paint off the walls. Out of respect for my dear readers, I'll not repeat what I said at the time.

At least the paint is here, unlike the gallon that I bought for the living room last time we were down.

Did someone take a hankering after Dover white walls? 'Cause it sure nuff ain't here.
40 degrees this morning. Much better. Expected high about 61.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Down at beautiful Orange Beach, Alabama, basking in a balmy temperature of 32 degrees. 22 last night. The snowbirds are threatening to move south.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Done, and done for.

The luncheon went fine. Now it's time to get ready for the second seating with a couple of young Texan visitors/overnight guests.

UPDATE: Do tell. We'd stocked in some commercial dressings in the event that Lyman's family didn't like the strong-tasting vinaigrette that we'd prepared. They loved it. His brother asked for the recipe.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I'm running low on elbow grease. Y'all have a good source?

Monday, December 06, 2010

Ray Charles and Betty Carter singing Baby, It's Cold Outside.

Decline the survey, play video at the bottom of the screen.
If it means getting off the floor, I refuse to do it today. But there are fifteen chairs worth of legs to be dusted, so I'm cool.

About those spoon rolls.

Goldy says, "Well, yeah!"

A lovely tender crumb that would be perfect with a dab of butter and jelly and a side of sausage. The baking powder is there, but not overwhelming. Less sweet than I thought. If you can't make rolls or biscuits (my hand is up), this is a way to go.

Not for this luncheon, but a possibility for a Christmas breakfast. Which will likely be around one o'clock.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Alrighty, then. On Friday we'll be serving the annual Christmas luncheon for Lyman's mother, his siblings and their spouses. The menu this year: shrimp cocktail, mixed green salad with black olive vinaigrette, deep-fried soft-shell crab with crawfish cream sauce, scalloped potatoes, and chocolate molten souffle. And whatever bread I can bake or buy.

If I live that long. I've been cleaning since past Friday.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Now I have plain white all-purpose flour, unbleached all-purpose flour, self-rising flour, cake flour, bread flour, whole wheat flour, rye flour and masa flour. Soon I'll have unbleached bread flour. And plain all-purpose yellow corn meal, because cornbread is the best.
Second batch is as lousy as the first. I'm retiring this recipe until the King Arthur supplies come in. I'm an okay baker and it puzzles me no end why it isn't working for me.

So, Goldy, you think we should try some spoon rolls? You know they'll be too sweet. But we're curious, aren't we?

We'll lay in some powdered milk and potato flakes, and try these tomorrow.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

A bit of interesting information from King Arthur Flour about how an "active baker's" kitchen has enough wild yeast about that bakers can reduce the amount of yeast they add to dough:
Basic flour-water-yeast-salt doughs (which may also contain a bit of oil and/or sugar), such as those for baguettes, focaccia and pizza, are the best candidates for an all-day countertop rise. Keep in mind, however, the vagaries of your own kitchen. If you bake bread all the time, your kitchen is full of wild yeast and any dough you make there will rise vigorously. If you seldom bake bread, or are just beginning, your kitchen will be quite “sterile;” your dough won’t be aided by wild yeast, and will rise more slowly than it would in a more “active” kitchen. We’ve found that here in our King Arthur kitchen, where we bake bread every day, we can cut the yeast back to 1/16 teaspoon in a 3-cup-of-flour recipe and get a good overnight rise. In a kitchen where bread is seldom baked, we needed 1/2 teaspoon of yeast to get the same effect. Use your judgment in rating your own kitchen as to “yeast friendliness.”

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Ummm, that didn't do so well on day one after mixing. Auntie Bear forgot to fold the dough a few times before shaping the rolls for final rise. Good flavor, though.

But Auntie is only baking four rolls at time, so she can practice.

UPDATE: Day two's look the same. I've emailed the baker for an opinion. That's an opinion other than "Girl, them's a mess."

UPDATE II: Frank from King Arthur's castle says I used the wrong yeast. He approves of my using active dry yeast bloomed in part of the water, then proceeding according to the recipe.

The recipe calls for instant yeast. Fleischmann's (what I can buy here) makes no distinction between instant yeast and their "Rapid Rise" yeast, but King Arthur's does.