Sunday, May 17, 2015

Rhubarb Crumb Bars

It’s rhubarb season!! Although most people use a knife, I go out with my trusty little Fiskars garden shears and cut it. 


This recipe comes from one I found on Martha Stewart’s page

Rhubarb Crumb Bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8x8 or 9-inch round pan with cooking spray.

Streusel:
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour

Whisk together butter, sugar, and salt. Add flour and mix with a fork until large crumbs form. 

Cake:
Mix: 1/2 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 



with 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 cup flour.

In another bowl mix: 
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

In the electric mixer mix:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
turn down speed and add the flour mixture.

Spread batter in prepared pan


Sprinkle with rhubarb 


and top with streusel


Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes. 



This was really great! You could substitute strawberries for some of the rhubarb, but this first time I wanted to try it with just rhubarb. You may top it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if you wish. I am amazed at how very many rhubarb recipes there are, and a fair few of them may be found under the 'recipes' tab! 

Lots more foodie subjects at Weekend Cooking.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Today's Poem by Robert Frost

Spring Pools

These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on. 

The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods -
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday. 

Robert Frost

photo taken by Tom on April 28

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

One year old today!

Here is Campbell Walker at his birthday party on Sunday. The theme was Where The Wild Things Are. He stayed dressed in his Max outfit for about a minute!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Year with Mrs. Appleyard - April


This month’s entry is purely whimsical - a story told to her by man who heard it from his cousin who knew a cousin of the man who cut down the overgrown forsythia bushes at the Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, outside of Boston. Though she suspects it isn’t true, 
when she likes a story she never investigates it. 
Mrs. Appleyard loves forsythias, and 
wonders how people got along in the world before William Forsyth brought this flowering shrub from China. Without the yellow starred sprays that droop over walls, without the tangled thickets that catch the sunlight and hold it, without the patches that seem like sunshine itself on gray days, the time before the leaves come would be bleak indeed.
The forsythias of the story were “so old that they had grown into each other.” When the flowers went by, the leaves filled the branches, “thick enough to keep out rain and hot sun.” The man who passes along this tale said that when the bushes were cut down, they found a whole family of Italians living there. “My cousin says it was their summer cottage.”

Well, Mrs. Appleyard takes such a fancy to this notion that she begins to invent a whole life around this family, which she calls, fittingly enough, the Forsythia family. They lived in the North End of Boston the rest of the year, and settled in their forsythia ‘cave’ during the hot summer months. Some of them worked in the city, and would leave the Arboretum when the gates opened in the morning. Mr. Forsythia kept a fruit and vegetable shop, and 
Doubtless he would often bring home a bag of bananas or tomatoes. They would ripen splendidly in the pleasant twilight and even temperature of the cave.
They did their washing at the edge of the pond. The older son “that rising young stonemason” builds a fireplace upon which his mother “makes an especially succulent variety of spaghetti.” An older daughter worked in a beauty shop and brought home bread.
In fact, the whole thing was idyllic and Mrs. Appleyard thinks it was a great pity that the shrubs were ever cut down. However, they are responding to their pruning and perhaps in a few years …
And thus ends the April installment. What a lovely little children’s book this would make, with delightful illustrations of the Forsythia family and their home and activities. I was utterly enchanted.

You may read about the Arnold Arboretum here. And though this photo is not from the Arboretum, it gives me the feeling that a cozy home could be made underneath the tangle of branches.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hopscotch

How do I explain why I love this 1980 movie so much? I must have seen it when it first came out, but since then I haven’t gone looking for it, or even remembered it particularly. But a while ago I watched it, and then watched it again, and again, and then finally bought the DVD. 

I think one of the reasons I love it is that the hero, Miles Kendig, played by Walter Matthau, is always in control. There is never a moment in the film when he is outsmarted or thwarted or in danger. Another reason the movie is so appealing is takes place in some beautiful locations - Salzburg, London, the English countryside, Savannah, and Munich.

Kendig is a savvy ex-CIA agent who decides to write his memoirs when the agency demotes him to an office job. He reconnects with an old girlfriend, played by Glenda Jackson. They have one of the best on-screen relationships ever. They really understand and deeply love one another. 



The movie is fast-paced and funny and relaxing because we know that Matthau will come out on top. Now that I have the DVD, I watch it as often as I like, and I never, ever tire of it. The cast is excellent, and Matthau’s son and step-daughter are also in the film which makes for a little extra fun. 

David Matthau, Herbert Lom, Ned Beatty, Sam Waterston


Another treat is that Kendig is a Mozart fan so there is a lot of beautiful music. There’s a great deal of humor - some slapstick and some intellectual and I love it all. 

Here are a couple quotes from the movie that I found interesting. 

At one point there is a discussion about how many publishers are in London, and the answer was
A dozen or so major houses. Perhaps 30 or 40 small presses.
I wonder how many there are now. I’d guess a lot fewer.

And there's a funny line spoken by Isobel -
An American without ice in his drink is unthinkable, if not unconstitutional.
This is certainly true of all the Americans I know, but not this one. I never put ice in my cosmo. 

You may read a great review of Hopscotch here. And you may watch it on Hulu Plus.

If you buy the DVD, there is a wonderful conversation with the writer of the book, which won the Edgar Award in 1976, Brian Garfield and the director of the film Ronald Neame who says that Hopscotch "didn’t get very good reviews but it was tremendously popular."

Here is the trailer


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pictures of Bee-bim Bop

For this week’s Weekend Cooking



I thought I’d offer pictures my kids posted on Instagram of their versions of Bee-bim Bop, based on the children's book I wrote about here. The suppers were a huge success!

Michael's


Margaret's