Friday, February 20, 2009

Kitchen Remodel

OK. Monday, 23 February, is the start of this major project! Below are some drawings of the project.

Overhead view of the kitchen.

Elevation view of the major appliances: Stove, Microwave, Exhaust Hood (West Wall) and Refrigerator (South Wall)
The Sink (North Wall) and the placement of the Dishwasher. Note the cabinets and drawer space.

These last two views are overhead views and placement views.

What you don't see is the Sky Light, LED lighting under the cabinets, the Ceiling Lights , the new flooring and the Pot Rack.

It is said that it will be completed in one week. I hope so, but one must always be ready for the unexpected in a house that was built 104 years ago - it's one of the "perks" of owning an old house. We are trying very hard to keep the design and appearance in the ambiance of the early 1900's. Joe Levitch, our contractor, is working very hard to keep this in mind and to keep us in line. He is succeeding! Wish us luck! I had promised some Fasnachts for Shrove Tuesday, but I really don't think that will happen this year.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Dinner 2009

It never ceases to amaze me as to how exciting it is to prepare a meal for family and then have friends drop in and eat with us. So it was this Valentine's Day Dinner.

Of course, the dinner is in honor of Robin and Marnie!
And Mac was there too. But to our delight and surprise, Geno and Debra arrived - to try some of his bread and to return a paella pan he had borrowed. When they called, I didn't tell them we were about to eat dinner. But then I knew they both liked wine and lamb. We were glad to have them.

And some of the wine. A 1977 Diamond Creek, Volcanic Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, on the left. And on the right, a 1973 Joseph Swan Vineyards Zinfandel. Both of these wines from our cellar.

Crown Roast of Lamb with a 1992 Moscato d'Asti Tintero. An awesome combination.
Lamb with Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegar Reduction, Brown Rice with Scallions and Mushrooms and Mashed Root Vegetable Combination. Such an awesome dinner and easy to prepare. It just takes some time.

But then, Robin made this terrific and succulent Chocolate Torte. This went well with a 1970 Croft Porto Vintage Port.

Such a great day and dinner! Great women! Great friends! Great food! Thank-You to everyone who participated. Wonder what we'll have for Easter Dinner. It's a little way to go before Easter is upon us, so we have time to plan this dinner out.

Friday, February 13, 2009


OK, you say, what is a "Fasnachts"? And as my Dad or his Mother would say, "You get to soon oldt and to late schmart!" so here is some information on Fasnachts. (It's really a family tradition for me - Robin does not like to make them because it takes a long time.)

"Fasnachts, Fastnachts or Faschnachts are a fatty doughnut treat served traditionally on Fastnacht Day, the day before Lent starts. Fasnachts were produced as a way to empty the pantry of lard, sugar, fat and butter, which were forbidden during Lent. Some English-speaking Protestants tend to refer to the day as Shrove Tuesday, and many consume pancakes as an alternative.
The German word Fasnacht literally translates as "chamfering night". Authentic fasnachts are typically cut into squares or rectangles, producing a chamfered edge, as opposed to doughnuts which are round with holes in the center.
In parts of Maryland, the treats are called Kinklings, and is only sold in bakeries on Shrove Tuesday. The German version is made from a yeast dough, deep fried, and coated or dusted in sugar or cinnamon sugar; they may be plain, or filled with fruit jam. Pennsylvania Dutch fasnachts are often made from potato dough, and may be uncoated, or powdered with table sugar or dusted with confectioner's sugar.
The term now is synonymous with the Carnival season in southern Germany, Switzerland, Alsace and Austria. Although usually written "Fastnacht", there are many local spoken varieties Fasnacht, Fassenacht, Fasnet etc.

Depending on where you are from the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday has different celebrations but one thing they all have in common is food. Fausnaught is the German word for Donut, Paczi is the Polish equivalent, Pounchki (punchki) is also Polish Version, but in any event we all go out and get our Carb load before the fasting associated with Lent. What any of this has to do with Sexy Girls taking off their shirts I don't know, but if you load up on Paczki's you will be quite large, as a traditionally made Paczki Calories can run you well over 800 a piece. More modern versions may actually be better for you as they would not be made with Lard, and Egg Yolks only. So "Laissez les bons temps rouler!" which is cajun/French for Let the Good times Roll. Or in this case Donut.


Makes 50 fasnacht

¼ cup warm water
1 pkg. yeast
2 tbsp. sugar
2½ cups lukewarm milk
4½ cups flour
4 eggs, beaten
½ cup lard, melted
1 cup sugar
dash of salt
5 ½ cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water.
Mix next three ingredients together, then add to yeast mixture. Set in warm place and let rise overnight.
In the morning add next four ingredients. Add last batch of flour slowly; it may not all be needed. Dough should be sticky but able to be handled.
Let rise until doubled, approximately 2 hours.
Roll out and cut with biscuit or doughnut cutter, with or without a center hole. Let rise 1 hour.
Deep fry in hot oil at 375 degrees for several minutes, turning until brown on both sides.

Among the PA Germans, Shrove Tuesday (day before Ash Wednesday) is known as Fassnacht Day (night before the fast). In a symbolic effort to rid their homes of leavening agents and to feast before Lent, many PA Germans cooks spend part of their day making Fassnachts. The cakes are made of yeast dough, and tradition requires that they be shaped in squares or rectangles, with slits cut in them."

I think this year I will make some.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Boise's Celebration of Mr Lincoln's Birthday

On 12 February, Boise celebrated Abraham Lincoln's birthday. Such a good celebration. A life-size statue of Mr Lincoln - the only one like this in the West - was unveiled. But, the City of Boise was competing with the arrival of Vice-President Joe Biden who was honoring the Special Olympics.

The statue stayed covered until just the right time.

The late afternoon shadows and light make a wonderful contrast in the image.

At every party, there is food! I tried to get a piece of cake, but the line was long. So I ate BBQ Meat Balls and Chicken Strips along with a Vegetable Plate. They also had Pasta and Chips and Natchos.

The capitol is being renovated until 2010. The inside is being completely re-done and brought up to code. The House and Senate areas are all going under-ground (no pun intended).

And yes, it was cold today and it lightly snowed, even though it does not look snowy in some of these photos. But the crowd was energetic and up-beat. But why this statue? It was originally given to the State of Idaho on February 12, 1915 and it was at the Veterans Home. It was decided that all citizens of Idaho should have the opportunity to view it, so it has been moved to be part of the Capitol Renovation Project.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Salute to Robert Burns

On 31 January, Robin and I attended the birthday party for Scotland's National Poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796). We had a great time.

Thanks to all who participated and to Mairi and Guy for hosting the event and spending countless hours in the kitchen preparing "The Farin'".

The Farin'

The Selkirk Grace

Colonial Consomme

Smoked Trout Salad

Address to the Haggis (Jim Davidson)
"Haggis, warm 'n reekin, wi' neeps and tatties and wee dram.."

Stirk Stew
w' Poppyseed Dumplings

The Immortal Memory (Mairi)

Toast to the Lassies (Don)
The Response (Carolyn)

Tipsy Laird

Tales From 250 Years Ago

Kebbuck 'n Oatcakes

Port and Anither wee dram

Tea and Coffee

Auld Lang Syne

Such and awesome experience. If you would like to see all of the photos, look at Our Retirement Blog. There are several.