Thursday, May 28, 2009

I am all about seasonal cooking. And as far as the fiscal year of seasonal cooking goes, to me it all begins with Rhubarb. It's what nature hands us as we are waiting for something that we can pick and eat. I adapted this recipe from an issue of Fine Cooking(it originally called for cranberries) and even if you aren't a rhubarb fan, I think you will love this bar cookie as much as I do.
And you can just as easily substitute raspberries, or blueberries or yes---cranberries too.
Rhubarb Streusel Shortbread Bars
For the crust and topping
1 cup plus 5 TBL unsalted butter-melted and cooled to warm
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp table salt
2 large egg yolks
3 cups plus 3 TBS flour
For the Filling
12 oz rhubarb or other fruit-diced
1 cup sugar.
Make the crust. Stir together butter, 3/4 cup of sugar and salt. Whisk in egg yolks. Stir in flour to make a stiff dough. Transfer 2 cups dough to greased 13 x 9 pan and press evenly into bottom(I used a buttered flat bottom glass). Prick the dough all over with a fork to prevent shrinkage. Refrigerate pan for 30 mins OR freeze for 9 mins till firm. Bake 325 for 20 mins till crust begins to set(center will not be firm).
While crust is baking take remaining dough and work in 1/4 cup sugar with your fingers till crumbly for topping.
Filling------In medium saucepan cook rhubarb, sugar and 1/4 cup water to a boil and then reduce heat to med and continue to cook till liquid reduced. While the fruit is cooking, I stirred and mashed it with a potato masher. Cook till soft and then cool for 10 mins.
Spread filling over hot crust and scatter struesel over the fruit. Don't crumble the streusel too much or it will be to fine. Increase oven temp to 350 and bake for about 25 mins. If streusel starts to get too brown, cover with foil.
Cool on metal rack at least 1 hour until firm Sooooo good

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This side garden has really come into it's own this year----and it is a satisfying feeling because I remember the time when I was ready to pull it out and plant grass seed. The Giant Alliums are just what it needed to give it some vertical interest--and they look great against the bluish leaves of the Hosta. I am going to "cheat" a little when they lose the blooms. Once the flowers are gone, the woody starlike skeleton will remain---and I am going to spray paint it lilac. Why not? I learned that trick at Toledo Botanical Gardens and if a botanical garden can spray paint flowers, so can I.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Remember----Memorial Day is more than just a 3 day weekend(althought that is great too). Remember----our armed forces and pray for their safe return. Have a great day.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's been a great weekend so far--and what is even better is knowing there is still one more day left! So far this weekend, we-------

1. Planted our garden and are still finding new plants to fill the vacant spots. Along with the old standby tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, brussel sprouts, zucchini and onions we added cauliflower, broccoli, cantelope and cabbage.
2. Went to a family wedding and visited with some wonderful cousins. Here is a pic of my cousin Mariska and her wonderful son, Joseph from Arizona. The last time I saw him was about 10 years ago and he has grown into a wonderful young man.
3. Went to Flower Day at the Market and bought some herbs to plant. Now I am trying to decide where to create an herb garden.
4. Started to sew some cotton skirts using vintage material I found in my Mom's attic. My favorite is a black and white print with French landmarks on it. I am hoping it turns out!
5. Stopped into Black Swamp Quilt Shop near my house and fell in love with all the beautiful fabric. Plan on taking quilt classes in the fall.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Matt and Kellie are making a garden at my Mom's farm, which makes Matt a 3rd generation farmer on Toth Farms. The newbies planted 20 tomato plants!!!!They have reconciled themselves to the fact they will be canning all summer. And it was a great opportunity for Magglio to get his excercise---galloping from one end of the yard to the other!! They didn't quite appreciate his running through the garden, however.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Our younger son Adam is turning 25 today. It is kind of sad to be separated by your child on their birthday--but he is good company in Indiana with Jonelle. I just know he will like this picture of Magglio wishing him a Happy Bithday. Especially since Adam does not understand the merits of this dog. He calls him High Maintanance or Maggli-Oh-No. But----

It is also our 31st anniversary today----and to celebrate we are going to our favorite restaurant in Findlay---Revolver!


Tuesday evening thoughts

1. I cannot get enough of Coldplay's Viva La Vida. I play it constantly
2. Don't you love it when you start to read a book and are hooked by the first paragraph. That is what happened to me when I started Left to Tell-Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza

3. The thing about Perennials is they force you to be patient. Check out the gorgeous quilted leaf on the Hosta picture. That plant is now 3 years old and is gorgeous. But you just have to plant them and be patient-----in 3 years you will have a stunner!!

4. Life would be dull without picture phones. So far tonite, I sent Dan, who is golfing a picture of the dog, Matt who is at the Tiger game a picture of my TV with the Tigers on and Adam, a picture of the dog.
5. Hockey is just as fun to listen to on the radio as watch on TV.

OK that is enough rambling for tonite.

Monday, May 18, 2009

This was pretty much my weekend.

1. A pic of my brother who was in town for Lourdes College Graduation, to give the Commencement address and recieve an Honorary Doctorate degree. It's always good to have a doctor in the family!

2. Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam and also a batch of Rhubarb Apple Jam

And looking forward----weather in the 80's this week.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Farmer Dan and his trusty assistant went vegetable plant shopping for our garden! Never go shopping on an empty stomach rings true for seedlings too! This pic was taken 2 minutes into our excursion!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

We are wet noodles this evening---and by "we" I mean the dog and I. A windy, rainy storm rolled through in the wee hours of the morning and I spent my sleep time cradling a shivering, scared dog. Dan slept very well, thank you. But I did notice my Iris's are bursting onto the scene and I managed to gather a bit of strength to take a picture. Magglio is asleep on the floor.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I haven't been this excited about something since---well, since I got my Ipod and before that my digital camera(do you see a trend here, it's true I am a technophile). But this Kindle is so exciting. ALL my reading material is with me all the time. I really don't like the "skin" I put on it but decided to leave it on through the suntan lotioned fingers season to protect it. I took a pic of it next to my knitting----they both live in my purse whenever I leave the house!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Jonelle. I just thought she would appreciate knowing we are celebrating her birthday in Ohio. Well---I have a department meeting tonite and Dan is golfing but still. We do have a birthday cake tile on our calendar for her though!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Say it ain't so!! I went to the library today and the librarian told me(with a sad look on her face) that they are going to automated checkout!! That just doesn't seem right! We don't just check out our books, for pete's sake---I ask for recommendations or discuss what we've read! The librarians are like family! OK--I know I have been using my Kindle to read novels but I still use my library for cookbooks etc!!! What is next?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Naturally, I've been thinking a lot about my Mom today--and went through some pictures I had of her. Here is my gorgeous Mom holding her firstborn daughter Connie, near her Mom's gravesite on Mother's Day. Sadly, her Mom, my grandmother died shortly after Connie was born. This pretty baby died before I was born----at the age of 11 of a brain tumor. Such sadness in my Mom's life and this was only the beginning--as my Dad died 2 years after Connie. But-------my strong Mother went on and raised 3 children as a single Mom while working in a music store. No---she didn't know anything about music when she was hired but acquired a great deal of knowledge and provided piano lessons for my brother and I . In retrospect, I am so in awe of her-----our home was filled with love and happiness and now I wonder how she carried on with that sorrow inside of her. I was so lucky to have such a strong, beautiful Mom.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

If you know what I'm singin about up here, come on raise your hand--Purple Rain Purple Rain --I only want to see you-see you in the Purple Rain--------Prince
Went outside early to get the paper and saw this sweet smelling carpet windfall from the Flowering Crab tree. The dog rolled in it---but you certainly didn't want to see a picture of that!

Friday, May 8, 2009


Here's the view looking out our sunroom window and from outside looking in. It is a Pocahontas Lilac and it was a Mother's Day present several years ago. The intention was for it to provide cutting flowers but it is too luscious to cut these beautiful blooms---and they smell so good when the window is open.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I think most Mothers can relate to this Monkey. We were watching her last Sunday at the zoo, swing around the perimeter of her area. And then we noticed her baby trying get her attention. You know, like when you are on the phone or engrossed in a book and your precious child demands to be tended to. Anyway, Mom would give it a few moments attention, plop it down, scurry away and hide. You know, like when you hide in a closet away from your precious baby with a candy bar(I NEVER did that-----I am just saying) Happy Mother's Day!

Here's to Mothers everywhere---and those that will be a Mom someday----and those that were born to Mothers---I think that takes in everybody. I dedicate this to you. I made this sampler for my Mom maaaaany maaaaany years ago and recently removed it from her stairway wall. I loved it when I made it and still do--although some may think it is a little kitschy----the funny little people always make me smile. So-----Moms and offsprings of Moms--------enjoy!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Happy Cinqo De Mayo. Actually--this was taken at the Toledo Zoo on Tres de Mayo.

And then--------after the birthday party we met downtown and wandered around Artomatic 419 and ended up----in a glass blowing studio!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

It all came together (and the large Gross family all came together too) for a wonderful 90th birthday party for Dan's mom, Lana. The road to this party started many many months ago and had to be postponed last February after the guest of honor broke her hip. But the months of planning resulted in a wonderful celebration celebrated by family and friends. And-----in attendance was the Catcher, Pitcher and 1st Baseman of the Clay High School Class of 1937 Varsity baseball team. The first picture is Dan and his siblings with the guest of honor followed by the party taken from above. I love the paper lanterns. And finally, the birthday song was sung by a chorus of Great Granchildren.