Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I can tell that we are gonna be friends.

(By the way, this came on while we were at Jane's for the Bridesmaid Luncheon).
I noticed on Centre College's Facebook page today that new students arrived on campus this week. This means that almost exactly 15 years ago, I walked into Yerkes 306 and met the girl who would become my best friend, the one with whom I would travel the world, the one who I watched walked down the aisle of a beautiful chapel in an elegant, but simple, dress, on the arm of her equally lovely mother this past weekend.  Of all the things I'm grateful for in my life, my friendship with Caroline is undoubtedly one of the most cherished.
San Francisco
Chicago - Lollapalooza
San Francisco
Salzburg, Austria
Prague, Czech Republic
Chicago (pre-Avett Brothers show)
Lucerne, Switzerland
When I have wedding photos, I will do a follow-up post.  Trust me, you'll want to see a recap of this lovely, lovely day. For the time being, you might want to check out Deborah Marcero's page (wedding photographer), an overview of Bond Chapel (wedding location), or one of the two past Pillow Book entries also about Caroline.
And this pretty much sums up our friendship: "I love that the day we met Angela Rosengart, friend and subject of Picasso, in one of my favorite museums I've ever been in, was the same day we watched Jersey Shore in German on the red leather sofa in our awesome B&B loft."

Monday, August 5, 2013

On corn.

Listening to my grandmother talk about "getting Pop's corn 'started'" may have been the highlight of this unusually comfortable (temperatures hovering around 80 degrees in southern Kentucky, dropping to the "coolish" range in the evenings) first August weekend.  Although relatively uneventful by most peoples' standards, it was a nevertheless a weekend that those same folks would likely say "looked like me" (I realize NO ONE would ever be talking about this and/or be prompted to offer said melodramatic description), one filled with both vegetables and pies, antiques and giant carved gorillas alike, work and some unnecessary piddling in good measure. 

After a day of moving and teacher orientations, my sister and brother-in-law joined me for supper on Friday night.  Take-away point: cheap, mass-produced, artificial flavor-filled, Fudge Bars from Houchens are a nice compliment to White Zinfandel.  Saturday started with our farmers' market, concluded with a family dinner and outdoor-fireplace-sitting at Turner Farm, and library duty and 127 Yard Sale exploration were nestled in between.  Take-away point: neat, eclectic "antiquey" yard sales make me smile; trinkets that remind me of county fair, Bon Jovi mirror prizes make me surly and tired. Yesterday I went to church (an upcoming blog post; I know this makes some of your curious), spent the early afternoon at MaMa's getting a tutorial on putting up corn, and concluded the lovely weekend with an ever-entertaining supper at the Morgan homestead.  Take-away points: TJ is a master pork chop griller. Fireworks and outdoor fireplaces are awesome. My grandmother just might be my favorite person ever. 

I had asked MaMa to help me freeze corn earlier in the week because her creamed corn at Thanksgiving and Christmas is always so delicious (I'm sure it has nothing to do with the bacon grease and butter that's added after thawing).  Plus, I just love spending time with my grandmother.  She is ridiculously sweet and thoughtful, unassumingly funny, and just an absolute pleasure to be around.  And even though she thinks PaPa, or "Pops" as she often adoringly calls him, and Dad were the storytellers of the family, she has a ton of her own that I love hearing.  I am trying to be more mindful in my collection of those tales, stories almost always told with a dose of sentiment and a sly smile, but yet, easy-to-follow clarity. MaMa is not one of these "Oh, that's just Grandma rambling. Just smile and nod." grandmas.  Both physically and mentally on-point at the age of, well, let's just say she's older than you would guess, MaMa is impressive in all facets of life. Her days are replete with flowers taken care of by her own garden-gloved hands, unexpected acts of kindness for both family and random community members, the adoration and respect of grandkids and great grandkids alike. She is certainly one worthy of documenting in her own right (as were my father and grandfather, but who I regrettably failed to ever record), which is one reason days like yesterday are so important to me. 

Write down your own stories. Write down those of the people you love.  One day, you'll smile so big at the thought of your grandmother sitting at her kitchen table, adorning an apron and an ear of corn in one hand, paring knife in the other, and explaining how she would eat the first row of your granddad's corn-on-the-cob so he wouldn't lose his teeth in it.
Picked up some corn at the farmers market on Saturday. Mama already had some shucked when I got there.
I love this picture. I'm shucking and MaMa is "getting out the bad spots."
We par-boiled 17 ears for about 6 minutes (recipe calls for 3 minutes, but we had that pot full:))
She let me use the apron the wonderful Terry Staley had monogrammed for her (a title Mama has definitely earned).
I love the resourcefulness of good cooks.
Rinsing in an ice water bath.
Just letting it dry a bit.
My corn cutting is about like my painting.  I probably had more on my hands and the table than in my pan.
MaMa was quite skillful.  She said she usually does it like Gramma (PaPa's mother) did it: if it is "milky and full," she'll take a thin layer off first and then come back and do another layer.
Combining our two pans.
Put various serving sizes in freezer bags and flattened.
Waste amid plenty...I love MaMa's flowers as much as Mr. Bill's cows are going to enjoy our scraps.
Enjoy, cows.
When I was leaving, Mama asked me if I wanted a "stick of ice cream" to take with me. Even though I only had 2 miles to drive, this is how she sent it. I love this woman:).
Recipe Suggestion
(Great way to use some of those overflowing garden vegetables...and would be awesome with some fresh corn on the side)
Tomato-Vegetable Pie (From the kitchen of the Cookie Queen's daughter, Carolyn Lee)
1. Prepare crust single roll out pie crust or make your own (I've done both; homemade is better, but I don't think it makes a big difference). Bake crust at 425 for 5 minutes. Remove crust from oven and add 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese on bottom.

2. Vegetable layer Use any vegetables you like (I usually use squash, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, variety of peppers, eggplant). Slice thinly and sauté in olive oil, garlic, salt/pepper/dried herb mix just until tender. Lay on paper towels to drain. Layer over cheese crust.
3. Cheese layer Mix 3/4 c. fresh chopped basil, 1/2 c. mayo or miracle whip, 2 cloves of garlic (I usually use 3 or 4), 1 1/4 c. mozzarella and 1/2 c. parmesan. Spread this over vegetables.
4. Tomato layer Use 4 fresh tomatoes - slice, lay on paper towels to drain, and arrange on top of cheese filling. Sprinkle with 1/4 c. mozzarella and pepper. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.