Monday, September 29, 2008

The last wedding and what happened after

I invited two friends over for dinner Sunday evening. My sister took over the menu and the cooking, except for the dessert. This turned out to be fortuitous, as my day did not go exactly as planned.

I made the pie dough the night before, and made and baked the pie (apples, pears, currants, spices and Grand Marnier) in the morning. Then I put on my chef whites and went off to deliver 14 centerpiece cakes and 1 small wedding cake. The reception was up in Boulder, about 30 miles away. Our last wedding of 2008.

We were supposed to drop off the cakes at 4, set them up, and be on our merry way between 4:30 and 5. Getting me home at about the same time our guests would be arriving. Best laid plans, my friends. Best laid plans.

The caterers, who were supposed to have been completely set up by 4.....arrived at 4. We had to wait for them to unload their truck and haul tables and chairs up to the third floor of the gallery. We ended up finishing just before 6. Luckily Chef drives like a whirlwind, so I was home within 50 minutes of leaving Boulder.

The gallery did look lovely, if somewhat crowded.
This morning, Puppy and I went to Prospect Park, a wilder and larger park than our usual haunt. There's a vast amount of rushing water, winding trails and an amazing sense of vastness for a place that's surrounded on all sides by homes and businesses. We saw a fox on the trail, found little paths we'd never explored before and I discovered semi-hidden places that would be good for meditation and suchlike, if only one's canine companion wasn't incapable of stillness when outdoors. I'll have to go back without her for contemplation.

Beside the rushing water

through the shady glens
we love to go a-hunting

with a camera lens

It got easier, being green.....

Tired of piles of catalogs cluttering up the mailbox and recycling bin? Here's an easy way to deal: It's free, it's easy, it takes 2-3 months, but the catalogs will stop. I just wish I'd known about this in June so I could have prevented the flood of holiday catalogs.

Friday, September 26, 2008

This is not that blog......

Like many people, I watched the debate. Unlike many people, I'm not blogging about it. Because I don't feel like it.

I need to go to bed.

It was a twelve hour workday. Tomorrow will be a long day too; it's our last wedding of the year. One two -tier cake and 14 small cakes. Plus a few cakes for the shop. 6 cakes are in the fridge, filled and frosted, waiting to be drenched in shiny, deep chocolate glaze. All the rest of the cakes are cut. Buttercreams, soaking syrups, fillings and glazes are ready to go.

Over three hundred truffles were dipped in tempered chocolate and garnished.

Tart dough for 7 different pastries was rolled, cut and put into rings. Tiny leaves of dough were cut out for the pear pastry. Half a Bosc, peeled and cored, stuffed with drunken cranberries and ginger, sprinkled with brown sugar and wrapped in sweet tart dough. Decorated with little pear leaves. They're plump and pretty, golden brown pastry pears sparkling with sugar.

A run to the store for butter, cream and champagne-colored ribbon for the cake to harmonize with the bride's gown.

That was just my day. The guys had their own stuff to do.

Chef had to work the shop today. He came back with the October issue of Denver Magazine. Check it out - there's a full page photo, a half page photo, and a whole lot of words about Wen Chocolates. Several of the truffles are described in detail. Including the Oshun, which I created. That was exciting - Chef insisted that Oshun be mentioned. That's one of the extraordinary things about him; he encourages ideas and creativity, and he gives credit for them. Many chefs don't want to hear it, they just want their minions to do what they're told.

It's been a long week. 6 days. Long days.

Welcome to fourth quarter. This will be the norm from here until about Valentine's Day. It's crazy, and I love it.

Monday, September 22, 2008


pareidolia - a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, and hidden messages on records played in reverse. The word comes from the Greek para- —"beside", "with" or "alongside"—and eidolon—"image" (the diminutive of eidos—"image", "form", "shape"). Pareidolia is a type of apophenia.
I was pleased to find a word for this condition, one I've had all my life. Visually that is. I've never heard messages on a record or tape played backwards, although I have heard my name called by barking dogs and the wind. (We prefer to be called 'differently lucid', thank you very much).

Yesterday was Sunday, and while I was driving through the mountains and hiking around Lily Lake, I felt the beating heart of Nature and the Presence of the Divine so strongly, and I wondered...why does anyone in Colorado need to go to church? Why wall oneself up in a building when all of outdoors is right there waiting?

The leaves are turning here, and for the first time in the fourteen years I've lived here I appreciate the aspens. Having dismissed them as 'just yellow' , yesterday I really saw them. A rich gold, that turns to molten glory when the sun shines through them. Wow. It also rained a bit, at it always seems to do when I go up to Estes Park. And now, a couple of photos, just because I like to share them.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mmmmm good!

Split pea potage (very thick soup). Cheesy cornbread with actual niblets of fresh corn. Vine ripened tomatoes. Banana bread with a side of peaches sprinkled with vanilla sugar and brandy - then set on fire. See photo. Flambe is fun. A glass of Rocky Mountain Vineyard's Great Catherine's Mead - thick, sweet, heady with honey, cloves and other spices. A wine made for kissing, or so my friend Najah pronounced it to be. (Mead was traditionally served at weddings in the olden days, and drunk every night for the first month of marriage, hence the term 'honeymoon'. It's possibly where the term 'honeyed lips' comes from).
A lovely cozy dinner, followed by a lovely breezy walk with puppy. Darkness fell, coyotes started singing, and the moon came up golden and full. A good end to the day.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

And now....something completely light and fluffy

Estes Park, where the elk go wherever they want. Here they are hanging out on someone's lawn enjoying the sun. The little calf bears a striking resemblance to my Puppy.

The Black Knight - during the parade before the Heavy Armoured Combat (in his out-of-period cowboy hat), and then ready for the joust. He unhorsed his last opponent (imagine crashing to the ground from the back of a galloping Clydesdale or Percheron wearing a hundred pounds of armour. Ouch!) and was crowned victor of the tournament.

The Broadtailed Hummingbird - he actually posed for a couple of minutes. "Humph" he seems to say. "You are not a tasty flower. Begone!"

The dreaded Highlands Battle Chicken. If the Mad Ladies in Skirts* don't frighten you off, the chicken will.
Enjoying the scenery. In so many ways.....
* The Highlanders wore kilts, played bagpipes as a way to unnerve their enemies and fought like crazed demons. The English nicknamed them Mad Ladies in Skirts.

Monday, September 8, 2008

No Excuses, Just Vote!!!

This was going to be a post about my mini-vacation up to Estes Park for the Longs Peak Scottish/Irish Highland Festival, but due to an email from my friend Fran, it's turned into something else.

Here's an excerpt from her email:
This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they lived only 90 years ago. Remember, it was not until 1920
that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.
The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.
And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.' They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote.
For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms. When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.'

We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote.

I would add to this - whether you like any of the candidates or not - get out and vote. Between mail-in voting, early voting and twelve hours of voting on election day, there's no excuse for not voting. If not for yourself, then vote to honor those women. It's the best memorial they could have.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


The final recipe of my pie-testing job. Crabapple. Months later than everything else was finished because, well, I had to wait for the tree in the front yard to be ready to harvest. There's really no other way to get crabapples, at least not out here. Not something you can find in the produce department.

They're tiny little things; it took two and a half pounds to get six cups of finely chopped crabapples. One hour and fifteen minutes of slicing and chopping tiny tiny apples.

Why, oh why, did someone think this was a good idea? It's definitely thrifty. It's using extremely local produce, handpicked at the peak of ripeness. It has a Little House on the Prairie kind of vibe to it - living off the land, using what you have, work hard for what you get.....
But oh, the tedium of chopping hundreds of tiny little crabapples. Tiny little apples that try to escape, rolling out from under the knife, refusing to let go of their stems. Much

harder to work with than their larger relatives. But it does bake up pretty - deep pink and bubbling inside a golden, sugar-sprinkled crust. It looks rather like rhubarb, and tastes rather like rhubarb. Rhubarb that's been crossed with a very tart Granny Smith apple. A hint of cinnamon would have been good. It was quite tasty, our dinner guests really liked it.

Would I make this again? Laura, who had nothing to do with the pie said " It was worth the effort for me", meaning that while she wouldn't do it herself, it was certainly worth the eating if someone else made it.

That's pretty much how I feel about it. It was good, but not worth the trouble. It would however be a fiendish addition to the new apprentice hazing arsenal:
chop the flour
detail my car
prep 10 pounds of crabapples
No. That would just be cruel.