Family


I lost my job a couple of weeks ago thanks to some highly paid consultants who decided to “re-org” the marketing department, get rid of a bunch of us and bring in their own cronies. It goes with the territory in higher education.

I’m trying to put my time to good use.  So between job hunting and cleaning up my weaving studio, I’ve put together some nice meals for my family.  One afternoon, my husband and I were on our own. One of the dishes I thought about for dinner suddenly became a perfect summer lunch.

Mozzarella, Strawberry and Tomato salad is one of the recipes from the French Fridays with Dorie website I’ve been following as I cook out of Dorie Greenspan’s “Around My French Table” cookbook. I threw caution to the wind and even included wine. It transported me away from my unemployment blues and off to dreams of France.  C’est bon!

 

 

I’ve been away from this blog for a number of months.  It’s been a Spring that has left me at a loss for words.  In fact, “loss” has been something I was forced to confront on a number of levels.

The most heartbreaking was the death in late March of my older brother Dave, a vibrant 55-year old Lutheran pastor who was taken very suddenly by an aortic aneurysm. It’s hard to explain how devastating this has been to the entire Smith family. He was deeply loved.

If you’ve been following this blog, you might remember that about a year ago, I posted some pictures of my preliminary work in making a worship stole for Dave based on the season of Pentecost.  It was some woven shibori work I decided to tackle.

I finished the stole last Fall, but Dave was between calls, meaning he was not serving a permanent congregation at the time. He was an interim for a short time and he wanted to wait to receive it when he found a new church home. I kept the stole in my drawer waiting for that day.

It never came.  When he died, we placed it near him at the visitation; then the Bishop brought it up to the altar during her funeral sermon. That was in April. 

When we neared Pentecost, I decided it would be a shame for the stole to go unused.  I called the church he served for most of his ministry and last Sunday we dedicated it to St. Paul, Sharon Center, Oh.  I presented a powerpoint of slides similar to those in last year’s blog post.

 

Pastor Judy McGuire took off her own stole and put on Dave’s.

 Then we said a prayer and wiped away some tears.  It was a wonderful tribute on a beautiful June Day.

Back in the fall, I joined an online group called French Fridays with Dorie where we cook through Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook Around My French Table.  I’ve been faithfully cooking the dishes designated for each month and enjoying it immensely.  Dorie is one of those cookbook authors who makes you feel like you have a friend in the kitchen.  She’s extremely generous with her readers both in her comments, suggestions, and detailed directions.

My co-worker, who loves food, bought Dorie’s book for her mother for Christmas and received one for herself after my effusive comments about my adventures.

Here’s the latest effort- Chicken B’Stilla (I think pronounced ba-stee-yah) which is a savory pie encased in phyllo dough. Now it’s not the prettiest version because I’m a complete newbie in working with phyllo dough, but it tasted pretty wonderful.

My husband and kids were suitably impressed and especially enjoyed the crunchy exterior.

I’ve never cooked through an entire cookbook before, but this online group is helping me get the most from this extraordinary treasure.

I woke up to the first real frost of the season this morning.  While the lawns all had that beautiful sparkly crust, I had to sigh at the thought of things to come.  It was time to bring out the cozy scarves and gloves.

One thing I like about this season is a return to the  kitchen and some great fall cooking.  I joined an online group called “French Fridays with Dorie” which is cooking through the entire new cookbook of Dorie Greenspan.  Dorie is a classically trained chef and James Beard award winner who has just published “Around My French Table.”  It’s a masterwork and everything I’ve cooked has turned out beautifully.  She really embraces the art of writing with clear directions and plenty of personal insight.  It’s “old school” in an age of sloppy cooking on the Food Network. Dorie is the real thing.

Here are a couple of pictures of dishes I made using her great directions.

In addition to the Mustard Tart and Shepherd’s Pie (Hachis Parmentier), I’ve managed to put together a roast chicken to die for, apple cake, and gougeres (cheese puff appetizers).

I found that joining this club is a great way to sample all Dorie’s work.  The recipes are chosen according to season and availability of ingredients.  What fun I’ve had, and my family is pretty happy too.  Viva la Dorie!

I spend a lot of time thinking about and figuring out new weaving projects.  I never just throw something on the loom, although I wish I had that skill.  No, I need to figure it out very carefully, so consequently I spend days and days with my thoughts and pencil and paper.  Lately, I’ve been busy spinning up some yarn to use as weft in a project which I will post about later.

But thinking does burn calories no matter what anyone tells you.  And it makes me hungry.  This week, my husband decided we should put some pizza on the grill.  He made his dough and I took care of the toppings.  The result was a little rough around the edges visually, but taste is what matters, right?  It was great.

We still have to perfect the action of placing the dough on the grill and stretching it out without getting third degree burns.  One solution would be to make smaller pizzas; the other making the fire a little lower. I’ll keep you posted on further efforts.

My sister has a house on Lake Blue Ridge in Georgia where the family gathered late last month for a week of vacation.  It’s a very long drive down there from Northern Ohio, but I managed to do some sock knitting along the way.  I also brought some of my fiber projects for show and tell, but otherwise we all concentrated on the beauty surrounding us.

Lake Blue Ridge is one of many bodies of water created decades ago by the Tennessee Valley Authority.  It’s a lovely location with beautiful homes dotting the lakeside. Thanks to a very protective population, most of the development is controlled and much of the land surrounding it is federal forest.

At night the the top deck of the dock is a great place to stargaze thanks largely to the fact that there is no light pollution. 

It’s always hard to come back to concrete suburbia after a nice week away in the mountains.  Our family looks forward to returning soon to the warm waters and mountain vistas of Lake Blue Ridge.