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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Goodbye Salads, Hello Roasts!

The First of October.
Time to say Goodbye to summer salads and cold pastas,
and Hello to hearty roasts and stews, like Pot Roast a la Jan.

This was my mother's recipe, from her friend Jan, and we grew up with this as one
of the standard stick-in-the-oven and go to church Sunday dinners, along with leg of lamb.

A post-church midday family meal on Sundays was a ritual of my childhood.
Afterward, my dad would read the New York Times, fall asleep on the sofa,
and we kids would play "Hide the Penny On Daddy"   while he snoozed.

 To make this family pleasing roast --
you will need a big sheet of heavy foil, or two layers of thinner stuff;

Also -- a hunk o'beef.  Bottom round was on sale at the market.

 Next -- an envelope of onion soup mix.  That stuff you make onion dip with.

 Rinse off the meat, put it in the middle of the foil, sprinkle on the onion soup
and roll the roast around until it's pretty well coated with dry soup.
 Ugh.  Raw meat is really unattractive, isn't it?
Wrap up the meat in the foil.  Roll the seams deli-style, and keep them all up top; no leaking!

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  At this temp, the meat will take about an hour per pound.

Put the wrapped roast into a baking pan, and into the oven.
Then go watch TV, read a book, or go off to Goodwill
to find something that you really don't need but simply must have.
Goodbye, little roast.  See you in a couple of hours and a bit!
Enjoy your time in the sauna.

I am going to feed Dion, who is sniffing at the cupboard where his kibble lives.
I think that's a hint.

Okay -- back, and the oven timer went off.  Let the roast sit for about 15 minutes.
By now your family is asking "What's that smell?"
Only, in a good way, not like, "Hey what's that wet dog smell?"

Seriously, your kitchen will smell deeee-licious.


Put the roast on top of a saucepan and poke a nice big hole in the bottom of the foil,
and let the juices run into the pan.

Remember those commercials for Gravy Train Dog Food?  Makes its own gravy!

Gravy should be thick; otherwise it's pan juices.  You can thicken gravy by cooking down pan liquids,
but if you did that with this liquid it would be so salty it would pickle your eyeballs if you ate it.

I take an easy way out with this gravy.  I whisk some Wondra no-clump flour in with a
liquid -- water, broth or wine -- and put that into the pot with the hot pan juices.

You have to let it cook up nicely, both to thicken properly and to lose any raw flour flavor.

You can't do the usual roux-with-pan-drippings gravy, as there are no pan drippings.

And here it is, Howard's dinner:

He just got home and I sent him upstairs to change out of his suit, so I'm sneaking pictures.

Linking to that orgy of food and recipes that is Michael Lee West's Foodie Friday.
It's at her Designs by Gollum blog.  Click here!

And . . . we are getting more of that tropical storm rain, right on through Friday.
It won't be long before the scent of Eau de Damp Canine overpowers the lingering pot roast aroma.  -- Cass

An Autumn Supper For One


We are getting the rain from a tropical storm.
I don't think this is very fair.
We don't send snow to the tropics!

 But since I can't make the rain stop -- no matter how much I think I really should have that power
-- I will at least set a nice spot to have my solitary dinner.
A stomach's eye view
Howard's new job means he doesn't get home until ten o'clock on weeknights.
Sometimes I have dinner with him, other times I cook earlier, eat, and serve up leftovers to the poor guy.
That's my plan for tonight.

Garcon!  Table for one, please.

 It's a Fall themed table, but since I don't have my boxes of Fall stuff down from the attic yet,
I just pulled things from the kitchen and dining room and made do. 
While I eat, I'll listen to the rain pound the conservatory ceiling.

What I used:
My little Dollar Tree bird is helping to lighten the rainy gloom.  There is a tiny flame in there.

Supermarket roses ... 11 days old!   They are beginning to fade and get funky, so I think they fit the Autumn theme.
Fake lemons.  Yeah, I went to T.J. Maxx yesterday . . . . But there's a real one in there, too!

I'm dining alone, so there may be some spillage.  A huge linen dishtowel-turned-napkin lends color and cleanup.

I love this chicken candelholder, a gift from daughter Anne.  This bird looks so delightfully nosey and interfering, so squawky!  Hmm, could that be a message from my daughter to me?   Nah. . . .

Very vintage silverplate.  Ambassador (ca. 1920) on the left, First Colony (early version, ca. 1900) on right.

And their respective matching knives.  That's Howard's initials on the Ambassador knife.
After Howard and I visited Germany the year after our wedding, we bought these wineglasses at Long Island's dear, departed Fortunoff's.  Is it all right to mourn the passing of a store?

1950s old fashioned or "rocks" glasses.  They belonged to my parents, and held plenty of Scotch in their time.
Leaf plate.  An estate sale find, last summer with Annie. Underneath, a big Dollar Tree plate in green.
So that's it, my rainy day supper setting.
Pay no attention to the dog in the corner.  He thinks there is food on the table.  He thinks wrong.

I love closeups.  You don't have to tidy the rest of the room to take them.

 I hope wherever you are, you are dry and comfortable,
you have food and shelter,
and that you have a wonderful Thursday.  -- Cass
 I'm linking to Susan's Between Naps On The Porch, for the amazing Tablescape Thursday.
Go -- you will get lost in the table settings!  Click here.

 And since I feature several Dollar Tree, eBay or other bargains in this table setting,
I'm also linking to Leigh's Tales From Bloggeritaville, for Thifty Thursday.  Click here!

And speaking of thrifty things, if you missed the Wednesday post 
for That Old House, it featured a Goodwill purchase I made this week: 
Milk glass heaven.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Milk Glass SCORE at Goodwill

Outdoors, today, it is sunny and a little bit warm; 
a beautiful Fall day, and the calm before tomorrow's expected storm.  

I took advantage of the brilliant light in our sunroom this
morning to snap a few pictures of my latest Goodwill treasure.

What's square and white and glossy all over?

This -- a square milk glass pedestal cake plate.

I wish I had a lovely small delicate cake to put on it.  But I don't.
Instead, a candle and candle ring, both in red.

I like the lacy edging, on pedestal:

 and on the square top:
 One of my favorite markets just happens to have a Goodwill outlet right next to it.
When I brought this piece to the register, I found out it was 25% off.
Double Serendipity.
When I took the tags off this piece last evening to wash it, I realized it had just hit the shelves that very day.
Triple Serendipity.

And if you can bear a quadruple Serendipity . . . 
I did my usual research to find out if I could identify the maker and pattern,

. . . and it turns out that it is by Westmoreland, in the Ring and Petal pattern.
I even found the very-hard-to-find "W" impressed in the base.
It's worth a few bucks to a collector; Kovel's in 2005 put it at $125.
Stop laughing. . . .

 I like it cause it's pretty, but finding things like this at GW helps me explain to Howard why I go!

And speaking of going, that is what summer is doing here at That Old House.
Just outside the sunroom door, the red begonias are collecting fallen leaves among their thinning blossoms.

Up along the driveway, the Autumn Joy Sedum is morphing yet again,
its pink giving way to a deeper rusty red.

It will get very dark red before Halloween.

Midweek -- Wednesday -- over the hump day!  May it be filled with sun for you, too -- Cass

Wednesday Link Parties
At It's A Very Cherry World, it's time to show off our Reds!  Visit Sue -- Click here!

Kathleen at Faded Charm is hosting White Wednesday, but is in the midst of a
family emergency.  Visit and wish her well, then check out the other participants -- Click here.

 And Susan at A Southern Daydreamer is hosting her blockbuster Outdoor Wednesday.
Loads of Fall color to lift your hearts!  -- Click here!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Afternoon Tea, For Martha and Me!

My blogging friend Martha lives in Kansas,
in a gracious house named Linderhof.
(That Old House is quite jealous that Linderhof 
has a real name, not a nickname that is pretty much
the equivalent of "Hey, you!")

Anyway, Martha is serving tea today at Linderhof, using her Johnson Brothers Indies Blue china.  (Click on "Linderhof" to visit.) I have Indies Blue china, too.  Martha and I call it "our" china.  It was named one of the 100 most beautiful china patterns of the 20th century, but I can't remember which organization chose it.  But whomever did, I agree.  And so does Martha.  

Martha doesn't know it, but she and I are having tea this afternoon in the parlor at That Old House,

while the winds outside batter the old cedar clapboards, shake the shutters loose,
and rip brown leaves from the trees.
New Jersey is under a tornado watch until this evening.
But Martha is from Kansas.  I don't think a New Jersey tornado is going to scare her!

Two cozy wing chairs and an old round tea table that belonged to my great-aunt Margaret, and we begin . . . .

One of its feet is a bit damaged, but after a hundred years or more I think that's acceptable.
I tossed on an antique topper in filet lace; the surface of this old tea table shows every year of its age.

If I had a pretty tea tray, I'd pop that on the table.
But I don't, so I won't.

Instead, it's just the stuff for tea.

I don't have the pretty Indies Blue tea pot that Martha got in England,
but I do have a sweet flow blue tea pot, a gift from someone, and I'll use that.

My dilemma?  Brew Earl Grey, Martha's favorite, and suffer through it myself,
or just go with a good strong Ceylon, my fave, and make believe
I don't know that Earl Grey is Martha's brew.

No, can't do that.  I'll make my brew in the flow blue, and  Martha's in this delicate Asian-inspired pot:

I know Martha likes shortbread -- another of our mutual loves.
I'm gilding the lily and serving it coated in chocolate, in a tiny Limoges dish on an Indies plate.

Also on the plate -- the cake I made this weekend for my Dad.
My Grandma Cake.  It's getting a little crunchy around the edges, but I like it that way.

Milk and sugar?  Yes, please.
I'll stir it in with the 1920-era Ambassador silverplate spoons.

Because it's such a gloomy gray afternoon, I'm adding a candle to trouble the darkness.

I think Martha and I would have lots to chat about over tea,
or coffee, or dinner, or Harvey Wallbangers (do they still make them?) . . .
as I know I'd have lots to chat about with so many of you.

You could bring your favorite doll; I couldn't resist this tiny tea set from Williamsburg for the table:

So, take a cup, and I'll be Mother and pour.

We are never too old to play.

Tuesday is the day that tea parties blanket the bloggy world!
Join in -- check out the wonderful blogs below, and their tea time or tabletop link parties.
Marty hosts Tabletop Tuesday.  Click here!

The Plumed Pen and A Breath Of Fresh Air host Tuesday Tea For Two and Teapots And Tea Things.  Click here!

 It's Tea Time Tuesday with Katherine, at Lady Katherine's Tea Parlor.  Click here!

 Martha of Martha's Favorites is our hostess for Tea Cup Tuesday.
And she shows a "Father" cup that I have the "Mother" mate for!   Click here!
 Martha and Terri of Artful Affirmations share the hosting duties for this fun meme.  Click here!

 At Rose Chintz Cottage, it's Tea Time Tuesday.  Click here!

Whew!  That's a lot of visiting!
Good thing I'm inside today because of a tornado watch.

Who are you hosting for tea today?  -- Cass