Friday, March 24, 2017

Corpse Reviver

We are back from our winter quarters in Beaufort, South Carolina, one of the most charming places I know.  When we packed our bags to come home, spring had sprung.

Back home, spring is still wearing her winter coat.
One moment March is spring and then it’s back to winter. March doesn’t ever seem to be one thing or the other--except maddening. Teasing us with warm caressing breezes, then freezing us out with a blizzard the next day. On warm days, windows are thrown open. Tulips and daffodils leap out of the ground; all stopped in our tracks by icy pellets and blistering wind the next.

March reminds me of the one sure lesson of failure and change—resilience.

The daffodils and tulips bounce back from a blizzard. The question is when life buries us in a blizzard of deadlines, to-do lists, phone calls can our inner, secret flower burst forth when conditions are right?

To help create spring in your heart.  Here's a lovely cocktail with the appropriate name for this Lenten, spring season of Corpse Reviver.

I tasted this creation at The Old Bull Tavern in Beaufort.

You'll have to ask a local how to find this restaurant because the only sign is this little sign in the window. 

Or plug the address, 205 West St., Beaufort,  and let GPS guide you.

It's a lovely tavern with great food and seasonal cocktails.  The Corpse Reviver, our server told us, comes from the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock.

The recipe is as follows:

1 part Bourbon, 1 part Lillet Blanc, 1 part Lemon Juice, 1 part Cointreau. You could substitute Gin for the Bourbon, if you prefer.

Pour over ice in a cocktail shaker, shake. Pour into a martini glass, garnish with a slice of lemon peel.

This bracing drink will revive and refresh and flavor your spring dreams. 


Monday, March 20, 2017

First Day of spring

Last Monday the view out my windows looked like this.  It snowed 10.5 inches over night!

This week, the view from the garden looks like this:

The  Snow Bells are BLOOMING!

Yes we're still using the word "snow", but in a whole different context.

They make such a pretty bouquet.

Such a glorious day! Enjoy

Friday, March 17, 2017

Delicious Corned Beef Recipe....Just in time

Irish Blessing

May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.

 We await all year long for today. 

 The annual invitation to Bill and Marijo's for St. Patrick's Day feast. At the end of this post I'll include Marijo's Corned Beef Del Monaco. You'll want to try this melt-in-your-mouth corned beef, the best corned beef I've ever tasted.

Every year at the appointed hour, a bottle of whisky in hand, we walk the short distance between our front door and Marijo's, usually through snow or the tattered remains of snow covering the lawn like a blanket dirty with age. 

Chilled from the brief walk, we welcome the merry fire in the grate, the air spiced with beef brisket.

Bill fills our glasses. We drink, share stories, laugh.

Finally it's TIME!

Bill carries the platter of corned beef and cabbage.

Marijo follows with bowls of Irish soda bread and roasted potatoes.

The table is set with Marijo's best silver 

and china--cheery with strawberry and ivy pattern.

The corned beef melts in the mouth. Glasses are refilled.  Will we have more potatoes? Yes! and cabbage? Why not? A little more corned beef? Oh my, yes!

Do you know St. Patrick's Story?

Irish raiders kidnapped a teenage St. Patrick, taking him from England to Ireland.  There, St. Patrick was forced to become a shepherd.  After six years of slavery, God spoke to St. Patrick, urging him to flee to the coast.

Heeding God's call, St Patrick found a ship on the coast waiting to take him home.

Safely back in England, St. Patrick became a priest. Again feeling God's call, he returned to Ireland to Christianize the Pagan population.

March holds spring's promise.

Hope, freedom, reunion, redemption, new beginnings--St. Patrick's tale contains all of the elements that March and second chances promise.

St. Patrick's dinner with Bill and Marijo is a treasured tradition in our house celebrating another year of friendship and the promise of spring and good-will.

As promised here is Marijo's recipe for the best corned beef you will ever try!

Marijo's Corned Beef
Del Monaco (serves 6)

1 5-6 lbs boneless brisket or bottom round corned beef
2 cups white wine
½ cup onion
¼ tsp garlic powder
2 stalks celery
1 bay leaf
1 orange rind
2 whole cloves
¼ tsp cinnamon
4-5 drops Tabasco sauce.

Cover brisket completely with cold
water. Bring to boil and simmer 15 minutes. Drain and discard water. Re-cover with water and following ingredients:

white wine . onion, finely chopped . garlic powder . Celery . Bay leaf . orange with rind, sliced . whole cloves . Cinnamon .Tabasco sauce

Cover and simmer 3-3 1/2 hours.

Allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Luck of the Irish

An Irish Blessing for you

May you always have...
Walls for the winds 
A roof for the rain 
Tea beside the fire 
Laughter to cheer you 
Those you love near you 
And all your heart might desire.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Promise Land

Spring brings with it the Promised Land.  This year I promise no weeds in the garden, no over scheduling, no tantrums when life doesn't work out as planned, no hanging on to old ideas, wishes, dreams. 

Every year as February draws to a close I plan a life of sweet acceptance of life as it is.

I'll row my little boat gently down the stream to Nirvana, I promise as I wake from my winter sleep.

Last year; and every year I can remember, I prepare for my winter sleep by running around anxiously trying to get the last of the garden chores done. Trying to put everything away in orderly fashion.

See the original Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)

And every year, as I prepare for my winter sleep something goes undone--a hose undrained freezes, a spade or trowel rust at the edge of a bed, forgotten.  Grand plans left undone or worse begun and abandoned. Regret is my winter shadow.

Sometime in January, I let the past year go. I rest, refresh. In that deep mid-winter sleep of garden and conscience I find forgiveness. Instead of failure; I see lessons learned, new possibilities sighted.

It's from winter's shore I see the horizon of paradise--a promised land of abundance. Silent, beautiful, sprouting, blooming, passing color.

Could I find my way here without winter's rest? Without winter's ice and dark would spring's promised land seem like paradise, or just another tick in the tock of time?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Spring's First Kiss

The garden catalogs arrive just as spring decides to give us a good warm embrace this weekend with temps in the 60's.

I'm dreaming of new combinations for the big sun perennial bed....iris, lupines, dahlias.....

This is the biggest of my gardens, running for a good half block along the street.  I think it needs a little dressing up this year with a lovely border. At first I thought I'd put in miniature boxwood; as I did in front of the rose gardens and then expanded all along the front of the house and beyond last year.

But the cost of boxwood and the amount I'd need to string along for half a block got me thinking about lower cost options.  I've got plenty of hosta and some generous friends who will gift me with more. I think all together they will just about cover the length of the garden.

Of course it's easy to dream of gardening in February, before I actually have to dig, divide, plant again and again. February may be my favorite gardening month.  I can look and drool over the catalogs, gardening with my paints rather than my back.


it's the month for dreams!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Be Mine

Pink hearts, flowers, paper doilies, construction paper hearts generously sprinkled with glitter....I'm deep into getting ready for Valentine's Day.

I'm also keeping my New Year's Resolution of celebrating the every day holiday's and seasons. My resolution is to celebrate the kind of days that so easily slip by in the hurly-burly of living. The kind of celebrations and pleasures that are so casual they slip by because I think:

  • There's still time
  • I'll do that tomorrow, or Sunday or next week
  • It'll make a mess, so I'll do it later
  • It'll take too much time now, I will wait until I can savor the moment
  • I don't have _____ (fill in the blank), so I can't do it to perfection now

These casual celebrations usually require something that I don't have on hand like white glue, glitter, sugar sprinkles, food dye, yeast, scraps of fabric and most precious of all--a half day set aside for Joy.

Why I think Joy needs a formal invitation, I don't know.  These small pleasures require me to think ahead, buy the materials, plan the time and tolerate the eye rolling of others, ahem....Prince Charming.

Small pleasures require a little dreaming, a little planning, and a sense of whimsy.

I completely forgot about this resolution of mine, until I bought a pack of mint gum.

Every year I buy a pack of mint gum so that I can stick a piece or two in the grandchildren's Valentine's Day cards, continuing a Valentine's Day tradition from my grandma.

By today's standards, we were very poor when I was growing up.  But we didn't know it because we didn't have any less than our friends or neighbors. Those were the days when a single stick of gum made me happy for a week. I placed the stick of mint gum by my bed and smelled it every night, until the smell started to fade, and then I'd carefully break off a piece and chew it, adding a new small piece when the flavor from the first piece faded.

I suppose my grandchildren, who regularly fly on jet airplanes wonder why I send them just one stick of mint gum. Sometimes I wonder if in their lives of abundance they know the intense pleasure of a single stick of gum?

It's easy in my own life of plenty to lose sight of simple pleasures.

So today after I mailed out the Valentines, I got out the red construction paper, white paper doilies, white glue and scissors to make a Valentine's Day bunting for Prince Charming.

Joy accepted my crayon invitation to come play. Sweet Reader I'm hoping you will be mine for Valentine's Day.