Posts Tagged With: cookies

MURPHYS BEST OPEN HOUSE CONTINUED.

Yesterday was a struggle, with an extended brown out, 50% power. Bitterly cold for us with eight and a quarter inches of snow. I couldn’t open my electric garage door. Karen chanced our driveway and went to town. A guy living on our road plowed the main road. The return was dicey. She slid and slipped back up the driveway and with heart racing,  barely made it back to the house. Since temperatures last night were predicted at 12*, she knew the ice would be a more harrowing journey today, when the slush freezes. It did melt some yesterday, then it snowed some more. Then we  had a full power outage for several hours. I saw PG&E working the pole on my property at 10:00 p.m. So, another day of ice and snow. I hope to walk later in the morning and take pictures. It is nice to have electricity back. So, to continue Murphys Open House where Becky, Janice, Leslie and I met Jan at the emergency shelter, see yesterday’s late post:

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Becky talked with another shelter worker, Tammy, mostly about the beds and blankets. The beds are red cots. The blankets  are made of ugly grey felt, unwashable,  and are thrown away or given to the person who uses them. I thought that was interesting. One person used the shelter last night. And, Jan reported to me this morning she left at midnight, barely made it home the snow was so heavy, got into her house and a tree went down on her driveway after she got in. (She has 4 wheel drive.)

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The wine tasting rooms were busy and filled with tasters. At Hovey’s we had a chocolate tasting as well. Everyone was in a festive happy mode, as we were. Enjoying the cookies or treats with cider.

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A new store had its grand opening that night. The owner has a lavender farm in Arizona and kids that live in Arnold. They have all kinds of lavender based soaps and products. Very nice. We tasted a delicious lavender cookie. Reminds me of that song:

He was only a lavender cowboy, the hairs on his chest they were two, he wanted to be a big hero, and do as the heroes do. Red, green many color hair tonics, he rubbed on his chest every night. But when he woke up the next morning, no new hairs grew in sight. He battled for Red Nellie’s honor, and cleaned out a hold-up’s nest. He died with two six guns a blazing, but only two hairs on his chest.

Sorry but that song has been buzzing through my brain lately. I tried to sing it for Jim.

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I like bags and hats. We have a great bag shop. This Little Volkswagen bag reminded me of Janis Joplin’s Volkswagen. Such a sad story. We visited her home town of Port Arthur, Texas earlier this year. The owner was a Joplin fan. Me too.

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A Christmas tree made from rough bits of left over wood. I’m an avid recycler and it appealed to me, along with the home-made decorations. I used to lavishly decorate for Christmas. I’m now in favor of items I can haul out that are already decorated and just need to be set up. (It is an age thing, I think.)

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Stores in Murphys have changed hands so many times, I always remember the original name. This was Riedel’s Grocery. I met neighbors Bitsy and Mike Cameron.

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And, Suki Tutthill. She used to own a business in town. We were in the Business association together in the mid 1980’s. Running into old friends is another thing I love about Open House.DSC02082 (Copy)

My very favorite store in  Murphys, though, is the IDEA store, which carries bathroom machineries and sooooo much more. I tell everyone to go. New on this visit was a child size antique porcelain bath and sink.

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And, a more modern child size toilet. Tom  imported a truckload of porcelain one-and-a- half- pint, flush toilets, which will be the new law in California soon. I forgot to take Tom’s picture, another old friend from Murphys Business Association. We chatted and enjoyed cookies and cider. The best thing about the place is his ghost story and the story of the over too hundred tons of keys and locks he got from Great Britain. All antique. Marvelous place. Just ask and he will tell you. DSC02089 (Copy)

The open house was officially over at 8:00 p.m. People lingered beyond that, enjoying the fire pits, hating to leave, music still wafting in the air from somewhere. The Highway Patrol patiently waited and didn’t come in like commandos and reopen the street to traffic.  It started snowing just before we left town. It was heavy about 500 yards from my driveway. What a lovely night.

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FROM BOSTON TO REVERE TO DARTMOUTH.

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I flew to Boston, arrived about peak commute time which is why we decided to get a hotel instead of crawling our way to our destination. As it was, it took over an hour to drive the seven miles from the airport to our hotel.

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That last-minute decision landed us in the “Motel From Hell” from a supposedly decent chain, Econo Lodge. We had a great laugh about how horrible it was, the front door to the lobby handle came off in Jim’s hand when he opened the door and the problems piled up after that. A friend of mine once got drunk and slept all night in a hotel in Vegas with a dead body under his mattress. That was in the 1960’s.  I was reminded of that incident because of the smell. Well, we survived. I was tired and slept well even so.

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In the morning, we met Jim’s high school friends, Bill and Loretta Gallagher. Bill and Jim like to tour their old neighborhood and remind themselves of all their teenage exploits.

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Jim is pointing at Bill and telling Loretta how he had the hot date with Perry Como’s niece so Bill was tailgating Jim and following him so they couldn’t get to the favorite necking spot without witnesses. So Jim tries to shake him with a quick  U turn in the middle of the road and Bill T boned his car.

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And then there was the time they got stopped by the DMV guys, who always hung out on this one corner and stopped cars to check for their licenses and registration. Bill was driving his Henry J.  Out piled 13 kids before Bill could get his registration out of the glove box.

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And then, another time, they were headed for a “rumble” with their chains and chocks when the clutch burned out in the old Henry J and probably saved their lives.  Oh, yeah. These guys lived the life of Fonzie.

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We cruised the old neighborhood, with the guys marveling that the old trailer park where Jim lived was still there. Jim lived in a 12 foot trailer from age 10 to 14 with his parents and younger brother.

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When he was in Jr. High, he crawled under the fence to Suffolk Downs, lied his age, and got a job grooming horses.

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We visited the track but the place was empty. The track was being groomed and no horses in sight.

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We stopped at the oldest Cemetery in the area. Bill pointed out where there was a building from the 1600’s on this site, an old house.  The City of Revere didn’t have the money to fix it up, a fact that still annoys him that they would tear down this historic building instead of finding a way to preserve it through alternative financing.

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The gates were closed and we couldn’t enter.

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Then we met Dolly and Arthur at Demaino’s restaurant, where everyone went for Pizza in the 1950’s.  Arthur is 85 and didn’t attend high school with the rest of them.

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Amazingly, Loretta and Dolly have known each other since they were three years old.

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The only one missing is their other partner in crime, Al Penta who lives in the state of Washington. But, they always hoist a glass and remember him when they get together.

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Our time was short and sweet and then we drove to Dartmouth to Jim’s cousin’s house, Donna and Bob Parker.  Donna and I are both foodies and she immediately brought us some home-made Portuguese cookies and zucchini bread.

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Then we had dinner at one of their favorite restaurants, Antonio’s. There was a sign on the wall, Martha Stewart was here, with her picture. I guess they took over the whole restaurant with their entourage. Anyway, the food is well-known to everyone in the area. Jim and I shared what is supposed to be a single entree, the Chicken Algarvia with chicken breast, shrimp and little neck clams.

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Bob and Donna shared their entree of Pork Ribatejana, with pork, shrimp, little neck clams in a broth with fried potatoes.

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And, like the entrees, the beers are huge. Bob chugs down the last swallow.  We’ll be staying here for five days. I dieted before arriving. You can guess why.

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THE COOKIE FACTORY

Peg Bracken, noted cook and cook book author, claims the best way to keep cookies is in a can marked Rat Poison. I wouldn’t go that far, but it is tempting to save your favorite ones for a later time when you can savor them the more.

Doug arrived first and we made room for his tins. He has several to deliver to the neighbors since I’ve given over the cookie baking to the kids.

Then Laurie unloaded her stash of tins and bags until there was no room.

But, somehow, we stacked tins and Virginia unloaded her treasures.

The many types are the result of Doug trying to out-do Virginia and Vice-Versa. Laurie brings the family favorites and adds something new each year, which happened to be gluten free almond chai cookies and marzipan stollen, so the list goes on and grows. With 22 different kinds of cookies, Virginia wryly commented, the ratio of cookie bakers to cookie eaters is out of kilter with four cookie eaters missing. She was referring to Daughter Kristannne, her husband and two boys who were unable to come for Christmas because of their son Alec’s work schedule.

The cookie factory started years ago when I made cookies with the kids, and sometimes the neighbor kids, allowing them to cut and decorate sugar cookies with paint brushes and bowls of colored frosting.

We traded painted cookies each year with the Evans/Dollar family and one year Joanne Evans said enough, and brought a variety of yummy cookies that didn’t have to be decorated. A nurse, she worked full-time,  often with duty hours during the holidays.  So, the cooky factory got started with more and more different types of cookies, easier to make and better tasting.

It is hard to pick a favorite, but, you might try this one:

1 8oz. package dates chopped., 1/2 cup firmly pkd. brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1 tsp. grated fresh orange rind. Cook first five ingredients over low heat, stirring until slightly thickened. Remove from stove and cool a bit.

Beat in two eggs, 2 1/4 cups flour that has 1 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp. of baking soda mixed in it. Add a 16 oz. package of chocolate chips, and 1 cup chopped walnuts and stir.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls  2 inches apart on ungreased sheets. Bake at 375* ten minutes. Remove at once to cool.ing racks.  Makes 3 dozen. If you cool the ingredients a lot, the chocolate chips stay chunky. If you leave the batter quite warm, the chips get melty. I like them melty.

Ciao!

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SOME DAYS ARE LIKE THAT

Theresa, my brother Clark’s fiance,  is an excellent cook and I should have taken pictures of the food, since I did such a lousy job of taking pictures of the people gathered at my brother’s  home yesterday. Some days are like that.

Dawn, my sister, with our visiting  cousin, Gary Rowe  enjoyed a rich artichoke dip with a variety of crackers and chips;   brie, pomegranate & pepper jelly, candied pecans, cookies,chips, and assorted drinks. I rarely indulge in such rich foods, but couldn’t resist snacking and drinking a good barbera wine. Theresa makes everything from scratch. Delish!

It is naturally an event when an out-of-town cousin visits.  Conversations around the table get quite spirited and old memories are displayed and hashed over for the fun and laughter they bring.

Clark was known most of his life as Corky, and only took back his real name late in life. He and my son,  Doug work together sometimes.  When dinner was served, I was full of goodies and could have skipped dinner.  I didn’t though.  Why resist the most beautiful Cobb Salad with roasted chicken and bacon, three different dressings;  four different kinds of quiche, jumbo shrimp, and apple cobbler for desert. Naw!  I loaded up and went home feeling like a stuffed toad.  Food for a King or Queen. Some days are like that.

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