She Laughed When I Read Her My Poem

(Long post. Mostly photos. With a surprise ending.)

This post is mostly about January 2020.

Susan and I began coughing and sneezing on New Year’s Eve and continued coughing and sneezing throughout the month of January. My doctor said, “Let it run its course.”

I must admit I was mostly worried about my urologist appointment which was scheduled for January 31. I had an operation back in November and I was concerned I might need another one. The doctor said, “We may have to go in through your back.” My back!

I was more of a fear worrier than a prayer warrier during the month of January.

What’s that verse from Thessalonians?

“16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ~Thessalonians 5:16-18

Let’s say it out loud: “16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

I had forgotten to say this to myself during the month of January.

And then I read this from The Daily Word, which helped to put me back on the path of well-being. It was entitled “Healing:”

“I focus my thoughts on health.

“When faced with a health challenge, I may be tempted to keep my thinking focused on what might be wrong with my body, but keeping my thoughts and feelings focused on disease keeps my attention focused on illness, not wellness.

“I can make a new choice. While caring for my body with proper exercise, rest, and nutrition, I focus my attention on those parts of my body that do feel well. From there, I feel gratitude for the healing thoughts that are filling my mind and inspiring me, crowding out all thoughts of illness or dysfunction.

“As a spiritual being, I know that wholeness is my divine nature, and I gratefully welcome my healing. Today I think health-producing thoughts and speak words of healing into being.”

And at my doctor’s appointment on the 31st the doctor said, “We’re not recommending another operation. Rather, we recommend shock wave lithotripsy.”

This procedure doesn’t require any incisions. Instead sound waves are sent through your body, crumbling the stones into tiny, sandlike pieces. The pieces can then pass through the urinary tract more easily.

Good news, indeed!

Early January Susan suggested we have soup for dinner as often as possible to help with are coughing. And we did.

I made Fish Chowder:

I made Spicy Shrimp Tomato Soup:

I made Mushroom Barley Soup:

I made Kielbasa Collard Greens Soup:

I made Turkey Lentil Soup:

January wasn’t all about soup. I also made Lasagna:

I made a Mushroom, Roasted Red Peppers, Red Onions and Spinach Pizza:

I made Apricot and Olive Chicken (This recipe from Nick Stellino.):

The month wasn’t all about coughing and sneezing—and sleeping.

We thanked God every morning we were alive and many mornings beautiful sunrises greeted us. Here are two:

And beautiful birds to behold out our window brought us great joy during the month of January:

Freddy brought us joy every day! He does every day! He’s a very good boy!

A few nights ago, February 1, I believe. I got sick; I think from goat cheese. The dinner was delicious but I think the cheese might have gone south. We had Roasted Salmon, Roasted Beet, Walnut and Goat Cheese Salad, and an Orange and Fennel Salad.

I wrote a poem about being sick:

Diarrhea can really wipe you out.

And if you have kidney stones they might move about.

So when you wake you will probably see

Most likely blood in your pee.

~~~

Who laughed?

Spicy Shrimp Vegetable Tomato Soup

Last January, Susan said, “Bruce, Will you make soup for us every day during this month?” And, I did. I am making soup every day this January, too, more because we’ve been sick since New Year’s Eve. UGH! On Friday night, I made a Shrimp and Vegetable Spicy Tomato Soup. Delicious! And for lunch on Saturday I used the leftover tomato soup to make a Tomato Wild Rice Soup. Also delicious.

See recipe below. Note: the recipe called for fennel, which I love (Remember my Kale, Kielbasa, Fennel, White Bean and Tortellini Soup?), but the store didn’t have any. I consulted my smartphone and learned that celery is a good substitute for fennel. Plus. I added Star Anise.

The Star Anise really helped to spice up the soup as did the Bloody May mix 🙂

Here’s the Tomato and Rice Soup:

On Sunday I made a Mushroom Barley Soup:

OH! And earlier in the week, I made a Fish Chowder. YUM!

All recipes based on ones from The Soup Bowl, a great cookbook!

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Lemony Carrot and Cauliflower Soup

Susan said, “Bruce, do we still have some cauliflower from our Christmas Eve Party? If so, listen to this recipe from Melissa Clark. She writes;”

“The beauty of a soup like this — other than its bone-warming properties — is that you don’t need a recipe. You can pretty much simmer together any combination of vegetables with a little water or broth, purée it, top it with good olive oil and salt, and end up with something good to eat. The addition of miso paste and crushed coriander to the broth, and fresh lemon and cilantro at the end, zips things up without negating the comfort factor.”

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
  • 1 large white onion, peeled and diced (2 cups)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5 medium carrots (1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons white miso
  • 1 small (or half of a large) head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, more to taste
  • Smoky chile powder, for serving (I added this right before using my immersion blender.)
  • Coarse sea salt, for serving
  • Cilantro leaves, for serving
  • Toasted Pumpkin Seeds (my addition)

Preparation

  1. In a large, dry pot over medium heat, toast coriander seeds until fragrant and dark golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and coarsely crush.
  2. Return the pot to medium heat. Add the oil and heat until warm. Stir in onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly colored, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute.
  3. Add carrots, crushed coriander, salt and 6 cups water to the pot. Stir in the miso until it dissolves. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Stir in cauliflower and cook, covered, over medium-low heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the soup from the heat. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth. (Alternatively, you can let soup cool slightly then purée it in batches in a food processor or blender.) If necessary, return the puréed soup to the heat to warm through. Stir in the lemon zest and juice just before serving. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with chile, sea salt and cilantro leaves.

So DELICIOUS! I served it with homemade French Bread.

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Pasta with Sweet Red Peppers, Pine Nuts, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Kale and Sausage

I made a few changes to this recipe from a new favorite cookbook, “Earth To Table Every Day.”

Ingredients

3 sweet red peppers (I used roasted sweet red peppers from a jar.)

¼ cup olive oil

4 anchovy fillets in oil, minced (I used 3 tablespoons anchovy paste.)

3 cloves garlic, chopped

½ cup dry white wine

4 leaves kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped (I used one package, frozen. Cooked and drained.)

3 cups roasted cherry tomatoes (My addition. These were from my garden and roasted during the Autumn.)

3 links sausage (My addition. 2 sweet, 1 hot. Casing removed.)

1 teaspoon red chili flakes

1 pound pasta (I used Rotini.)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions

1. Preheat a grill or broiler to high. Grill the red peppers, turning often with tongs, until blistered and blackened on all sides, about 15 minutes. Alternatively, roast the peppers directly over the stovetop flame of a gas oven. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let steam for 20 minutes. Peel the peppers and chop them into ½-inch pieces. (Note: I skipped this step as I used roasted sweet red peppers from a jar.)

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high  heat. Add the anchovies and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the chopped red peppers, then add the white wine. Boil until the pan is nearly dry. Stir in the kale and chili flakes. Remove from the heat. (Note: I cooked sausage first and then added the anchovy paste, garlic, red peppers, wine, kale and cherry tomatoes.)

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt, and drop in the pasta. Cook for about 9 minutes or until the pasta is tender. You will be cooking it further in the sauce. Drain, reserving some of the pasta water. Return the sauce to medium-high heat and stir in the pasta. Cook for 5 minutes, to allow the flavours to mingle. Add a spoonful of pasta water if the sauce looks too dry. Remove from the heat.

4. Season with salt and pepper. Add the pine nuts and parsley and toss well. Tip into a large serving bowl, garnish with an over-generous grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano, and serve immediately.

Susan said it looked like the photo in the cookbook and that is was so delicious.

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

Butter And Jam Thumbprints

I made some butter and jam thumbprints for our Christmas Eve Party! So delicious.

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened

2/3 cup sugar, plus more for rolling (I used Demerara Sugar for rolling.)

1 large egg

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped from pod, or 1/8 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup raspberry, cherry or strawberry jam (I used Red Raspberry and Strawberry from Stonewall Kitchen.)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
  3. In another bowl, whip the butter and the sugar with a hand-held mixer until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until just combined. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing just until incorporated.
  4. Scoop the dough into 1-inch balls with a cookie or ice cream scoop and roll in sugar. Place about 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Press a thumbprint into the center of each ball, about 1/2-inch deep. Fill each indentation with about 3/4 teaspoon jam.
  5. Bake cookies until the edges are golden, about 15 minutes. (For even color, rotate the pans from top to bottom about halfway through baking.) Cool cookies on the baking sheets. Serve.
  6. Store cookies in a tightly sealed container for up to 5 days.

Based on a recipe from Food Network.

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Pistachio Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

Very easy to make. I might consider using regular flour next time. Or almond flour. I used whole wheat.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup whole spelt (or whole wheat) flour
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground pistachios
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios for garnish

Directions

  1. Using an electric mixer, whip the butter, sugar, cardamom, and ground pistachios together until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the flour and mix until a uniform dough is obtained.
  3. With floured hands, roll into balls about an inch in diameter. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, 3 inches apart.
  4. With your thumb, make an indentation in each ball and fill with chopped pistachios.
  5. Refrigerate the cookie sheet with the cookies on it for about 15 minutes, while you preheat your oven. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 F. (NOTE: I baked for 20 minutes.) Allow the cookies to cool on the pan before removing.

Based on a recipe from Kitchen Vignettes.

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

 

 

Curried Apple, Squash, Sweet Potato Soup

I have always enjoyed the cookbook, “Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home,” so when Susan and I were at the town library recently and she pointed out to me a new cookbook, “Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates,” I said we had the check this out. And we did and I made this delicious curried, apple, squash, sweet potato soup!

Ingredients
Soup
2 cups chopped onions
2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
1 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped butternut squash* (I oven-roasted this before adding to soup.)
2 cups peeled, cored and coarsely chopped apples
2 cups peeled and coarsely chopped sweet potatoes* (I oven-roasted this before adding to soup.)
4 cups water
* About 3 pounds of butternut squash and just less than 2 pounds of sweet potatoes will yield the right amount for this recipe.
Topping
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
10 ounces fresh spinach or mustard greens, rinsed and chopped
 
Directions
In a large nonreactive soup pot (it needs to be big), sauté the onions in the butter or oil until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.  In a small dry skillet, toast the cumin and coriander seeds on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until aromatic and lightly browned.  Cool for a few minutes and grind to a powder (I used a coffee grinder). Add the ground spices, salt, squash, apples, sweet potato, and water to the onions.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes, until all of the ingredients are thoroughly cooked and tender.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté the garlic in the oil for about 1 minute on medium heat, stirring constantly, until soft and just golden. Add the greens and sauté on high heat until the water evaporates and the greens wilt.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
Purée the soup in small batches in a blender until smooth, adding about 1/4 cup of water if the soup is thicker than you’d like.  When ready to serve, gently reheat, ladle into shallow bowls, and top each serving with some of the sautéed greens.
I served the soup with this homemade bread with sage.


I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography.
If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Quiche–A Thanksgiving Tradition

Thanksgiving prepations for Susan and me begin a few weeks before the holiday.

We put our tree up early so our grandchildren can see it on Thanksgiving as we don’t see them on Christmas.

Here I am doing some menu-planning for the week.

And here is Sock Monkey guarding the grandchildren’s presents.

The grandchildren come over for breakfast, along with our daughter and son-and-law. We give them their Christmas gifts—clothes that they can wear on Christmas day. I have to give credit where credit is due; Susan buys all the Christmas gifts. She often consults with me about style and size.

Here’s Matthew opening his gift.

We watch the Macy’s Parade and the Westminster Dog show before they leave for dinner at Mike’s moms and we head to Connecticut for dinner at our niece and nephews home. This is the real tradition—all of this along with breakfast. Here’s the menu:

Here’s Emily wearing her new winter jacket; I love this photo.

Before I forget, I want to tell you about the gratitude pumpkin. That’s right—a gratitude pumpkin. Not a real pumpkin but a pumpkin made of 8 strips of orange paper. On each strip you write one thing you are grateful for. Susan and I made them in our 4th grade Bridges Together class. Then stable it together to form a pumpkin. Voila!

My writing (hand-writing that is) is not so good. This is what I wrote:

  • I am thankful for our grandchildren
  •  I am thankful for my wife, Susan
  •  I am thankful for my brother and sisters
  •  I am thankful for my friends
  •  I am thankful for my son & daughter
  •  I am thankful for our dog, Freddy
  •  I am thankful for our beautiful home
  •  I am thankful for my health (Not so sure if I am thankful for the kidney stones. After one operation I am drinking so much water I feel like the main character in John Irving’s “The Water-Method Man.” Who knows what 2020 has in store for me.)

So what about the quiche?

I hardly ever make a crust for my quiche. Why bother? And crustless means less calories for those like me who are working to lose weight! A goal for 2020 for sure.

You can add almost anything to this quiche: onion, bacon, sausage, spinach, peppers. In this quiche I added leek, mushrooms, and tomato.

Preheat oven to 375F

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup half & half and 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 2 cups diced butternut squash, oven-roasted at 400 for 30 minutes
  • 2 cups grated gruyere cheese
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach
  • pinch of nutmeg or allspice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Grease a 10″ pie plate.

Roast butternut squash for about 30 minutes and then set aside to cool.

Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add half & half and heavy cream, salt and pepper, and nutmeg, and beat thoroughly. Then add your vegetables and cheese.  Mix well. Pour the mixture into your prepared pie plate. I added a few sliced mushroom to half of this because our grandson loves mushrooms. Who knew!

Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 35–45 minutes. Maybe 50 minutes if your prefer a crusty top!

Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

One last tradition. We always listen to Alice’s Restaurant on Thanksgiving Eve or Day!

So, what are some of our family traditions? Name at least three and I will send you a Christmas Card!

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

 

Lentil Soup with Sausage and Ricotta

I was getting ready to plate our dinner (featured above)—BBQ Brisket, a recipe from a favorite new cookbook, “Earth To Table Every Day,” when Susan called out to me, “Bruce. Nick Stellino is about to come on TV and he’s making soups.”

We love watching him on TV; “the storyteller in the kitchen.” And what a great storyteller he is.

One of the soups he featured is his lentil soup with sausage and ricotta. Inspired by the simple ingredients, I made it the day after we enjoyed our BBQ Brisket. Here’s his recipe:

About October

I began the month with great expectations. Read the Bible daily. Practice yoga daily. Write daily. This I didn’t accomplish.

But Susan and I did begin a new season of volunteering in the Bridges Together Program .

Here are two of our students–4th graders.

I made some delicious food.

Here is a meatloaf with mushroom gravy.

Blueberry Scones.

Cranberry-Walnut Scones.

A Berry Galette.

Fig Chutney, which was so good served with chicken and oven-roasted Gen Tso’s cauliflower.

And since we have both fighting colds this past week, chicken soup.

Susan made a wonderful white chocolate cake. YUM!

One night we went out for dinner at 99 Restaurant and I had a sweet potato crusted haddock. I tried to replicate it at home with cod. Not as good, but still special.

Our garden continued to bring us great joy.

As did our Freddy. And Susan continued to sponsor the Nepali children in soccer.

I also had the opportunity to photograph my friend Beth and her family. I photographed her family last winter and I photographed her wedding a number of years ago.

 

And my friend Hajer.

And here is your humble author and friend. A self-portrait with my better half from October 3. She is my rock and inspiration. She is helping me get through some medical issues; this week I am having the first of two or three operations to remove kidney stones. Earlier in the month I thought I might have one as I have had them before; my back hurt and there was some blood in my urine. A CT Scan and Cystoscopy this month revealed two large stones and numerous small ones.

The long and short of all this is I AM reading the Bible, practicing yoga, praying, writing every day for now on. Thank You Susan for your continued inspiration. I love you. Keep smiling.

 

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.