Author Archives: charlesprogers
Post by Alison Hein.
The glorious weather we’ve been having has put me in a bit of a funk: beautiful, sunny days + low humidity + perfect temperatures + shorter days = end of summer. 🙁 🙁
So I turn to the perfect pick-me-up – peach pie! There are a few good things the close of August brings, and one of my top picks is luscious, ruby-red, drippingly sweet peaches.
This time I’ve made my pie open face, but the recipe yields enough dough to place a top crust on, if you like (freeze any extra pie dough for a future quick dessert or savory quiche). If your peaches are extra sweet, use a little less sugar. If they’re extra juicy, add a touch more flour.
At this time of year, I recommend acquiring a few more peaches than needed, just in case you nibble some away before preparing your peachy, perfect, pick-me-up breakfast in bed. J
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ice cold water
⅓ cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
4 to 5 large, ripe peaches
¼ to ½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup flour
To make crust, sift together flour and salt. Remove half of the flour mixture and add to a separate small bowl. Add water to flour mixture and stir to make a paste. Cut butter into small cubes and cut into remaining flour mixture, using a pastry cutter or two forks. Mix all ingredients together until a smooth, uniform dough forms. Split dough in half. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes before rolling.
Preheat oven to 350°. Remove dough from refrigerator. Gently roll out one piece of dough on a lightly floured board, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Roll dough to form an approximate 12-inch round. Place dough in pie dish. Trim edges and crimp with the tines of a fork.
To make filling, peel peaches by cutting a small “x” in the bottom of the fruit. Carefully drop the peaches into boiling water and blanch for up to one minute. Remove peaches from pot and immerse in ice water. Peel off peach skin starting at the “x’. Slice peaches by cutting lengthwise to the pit, and pulling slices away from pit. Place peach slices in a large bowl. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and flour. Pour filling into prepared pie crust.
Place pie in oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes until crust and topping is golden brown. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if you like.
Makes 1 pie.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
How to Grow Up and RULE THE WORLD by VORDAK the Incomprehensible
All kids need to have goals in life. Even if it’s something small, like learning to tie your shoes or reading that long chapter book all on your own. That’s all well and good for some, but that may not be enough for those who REALLY strive for something bigger. So if you have a son or daughter who aims to dominate, rule, and crush the enemy, How to Grow Up and RULE THE WORLD by VORDAK the Incomprehensible may be a good start.
Assuming you pass the Evil Aptitude Test, Vordak will guide your child through all the necessary steps to becoming an indomitable force, complete with handy diagrams! One of the first things you need to do is to pick a supremely villainous name. There is a chart to help with this. Just be sure it includes the word “the”, pronounced “thee”. Learn how to master evil laughter, how to load up your utility belt, and how to pick out the costume that embodies your particular brand of evilness best.
Vordak will also show you the pros and cons of various “diabolically clever yet extremely slow-acting death traps” like tying a superhero to a conveyor belt with a buzz saw at the end. He will show you the proper way to aim a space laser.
My son has been having a lot of fun with this book and so far no evil side-effects. Good for short-attention-span thumbing through and chock full of fun pictures, this book will entertain future supervillians for hours on end!
Post by Mark T. Locker.
This is where it all begins, people! I’m sure everyone has taken my advice and ran home to watch Wet Hot American Summer to prepare for this much-anticipated follow-up.
Fourteen years have elapsed since the camp counselors oversaw the last day of camp. Fourteen years later, we are given a prequel. It is a pretty clever concept: the counselors, who were all too old to be believable in the first place, are now in their 40s and posing as teenagers. What’s amazing is they got the entire crew back together to put this eight episode miniseries together. All the questions you never had will be answered here: what happened to the cook that unhinged him so? Why is there a can of vegetables that talks to him? Why on earth does an astrophysicist live next door to the camp?
As far as reboots go, this one is not terrible. I’ve made it further than I did with the Arrested Development reboot, let’s put it that way. It’s still a fun and silly show and they are doggedly averse to plotlines which is good and bad. There seem to be about ten different subplots and I keep forgetting about some and then there are others I wonder about that aren’t being addressed again. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe they are doing it on purpose for their own entertainment.
Everyone has fallen nicely back into their old roles, and clearly everyone is having a fantastic time. It’s fun enough to watch all the way through, though it can’t possibly hold a candle to the original. Still, it’s worth watching and makes a fun and ridiculous way to wrap up a long day before going to sleep.
Does your bedroom feel personalized? You might not have given it much thought up until now, but adding personal touches to sleep spaces can be done in a variety of ways. Selecting a less-than-popular but personal favorite color, creating a gallery of family photos, filling the space with accoutrements from your travels, and adding your initials, better known as a monogram, are common ways to introduce a bit of yourself into a bedroom. Today we’ll focus on monograms –– motifs made from initials and often used to place stamps on personal items such as pillows, duvet covers, window treatments, and more.
Continue reading for some lovely monogram inspiration in bedrooms.
These twin headboards in a children’s room boast subtle monograms. The lettering style works well with the bedroom’s simple, nautical theme.
Crisp and clean, this Houston bedroom decked out in navy and white makes a statement with a monogram in the center of the bed covering.
An elegant traditional space to sleep, this room keeps the color palette neutral but adds personal touches with monogrammed pillows and family photos on the nightstand.
Whimsical and feminine, the monogrammed cornice and pillow create a second focal point –– the daybed being the first. The lilac walls and toile mixed with zebra are adventurous and prove successful. Any lady would be lucky to stay in this room.
The designer used varying shades of gray with white accents in this calm, serene Texas bedroom. The monograms are less traditional than most –– using a single letter –– but the boldness grab’s your attention.
Post by: Alison Hein.
Ever try using a giant, meaty Portobello mushroom as a base for your breakfast eggs? Well, you should! Portobellos are large and stuffable. Their dense texture and earthy flavor make them filling and satisfying – a particularly nice ingredient for a vegetarian meal.
In this recipe, I recommend acquiring a Portobello with its stem intact. You can finely dice the stem and sauté it along with a bit of delicate shallot, and tangy sun-dried tomato. Scramble some eggs, add chopped spinach and melted cheddar. Voila! An entire meal stuffed into a mushroom.
Don’t concern yourself about whether it’s Portobello, portabella, or portobella – they’re all the same thing – an overgrown relative of the common button mushroom, and the perfect base for your breakfast in bed.
NOTE: If you’re interested in reading up on the history of these tasty giants, take a look at the info on Foodtimeline.org
1 large Portobello mushroom, with stem attached
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
1 tablespoon chopped sun-dried tomato
2 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup cooked chopped spinach, warmed
1 slice sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350°. Clean and trim Portobello mushroom. Remove stem by pushing firmly to one side, then the other. Chop stem into a fine dice and set aside.
Brush the outside of the Portobello with a little olive oil. Place in an ovenproof dish and bake until cooked through but firm, about 15 to 20 minutes.
In the meantime, heat the remaining olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add diced mushroom stem, shallot and sun-dried tomato. Sautee until softened but not browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add beaten eggs to pan. Continue to cook on low, gently folding and lifting egg mixture until cooked. Season with salt and pepper.
To assemble the Portobello, spread cooked spinach on top of the baked mushroom. Top with egg mixture and cheddar cheese. Place under the broiler until cheese is melted, less than one minute. Serve immediately.
Makes 1 stuffed mushroom.