Tag Archives: Charles P. Rogers
Post by Alison Hein.
I’ve been baking a lot this winter. There are a few reasons for this. One is simply, well, because I like to bake. Next, I have been trapped in my home on numerous occasions due to ridiculous and nearly constant cold, ice and snow. Finally, a nice hot oven helps to keep the heat up in the house on these low temperature days. My husband has been enjoying homemade bread hot from the oven, sweet pastries and pies dusted with sugar, and hardy scones laden with pure Irish butter.
The trouble is, with no way to safely get to the grocery store, my pantry has been running low. Inspiration for these scones struck when I glanced at my lemon-filled fruit bowl, and remembered a pack of dried tart cherries tucked in the back of the cabinet.
Mrs. O’Callaghan’s Irish Scones are so light and delicate that I used her method here. Adding lemon rind to the batter and swapping cherries for raisins did the trick. One lemon is enough to make both the scones and the butter. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, just add about a tablespoon of cider vinegar to a cup of milk for a great faux substitute.
Warm yourself by the stove, brew a strong cup of black tea, and take your lemony scones off to a cozy spot by the window. Take a good long look at all that ice and snow. Then gratefully feast on a warm and cozy breakfast in bed.
Lemon Cherry Scones
3 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1½ cups buttermilk, plus additional for brushing scone after baking
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon lemon oil, or lemon flavoring
½ cup dried tart cherries
Preheat oven to 350°. In large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and grated lemon rind. Stir baking soda into buttermilk. Pour buttermilk mixture, lightly beaten egg and lemon oil into dry ingredients and mix just to combine. Batter should be thick but spreadable. Stir in dried tart cherries.
Grease and flour a 10-inch cast iron frying pan. Spread batter evenly in pan. Place in oven and bake until scone is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in top comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Alternatively, grease and flour two round 8-inch cake pans. Divide batter evenly between the two pans and reduce baking time to about 45 minutes.
Remove scone from pan and brush top with a little buttermilk, if you like. Wrap immediately in a tea towel so scones remain warm and soft. When ready to serve, cut scone in wedges. Serve warm with lemon honey butter.
Makes 12 to 14 scones.
Lemon Honey Butter
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
Add softened butter to small bowl. Stir in honey and lemon juice and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
The iPads for kids at the library are stationed right next to the juvenile non-fiction. Which is to say, I find myself browsing the juvenile non-fiction quite a bit while waiting for my boy to finish up giving a werewolf a haircut, or cutting candy down for a monster, or helping birds with anger issues. I have a particular fondness for children’s poetry. Shel Silverstein is of course the most widely-known children’s poet, quite possibly in the entire universe. But there are a lot of people writing quite entertaining poems for kids. I grabbed a book off the shelf, thumbed quickly through it, and added it to the pile.
I didn’t think much about it since then but noticed that every time there was an eerie silence from my son’s room, I’d find him quietly reading the book of poems. The book is called My Hippo Has the Hiccups by Kenn Nesbitt. The poems are reminiscent of Shel Silverstein, silly poems with catchy rhyming cadences accompanied by little line drawings. They are funny, and often about animals. Apparently he was also named children’s Poet Laureate in 2013. So clearly I’m not the only one who has discovered him.
My teacher ate my homework,
which I thought was rather odd.
He sniffed at it and smiled
with an approving sort of
He took a little nibble
it’s unusual, but true-
then had a somewhat larger bite
and gave a thoughtful chew.
I think he must have liked it,
for he really went to town.
He gobbled it with gusto
and he wolfed the whole thing down.
He licked off all his fingers,
gave a burp and said, “You pass.”
I guess that’s how they grade you
when you’re in a cooking class.
We just returned My Hippo and picked up another volume, called Tighty Whitey Spider. When I explained what tighty whiteys are, naturally my son was intrigued. These are fun poems with a very low ick factor. Recommended for kids of any age.
Post by: Alison Hein
If life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. But what do you do if life gives you a whole bunch of Thai basil? Make pesto, of course!
Such was my experience recently when I was trimming my sweet little miracle garden. (See the Rolled Omelet with Fresh Herbs post to learn more.) My little patch of herbs is so prolific that I need to trim it every day to prevent delicate chives, cilantro, parsley and basil from singing their tips on the grow lights. During this process, I inadvertently knocked off my entire Thai Basil plant! Sad but inspired, I set to work on salvage and enterprise.
Traditional Italian pesto, which originated in the northern Liguria region, consists of fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan and local sheep milk cheeses. Tangy, fragrant, and lightly richened with nuts, pesto livens up fresh-cooked pasta, slow-simmered beans, or scrambled eggs.
I’ve substituted walnuts for pine nuts in my version, and have omitted the cheeses for better freezing of any excess pesto. I learned a neat trick many years ago – if you have an old-fashioned ice cube tray, fill it with tablespoon-sized portions of pesto, then freeze for individual servings. One tablespoon is just right for a single serving of pasta, or in this case, scrambled eggs. Add any cheeses later, when you are ready to partake of a candlelit Italian dinner, or a tangy, fragrant breakfast in bed.
2 cups packed Thai basil (or other basil) leaves, plus additional sprig for garnish
2 cloves garlic, peeled
½ cup walnuts (or pine nuts)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional 2 teaspoons for cooking eggs
Salt and pepper, to taste
Clean and dry basil and set aside. Add garlic and walnuts to blender and chop. Add basil, then with blender running on low, pour in olive oil and purée until smooth and thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
Makes about ¾ cup pesto.
Thai Basil Pesto Scrambled Eggs
1 tablespoon Thai basil pesto
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat olive oil in small, heavy pan over medium low heat. Break eggs into small bowl and whisk well. Stir in pesto and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Add egg mixture to heated pan and allow to cook slowly and gently. Stir and lift frequently with wooden spoon to avoid sticking. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese, season with salt and pepper, garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve immediately.
Makes 1 serving.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
The Curse Workers, Book 1: White Cat by Holly Black.
Here’s an exciting series for teens who like something akin to down-to-earth magic. This series is about a family of curse workers living in New Jersey. Certain people are born with certain abilities. They are known as curse workers, or just workers. With a simple touch of a finger, they can manipulate someone’s emotions, dreams, memories, luck. Some can kill. Some can transform others. The interesting aspect of this is that whenever a worker “works” somebody, the worker is also affected. This is known as blowback. If you erase a memory, you lose a bit of your own. If you manipulate someone’s emotions, your own become unstable for a while. Nevertheless, the organized crime syndicate does not let this stop them. Not knowing who may or may not be a worker has created a world where everyone wears gloves, just in case.
Cassel Sharpe is a teenage boy who comes from a long line of workers. He himself is not a worker, but his grandfather is a death worker, his mother an emotion worker, and his brothers are memory workers. They are all deeply embedded in a crime family. Cassel has spent his life not feeling included because he lacked the skill of the rest. He has also been haunted by the memory of killing his best friend, a girl named Lila, daughter of a major crime boss. But one day, he starts having strange dreams. It would seem a dream worker is communicating with him. But why? He begins to dig and realized that even his own memories cannot be trusted and that everything he thought he knew about himself, and his family, is not what it seems.
This is a unique and intriguing series. It blends the supernatural with the very real angst of being a teenager. Cassel’s life is full of the social stress of high school, compounded with coming from a crime family and being a killer.
Good book for teenagers and adults.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Don’t have a design direction for your bedroom? Maybe you have one of those rooms with too many doors and windows, and you don’t know where to place the bed. Or, maybe picking colors isn’t your strong suit, and you always turn to ho-hum beige. Hiring an interior designer to decorate your sleep space might be worth your time and money, but before you make a commitment to work with any decorator, here are a few things you should do first.
Create an inspiration file.
Use Pinterest or look through magazines and websites to create a file of bedrooms you like and would love to be yours. Doing research will establish a direction for you and the person you potentially hire.
Meet with several design pros.
Ask friends and look online to peruse portfolios and check references. Meet with at least three designers, and get a feel for how each would approach your project. Even if you have to pay a consultation fee, you’ll get practical advice, and chatting for an hour or two will get you one step closer to selecting the right person.
Know your budget.
Before you start your bedroom project, have a number in mind and communicate that to your would-be designer. Some decorators have minimums, so you might be expected to invest a hefty sum. Others will accept any project, and be happy to work with you, even if you’re scope is small and your budget smaller. By establishing a number in your mind, you’ll also know pretty quickly if you can afford to hire someone in the first place.
Be clear about what you like and don’t like.
Even in your initial meeting, be clear about what you like and don’t like, as well as your wish list. King bed? Upholstered headboard? Storage? A sitting area? Be sure that you’re on the same page as the person you might work with and your expectations are reasonable. Plus, establishing great communication from the get-go sets the tone for a working relationship with the interior designer you select.