Posted at 10:13 am , on March 17, 2019
My parents were both born in Belfast, Northern Ireland but St. Patrick’s day was never celebrated in our house. Why, you ask? Because we are proud Orange-Irish!
Growing up, my sister Jacqueline and I were NEVER allowed to wear green to school. We would try to sneak out the door and Daddy would turn us about saying, “No child of mine is wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day. Go and put on your orange.” No matter how we pleaded about getting pinched, Daddy was always true to his heritage. And I passed that on to my children and grandchildren.
And now, my annual explanation on why this 100% Irish, first generation American, wears Orange on St. Patrick’s Day.
Posted at 2:58 am , on March 12, 2019
I’m 100% Orange Irish. For those who don’t know the difference, in a nutshell: Green are from the south, Catholic and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Orange are from the north, Protestant and celebrate July the 12th. (The story goes much deeper; I’ll save that for another day!)
Although I’ve been Jewish for over 20 years, I was brought up in a definitely Orange household and we never had corned beef or celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. Americans go crazy over the holiday, so I play along with the hype and make Hubby a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal each year. Gotta admit … it’s pretty darned tasty no matter your religion or politics!
Living on a boat, we try to be conscious of the use of our resources (water, propane, batteries). We love soups and stews in the winter, but using four hours of propane to boil corned beef is a bit much. So I did some research and found that it can be baked in half the time! It was absolutely delish … so tender and firm. I’ll never boil corned beef again!
Posted at 4:21 pm , on March 9, 2019
Sonho on the mooring balls at Angel Island. Photo by HBS
It still pains me to say it and I haven’t had the heart to change the countdown on this blogsite yet. It’s not a secret and the choice was made with love, but it doesn’t make it any less hard.
We are not cutting the docklines and starting our circumnavigation on April 16, 2019 as we had planned for so many years.
The reason? Our grandchildren. We adore those three more than anything in the world and we can’t, in good consciousness, leave them alone with their mommy while daddy is away for almost five months. It takes a village to raise that crazy clan and we are needed here to help keep Meghan sane and the kids alive. LOL.
Posted at 4:44 am , on March 7, 2019
The sour-faced woman raised her eyebrows after scanning my ID card. “I’m sorry, we can’t accept your vote.”
“What? Why not? I’ve voted at this polling place for the past 12 years. I’ve never missed an election. What’s wrong?”
“It seems that your citizenship is in question. We can’t just let anyone vote, you know.” She said this with a smirk and dismissive wave of her hand.
Posted at 5:58 am , on March 5, 2019
I’m a big fan of one-pot meals. Living on a boat, I have very little counter space and the dishwasher is me for the most part so the less items, the better. My prep surfaces are on top of the sink, stove and fridge so I need to stage all ingredients, chop and measure, and be ready to go. This recipe comes together in about 20 minutes and thickens as it sits: serious comfort food!
Our local Grocery Outlet has a nice assortment of gnocchi and I’ve tried several and don’t have a favorite. I’ve made my own gnocchi but it is a pretty big mess and takes time and just the right amount of kneading and boiling to get them just right. And honestly, once you cover those little dumplings with sauce, it’s all good!
The secret in this dish is definitely the roux. It’s important to get the butter-veggie-flour combo smooth, adding the flour slowly and stir, stir, stir to avoid lumps. This creates the base for the meal.
Posted at 6:18 am , on February 26, 2019
Backyard barbecues and potato salad just go together. Everytime I make it, it’s slightly different depending on the guest list, and this is the basic recipe from my Nana. During the warm summer months our family spent many lazy afternoons in their backyard, with Papy barbecuing chicken and hotdogs and Nana making the side dishes and setting the picnic table while my sister and I played on the grass or on the beach. All of these ingredients are stocked at our local Grocery Outlet and you probably have on hand.
Most potato salad connoisseurs will tell you it must be made the night before and allowed to sit to really meld the flavors and I agree. But that’s where the agreements end. There are strong camps for using mayonnaise versus Miracle Whip and certain potato varieties. And then the additions: onion, celery, sweet or dill relish. All I can say is that this recipe is universally loved!
Posted at 2:52 am , on February 21, 2019
Amy stretched languidly, enjoying the morning quiet.
Then it struck her: It’s Wednesday! Why didn’t the alarm go off?!
She flew out of bed, glancing at the offensive clock: 8:13 am. Shit. No time for a shower or coffee and there was no way she’d make the express bus. Driving wasn’t an option either with the crowded highways at peak commute hour. She’d have to take the subway to get into the city. Ugh.
Posted at 6:36 am , on February 19, 2019
Sometimes the simplest meals are the most delicious. It’s all about using fresh ingredients that pair nicely together. Our local Grocery Outlet features a variety of seasonal seafood and I snagged these nice ocean-caught lobster tails to serve with New York strip steaks. I didn’t have time to make homemade gnocchi but a package of good quality butternut squash topped with homemade Alfredo sauce rounded the meal out beautifully. The total cost was about $25, a third of the cost of going out to eat and it impressed the hubby with both taste and presentation.
For the steaks, I let them come to room temperature then brushed with Worcestershire sauce and sprinkled with Montreal seasoning. For medium-rare, they take about 15 minutes on the grill so I start the sauce when they go on, followed by the ravioli’s and then the lobster tails. While the meat rests, I am doing the final tasting and ready to plate within five minutes. The key is to have the ingredients chopped and measured out so it comes together quickly.
Posted at 7:37 pm , on February 12, 2019
It has been brrrrrrr on our little piece of the Alameda Riviera in Northern California this week. We rarely dip below the mid-50s in the winter and we were seeing low-40s … This weather calls for soup! This meatball soup is inexpensive and easy to assemble. Our local Grocery Outlet always has these ingredients in stock with the whole meal costing $12. I simply added sourdough bread and butter on the side and it was a filling meal with leftovers for lunch. And any time I have the opportunity to make a meal in my Nana’s Dutch oven makes me so happy … extra love in every bite.
Variations: I used hot Italian sausage because Hubby and I both like spicy food. You can use the mild if you prefer. This particular brand is seasoned nicely and I didn’t need to add a single spice, other than a parsley garnish. I used chicken broth as it’s what I had on hand. Beef or vegetable broth would be good as well. I had a can of white chili beans that were already seasoned with onion, garlic and jalapeno, which also added to the flavor. You can use unseasoned white or great Northern beans instead and then gauge the seasoning level before adding the spinach.
Posted at 2:50 am , on February 7, 2019
He considered himself immortal. He’d had plenty of broken bones and visits to the emergency room in his 33 years as a stuntman. In each of the three near-death experiences, he was drawn to a light but it always dimmed before he reached it. And then he woke to excruciating pain.
This was different. He found himself weightless. No sound, no sights, just white. Best of all, no pain. An unseen force slowly propelled him forward and after a time he came upon a huge golden gate.
A kind voice whispered in his head, “Enter ye who are pure of heart.”