Thursday, January 03, 2013

New Year’s Day Walk

On New Year’s Day we took the dogs for a “big” walk, meaning we walked down our street, and crossed the main road and entered the woods by Green Turtle Pond. You know: The Thorn Queen’s Kingdom.

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By the looks of the entrance you would think she was once again plotting a new way to keep people (me) out since her thorns are lessened by the snowpack. These trees no doubt blew over right across the trail during Hurricane Sandy. It did not deter us!

Her kingdom looks very different from the last time I took you here.

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I liked this woodpecker-holed tree. Did the bird drill from both sides to achieve the see-through hole?

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The dogs love the freedom of running off-lead and exploring. They get lots of exercise since they run down the trail, then run back to get a treat from us. (Which is the way we trained them to stay close to us at the cabin.)

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Here is Alex coming back for a treat and Hailey in the background not wanting to be left out where any kind of food is involved. Here I come, wait for me!!

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Lunch involved our favorite champagne (Veuve Clicquot) with a toast to the New Year.

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(Don’t look at the photo too hard for anything much in focus because I think it’s somewhere in the bubbles! I know, I know, but somehow it worked for me.)

And, we tried out a new recipe from a new cookbook Fireside Feasts & Snow Day Treats: Parmesan Custards with Anchovy Toasts.

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The cookbook is British but has both UK and US measurements and usage of words which helps. I know most people don’t like anchovies, but here they get mashed with butter, spread on the bread and then panini-ed. The salt of the anchovy matched really well with the custards. You have to admit that at least they look good, yes? The custards didn’t come out quite as expected by following the directions, so if I make them again I’ll adjust the recipe. Still, they were really good. You can always go really light on the anchovies or leave them out altogether I suppose, which would probably be most people’s choice!

The cookbook has lots of tasty looking recipes and only one vegetable that I don’t know what it is since they only used the British word for it: a swede. I am assuming I am not supposed to slice up a person from Sweden! (Take one Swede and cut in half … ) Maybe a rutabaga since it’s a root vegetable gratin?? Anyway, that’s my best guess.

Now that I’ve turned you off our cooking completely I’ll get on with my day!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snow Day

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Mom! Let us in!

Yesterday was a snow day around our house. It started snowing around 10:30 and didn’t stop until after the sun went down. I would have thought we’d have more than we do since at times it was really coming down hard, but we ended up with about 4.5 inches out of a prediction of 3-6 inches.

I love to capture the birds at our feeder while it’s snowing so I tempted them with some extra seed sprinkled on the deck railings and on top of the old dry sink where we grow our kitchen herbs.

Tufted titmouse.

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A tuxedo wearing junco.

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Mr. & Mrs. C.

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Mr. Purple Finch sporting the newest in bird fashion: snowflake nose!

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A dry sink icicle.

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We stayed around the wood stove in the sun room and finished our jigsaw puzzle (I’m ready to start another one!). We split some firewood and restocked our diminished supply in the basement so we don’t have to constantly go outside to get wood. We cooked.

The bubbles of olive oil as we started the polenta caught my eye.

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Our Osso Bucco. Yum!

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The railing on our front steps with its fresh coating of snow. No flash: just turned up my ISO speed.

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Now this morning we have the chore of clearing the deck, driveway and front steps of all that lovely new snow! At least it was just snow this time and no freezing rain or “wintry mix.”

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Molecular Dessert

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I bought Rick a molecular gastronomy kit for Christmas. What man (or woman) who loves to cook wouldn’t like a food science kit? If you watch the Food Network at all you are already familiar with some of the molecular food preparations that are becoming increasingly popular in restaurants, such as foams.

He was thrilled with his gift and tried it out yesterday, starting with the recipe for a molecular “fried” egg. The base was vanilla yogurt and milk and the “yolk” was a papaya puree. (Those are chocolate shavings on top.)

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The “yolk” was firm on the outside but “cooked” perfectly when broken into.

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I would say his first experiment was a success! And very tasty too!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Summed Up and My Lytro Camera

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Alex waiting patiently Christmas morning to open packages.

We had a good Christmas. How about you?

It snowed about an inch on Christmas Eve. It was so pretty coming down. We turned on the outside light around 8:00 p.m. and just sat in the sun room with a cup of homemade egg nog (yes, I used raw eggs) and watched it snow. Perfection! When we got up Christmas morning and opened the curtains to that covering of white it was picture perfect. The snow mostly melted during the day when it warmed up to the high 30’s.

We had a small Christmas (meaning not many gifts) but the gifts we did get and receive were not as small. I thought it was pretty funny that both Rick and I gave each other a kind of camera! I gave him a time-lapse camera because he spends his days around cameras that do the opposite (high-speed slow motion) and I thought he needed to slow down a bit.

He gave me a Lytro camera, which I had never heard of before. It’s just a tiny little thing that can be easily popped into a pocket and taken along. It takes “living” pictures. I’ll be featuring them in my blog from now on in combination with normal photos. For the Lytro pics you can click on various spots of the photo and it will come in to focus as other parts go out of focus. I have added a perspective feature to most of them which makes the photo look 3D (depending on how deep my depth of field was in that particular photo) and you can click and drag to explore the photo a bit more. Try it with this photo I took of Hailey in the foreground and Bella in the distance.


See how her head pops out of the photo? Cool, eh?

So, how does the magic happen? I’m not too up on the technical bits but here is a brief explanation from Rick.
“Called a “light field” camera or “plenoptic camera”. A digital camera that acquires images in a whole new way, then uses complex computations to render the photos. Each pixel you see in the photo is actually imaged by many different pixels with different focal distances. All this data is later used to computationally render the photo.” Hmm … clear as mud, right? All you really need to focus on (Hah, pun, get it?) it that it takes cool photos.

Here are a couple more.




We spent the day playing with our new toys, taking the dogs for a walk and cooking our Christmas meal of Duck in orange sauce, two-potato gratin and roasted brussels sprouts with homemade profiteroles for dessert.

Yesterday we ventured out of the house and into town for a few things, then took the dogs down the road to Green Turtle Pond for an off-leash run. Brrr it was cold—below freezing! Just like littlel kids, the dogs had to step on every frozen puddle and break the ice. It was a game to them.

Then yesterday afternoon it snowed again, as predicted, while we watched the movie “Inception.” I may never think the same way about my dreams again! We got about four to four and a half inches of nice snow before it turned to freezing rain, then rain. I took these two shots just as it was turning to freezing rain. The trees were coated in what looked like white cotton candy and looked very strange. I hope you appreciate these photos because I went out in my slippers and bathrobe to take them! You can see my footprints in the snow on the steps for depth.

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They say we are getting more snow on Saturday. I guess winter has arrived in New Jersey!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Recap: New York City Festivities

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Our venture in to the city went wonderfully the other day. Traffic was a little snarled heading up 54th Street but not too bad. We parked pretty close to Radio City Music Hall and walked up to Rockefeller Center.

We thought the tree was bigger and prettier this year. It wasn’t quite dark when we arrived. And of course everyone wants their photo taken with the tree. It was impossible not to get the screens of other people’s iPhones in a shot. (Doesn’t anyone use a real camera anymore??)

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It’s also hard to get really good photos in such a crush of people. People pushing and shoving for a spot to watch the skaters, desperate to have their or their children’s photos taken. People suddenly appearing in front of my lens just as I clicked the shutter. sigh. So, I felt my pics were not up to par. I’m sharing them with you anyway since it’s all I’ve got!

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I love the little square around the tree with its toy soldiers.

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And the little walking street with all the lovely shops and the view of the tree and The Rock.

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Several shops along this street caught my eye. One was Botticelli. Oh My. I don’t normally wear real fur, but what beautiful things were in the window! A gorgeous fur-trimmed sweater coat. To die for fur-lined boots!

We drooled over Swiss chocolates in the window at Teuscher’s and were surprised and excited to find this familiar little green box inside the shop. Ah, the Champagne Truffles we used to get in Europe! Rick always brought them home from his travels back and forth.

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On to the window display at Saks Fifth Avenue. We were pleased to see a more old-fashioned display this year and not the weird Bubble Maker theme they had last year. It was more of a snowflake theme, and very cute.

This window had about 50 snow globes on rotating platforms that would shake them up at intervals.

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This little boy was cutting out paper snowflakes.

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It was snowing feathers in this window.

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We walked back to the tree to see it in the dark.

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We were still early for dinner so we stopped at a wine bar and had a glass of delicious Malbec. We sat at a table outside with a view of the center.

Dinner at Alfredo’s was delicious. We don’t normally order pasta out when we go to an Italian restaurant, but the pasta sounded good to both of us. I’m glad we made that choice because it was all homemade. I had spaghetti with a tomato basil sauce and veal meatballs and Rick had a trio of lasagne, ravioli, and fettucine alfredo. He wasn’t sure which one was the tastiest. A good waiter and a bottle of nice Italian red wine helped to round out the experience.

The seating was intimate (meaning close to other tables) and the table next to us was occupied by two young 20-something women. When we first sat down I didn’t think they were speaking English. Then I realized they were. After more eavesdropping, we realized that one of the women was switching back and forth in mid-sentance from (what sounded like) Russian to English constantly. Flawlessly, and without hesitation. She spoke English with no accent. Very bizarre. Her companion on the other hand, was only speaking English. We just hope she was following the whole conversation!

After dinner it was onward to the show!

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Our seats were amazing! Orchestra, third row, center. The show was very enjoyable and also very different from the one we had seen a few years ago. The Rockettes are amazing. Such precision! So many set and costume changes! It really is well worth seeing.

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The New York City skyline projected on the walls.

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All in all a great night out in the city and a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season! I hope you enjoyed your visit!

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Welcome, I'm Lynne. You know me better as a 'new' Jersey Girl. But now I've moved once again, this time to North Carolina. Here I write about my thoughts, good food, and of course, dogs.

© 2006-2023 Lynne Robinson All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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