Friday, February 28, 2014
A few nights ago, I went to dinner at Hanover's place. Hanover made some steaks on the grill and I brought wine. Toledo brought grapefruit pie for dessert and Mary brought a couple of salads. All in all, it was a fun, relaxing meal, but the big surprise came after we ate.
Hanover brought out a bottle of cognac-- the good stuff Courvoisier VSOP Exclusif. He poured us all a glass and it was nice. It warmed me up inside. But it also got me thinking about one of my favorite drinks: the sidecar.
So I asked Hanover whether he had any fresh lemons. He had lemon juice, but it's just not the same. He didn't, of course. "Why do you want lemons anyway?" he asked.
"To make a sidecar," I said.
"Ruin a good cognac," he grumbled the way he always does when I mention something tasty.
"Whatever," I rolled my eyes and filled my glass with the straight stuff. It was good, like I said, but it was definitely not a sidecar.
Well, last night I got a surprise. Hanover stopped by with a basket of everything you need to make a sidecar. "What's the occasion?" I asked as he squeezed the lemons.
"Does there have to be an occasion?" he asked. "I was just thinking back to that boat we went on. You know...the Mud Imp. Is that what it was called?"
"The A. Neon Mud Imp. What a disaster that night was."
"I wouldn't call it a disaster. We had a good time, didn't we?" Hanover poured some cognac in the shaker.
"Not too heavy on the cognac, Hanover. I like mine a little on the tart side."
Hanover always gripes about my sugar. But the fact is, I invented putting sugar on the rim of a drink. I was fifteen, I think, and I'd hang out at the Owl listening to Daddy play. They'd pour me hooch, if I asked, but it was hard to drink. So I wiped the rim of my glass with a lemon and dipped it in sugar. When I had my first sidecar a few years later, I knew it would go good with sugar. And people copied me and before long, it was all the rage.
"I just like it that way," I said.
"Ruin a good drink," Hanover grumbled. But he wiped lemon around the rim and dipped it in granulated sugar.
He poured the mixture into the two glasses -- one with sugar, one without.
"I think we'd better toast," he handed me my glass.
"To what?" I asked. "I thought there was no occasion."
"It looks like we might be going on another adventure?" he said.
"Where?" I asked.
"It's a surprise." He smiled and we touched glasses. Hanover knows how much I like surprises.
If you want to know more about our adventure on the A. Neon Mud Imp, you can read about it in High Rollers. If you want to know more about how to make a sidecar, visit Sidecar Recipe.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Jesse always has a barrel of cider open. He says it keeps him young. I don't argue with him. It wouldn't do any good anyway. Even Mama knew that.
When we were kids, he'd pour me and Hanover a thimble full when Mama wasn't looking. She always wondered why we got so sleepy on the boat ride home. She always brought a few jugs home for herself. One of those jugs was reserved for making apple cider vinegar. After Jesse moved away, we'd go out to pick apples and Mama tried her hand at brewing hard cider. It wasn't like Jesse's, but it was good enough for making vinegar.
I keep mine in the drying shed while it cures. I also filter it. But before I do, I put aside a bit that contains the mother of vinegar so I'll have a starter for the next batch. It takes a couple months for hard cider to turn to vinegar, so I usually have a few batches at different stages in the process. If you're curious about how to make apple cider vinegar, you can find more information here.
Apple cider vinegar is good for a lot of things. It helps improve digestion and can even lower blood sugar. Mary O'Malley keeps some on hand to ease sunburn. Being red-headed and Irish, the sun is lethal to her. Hanover, however, prefers his apple cider hard. If you want to learn more about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, here's a link to apple cider vinegar on WebMD.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Toledo looked into her mama’s eyes, expecting to see only the dark cloak her mama used to hide her true feelings. Instead, she saw particles of sand rise up and transform into a coyote baying at the moon. The howl resonated with loneliness, pain, and yearning.
Unfortunately, we did not have a winner. I'll try to make this week's scramble a little easier. I told you I was new at this.
This week's quote is from Rips in the Weave, the first book in the Dime Store Novel series. It's a prequel to the stories about me, Hanover, Toledo and Regan. It's about Toledo's mother and her sister Delilah.
Here's the quote:
The __________ lashed his white __________ tail and __________, low and __________. “You’ve lost your sister. __________ calls to me.”
This week's winner receives an ebook copy of Rips in the Weave.
And remember to check back during the week. If no one has solved the puzzle, I'll add some hints to the comments.
Friday, February 21, 2014
Last week, I got a treat. I stopped by the Red Rock Coffee for a latte and was amazed. "Who is that woman on stage?" I asked the guy behind the coffee bar.I pulled a ciggie out of my purse and snapped my lighter.
"Rabbit Quinn," he answered. "You can't smoke in here, by the way."
"Ummmm....forever. As long as I can remember."
I looked at the guy...well boy, really. He had a fresh face and a blonde bang that fell across his forehead. Kind of cute, but much too young for me. "Oh right. I'm in California, aren't I?"
He looked at me like I was from Mars. "Of course you're in California."
"Hmmm. Hey, are those special brownies?"
"Special? Oh, you mean pot brownies? No. You have to go to a dispensary for those unless you drive on up to Washington. Are you planning to order something?"
"A double latte with a sprinkle of cinnamon."
The boy turned his attention to the espresso machine and I focused on the music. Her fingers stroked the keys with an intimacy I have rarely experienced with Hanover or anyone else for that matter. She understood every nuance of its tone. Her voice was soulful and resonated deep in my heart, then it soared, taking me with her to another realm...her realm. Her music was both haunting and true. I realized that like me, she had sensed the others -- the ones that walk this earth without the ability to touch another. She looked young, but so do I. I wondered how much she knew, how many of those shadowy places she frequented in her dreams. I felt a tap on my shoulder and realized the boy had put a steaming cup next to me. I put a five dollar bill on the counter and carried the cup to a nearby table. I knew where I was spending the next hour or so. And for awhile, immersed in the music of Rabbit Quinn, I didn't even care that I couldn't light up.
Rabbit Quinn's debut album Lost Children is available on iTunes and CDBaby.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Hanover was there and he said, "Me and Swampy play catch with those things."
Mama said, as I imagine most Mamas do, "You'll eat what I put on the table and you'll like it."
As I grew older, celery root became just part of the meal. Something we ate from time to time, especially when Mama was stressed or if I had an important test in school the next day. I came to enjoy its sweet, spicy flavor and would even sometimes ask Mama to make it.
|Sliced celery root|
|Celery root with carrots and onions|
I'm not saying it worked magic. I've sworn never to work magic on Hanover. But it did help him relax. The next morning, Hanover woke early and reexamined the evidence. He saw something he'd never noticed before -- a pattern he'd never seen. I like to think the celery root had something to do with it.
Do you want to know more about celery root? Here are some links:
Health Benefits of Celery Root
What to Cook Now: Celery Root
What is Celeriac?
I'd like to give a special thanks to Paul's Farm Fresh Produce Market for the organic vegetables and grass-fed beef used in the photo shoot. It was all delicious.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
I loved Sunday mornings. Dad would read the funnies and I'd work out the puzzles. Crossword puzzles, word scrambles, find-the-word. Anything that had to do with letters, I snagged it.
So I thought it would be fun to start my own Sunday Scramble. Every Sunday I'm going to post a quote from one of our books. Some of the words will be missing. I'll give you the letters that spell the words and all you need to do is unscramble them and fill in the blanks. I'll give a scrambled version of each word below, but the words won't be in the same order they appear in the quote.
Sound easy? I hope it won't be too easy. I always liked a challenge. But remember, I'm knew at this puzzle creation. I'm more a puzzle solver in the books. So make sure to let me know if it's too easy or too hard.
Oh, the best part is...the first person who solves the puzzle gets an ebook copy of the book the quote is from. Ready?
This week's quote is from The Reunion.
__________ looked into her mama’s eyes, expecting to see only the __________ __________ her mama used to hide her true feelings. Instead, she saw __________ of sand rise up and transform into a __________ __________ at the moon. The howl __________ with loneliness, pain, and __________ .