Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Is it too far gone to save?

I found this interesting 1940’s(?) magazine rack at the Belleville flea market a few weeks ago. I tried the "clean it up and leave it in its original condition" method because I’m always a little afraid to paint collectibles or “good” furniture. That may stem in part to the gorgeous cherry coffee table I uncovered (literally) years ago. I spent weeks stripping and refinishing - first its thick layer of flat pink latex paint and under that a high gloss black – yikes! We’re talking early 1980s – I have no before and after photos but I distinctly remember weeks of stinky stripper in my tiny L.A. apartment. It’s a wonder I didn’t succumb to asphyxiation.

But the finish on this piece is NOT pretty and it is not a rare wood. I wonder about the fact that the front and back do not match too. Perhaps it was a shop class project gone awry. But, rather than see an interesting (at least to me) and potentially lovely little magazine rack languish in the basement, and thanks to all my inspirational blogger friends out there, I’ve decided to make it my first chalk paint project.

I know, it’s very silly – but I’ve been frozen in a state of indecision since I found this little piece in a pile of rubble at the market. Should it be white, gray – maybe red! I’m thinking white – and just the slightest bit of distress…or is it just too far gone to ever look good? What do you think?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Don't Blink - You Will Miss Them! (and a yummy recipe)

The Woods at French Hollow
This is prime mushroom territory. Soon these trees will be dressed in their glorious emerald green, but early spring is MOREL season!  Sadly, we had no luck on our expedition two weeks ago. Maybe we were too early, but French Hollow is over the river and through the woods from where we live now so I can't make it back this weekend. And maybe we were too late. Morels are very elusive - and very yummy.
Courtesy of Dept. of Conservation
Most people in these parts fry them, which is very tasty, but my favorite recipe when you find enough for feasting is this:

Creamy Wild Mushroom Soup

1 lb mushrooms
2 T butter
4 green onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 t chopped thyme
2 T flour
32 oz vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup cream
splash of sherry (optional)

Saute onions and garlic in butter in heavy sauce pan until garlic is golden. Add the mushrooms and cook until they just begin to soften. Add flour and stir about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add stock, stirring constantly. Return to heat and simmer gently about 2 minutes. Add cream, stir until just reheated - do not boil. Season with sherry, salt and pepper to taste.

I serve this with a loaf of crispy French bread. This recipe works will other wild mushrooms and button mushrooms as well.

The Bluffs at French Hollow
Meanwhile, all was not lost.  I had a beautiful hike finished off with a breathtaking view.  Far better than the treadmill, don't you agree?


Friday, April 6, 2012

An Explanation of Easter For The Skeptical

Metairie Cemetery

 "I still can't help wondering how we can explain away what to me is the greatest miracle of all and which is recorded in history. No one denies there was such a man, that he lived and that he was put to death by crucifixion. Where is the miracle? Well consider this and let your imagination translate the story into our own time -- possibly to your own home town. A young man whose father is a carpenter grows up working in his father's shop. One day he puts down his tools and walks out of his father's shop. He starts preaching on street corners and in the nearby countryside, walking from place to place, preaching all the while, even though he is not an ordained minister. He never gets farther than an area perhaps 100 miles wide at the most. He does this for three years. Then he is arrested, tried and convicted. There is no court of appeal, so he is executed at age 33 along with two common thieves. Those in charge of his execution roll dice to see who gets his clothing -- the only possessions he has. His family cannot afford a burial place for him so he is interred in a borrowed tomb. End of story? No, this uneducated, property-less young man has, for 2,000 years, had a greater effect on the world than all the rulers, kings, emperors; all the conquerors, generals and admirals, all the scholars, scientists and philosophers who have ever lived -- all of them put together. How do we explain that -- unless He really was what He said He was?"…Ronald Reagan

Happy Easter Everyone!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Backyard Veggie Garden is Underway!

I've planted mesclun, herbs, tomatoes, beans and peas in bags of really nice top soil according to Barbara Pleasant's new book. Then I surrounded the space with a 24 inch rabbit proof fence. This seemed like the most effective and humane solution to the rascally rabbit problem. The Rock Star kindly put down weed barrier and spread the $500 mulch left by the tree removal crew into nice little paths. Down the center I plan to put a double row of bags with summer squash and maybe a watermelon or two. I'm very excited to see how this works. The soil in my yard is mostly hard clay. I'm hoping that with the help of the good bagged soil, some earthworms and added compost in the fall I can till all this under next spring and have the perfect garden spot for future veggies. That's the plan anyway. Do you grow herbs or vegetables? Have you any advice? I'd love to hear from you!