Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Meaning of Friends and Flowers

The last blossoms from the last bouquet from the last farmers' market before the big frost.

Dedicated to our first neighborhood friend who is moving, retiring, having a big birthday, and who has always had a big, no, make that huge enough to nurture an entire community, heart.

The meaning of flowers tells us that dahlia brings the meaningful messages and blessings of enduring grace as well as symbolizing inner strength, creativity, and standing strong in sacred values. 

This describes our dear friend perfectly. 

All best wishes to her and congratulations to her new neighbors. Our loss is their gain.

We may just have to go on a road trip to make sure they are suitably appreciative. In any case that is the excuse we will use when we announce we are heading her way. Not that our bags are packed already or anything.

Love, love, love to you and yours until we meet again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Soup Season

The rice arrived. Isn't it beautiful?

First, we will try some cooked plain. Perhaps a bit of butter and salt will be added, but we would like to see what "real" wild rice tastes like.

Second, soup will be made. Extensive research conducted in cooperation with the daughter-in-law found that wild rice soup recipes seldom, if ever, call for any seasoning other than a bit of S and P. The rice gives the soup its flavor. 

And actually, a recipe is hardly needed. Cooked rice and a good chicken or vegetable stock are the basics. Add to that any combination of additional ingredients including, but not limited to onion, celery, carrot, potato, cream, and perhaps a bit of sherry if you are feeling fancy, and you have a wonderful pot of steamy wild rice goodness.

Some recipes call for canned soup as a base. And we are not above that occasional shortcut, but we can assure you that this wonderful hand-harvested delicacy will not be desecrated in that fashion.

The promise of really good soup is almost enough to make us wish for winter weather, but not quite. We are perfectly happy to enjoy it in the many mild autumn days we hope are still ahead before the big freeze.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Gratefully Gathering

It was possibly the most beautiful September day ever.

When we received a gracious invitation to go wild rice harvesting. 

Our capable and very patient host acted as outfitter and guide.

He smoothly steered us through the tall plants as we carefully bent them over the canoe and knocked the long, ripe grains into the boat bottom. 

Some fell into the water to become next year's plants.

Many went into the canoe. As well as into our hair, shoes, and decolletage.

Several hours were spent gliding over the water, rhythmically moving heirloom cedar sticks across gunnels,  bounty gently showering down into a pile at our feet. 

We will be pleased if, after cleaning, our day's harvest provides enough rice for a Thanksgiving potluck offering.

And we feel very fortunate to have experienced an important tradition of the Ojibwe people and Northwoods culture

In good company, in good health, under a beautiful blue sky on clear blue water. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Family Cheese

Our family name translates as "cheese village" so it is no wonder that our fondness for kase is so strong and undeniable. Perhaps that urge is responsible for our gravitation to Wisconsin and why we have not strayed from it for 29 years.

And although we have not been able to suss out how the maternal and paternal grandparents got together perhaps it was the also draw of the cheese. Grandma's family was a family of bakers you see. Not the bakerei kind who make sturdy loaves and curly pretzels. The conditorei type who make the strudels and kuchens.

Here is the family recipe for kasekuchen written out by our cousin, a fourth generation baker who grew up and learned the craft in the same house in which our grandmother was born and raised.

On a visit to his home a few years ago he graciously gave us a lesson and tolerated us photographing each step of the process to turn out a heavenly heritage cheesecake.

The springform pan was greased (with real butter of course).

The previously prepared pastry was rolled out, 

fit into the pan,

trimmed to fit.

Filling ingredients were assembled and weighed.

The Kitchenaid was employed for mixing.

The eggs, quark, pudding, vanilla sugar, milk and cream came together as a satiny smooth batter.

The final step. A generous sprinkle of zimt and then, into the oven it went.

We waited.

In comfortable and colorful surroundings.

In good company.

Still not done, we strolled outdoors to wait some more,

while enjoying flaura we don't typically get to hang out with in our zone.

Back indoors the smells were becoming as alluring as the decor.

The glowing oven magically transformed high quality raw ingredients into a rich and lovely labor of cheesy love.


The only way to keep from immediately digging into the hot delicacy was to leave the house while it cooled.

We distracted ourselves very well with a visit to the Germanisches Nationalmuseum.

The applied arts wing was a highlight.

Back at our home away from home....time to cut the cake.

Worth the wait?

Ja. Das is richtig!

Wunderbar! Schmeckt gut!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Buttermilk Pecan Chicken

In 1970 Aunt Arletta won the National Chicken Cooking Contest sponsored at the time by 
Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.

In 1972 the National Chicken Council, then called the National Broiler Council, took over.

Above scan of  recipe card includes authentic buttermilk (and other - don't ask) spatters.

Sadly, we discovered that the contest has been suspended indefinitely due to economic downturn.

Happily, the Food Network has renewed the tradition with their $100,000 Chicken Challenge
Great looking recipes, but not as wonderful as Buttermilk Pecan Chicken.

We were too young to be part of the contingent that went to Washington, D.C. to cheer Aunt Arletta on, but just a few years later, we waitressed in her restaurant serving hundreds of portions of the crusty, nutty poultry to customers eager to experience a family style dinner on a working Indiana farm. 

Her prize included cash and some wonderful appliances probably in avocado green or harvest gold, but the best part was a short, squat, silver, loving cup held aloft by three little chicks wearing chef hats, just like the one pictured here on the recipe card. 
We sure hope it is being kept shiny and bright and displayed in a place of honor as it deserves to be. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Found in an album purchased at a local estate sale.

Inscription - Jeanette 1942

Inscription - 

That 7th day

Here's to you "Fox" 


You too can have hair on your chest 


Monday, September 1, 2014

He Saw, She Saw

Very first reaction? 

Some man retired and his wife told him he needed to get out of the house.

A self portrait of the man himself. Herman Rusch.

She, NDL, just documented the road trip stop in photos of the creations that said all that needed to be said merely by their existence. 

He, tried to interpret it.

Bottom line. Some man retired and his wife told him he needed to get out of the house.