August 29, 2014

the proper way to honor a potato

"Ahhh," says I, fully satiated after our supper of roasted red potatoes, peas, roast chicken, and watermelon, "now that was a meal!"

"Yup!" agrees Spice, "some people don't like to eat hearty, but we do!!"

She is right.  We do!  And if you, like us, enjoy eating "hearty", here is a recipe for your files:


Roasted Red Potatoes


(I'm pretty sure you will enjoy these no matter what kind of potatoes you use - I've used all kinds - but the ones we had tonight were especially spectacular, probably because my Farmer grew them in the richly pampered soil of the chemical-free CSA farm he manages a few miles from our house.  (click to visit the farm blog, facebook page, and local harvest listing)  They were tender-skinned red potatoes, a variety called Chieftain, turned out of the earth just days ago.)

So here's what you do:

Preheat the oven - 450 degrees Fahrenheit and not one degree less.  This is not the recipe to skip preheating.

Parboil the potatoes (we decided it must mean "partially boil" but never did look it up) - basically cook them in water so that they're not raw, but not perfectly soft, either.  If you're a purist, you'll boil them in their jackets (that's "skins" to us regular people).  If you're short on time, like I was, you'll cut them first - cubes, wedges, half-wedges, as you like 'em - and then parboil them.  Took about 10 minutes.

Drain the water (eternal optimist that I am, I saved the water for potato bread that I probably won't get around to making.  Feel free to pour yours down the pipes.)

Gently tumble the parboiled potatoes into a 9x13 glass pan (or if you like scrubbing, use a metal pan - do they even make those anymore?).

Add oil - peanut is what I used - and seasonings (I recommend salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and thyme).

Carefully turn the potatoes into the oil and seasonings.

Roast 40-60 minutes.  

Resist stirring, except for twice.  Trust me on this.  You will interfere with the incredible french-fry-like crust that forms if you stir too often.  So set your oven timer for 20 minutes and go read (or rot your brain on facebook or something).  You may stir when it rings, and not before!  Add more paprika if you want the potatoes to brown more, or faster.  Add oil (more peanut, or coconut) if your potatoes drank up their first dousing.  Then 20 more minutes of whatever, stir again, 20 more minutes and you're ready to call the family to the feast!

And a feast it is.  I sincerely hope that your roasted potatoes are every bit as satisfyingly delicious as ours were.


(We were too busy eating to take pictures at the table, and the only reason there were any potatoes left over to photograph later is because we were also eating roast chicken, our all-time favorite!)


(If you're a local reader, you can better your odds by signing up for a share at my Farmer's farm!  Late entries to the season are pro-rated.)




August 21, 2014

several thousand words (2)

What's been going on at the "buretachi" homestead lately (other than wording rants about chivalry)?  Take a look - you know what they say a picture's worth:


mycological mountain find

honoring our favorite mycologist's birthday

sauerkraut, the way we like it

men at work

husking the bounty

Golden Jubilee and Butter & Sugar


my Don Juan rose - perfection!

hibiscus secrets


guess who's pleased with her useful new skill?

the usual suspects

a night on the town

King's X - a new genre for me

rain + campfire + umbrella = contentment

the mystery caterpillar emerges from its cocoon


spectacular detail!

Luna Moth, released onto the crepe myrtle

Happy Birthday, Spice!

confection-esque hydrangea 

fiery gladiolus 

look what someone left for me on the counter!

beaming playhouse resident

the first tray of pfeffernusse ... ahhhhh!!

peeking around a tree near you ....!






August 15, 2014

to the guy who rammed my daughter in the bumper cars

And then there's you.

I write a nice post about chivalrous men, and then my daughters come home from a day at the amusement park (with Grandma, thank God, and not me), and I hear about you.


The guy in the bumper cars, who gave my daughter (and Grandma - *frown!*) whiplash by rear-ending them.  


And I want to throw up my hands and lambaste every one of your gender for your neglect of one of the most basic tenets of manhood:  Protect women and children. 

How could you?!

I will assume you (a grownup, at an amusement park) have a drivers' license, and therefore no excuse for poor driving skills.  I will also assume that you, having a drivers' license, have adequate vision, and therefore no excuse for not looking out for women and children in your proximity, especially when they are in front of you.

Fortunately in my life, I have experienced more chivalry than barbarity from men, so that you, Boorish Bumper-Car Driver, rather than converting me to feminazism, serve as an illustration of the maxim "The exception proves the rule."

I believe most men out there are (or want to be) chivalrous*.  A desire to protect women and children is in their blood.  Sometimes they are scared off from their instincts by poor role models or rude women.  Sometimes they are confused by conflicting cultural messages.

Perhaps (I could choose graciousness, I suppose), that was the case with you, Bumper-Car Man.

Or perhaps Grandma and the girls didn't see you well in the dim bumper car arena.  Perhaps you aren't a man, after all.

Perhaps you are still a boy.





*Chivalry, according to Google:  the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, especially courage, honor, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak.  (And if that last word bothers any of you women, as I expect it might, try arm-wrestling any of your male peers.  Weakness of body need not be equated with weakness of intellect or will, and I am quite certain that your average man certainly never mistakes it for the latter.)


to the old guy at the Dollar store

It was a cool, sunny day in August (which, before this year, I wouldn't have said was possible).  Sugar, Nice, and Lil' Snip had chosen and purchased gifts for Spice from the dollar store.  [Lil' Snip, knowing her heart's desire but ignorant that my Farmer and I had already taken care of it, told me that he wanted to buy her a bike.  With his quarter.  Sooooo sweet.]

We headed to the van with our birthday booty, well-concealed by bags and body-shielding.  As the children buckled up, I glanced back at the store and made an executive decision.  "Wait here.  There's something else I want to get.  I'll be right back."  And walked briskly toward the doors.

I saw you - an older gentleman (well, to be fair, you didn't look particularly gentlemanly; just another t-shirted old guy with a bushy mustache) - headed in the same direction.

You reached the doors before I did.

Opened one.

And held it for me, waiting.



I could have gestured "Go ahead."

I could have taken offense, assuming that you thought me weak and in need of assistance, and, by association, feeble-minded as well.

I could have accused you of sexism and rudely explained that I can open my own doors, thank-you-very-much.



But I didn't.

I smiled.  Said "Thank you!"  Walked in and bought that can of Pringles (my executive decision).  Walked back to the van to share them with my children, thinking about courtesy and other old-fashioned gestures.



To me, a man holding open a door for me (or offering to catch me when I stumble, or to keep me from inadvertently endangering my unborn child) is not an insult to my abilities.

It is a public testament to my value, to the value of all women, and to that man's commitment to care for and protect all women, because of his respect for us.



So thank you to the old guy at the Dollar store, to those few remnants of civilization, who offer me their place in line, hold doors for me to go through, stand to offer me a seat in a crowded room, pay for my meal on a date (only my Farmer does that, now!), or otherwise defer to and serve me.

(My Farmer, for instance, has started a charming new evening ritual of offering to bring me a snack from the kitchen when he is headed there to find one for himself.)



You are a noble breed.  I want to raise my son to be one of you.




August 7, 2014

my little boy

He is running down the walk toward the barn, sack of colored chalk in hand, racing to meet Nice and make "goo" together, strong brown legs pumping with heart-stopping speed.

It's the knees that undo me.

Most of Lil' Snip's shorts are manly-length, just a hair or so below mid-knee.  With his sleeveless shirts, he looks like a tiny man going about his tiny man-business, digging in sand (or dirt!), pulling his wagon behind him in search of treasures, pushing a dump truck around the driveway or down the sloped cellar doors, filling watering cans with water to do the earnest work of giving thirsty plants a drink.

But today he is wearing shorts that are a little, well, short.  His knees show, and he is transformed from tiny man to boy-child, dressed in short pants.  As he trots about his play - the work of a child - the sight of his knees soften my usual critical-instructor mode to an almost grandparently fondness.

A nostalgia, almost, for what is nearly gone.





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