Saturday, November 01, 2008

Really Rain!

Just in case you don't believe me!
(Can you hear Dodger in the background?)

Friday, October 31, 2008


Our first Trick or Treater is Dodger.

Once again, he dresses as a thief.

He destroys a green Skittle, a yellow one and an orange one before I stop him. Yipes, he only weighs about 9 ounces. I think he just ate 1% of his body weight in fruit flavored sugar.

The first costumed kid arrives at 6:25. It's a little later than usual and I am a little concerned that we might get stuck with 10 pounds of Starbursts, Skittles and assorted fun-sized chocolates. (I'm not kidding!)

She's wearing a homemade bee costume. The pipe cleaner wings are already bent. I adore her. She gets a Snickers.

I admit it, when I have the time--and sometimes I don't because they arrive in rushes of ten or twelve a time--I rate the costumes and give accordingly. Handmade ones get the good stuff. Skittles are mid-range and Starburst packets are the norm. Back when I bought the candy, I got nothing but chocolate. It's cheaper when I let Hydra do the shopping.

The official greeter at Chez Sundry.

There's a great little cowgirl around 7:00. With just the most wonderful smile, dark hair in pigtails descending from her hat, holster angled across her hip, real cowboy boots.

Two packs of M&Ms!

7:15 : A teeny-tiny Sleeping Beauty just barely understandably asks, "Where is your puppy?"

I have to tell her we don't have one.

"Okay!" She turns away, completely satisfied. Her mom takes the candy and thanks me, shaking her head and smiling.

7:20 : I eat a packet of Peanut M&Ms.

Hydra checks the body count. We've jumped from 13 to 52 since the last time he asked.

7:30 : Dodger's sitting calmly on his travel cage in the kitchen, saying "Helloooo--- Hellooo---" He is not sure why we are handing all our candy to these vagabonds. Just because they asked?

We get a lot of tweens and teens in our neighborhood. Maybe it's because Acton's a small town and there's not a lot to do. Most of them make an effort to dress up. No one has seemed happier than the boy in a skirt, tube top and heavy glam make-up.

7:50 : A batch of high school students shows up, not really in costume.

"What are you dressed as?" I ask with a chuckle, "Bums?" (Oh god, when did I get so old?)

"No!" says one.

"We're from the local rehab," says the another with a smirk.

"I'm a cripple," says the girl, holding up her wrist, which is in a cast.

"Very convincing," I say, handing over the Skittles.

"Ohhhh!" says Dodger in the background, "Heh-heh-heh."

8:05 : "Wow, your window is so clear!" a little lady bug says. Cute. A Twix arcs into her pillowcase.

8:57 : Time to turn out the porch light.

Total for the night: 131 critters!

The really scary thing is, I didn't open the second 4 pound bag of Skittles and Starburts, and I barely put a dent in the chocolate!

It's Raining!

I love it when it rains in L.A. Well, it's best when I'm snuggled up at home on a weekend morning, but it was so wonderful to smell the freshness pouring down from the sky!

Made for a pretty dawn in Burbank, too.

It was still all weathery when I got home to Acton.

Our house is within sight of our polling place, which is in our homeowner's association clubhouse. Probably outside the legal limit, but up in our neighborhood which doesn't have much traffic.

I planted the Obama '08 yard sign that Tomasina gave me on busier Santiago Road.

I know, it doesn't look busy, but a lot of people leave the freeway to go into Acton this way. And it'll still be on the way to the polling place for some people.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Good Night, Sweet Quince

Here's the end result of the quince experiment!

The syrup is very lightly flavored and thick. I think it would be great over finely crushed ice, like in a Sno-Cone.

I pureed the fruit with my handy hand-blender. It's such a pretty color! And it tastes great on a La Brea Bakery bread roll with a little bit of butter.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fondest of Farewells

This is the Post Office annex, glowing in the evening light.

Shortly after sampling the quince, which we both liked, we headed once again for downtown Los Angeles. The drive was smooth, especially since Google Maps showed me a new way--taking the 5 all the way to Mission and entering downtown away from the madhouse tangle of freeways that I used to tackle every time.

[Ooh, speaking of Google Maps! Click here and when you get to the site, click on Barack Obama's Journey and John McCain's Journey. Really interesting tour of the important places in their lives.]

Oui! Kitty began her California visit with a trip to Phillippe's and ended it there, too. She likes the turkey dip, I like the beef. We split potato salad again.

I picked up a pork dip to take home to Hydra, who has never actually set foot on this hallowed ground. (Does anyone smell a field trip!?)

I had to run back to my car--parked in the passenger loading zone--to grab my camera and get this shot. Union Station is just too beautiful! (And Kitty ain't bad, either!)

She won't get home to Indiana until late Friday night. Hope it's a smooth trip.

Her visits always refresh my spirit. I'm a lucky, lucky kid.

Quince-tessential Fall Fruit

Consider the humble quince. Not really edible in it's natural state. It won't actually harm you, it just doesn't taste nice.

On the way home from the doctor's office on Saturday (allergies became a sinus infection, hence the long absence from Any Given Sundry,) Kitty and I stopped at Sanchez Produce and I saw these. I'd read about them in How to Pick a Peach.

Yeah, yeah, I know. I can't stop talking about that book!

By Wednesday I was beginning to feel human again... You know, that sense of life being worth living you sometimes get when emerging from a bad cold or flu? That was me.

It was Kitty's last day in California, so I wanted to get around to cooking this up. I may have become a bit over-excited. Russ Parson's recipe for poaching quince was so simple that I thought he hadn't given me the proportions for simple syrup.

So I went online and the first one I found recommended 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. I was thinking I was going to try to poach the quince whole, so I used two cups of water and four of sugar.

Then Kitty pointed out that the instructions said to slice the quince. Well, shoot. Of course.

We dropped the slices in with the seeds still intact, just to see what would happen. The seeds contain a lot of natural pectin, which is what helps fruit jelly become jellified.

At some point I noticed--or Kitty read--that Parsons actually said 1 part sugar to 1 part water. Too late, buster. You have to get my attention and you have to hold it.

It took a lot longer than 45 minutes for the quince slices to turn rosy and look really cooked. But oh my, what a delicate and lovely flavor.

Serving recommendation is with a couple of vanilla cookies on the side.

I think there was so much sugar, though, that I more or less candied the quince rather than poaching it.

I'll try this again using the correct recipe with less sugar. Also will probably try this recipe found online, which looks spicy and wonderful. Ooh, or this one for membrillo.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall Colors

The apricot tree seems to have been bisected by a cold wind that left behind a smattering of yellow leaves.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Clafoutis II - The Prequel

Started feeling a bit better by Sunday (thanks to antibiotics and anti-allergy meds) and of course that means cooking again. Wanted Kitty to see how easy it is to make and how yummy.

I'm calling this a prequel because it's the actual recipe that Russ Parsons suggested in How to Pick a Peach. It uses pears and pistachios rather than the plums and almonds I tried first.