The magic of stock

imagesI’ve written a lot about making stock and even included a basic recipe, but as many of you are wondering what to do with that turkey carcass taking up a good chunk of a shelf in your refrigerator, it seemed like a good time to recap some tips for turning it into cook’s gold. This is really how I think of good stock, because it adds a depth of flavor to soups, stews, and sauces that you can’t get otherwise.

If you want a light stock, just break up the carcass and miscellaneous bones and cover them in water in a good size pot.  (If you like a darker flavor, roast the carcass in the oven first to brown it.) Continue reading “The magic of stock”

The fall garden

After my trip to New England last month, where gardens are pretty much over for the year, I doubly appreciate being able to start a garden for fall and winter.  I took all the dead tomato stalks, pea vines, and other debris, and turned them into mulch with the Eco-shredder, then planted seedlings and nestled them in:DEBRIS

The raw debris







MULCHThe debris shredded to mulch

















The mulched seedlings and garden.



Theres lots more, of course–seedlings waiting for planting, herbs flowers and spinach in the labyrinth, wildflowers sprouting up unasked for. What’s such a contrast to the winter I grew up in is that this is really the start of the been season here.  I love it!

And here’s a Monday poem, by that garden master, Theodore Roethke, with his own thoughts about debris and the life force:

Root Cellar

Nothing would sleep in that cellar, dank as a ditch,
Bulbs broke out of boxes hunting for chinks in the dark,
Shoots dangled and drooped,
Lolling obscenely from mildewed crates,
Hung down long yellow evil necks, like tropical snakes.
And what a congress of stinks!–
Roots ripe as old bait,
Pulpy stems, rank, silo-rich,
Leaf-mold, manure, lime, piled against slippery planks.
Nothing would give up life:
Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.

Theodore Roethke

Words about death

broadsideWe have a broadside by Phillip Whalen up in our bathroom of a poem called “The Elizabethan Phrase.” It’s dated 1982, and signed in 1985. I asked Larry, who knows the dates of most poets, when Phillip Whalen died.

“He’s not dead that I know of,” he said, and went to look him up.

Larry“I was wrong. He died in 2002. And he was born in 1923.”

After a minute he added, “He’s about 10 years older and 11 years deader than I thought.”

In other news, I had culled about 30 small red onions from the discarded greens they give me for my chickens after the Sunday farmers’ market.  The onions seemed way too good to compost, and I set them aside.  I noted to Larry that they were just fine, just a little cosmetically challenged.  “How good does an onion have to look?” he wondered.

Welcome to the Monkey House

vonnegutI’ve been listening to these Kurt Vonnegut stories on DVD after reading them many years ago. Some are cranky and clunky, but many hold up pretty well. The one I remembered was “Harrison Bergeron,” a story set in the future, where everyone is fully equal–the more extraordinary your talents, the greater the handicap you are issued by Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General.

FairnessWhile an exaggeration, we have often invoked Diana Moon Glampers when reading about some act of extreme political correctness, and I remembered the story pretty accurately. Continue reading “Welcome to the Monkey House”

More Fennelly

A few weeks ago I posted a poem by Beth Ann Fennelly, I’d found in anthology of erotica. I have been looking at a couple of her books, and thought I’d post another today, a different kind of erotic.

Once I Did Kiss Her Wetly on the Mouth

Once I did kiss her wetly on the mouth
and her lips loosened, her tongue rising like a fish
to swim in my waters
because she learns the world
by tasting it, by taking it inside. Continue reading “More Fennelly”

All the news…

nytimesIn my world, if it bleeds, it’s skipped. Here are a few excerpts from the morning paper:

“Lorenzo Robinson, the longtime and loquacious men’s room sentry at the lofty 21 Club died. Now..the restaurant’s general manager said he expected to put a small plaque honoring him in the men’s room ‘and call it a day,’ without replacing him…

” ‘They really are a throwback to another era…like a hat check girl. Who wears a hat any more? What are you going to do–check your Yankees baseball cap?’ ” Continue reading “All the news…”