How was your Memorial Holiday? Wasn't the weather great. We were a lot luckier than other parts of the country. Those hurricanes don't seem to know they aren't supposed to be here until after June 1. Guess they don't have a calendar.
Long weekends are a good time to relax and get a break from our normal rush-rush life. It is a time to enjoy our families and do special things. I am doing it more and more but Husband Norm has a hard time relaxing. He had to this past weekend, though. He had twisted his knee and was really in pain. He doesn't feel pain generally, so when he does, it is not good. I think it hurt him more to just sit with his leg up and not be able to keep up his usual active lifestyle than it bothered that he might have done real damage to his knee. He says it is on the mend now, so we'll see. If he wouldn't fertilize the yard so much, he wouldn't have to do so much mowing, and he worries if the grass shows any sign of being above his preferred height. My idea of taking care of that problem is to fence it and get a herd of sheep. Of course, he loves a green yard the same way I prefer flower gardens. Makes for animated discussions.
Of course, we went to the Memorial Day Parade locally. Granddaughter Baylee carried the American flag as she marched with her school band, and we were so proud of her. She did a great job, but she said it was so heavy by the time the parade was over. They went to two cemeteries and had a ceremony on the bridge for the veterans lost at sea. When "Taps" is played and the guns go off in the salute, it brings tears to the eyes of all who have had any connection to the military. Most families have had someone in the military or police corps or firefighters unit. They are all courageous people who stand between us and those who want to do us in, and they deserve our thanks and our prayers.
We even had fireworks here on the hilltop this past holiday. There was a wedding at one of our neighbors' and they did it up right.
Since we are on a hilltop, we enjoyed their fireworks, too. Country weddings are really meaningful, especially when it is at the home of the bride's late great-grandparents, late grandparents, parents and where she was raised. I'm certain there were many watching down from above.
Our animals had no respect for our aches and pains this past holiday. We heard three of our dogs and their friend from across the street start a barking spree that raised the roof.
They went under the deck, through the spot in the latticework that had been taken down so the plant thought it was Jack's beanstalk could be eliminated before it took the deck down. We had hoped to replant some of the new growth of that plant under a dead tree in the yard, but that job had not been completed yet. Of course, where they went in was the opposite side of where they were barking. That meant a piece of lattice had to be removed on the side where they were. Neither of us was fit to crawl under that deck, so Plan B came into play. The hose Norm brought from the garden (new about 10 years ago) had sprouted holes, so it had to be patched first. Finally after a few other problems with it, Norm was ready. He turned it on the dogs full force and you should have seen them shoot out of there at full speed. They didn't stop until they got to the driveway. They wouldn't have anything to do with us the rest of the day either. We never did find out what they had cornered.
The day ended nicely, though. We had a family cookout and relaxed. It had been a full day.
This past week has been somewhat frustrating for me. I am trying to get used to my laptop (that I got two years ago for Christmas.) and just when I think I have it conquered, it gets me. I had two columns disappear in that thing before I got out my old PC and wrote this one. I guess I am just not made for this new technical age. I even have to have my granddaughter Cassidy get the TV under control when it wants to act up. Norm is doing better these days though. He can even get on the Internet now. If I can remember to write down the amount I use on my debit card now, I will be able to quit bothering the girls at the bank.
I do better in the kitchen, I guess, although I don't cook like I used to. I tend to just read the recipe books now like fiction instead of making everything in them and then adding my own ingredients. The old recipes collected from family and friends tend to get more usage than the ones from the pretty new books.
Do enjoy the season and do something you really like to do. Take pictures of family and places you go. Do write names, places and dates on the back of the pictures so you, and others, will remember who they are or where they have been. I have boxes of pictures that no one seems to know who the people are or where the pictures were taken. We do all get old. Have a cold iced tea and spent some "swing time" under the shade tree.
OLD-FASHIONED LEMON PIE
Two cups sugar, divided
One-third cup cornstarch
One-fourth teaspoon salt
One-and-one-half cups cold water
One-half cup fresh lemon juice
Five eggs, separated
Two tablespoons butter
One-third teaspoon grated lemon peel
One baked 9-inch pie shell
One-fourth teaspoon cream of tartar
One-half teaspoon vanilla
In a large saucepan, combine one and one-half cups sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually stir in water and lemon juice until smooth. Beat egg yolks and blend into sugar mixture. Add butter and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil, stirring constantly, for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in lemon peel. Pour into pie shell.
Make meringue: Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a glass or stainless steel bowl until foamy. Add remaining one-half cup sugar, one tablespoon at a time and continue beating until sugar dissolves and whites are glossy.
Spread meringue, starting at crust, and covering well. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until browned.
NOTE: Lime juice and lime grated peel can be substituted for the lemon to make a Lime Pie.
One stick butter or margarine
Three-fourths cup flour
Three-fourths cup sugar
Three-fourth cup milk
Two teaspoons baking powder
Two cups fruit
Three-fourths cup sugar (for the fruit)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place butter or margarine in an eight-inch square baking dish and place in the oven while it is heating to melt the butter. Mix flour, three-fourths cup sugar and baking powder. Add milk and mix. Pour over melted butter in baking dish. Combine fruit and three-fourths cup sugar and pour over mixture in the baking dish. Return to oven and bake about 25 or 30 minutes. If the fruit is sour, you might want to increase the amount of sugar you put with it. This is great, served warm, with ice cream or even milk.
FRESH CHERRY COBBLER: Using the above recipe, change the fruit portion. For two to two-and one-half cups fresh cherries, use one-cup sugar, one-half teaspoon almond extract and a few drops of red food coloring.
COBBLER: For two cups mulberries, use three-fourths cup sugar, one-half teaspoon cinnamon, one-half teaspoon nutmeg and two tablespoons lemon juice.
STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB COBBLER: For the fruit, use one cup of strawberries, sliced, one cup rhubarb, cut into one-half inch cubes and one cup sugar.
COBBLER: Use two cups blackberries, three-fourths to one cup sugar depending on the sweetness of the berries, one tablespoon lemon juice and one teaspoon cinnamon.
This cobbler recipe can be used with any fruit and the flavor changes by adding flavorings. Try it with fresh peaches when they come on the market. Make it with just peaches or try it the way I like it with adding a little almond flavoring and a few shakes of cinnamon and nutmeg.
CHERRY PIE FROM FRESH CHERRIES
One-and-one-third cups sugar
Three tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
One-eighth teaspoon salt
Four cups pitted fresh cherries (about one and one-half pounds)
One-fourth teaspoon almond extract
One-and-one-half tablespoons butter
Pastry for a two-crust pie
Combine sugar, tapioca and salt. Mix with cherries, add extract. Line a nine-inch pie pan with pastry. Pour in cherry mixture and dot with the butter. Cut remaining pastry into strips five-eighths-inch wide. Arrange strips, lattice fashion, over pie and seal edges with water. Brush lattice strips with cream or egg wash for a glazed topping on the latticework. Bake in a preheated 425-degree oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees for 30 more minutes.
NOTE: You can use a crumb topping on this pie or a regular top crust instead of the lattice top, too. On a regular top crust, be sure to cut vents. Brush with cream, milk, or egg wash and sprinkle with sugar for a pretty top.
One-half cup sugar - preferably brown
One-half cup flour
One-half cup butter
Combine sugar and flour. Cut in cold butter until it is crumbly. Use for top crust in place of a pastry crust. Good for any fruit pie.
Patty Christopher is a longtime food columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org