Thursday, March 15, 2012

What Pure Joy It Is...................

My grandkids visiting my apartment..............
What pure joy it is to take an early morning walk on these spring days.  I just love to hear the birds and delve in the fecundity of smells.  And then the sun comes over the hill, glistens off the sap buckets, my spirit is lightened and I can truly begin my day.

I am asking for help these days.  It’s the new me, replacing the old “I can do it myself” me. I am hiring the big guns to come in and clean up my lawn.  I may even hire a cleaning person.  Believe me it was not easy finding someone for the lawn clean up, not many crews of landscapers around here. I could hire some kid but I don’t want to spend days supervising.  I want it done in one day.  I called a few places but they never called back.  This is such a no-no in my book.  How can you do business if you don’t respond to people? Even if you have to respond in the negative, at least leave somewhat of an impression of responsibility… rant of the moment.

MOVIES:  My DVD watching has been mostly British as usual.  I got totally ensconced in Downton Abbey and am just finishing the last season of Lark Rise to Candleford.  I found this series delightful…just loved the characters. 

BOOKS:  My reading has been all over the place.  When I was in Maine last week I read two books that required little of me but were delightful - Rosamunde Pilcher's Under Gemini, and Joanna Trollope's Marrying the Mistress.

For the three member book club that I am in, we are reading the new Dicken’s biography by Claire Tomalin.  It is good, but so long.  Does one really need to know every detail of his ancestry?  I don’t retain this information for two minutes, so it is of little value to me.

Debarking from Dickens, I am reading Townie by Andre Dubus III.  This book makes me so glad I was born twenty years earlier than he was.  Who knows what I would have done if I had been born in the 60’s………it is such a scary thought, I don’t even like to contemplate it.  This book also makes me realize what a normal, loving household I grew up in and for that I am extremely grateful.

Next on my list is The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker.  This is a recommendation from my sister who also liked The Darlings by Cristina Alger.  I have the essays by Marilynne Robinson When I Was a Child I Read Books on my night stand.

FOOD:  Because I bought some “precious” wooden sword for my grandson from a fancy catalog, I got a preview magazine called Taproot, its main themes gardening, farming, etc., which I am not into these days. I passed it on to my friend Susan.  But in there was an interesting recipe for Kale Salad where you massage the kale and make it sweet.  I tried the recipe and it is delicious, so I pass it on here.  The nice part too is that it is better the next day.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Kale Salad With Apples and Gorgonzola
1 bunch kale
1 teaspoon sea salt (I used kosher as I didn’t have sea)
1/3 cup dry-roasted sunflower seeds (original recipe calls for toasted sunflower seeds or candied walnuts). You could add any nut here.
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup dried cherries (original recipe calls for 1/3 cup currants)
3/4 cup diced apple (about 1/2 of an apple, I like to use Fuji apples)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (or feta)
De-stem kale by pulling leaf away from the stem.  Wash leaves.  Spin or pat dry.  (You need to get as much moisture off the leaves as possible so the dressing will stick to the leaves, it doesn't stick to wet leaves.) Stack leaves, rollup and cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade).  Put kale in a large mixing bowl and add salt.  Massage salt into kale with your hands for 2 minutes.  (If using plain sunflower seeds, toast them by putting in a dry skillet over low to medium heat and stir constantly for a few minutes until they change color and give off a nutty aroma.  If using dry-roasted you do not need to toast them.)  Put kale in a fresh bowl and discard any leftover liquid.  Stir onion, currants, apple, sunflower seeds into kale.  Dress with oil and vinegar and toss.  Taste for salt and vinegar, adding more if necessary.  Toss in cheese crumbles.  Serves 6.  (IF you have leftovers, this will taste even better the next day.)
You can see I have not been posting as much.  This is more in the form of my old Gray Zone newsletter and several people have mentioned that they prefer this, so I will give it a try for awhile.  
OK off to massage my kale…………….