Wednesday, March 25, 2009

at Last........

This is one day's worth of U.S. P.S. boxes last week - 23! And I didn't get a picture of the U.P.S. boxes that we sent that day -- so when you wonder "what I do all day"..... here's a clue! :-)

So much to catch up on! But first, a word about our President, Barack Obama!

Caution: Rant ahead

Seriously, look at what "people" give him grief for: Taking off his suit coat in the Oval Office. Teasing people in DC for being afraid of the snow. A slip of the tongue about Special Olympics. Minor, minor stuff.
Do these detractors "forget" the example of George Bush before him? Bush hadn’t held a real press conference in years. The questions and questioners were all pre-selected! Interviewers on Faux News were given talking points from the administration so Bush could generate an answer!!Obama's press conference last night proves he can think - and think on his feet!- and he's not afraid of what people might ask him!

We tried it the other way; in the past 15 years, we gave tax breaks to the wealthy and seriously deregulated banking and investment. Where did that lead us?All the right's best thinking got us here. Obama doesn’t look too scarey when you’ve already lost a third to a half of your retirement savings, or lost your job, or your region lost its biggest industry. They can rant about earmarks and taxcuts but it’s tough to alarm people who are already walking around shell shocked. Heck they’ve hauled Cheney out to scare everybody about terrorists and it’s not working.

Obama's been in office 65 days!! Sheeesh! /end: Rant

Oh looky!!! Here are my "left-over socks"! Using the remaining half-skeins from my recent Grape-Harvest Mittens (futher below) along with a ball of "found" multi-color sock wool, I'm in the midst of a rather "Spring-y" looking pair of socks :-)

Below are pictures of the Grape Harvest Mittens I made to auction off at our recent fundraiser:

The wool is KnitPicks' Palette; colorways Chardonnay and Bordeaux (I kid you not! since that was their names, I knew I had to combine them for something to donate to our Wine Tasting !!). I rather like how they turned out - and the colors are much prettier in "real life" - both yarns are kettle-dyed, so there is a lovely subtle variation of depth to the strands, and I have decided that knitting a hem and turning it under with a picot edge is just sweet.

So about that very big party we threw to raise money for Missoula's Community Chorus..... We were a bit busy the first week end in March! Here's Jon trying out a chocolate covered strawberry before going home to change for the big night -
Vintage on Broadway 2009!!

Women's Quartet: Blakely, Kathy, Me, Sally -"Mr. Sandman" & "My Funny Valentine", above.
Me, Sally, Jon, and Hank go back to our youth with "Java Jive", "Come go With Me" & "(Sha na na na) Kiss Him Goodbye" - Best lead vocalist award went to ... Jon Rose!!! Wheeeeeee :-D

The following week, Jon & I sang Verdi's Requiem with the Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Chorale... both Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. It will be broadcast on KUFM Saturday March 28th immediately following the Opera broadcast - about 2 p.m.( MOM and CINDY- that's 91.7 in Helena and Whitefish, 89.9 Kalispell if you want to listen!!)

It was absolutely one of the most exhilarating musical experiences I've ever had in a choral setting! "Musical Tantra" was how I described it at the time - it's an amazingly physical piece that soars to spiritual bliss and back to mortality more than once throughout... it is, after all, a "requiem" but a very operatic one at that. I don't think I will ever get tired of this piece -the Libera me has remained alive in me - wake in the middle of the night to turn over-there it is in all it's glory running through my head - as well as the Agnus Dei - I hope you have a chance to have a listen.

In the midst of all this, we had St. Patrick's Day dinner: Corned Beef and boiled vegetables.

Since this is the dish that still tempts my lovely vegie-daughter, I'll let you in on the secret to GREAT CCORNED BEEF:
2 small or 1 large Corned Beef "flat"3.5-4 lbs. -check to not get too much fat, there should be about 1/4" fat on top, and a bit of marbling - the leaner, the better!
Take these out of their wrapping, rinse under cold water and wipe dry, discard the (probably stale) "spice package", and sprinkle the thing thoroughly with meat tenderizer ("papain"). Poke a few fork-holes in so that the tenderizer penetrates. Turn over, and repeat this process. Set aside while you place the following in a blender:
1 can condensed beef consumme
4 halves or 2 whole Home-fermented
(Claussen brand can be substituted - they are fermented not just vinegared- in the refridgerated section at the grocers) pickles
1/2 c. pickle "juice" +1 c. water
2 stalks celery, chopped w/leaves
2 med. onions, chopped 4 garlic cloves
2 Tbs. Hot Chinese Mustard 1/2 tsp. ground cloves 2 bay leaves

Whir until it's very disgusting & sludge-like with no discernable lumps.
Place the (now tenderized) beef in a 6 qt. pressure cooker, on a rack (if you have no rack, make a little lattice of celery and carrot sticks to raise the beef up about 1" from the bottom of the pot!). Pour the aromatic sludge over top! Mmmmmmm :) Cover, lock and bring to pressure (15# if you have a choice). Cook for 1 hour 8 minutes at pressure. Cool immediately when time's up.

Pre-heat your oven (mine is usually already warm because I like to make a loaf of Soda Bread while the Corned Beef is cooking) to 325, take beef out of pot (don't rinse, just shake it off a bit) place it, fat side up, on a rack over a baking pan, and bake for about 15 minutes so the fat melts and develops a nice crust! While the beef bakes, boil some vegies!

On stove top, place more Beef Broth, water, and about 1 c. of sludge in a large pot to boil.
Add chunked potatoes, carrots, and wedged cabbage slices to the pot and boil about 10 minutes, until fork tender. Drain just before serving.

Let the beef set up for about 5 minutes on the cutting board before carving.
There you have it! Pretty much the best ever Corned Beef!
Thanks to Esther Heller who gave me this recipe over 20 years ago. She was an amazing cook and I think of her every year when we have this dinner.


Knit Witch said...

People are SO NEGATIVE!!! I get so sick of people harping on these ridiculously inconsequential things. Last time I checked, Obama was actually human and trying to do an incredibly difficult job so LAY OFF CRAZY CLOSED MINDED PEOPLE! Surely you have something better to worry about than a silly special olympics comment. Good grief. And......what's in the boxes???

Anonymous said...

Hear, Hear!

And, oh, Verdi's Requiem. Sigh. It is an amazing thing to sing. The only other one that moved me so much was Carmina.