Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Beauty, Older Women, Courage, Quotes

An arresting photo of a woman in her late years:
A quilt of unknown origin, size unknown

this from just a portion of a poem well worth the entire read found here called The Invitation:
I want to know if you can see beauty, even when it is not pretty, every day,
And if you can source your own life from its presence.

(A Study -Limbo ID:374 from 2006 Lilly Oncology On Canvas 2006 competition)

The picture above was an award winner in the referenced art competition.  She is a symbol of a woman carrying a burden, but knowing she will survive the battle with courage and victory, no matter the outcome of her health issue. This particular art piece of the introspective woman who has lost her hair from chemotherapy reminds me of  a reference given to me by my husband when we were discussing our daughter's recent photo.

Julie's smile below shows her inner beauty of personal strength and almost continual attitude of optimism.  She, too, is undergoing chemotherapy and has lost her hair.
These preceding photos all tie together with this quote from Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land ( referring to Rodin's sculpture of  "Fallen Caryatid Carrying Her Stone")
... she's a symbol for every woman who ever shouldered a load too heavy. But not alone women - this symbol means every man and woman who ever sweated out life in uncomplaining fortitude until they crumpled under their loads. It's courage... and victory.

Victory in defeat, there is none higher. She didn't give up... she's still trying to lift that stone after it has crushed her... she's all the unsung heroes who couldn't make it but never quit. 
Rodin's plaster of Fallen Caryatid referenced here 1881-1882

1920, Rosa by Walter Grammatte

And finally, one of my favorites:
(from a picture in my study that is over 30 years old with the poem below by Nadin Stair)

If I Had My Life to Live Over
I'd dare to make more mistakes next time.
I'd relax, I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans. 
I would perhaps have more actual troubles,
but I'd have fewer imaginary ones. 
You see, I'm one of those people who live
sensibly and sanely hour after hour,
day after day.

Oh, I've had my moments,
And if I had it to do over again,
I'd have more of them.
In fact, I'd try to have nothing else.
Just moments, one after another,
instead of living so many years ahead of each day. 
I've been one of those people who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat
and a parachute. 
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds. 
I would pick more daisies.
Nadine Stair, 85 years old

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

Drying Herbs & Freezing Pesto

We have herbs.  Do we have herbs.  Abundant herbs!  Never one to waste anything, my husband has been nudging me to dry those aromatic sprigs from heaven.  He even sent me this information from Michael Ruhlman on drying herbs that said, in part:
The herb garden has gone wild from the heat and rain showers. It’s bursting with more herbs than I can handle or possibly use.  It’s like an herb party with too many rowdy guest showing up.  So now is exactly the time to start cutting them back and letting them dry for winter cooking.  This will both begin the supply of dried herbs and also encourage more growth during the next weeks of summer.  Herbs are roughly divided into two categories, “hard” and “soft.”  The soft herbs are herbs with soft stems, such as parsley and tarragon. The soft herbs are best used fresh; they’re fine dried, but they lose their magic, all the beguiling qualities that make them so powerful.
Looking at my "soft" herbs, I seized the day and picked tarragon and parsley to dry, simply washing off the leaves and spreading them on tea towels laid on the counter for drying.  Ruhlman says to spread them out in bowls for drying, so that must work too.

Candied herbs?  Look at Shuna Lydon's post a few years back about how to infuse herbs into sugar.  She has a way with words:
Custards could be infused but they must drape the tongue briefly and evaporate, smooth and silky. Like a well cut skirt: scissors glide through the grain of the fabric, not against it. An aroma is an elusive sensory experience. We embrace those we have known and loved forever and are comforted because they still smell the same as we remember.
And now for the basil and Making Pesto to Freeze:

from Food Network:
Pesto to Freeze

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
  • Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  • If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.
  • If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.
I followed the directions, doubling the amounts:

Several years ago I made this recipe.  It is great for gift giving in mid winter, and it lasts in the freezer much longer than three months; don't hesitate to make several batches for those cold weather doldrums when you want to carbohydrate load.   This pesto recipe is delicious with pasta and chicken.

PS: I decreased the olive oil slightly, and added the pecorino cheese into the processor while blending.  Then remember to sprinkle heavily with more Parmesan or mozzeralla cheese as a finishing entree topper.