Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gee, That Sounds Kind of Familiar...

"Operation New Dawn."

I don't really think it has anything to do with Crowley (which now that I think of it, was Golden Dawn), but it still made me laugh. Who names these things, twelve year old boys? I mean, come on-do they put these names to focus groups for feedback first?

I suppose "Operation Send More Mercenaries" might not roll of the tongue as easily.

Green Zebra Tomato and Eggplant Lasagna

I figured out what to do with the roasted tomatoes from yesterday.

I'll go ahead and apologise in advance for my plunging right into the recipe without much chatter-busy day, and my brain is used-up. The boys kept telling me how good this was, so that must count for something. I didn't try any. The recipe makes quite a bit of food-enough for a couple days at least, which is great, because my brain is all used-up. Sorry, I've been teaching classics.

For The Pasta:

3 large egg yolks plus 1 whole egg
3 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semolina flour
(about) 1 cup AP flour, plus more for rolling and dusting

beat the eggs until light. Add water and salt. Stir in semolina, then stir in as much AP flour as you can until dough is very stiff. Wrap in cling film and let relax 30 minutes.

Roll out as thin as possible into long sheets. Let dry on racks until no longer tacky (about 1 hour). Chill until needed.

To cook noodles- in a pot of boiling, salted water, boil a few sheets at a time for around 5 minutes. Remove to a rack, and cook remaining noodles.

For the Sauce: see previous day's post HERE.

For the Eggplant:

Peel and slice an eggplant into rounds about 1 inch thick. Layer in a colander, and salt generously with coarse salt. Let stand 30 minutes. Rinse very well, then dry on towels.

Dip dried slices of eggplant first in plain flour, then beaten egg, then roll in dry breadcrumbs. Arrange coated slices on a large plate and chill at least 30 minutes before frying.

Heat oil to about 350 degrees F. (stoves vary). Fry a few slices at a time, then drain on a rack. Chill until needed.

For the cheese filling:

24 ounces full-fat (4%) cottage cheese, drained and forced through a sieve.

1 lb. grated provolone cheese.

Put it together:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bottom of a 9x13 pan, spread a bit of sauce. Place down a layer of cooked noodles. Cover with cottage cheese, shredded cheese, and eggplant. Top with a bit of the sauce. Add another layer of noodles and repeat. After the top layer of noodles is layered on, spread remaining sauce evenly across top, and spread grated cheese generously over it. Place the dish on a baking sheet, and bake about 1 hour, or until deeply golden and bubbling. Let stand about ten minutes before cutting.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Roasted Green Zebra Tomatoes

I'm not sure what I'll end up doing with these (I have an eggplant, and some cheese in the fridge) tomorrow, but at least they are no longer sitting on my counter getting overripe.

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Cut tomatoes and arrange in a deep casserole dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and any other spice you like. Drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil over it, then let roast slowly until very soft. If you like, once they cool you can peel the skins right off. Sometimes I drain the cooking liquid, then thicken it to a sauce with a bit of flour in a saucepan. I really don't have any plans for this, but I have to think it would be perfectly lovely on toast for lunch.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Homeschooling As An Excuse For Buying Really Cool Books

This book was six dollars, which ordinarily would be more than I'd consider-but look at it! Besides, much as I love a good library sale (two weeks and counting) sometimes you have to buy from bookstores if you want them to stay in business.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mocha Buttercream Cake Filling

I split a sponge cake into three layers, and filled it with this really simple buttercream. I hope you like it-we sure did. Because the filling is so sweet, I gave the outside of the cake a bit of lightly sweetened whipped cream, rather than a proper frosting. The combination seemed about right.

You will need:

2 cups sifted confectioner's/icing sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
3 tablespoons melted butter
2-3 tablespoons cold water

Mix together, and beat until it reaches a spreading consistency. You may need more water if it is too thick.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

No, You Don't "Need" Chapman's Homer

Where do kids get these ideas anyway? I know he wants a copy of Chapman's translation of the Iliad (yeah, the link is to the Odyssey, but that was what I could find-just look at the style to get an idea of what we're talking about) he can clutch in his hands, inhale the musty pages-but he's five years old. If I start caving to his whims now, I'll be running a bloody antiquarian library by the time he's eight. No one wants to read an Elizabethan translation-well, Keats did, but fuck him.

I have the Fitzgerald translation my mother bought me in the 70's. That's nice and musty, printed on fancy paper and all that. I also have a lovely Penguin paperback edition of Fagles translation from the 90's. Really, we're not lacking translations of the Iliad around here. Honestly. He really doesn't want it-I think he just heard us talking about it, and it stuck in his mind. It was so much easier when his desires could be satisfied with Thomas the Tank Engine toys.

I'm waiting for him to start pouting about how if I loved him, I'd buy it for him in a nicely bound edition...or how if I really loved him, I'd teach him Greek so he could manage his own translation.

Anyone have a copy they'd like to swap for some home baked goods, or whatever?

The Lengths Some Children Will Go To Avoiding A Maths Test

I heard the crash from the next room. I'd given Danny a ten minute break between subjects, and in that time he managed to tip backward in his desk, and whack the back of his head on the edge of the (wood) toy kitchen. Excellent.

I'm not really given to panic, but I did find the goose egg forming somewhat alarming (it was huge!) so I took him to the small, local hospital. Fortunately, our family physician was on call.

As we waited, the nurse checked Danny over while he explained how you have bones to protect your organs, and how lucky that was, or he'd be stuffing his brains back into his ears by now.

"Do you know who this lady is?" she asked, pointing at me.

I suppose they need to see if his thinking is impaired, or maybe his impromptu biology class had the nurse thinking he was delirious.

"Her?" Danny asked puzzled. "That's Mama." He looked at her as though her noggin had gotten the thud.

"But do you know her name?" The nurse persisted.
"Her surname? Her name is_________________. Isn't it on the form?"

So yes, he's fine. I'll need to wake him up a few times tonight-just to be safe, and we still need to make sure he didn't get some sort of whiplash falling backward, but gee whiz! Personally, I think he just wanted to avoid taking his maths test today.

The discharge nurse handed us the instruction sheet.

"Mama, what does it say?"
"It says, take Tylenol for pain, check you during the night, and never, ever, ever lean backward in a chair again. Ever."

I could hear giggling as we left.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cherry and Peach Pie

I like this pie crust recipe as it does not require chilling, and it rolls out beautifully. For an all-butter crust, it is still quite flaky. Hell, I'm quite flaky. I'm actually surprised I could get it together enough to bake a pie this morning-but I did. This beauty was put together, and in the oven in just under twenty minutes. Not bad, for baking before 9 AM.

For The Crust:

2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cold butter, cut into small bits
4-6 tablespoons ice water

Combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until it is a fine meal. Sprinkle water on a tablespoon at a time until you can lightly toss the dough together. Do not over-handle. Gather into a ball, divide in two and roll out. Line the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate, and fill with the following:


4 large peaches, peeled and sliced
1 quart bing cherries, pitted
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons AP flour
2 tablespoons butter

Combine ginger, cinnamon, sugar, and flour in a bowl. Toss with fruit and pour into lined pie plate. Dot with butter, and place on top crust. Cut vents.


Heavy cream
Granulated sugar

Brush with cream, sprinkle with sugar.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place pie plate on a baking sheet. Bake about 40 minutes, or until crust is golden and filling bubbles up through vents.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Volumes Presently In Use

I have one bookcase reserved for the books we're currently using for Danny's homeschooling. I thought it might be fun, and possibly helpful to offer a look at some of them. I'm in the process of compiling running bibliographies on a number of subjects, so this also serves as a good reminder to myself for titles I might otherwise overlook.

The Art Teacher, Pedro Lemos (1933)

Really, everything you could possibly want to know about teaching art to children. It assumes the teacher didn't study art, and offers helpful project ideas as well as simple guides to drawing basic figures.

Golden Book Tales from the Ballet, Louis Untermeyer, and A and M Provensen

Seriously, the best writers and illustrators did Golden Books in the 60's. This volume is really lovely.

Danny's particularly enchanted by The Rite of Spring. I suppose, were he in a public school I'd be getting a call to come in and meet with a team of specialists because he really seems to delight in the idea of a little girl dancing herself to death. Seems normal enough to me, though I understand the ballet was considered quite offensive when it was initially staged. I'd love to see this performed at Carhenge. Someone really ought to do it.

Are We To Be A Nation? Bernstein, Rice

You never know when you might find yourself faced with teaching the Articles of Confederation to a five year old. You'll want to be prepared, and have nice facsimiles of original documents to make it more interesting (oh, like the Articles of Confederation need to be made more interesting. What's wrong with you people?). Where most books focus on the Constitution, this volume explores what it took to get the Constitution. A great tool for teaching complicated material to children.

Birds in Our Lives.

Self-explanatory, I suppose. Nice volume though-lovely illustrations.

Anthology of Children's Literature

Anything illustrated by N.C. Wyeth is worth purchasing, but this volume also has a well-selected collection of stories, and poems for a range of reading abilities. Mostly the classics, a few oddball selections, and of course, amazing illustrations. If you happen upon this book-grab it.

Winged Chariot, Walter de la Mare

I am unable to pass up anything written by de la Mare. I have most of his books. This one is, like all the others, just lovely.

The Story Book of Foods From The Fields

a 1930's look at agriculture.

Art and Architecture of the Ancient Orient, Henri Frankfort

Look, you never know when you'll need to explain the difference between a statue of Gudea and Ashurbanipal. Sometimes it comes up (no, really). At any rate, this is a classic on the subject, and the next time you're standing in line at the grocery store and someone remarks, "Dang, I sure do wish I knew of a decent book with pictures of the Stellae of Hamurab"i..well, you'll just casually remark that Frankfort did a perfectly terrific job with the subject. You don't want to be caught off guard, standing there with your thumb up your arse trying to think of a good art book. I know I wouldn't.

How To Know The Insects.

Published by the University of Iowa in 1936. Danny loves this book, and carries it along most of the time.

RockwellKentiana, 1933

Sometimes, I could just cry at the things the library will sell for .50 at the book sale. This really ought to be one of those things in the library's permanent collection. Honestly, I'm pleased to own this book, but it makes me sort of sad that it can't be enjoyed by more people. I'm probably being sentimental-it likely ended up in the sale bin because it hadn't been checked out in thirty years.

The Great Chain of Life, Joseph Wood Krutch

You really can't go wrong having children read Krutch.

Complete Stories of the Great Operas, Milton Cross

I asked Danny what he thought the best way to learn how to enjoy opera was, and he responded, "By turning it off."

I can't say I disagree with the sentiment-but he has to learn about it anyway. This nifty little book comes to the rescue-read all the stories without listening to a single aria! Perfect for the opera hater in your life that still needs the cultural knowledge. I spent too many Saturdays listening to the opera broadcast from New York. Thanks, Texaco for ruining every Saturday afternoon of my childhood.

The Ring, retold by John Updike

OK look, I never liked anything else Updike wrote, but this is at least tolerable (and better than actually listening to The Ring Cycle). The illustrations are nice.

History of Ancient Art, Wincklemann

When I picked this crumbling edition up some twenty five years ago in a crummy bookshop on Belmont in Chicago, I never imagined my five year old son would be as fascinated with it as he is. I think it cost about ten dollars, which I thought was a rip-off, but I ended up paying anyway. It really does fall apart a bit more each time it is opened. Some day, I'll harvest the decent prints for framing and finally toss it, but for now, it provides endless hours of fascinating browsing for a curious kindergartener with an interest in art.

This is Mr. ETB's book (there is a second volume as well). Another treasure he never could have imagined would be so well enjoyed by a child someday.

That's all for now, but let me know if you find this sort of thing interesting, or helpful and I can try to do a similar run down from time to time.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Glad Someone Else Noticed

Not long ago, Danny said something that triggered a long discarded memory involving figs. Reading THIS post I sat nodding in understanding when the author explains the association between figs and coconut. I always thought I was alone in connecting the two. Amazing how our senses, and memories save things for us when we seem to need them most.

Really, how strange is it, some thirty years later to recall a scent so clearly, when nearly every other aspect of the time is lost to me? What sort of person recalls scents? My sort of person, I suppose. I might not be able to identify the fragrance a person is wearing (I don't really keep up with brands) but I can probably nail what it is made of, far beyond the obvious top notes. Still, the fig/coconut thing always seemed so obvious to me, and incomprehensible to anyone I mentioned it to, that I eventually accepted it as one of my strange "nose" quirks, like ketchup smelling reminiscent of body odour.

Figs are a sort of comfort food to me, like soft boiled eggs, or a too weak, too sweet cup of tea. Unlike eggs and tea, figs tend to be a bit out of my budget range these days. Remember those dried figs on a piece of string? Close to nine dollars at Hy-Vee. We won't even discuss the cost of fresh ones, in season. Obviously, I don't get my hands on many figs, much less the coconut scented leaves. Really, I don't need them-my memory has stored them for me...in case I need them.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

We're All Going To Die

How can the little line-drawn family be in such danger-they look so happy enjoying their undercooked eggs. Oh God no! NO! Little Timmy just dipped his soldiers in a soft boiled egg and now he's got the cast and scour! No Susie, for the love of God, NO! Not the floating island!

So hey, lookie at the fun little USDA pamphlet I have from 1967. I was in the supermarket today, and noticed a large sign over the egg case indicating their eggs were not part of the recall. I swear, it was almost boastful-in big red letters.

"Oh no, not our eggs." (that wasn't the exact wording, but it was implied)

As we don't yet know if the outbreak was due to contaminated feed, that seems a bit premature to be announcing their eggs perfectly safe, unless they already know something the public does not. Personally, I think they just want to sell eggs, and aren't really all that concerned with the risk, but some people think I'm kind of cynical. *shrugs* Pretty large commercial operations at those places, I'm really amazed this didn't happen sooner (or it has happened, but was under-reported). Mr. ETB had a really bad case of the cast and scour a few weeks ago after eating a breakfast burrito from a local chain. Now he kind of wonders. Usually, that sort of thing doesn't last over a week-and his did.

So here are some things the USDA was recommending we feed our families in 1967. I wouldn't go for these today, unless you know your egg source pretty darn well.

"Use only clean, sound shelled eggs for this recipe."

-But if you have filthy, cracked, weeping ones, just bake 'em in a souffle and no one will be the wiser?

I know when I'm putting eggs on toast, it becomes really elegant with the addition of relish and parsley. Oooh, look, they suggest it for the lunch box. Weren't the 60's awesome? You could leave an egg salad sandwich in your locker all morning, eat it, and live to tell the tale?

Hey, look on the bright side-the price of eggs has come tumbling down this week.

Overnight Rise Cinnamon Rolls

I wasn't sure this would actually work, but the results were fantastic. I don't know why it never occurred to me that sweet rolls can rise overnight in the fridge like any other bread. I reduced the amount of yeast in the recipe, and baked them straight from the fridge in the morning, without additional rising. Perfect.

You Will Need:

1 cup warm milk
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons granulated yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft, but not melted
(about) 4 cups AP flour
1 cup raisins, soaked and drained
2 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Enough (a few drops, really) water to make a thick glaze.

Proof the yeast in the water with a pinch of the sugar. Let stand a few minutes. Combine yeast mixture with warm milk, butter,sugar, salt, and eggs. A cup at a time, beat in the flour with a wooden spoon until it is no longer too sticky to knead. Work the dough until it is smooth, but resist adding too much flour-just use enough to make it easy enough to handle.

Place kneaded dough in a buttered bowl, cover and let rise until doubled. Punch down, and roll out into a 9x18 oblong. Using your fingers, spread the butter over the dough. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar and raisins. Roll-up (from the wide side) and seal. Cut into 1 inch slices and place in a well-buttered 9x13 pan (I also needed a 9 in. pie plate to handle the extra). Cover with plastic wrap, set in fridge overnight until ready to bake.

Next day: preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden and baked through. Remove to a rack with a baking sheet beneath it and glaze. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen rolls.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Give Me $400. for 45 Minutes...

...and I'll teach your stupid, spoiled child how to balance on one foot, and pour their own juice.

Girls, Explained By Danny

"Girls will talk nice to you, but then you know they're going to ask you to do something you don't want to do."

I asked him to elaborate, and got:

"You know, "Oh Danny, can you take out the trash? Oh Danny, can you flush the toilet? Oh Danny, can you slay the Gorgon and bring me her head after lunch?" They always ask nicely."

For the record, no one (that I know of) has asked Danny to slay the Gorgon.


My five year old has developed a second, separate voice used only for conveying what he considers important information. The fact that he does this in an almost lecturing style, then quickly turns it off once his point is made, and resumes speaking like a child is nothing short of amazing. Note to Raymond-I think the kiddo is after your job, or he at least has a future doing voice-overs.

One evening, I mentioned that I wasn't feeling well. Danny straightened his shoulders, loudly cleared his throat and in a really deep (for a five year old) authoritative voice asked:

"Do you have swellings beneath your armpits? Do you suffer night sweats, and fearful tossing and turning?"

After a moment of awkward silence, and doing our best not to crack-up, Mr. ETB finally asked Danny what he was getting at.

"I was reading about bubonic plague. It doesn't sound like you're suffering from plague."

Then, he relaxed his shoulders, turned to his father and asked what we were having for dessert-in the normal high-pitched voice of a child.

Similarly, Danny seems able to turn this voice on when reciting poetry, reading aloud (even something being read for the first time) and really whenever he thinks his observations merit the attention of others. We should hire the kid out to give elocution lessons to the governor (god knows, he could use them) or at the very least, start preserving recordings of this for future audition tapes.

Now I know where to turn with my questions about plague.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Green Zebra Tomato Pie in Phyllo

About 20 sheets of Phyllo dough (plus extra for decorating top)
About 3 small, Green Zebra tomatoes, thickly sliced and seeds removed
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
a handful of kale, removed from stem and finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil/1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup shredded provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a rectangular pan (9x11 is good)

In a pan with 1 tablespoon of the oil, cook the scallions, parsley, thyme, salt/pepper, and kale until soft. Remove to cool. Slice tomatoes and drain in a colanader. Pat dry.

Begin layering the phyllo, a sheet at a time into the pan, brushing each layer with oil. Do ten sheets. Place scallion filling on phyllo, then scatter half the cheese. Top with the tomato slices, the remaining cheese. Begin layering ten more sheets of phyllo. When you get to the end of ten sheets, tuck the sides under, and trim any excess. With a sharp knife. cut several slashes in pie. Crumple a few sheets of phyllo for the top, brush with oil, and bake until nicely browned-about 40 minutes. Cool 20 minutes in pan, then remove carefully to a rack with a couple spatulas. Serve warm, or at room temperature.

Potato Lefse

I was teaching the Norse myths and Scandinavian geography, so it just seemed like a perfectly obvious thing to have Danny help make lefse. It isn't terribly difficult to do.

This recipe makes a lot of lefse. I mean, really-a huge amount. Fortunately, it keeps well in the fridge for a few days, and freezes easily for longer storage. You never do know when you might have a lefse emergency. I hear that is a legitimate type of emergency in our part of Nebraska. *shrugs*

You Will Need:

2 1/2 pounds of russet potatoes, boiled until soft, then mashed until smooth (I put mine through a food mill)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups AP flour

Cook the potatoes and mash until smooth. Beat in the butter, milk and salt. Let cool to room temperature. Work in about two cups of the flour. Keep adding until you have a dough that is no longer sticky-you probably won't need more than 3 cups, max.

On a well-floured board (this stuff sticks like crazy) roll it into a log. Cut 24 pieces. Roll each out into an 8-10 inch round. Lightly (very lightly) oil a frying pan, and heat it to medium. Cook each round just until they puff and turn light brown, then turn and repeat on other side. Cool on racks. Serve warm, or cool and store in the fridge for a few days, or the freezer for a few months. Re-heat in foil in a warm oven.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ginger Peach Pie With Raisins

Another new (to me) crust recipe. The boys really liked this one, and I found it quite easy to handle. As a bonus, it does not require chilling before rolling.

For the Crust (from Better Homes and Gardens Pies and Cakes, 1960)
(for a 2 crust pie)

2 cups Ap flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening (I used all butter)
5-7 tablespoons ice water

Cut butter into flour and salt. Toss ice water on, a tablespoon at a time until it gathers in a ball. Divide in two, and roll out.

For the Filling:

5 cups peeled and sliced peaches, sprinkled lightly with lemon juice
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
5 tablespoons AP flour
2 tablespoons butter

Combine sugar, ginger, and flour. Toss with peaches and raisins. Pour into lined pie plate. Dot with butter, top with second crust, and seal. Cut several vents.

For the topping:

Brush entire surface generously with heavy cream, then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place pie on a baking sheet (it will leak, that's just the nature of fruit pies)and bake in a pre-heated 425 degree F. oven for about 40 minutes, or until crust is nicely browned, and filling bubbles up through slits. Cool on pan for 20 minutes, then once the bubbling has settled down (you don't want to get burned with sticky sugar) move it to a rack. Serve slightly warm, or at room temperature.

Native American Art Project-Homeschooling On A Shoestring

Our little, old poodle dog looks on in the background.

This is best done as a two day project, letting the fabric to soak in the dye overnight.

Were it later in the season, I'd have brewed some dried leaves and bark for the brown colour dye. Instead, I used a combination of tea and cinnamon. It certainly smelled nicer than leaves and bark. The reddish colour came from the skin of a plum steeped in water. Berries would be more authentic, but then if that sort of thing was bothersome to your sensibilities, you wouldn't let your kid finish it off by drawing bison on it with crayons.

We made some rag dolls to put in the tipis, and had great fun swaddling the baby doll to a board on the mama doll's back. For some reason Danny finds that really amusing.

This was presented as an art project on Native arts, not as part of the history segment on the Americas. I'm not sure I would have presented it in a dramatically different fashion, but I might have tried to place the Plains Indians into a larger context-and I would have had to cover more information than an art project demanded. I likely will revisit the project on a larger scale (maybe build one in the backyard?) as I start dealing with the Westward expansion, Jackson, and the Removal Act. I'm trying to resist that horrible tendency I have of discussing a subject by recommending another book on a similar subject that sort of relates to whatever we were discussing, but then reminded me of that book by what's-his-name, who also noted how there were similarities...and then you're essentially screwed. I've really had to learn how to narrow my scope so as not to confuse the youngster.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Few History Books

From time to time I'll post about books I'm finding useful in teaching. This week, I have three to offer some words about.

A few years back, before I imagined I'd be teaching early American history, I picked up a lovely old copy of, The New Land by, Phillip Viereck.

Honestly, I don't know why the book sells so cheaply, as it is a lovely, illustrated, oversized book that is packed with copies of maps, and other original documents. A Spanish map of North America from the 16th century notes that what is now Nova Scotia and Labrador have "nothing of value "as they are filled with cod and pine trees. I guess if you're looking for gold, it would have been slightly disappointing.

Did you know that the Pilgrims had a bad case of cast and scour, from eating diseased mussels? I sure didn't! Mr. ETB had a bad case of that a couple weeks ago, but his was from a breakfast burrito from some take-away in Lincoln.

I can't say enough wonderful things about this book.

For the period from 1783-1830, I'm making use of The Young United States by, Edwin Tunis.

Also an over-sized, beautifully illustrated book that will hold a teacher's attention as well as a child's.

For teaching the Constitution, Are We To Be A Nation? by, Richard B. Bernstein and Kym S. Rice is helpful. Photos of early handbills, documents and the like make it as interesting for browsing as for study. I can't think of a better text for teaching the writing of the Constitution, though there are certainly better texts devoted to the content of the document.

The fact that these excellent books can be purchased for very little money makes them all the more attractive to homeschoolers on a budget (well, this homeschooler anyway).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dilled Carrot Pickles

I served these with a dinner of rice and beans. The recipe is adapted from one for canning that appeared in The Best of Food and Wine, 1993

1 1/2 cups of cider vinegar
6 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons dill seeds
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound carrots, thinly sliced

Combine vinegar, garlic, dill seeds, honey and salt in a pan and add 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove and let sit ten minutes. Pour over the carrots, and cover. Let cool slightly, then chill and keep refrigerated. After the first day, remove the garlic cloves.

These pickles are very crunchy. If you prefer something softer, I'd cook the carrot slices a bit first.

Vintage Saturday (On Sunday)

This skirt caught my eye in a thrift store some years ago. The photo makes it difficult to see, but the synthetic material has an iridescent silver sheen to it. The skirt was very high cut on the side when I bought it ("A slit up to there, I tell you!") so I stitched it up a bit, for the sake of decency. In the winter, I wear it with a black sweater, in the summer, a tank.

I suppose if I ever tire of wearing it, it would make a lovely dresser scarf.