Sunday, October 31, 2010

knock knock

Trick or Treat!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

not your neighborhood cafe

Oh that I could. 

I'm talking about the Cafe Carlyle. 

Mr. Steve Tyrell has, for several years now, entertained holiday diners at the Upper East Side icon, following the death of Bobby Short. 

Most often two dinner shows a night, from early November through December, serenading guests with jazz standards. 

I've been looking at website photos of The Carlyle. Maybe one day I'll get to make the tough choice of listening to Tyrell in the Cafe or at Bemelmans Bar.  I'm leaning toward Bemelmans.  It's not that I'm intimidated by an extra fork or two in front of me; I just can't figure out how in the world I could possibly eat and listen to Tyrell at the same time.

Now relocated to his hometown Houston and about to be married, Tyrell showed up in Dallas the other night with his fiancee, so I found myself back at the Lakewood Theater. 

The show, although minus horns, was packed full of classics. Tyrell had me before Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered, but this night's GET-AFTER-IT version, was the best I've ever heard. 

The show was very much a Cafe Carlyle tour, the disc, STEVE TYRELL LIVE AT THE CARLYLE, available only at venues.  (If you find a bootleg copy, don't hesitate.) 

Following the performance, Tyrell patiently signed every CD, at a narrow table under the big stairway.

Mr. Tyrell, I have a feeling, was as gracious at this eclectic, neighborhood theater as he probably is in the very posh New York hotel. 

For the themes he sings connect us all.  They've stood the test of time and still ring true.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

what i want

I walked through Cotton's this week, hoping to find some inspiration.  I haven't been cooking and I miss it.  I miss wanting to cook.

I've been busy doing other things, like making these cookies for a special event.......

......and helping my friend Beth photograph the beautiful jewlery she makes.  She's an artist, she is, yet doesn't even know it.  Here's my treasure of a little sterling spoon she made for me. 

The weather here has been gorgeous and so, as sheets of cookies would go in the oven, I'd go out to watch the crows. 

They come every day to drink the fresh water Spoke so diligently puts out for them.  I watch those big black birds take big sips before throwing their heads back to swallow.

They aren't tame enough for me to get a close photo so you'll have to trust me when I tell you that their wing spans must be three feet wide.  Seven of them have hung around all spring and summer but they're mild-mannered, eating at dusk along with everyone else. They leave the peanuts for the bluejays and the sunflower seeds for the cardinals, choosing to eat the tiny, round, hard seeds that no one else wants.

I've been listening to the late night owls too.  One outside our bedroom window starts around 1:00 am.  Hoo-hoo-whoo-hoo.  Hoo-hoo-whoo-hoo.  Sometimes another owl answers from far away.  I lie in bed, trying to remember the lyrics.....

Soft through the dark...
The hoot of an owl in the sky
Sad though his song
No bluer was he, than I

The moon went down...

In Cotton's, I walk endless circles around the tables and crates of local produce before I spot, of all things......peanuts!  I laugh because suddenly, I want to cook. 

There are scallions in our fridge and a Hatch in the freezer, so I grab a few bell peppers and I'm out the door, home in time for the robins' afternoon baths.

Peppers and Peanuts with Steamed Rice

cooked white rice
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
3 bell peppers, any color, cored, seeded and chopped into chunks
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into inch size pieces
1 hot pepper like Hatch or Anaheim, seeds and membrane removed, and cut into chunks 
2 cups water
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Chinese chili pepper sauce
Hoisin sauce
Unsalted peanuts, shelled and roasted

In a hot saute pan, pour a tablespoon or so of oil.  Swirl the pan to coat with oil and add the peppers.  Cook about 10 minutes, stirring often. 

Add two iced tea spoonfuls of pepper sauce and a little water.  Stir to combine and cook over medium low heat, continuing to add small amounts of water at a time.
Cook for 10 or 15 minutes, until the water is gone or the vegetables have softened a little.

Add the scallions, garlic, and a heaping soup spoonful of Hoisin sauce.  Cook until hot, adding a little water if it appears too dry.

Top with peanuts and serve with steamed rice.

The Night We Called It A Day
Matt Dennis and Tom Adair

Friday, October 15, 2010

getting nervous in dallas

With those gladiolas fresh on my mind, I was jolted when unexpectedly shown this urn the other night.  Jolted!

I am drawn to it.  I can't quit thinking of it.

It's absolutely beautiful; an urn you really could wrap a hug around.

What's going on?  The coincidence is creeping me out.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

so glad

Nope, nobody died.

Gladiolas were on sale. 

I've never seen pale green blooms like these; reminders of the delicate, Bibb lettuce I picked fresh from the clay pot on the patio last spring. 

Maybe it's a generational thing or maybe it's a southern thing, but for as long as I can remember, gladiolas have always been considered  'funeral flowers', displayed only in parlors or at grave sites. 

I used to want to be buried, my coffin to be spread, not with flowers but with a pall.  There's something so beautifully elegant yet simple about them.  I wanted Kevin to receive the pall, as I will receive a flag if he dies before I do. 

Such a hard decision to make but Spoke and I've decided to be cremated.  We can give the other a cheery "Good Morning, Love"  and literally wrap a hug around the (Italian marble would be nice) urn. A really big hug to help you get through the day...


Happily, glads make me think only of bistros. 

There is nothing like a vase packed full, sitting in the corner of a dark wood bar, its blooms multiplied by a wall of beveled mirror... 

I was at a local bistro Friday night.  Sat outside.  It was as if we all knew we'd better soak up each of these glorious nights while we can.  No schedule, no cell phones, just martinis, and ice buckets chilling bottles of Happy Hour wine as waiters offered appetizers like Shrimp Tempura and Seafood Fondue.

Bistros are good. 

Life is good.

I hope the market stocks more gladiolas next week.  Deep purple!  Episcopal purple, I call it. 

I'm just dying for some of those.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

this is .......

We've earned a weekend like this.  How sweet summer makes a fall day feel; you soak it up, anxious to lift your face to the warm sun. 

The ducks are loving it too.  They're getting much attention here at the Cottonwood Art Festival which is set up around their pond.  A few of them graciously posed for the camera.

This couple obviously didn't.... 

I heard music start from the bandstand across the water.  Goodbye ducks! 

"Come on, Mom," I said, neither of us ever one to pass up hearing a live band.  We walked along the path toward the music, people watching and checking out some of the funky art.   

It didn't take long to find the band (and the bar) and we sat for the rest of the afternoon, getting acquainted with Backside Pick.  Great band.  Tight band.  Loved them.   

"This is America," my mother said as we watched generations stroll by with painted faces, popcorn, and the family dogs. 

"You're right Mom," I replied, and once again, raised my smiling face up to the sun.