Thursday, September 27, 2007

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

So, Cyril has been in particularly rare form lately. Not so much misbehavior- although there is plenty of that too-as mischievious. The other morning at breakfast I thought his hair looked a little funny but he has really crazy, wiry hair so thought he'd just slept funny. But upon inspection I found he's definitely given himself a bang trim with what looked like th work of a weed-eater. Actually, I never did ask what implement he used. When I asked him about his bangs he informed me that he also decided to take the matter of his cow-lick into his own hands by removing it. I thought the bald spot really completed the look of un-kempt wild critter.

Cyril's first love, before weilding scissors, is motor boats with propellors. He draws them all the time but decided one day to immortalize one by carving it on the top of nice dresser from Underhill's. With a screwdriver. It was complete with an outboard motor and propellor. I was a little taken aback and was not sure what to say, aside from no carving on furniture and that I would talk to Papa about it when he got home. He did feel that it was his dresser and he was just trying to improve on it. After the kids were in bed I took Shane in and showed him. He was amused and said he liked it and he is glad it is there. Some day he can show it to the great grand kids and I am sure it will be a great memory. But hopefully not an inspiration. As we were walking out of the room I looked at the shelf in Cyril's closet and sure enough he had another rendition carved on it. It wasn't nearly as good so maybe it was just practice. At least he got the final draft on the dresser.

I almost can't have a post without some mention or picture of a meal. The salmon cakes I make awhile back were too dense so I've been looking for different ways to make them lighter. For this one I added mashed potatoes and beat a couple egg whites. It was better but still not quite what I was looking for. Maybe I'll just move on to crab cakes. I'm feeling a little fished out anyway. Shane took Cyril out to dinner last night so in preparation I gave him a hair cut. You almost can't see the bald spot anymore but I think as it grows it will shos more. I'll just have to keep it buzzed for awhile.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fall Is Here

We didn't ease much into fall this year. We didn't even have a very nice September. Maybe just a couple of good days. But the past few mornings have been "froggy" as Cyprian says, and I've been turning on the heat. The kids were excited about that. At our old house we heated with the wood stove, which I do miss sometimes, so having central air is still a bit of a novelty. When the furnace kicks on they all go rushing to find a vent to stand on and Cyprian laughs and says it tickles. Then they'll get plastic bags and make hot air balloons with them. I do like the heat from wood but you can't beat waking up on a cold, rainy morning to warm, cozy air pouring into your bedroom. Cyprian, Kateri, and I put up some fall things. Cyprian was very proud of his pumpkin candles and kept remarking every time he saw them, "Pretty. I did it."

So I, of course had to make scones. Once again another award winning recipe from Cooks Illustrated. These ones are really buttery and not at all dry. But not cakey either. The kids don't like blueberries but I do and its nice to make up a batch and send one to work with Shane and his morning coffee.

I'm not saying where this recipe came from but I am sure you can guess. It is cracked pepper steak ( au poivre- or something like that) with a brandy and cream , and of course lots of butter, sauce. We were very hungry and I didn't remember to take a picture til part way through dinner. It was very, very good. I usually like my steak grilled but this pan-fried one I think I can handle.

Part way through dinner Cyprian picked up a tomato and skimmed it over the sauce on my plate. Then announced the tomato was "Kieboardeen"- Kiteboarding. I thought that was pretty clever of him.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hammering, Sawing, and Working Away......

Well, we've finally decided to enter the realm of pets. It took some convincing but after much discussion, planning, promising, begging etc. we told the kids they could have a kitten. Then Shane told them they could have two. Because a kitten will need a friend and with four kids one kitten wouldn't be enough. So we've made some rules and set expectations and sometime in the next couple months we plan on procuring two kittens.

The prospect has really unleashed the kids creativity. And their teamwork. The first day was great. Audrey and Cyril went to work in the garage building a kitten wonderland. I didn't see or hear from them for hours and had to drag them in for dinner. They hammered and sawed and made staircases, tables, toys, a scratching post, and even painted some pictures.

Audrey working on the scratching post. I gave them some old rags and they found a tree stake which they quickly converted to cat furniture.

Cyprian working on the stairs.

With a double staircase and two bedrooms I think the kittens should be very comfortable. Audrey's rendering of the kitten she envisions getting.

Cyril's artwork

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Not Too Much News

Thankfully, there is not too much news to report from the Patton House. The past few mornings have been misty and it is getting cooler in the evenings. I am excited for fall. It makes me feel like cooking. Shane's friend gave him a bunch of frozen Alaskan caught salmon so I've been trying bunch of new recipes. The one below was a smoked and fresh salmon chowder with cognac and cream. It was very tasty but the broth was not so chowderish as bisquish. With some bread and wine it made an easy dinner.

The other day I made grilled salmon with brown sugar and bourbon glaze. It was also very good and then last night I made smoked salmon quesadillas with goat cheese. I didn' have smoked salmon so I cut the top layer off the left over grilled salmon and used that. It was good but I think real smoked would be better. So I still have the rest of the grilled salmon and am going to make salmon cakes for dinner tonight. I fell so resourceful using up the leftovers and making things that are actually tasty.

The cool weather is so nice for cozy dinners. This one didn't involve salmon but last week I made Chicken Tikka Masala from Cooks Illustrated. It was very flavorful and the chicken breast- broiled after a coating of whole milk yogurt-came out very moist. It was a little too spicy for me and I had to add more cream and some sugar to mine, but Shane thought it was just fine.
Salmon and Salmon Chowder from the Simply Classics cookbook

I have not been doing very well at keeping on top of the house. I got behind on the dishes one night and it took forever to catch up and get back to filling up the dishwasher and turning it on at night. The cycle kept ending up where I was running it at noon and then it would get late and I'd leave the dishes for the morning. Waking up to cold salmon pots and pans was not fun. But yesterday I finally broke the pattern and was able to get up this morning to a clean kitchen. I also got the bug to wash the kitchen floor so when I got up early this morning it was treat to drink my latte at the kitchen table. I had the foresight to take a picture as soon as I was done so I could remember.

It was a good thing I did because after climbing trees and digging in the woods, the kids brought some of their excavations inside.

Cyril in a tree.

Cyprian's version of climbing a tree.

He got so dirty I just gave him a bath in the kitchen rather than

taking him upstairs.