Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My November Guest

"My Sorrow, when she's here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She's glad the birds are gone away,
She's glad her simple, worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eyes for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise."
                                -Robert Frost

 Nov. 2nd, 2012
"62.  The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.
 63.  But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last.
 64.  On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.
 65.  Therefore the treasures of the Gospel are nets with which they were formerly wont to fish for men of riches.
 66.  The treasures of the indulgences are nets with which they now fish for the riches of men."
                                                                                        -excerpt 95 Theses,1517, Martin Luther

 "That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The spirit and the gifts are ours
Through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also.
The body they may kill:
God's truth abideth still.
His kingdom is forever."
-"A Mighty Fortress," Martin Luther

439 years of gratitude to our Lord for the life of brave and honest men willing to stand for what they believed, the consequence of which was the renewal of religious liberty for many... may it one day be for all.  And even greater thanks be to our Savior for the preservation of "That word above all earthly powers!"
His kingdom is forever.
 "Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light."
                                                                                                                             -1 Peter 2:7-9                     

Monday, October 29, 2012

Battening down the hatches... Ozarkian style

October 29th- Welcome ashore, Hurricane Sandy! Power outages?! Bah! This Missouri-born girl snaps her fingers at you.  What is a little wind and rain to good old-fashioned American fortitude, brashness, and "just plain thing-ness"? (quotation courtesy of Jeeves and Wooster!)

"Rain may fall and wind may blow,
And many miles be still to go,
But under a tall tree I will lie,
And let the clouds go sailing by."
-J.R.R. Tolkien
-Final roses in the front garden.
-My rendition and translation, edits included, of a favorite recipe (original in Polish):
Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake 
3/4  c. chocolate cookies or graham crackers
1 tbsp. cocoa
3 tbsp. melted butter
3 tbsp. melted dark chocolate (chips or baking chocolate)
1 lb. (or about 2 cups) of cottage cheese, strained, or farmer’s cheese
3/4 c. white sugar
1 egg white
1/2 c. melted chocolate
1 tsp. vanilla (or almond extract, lemon juice, or other flavoring.)

1/2 c. cream
1/2 c. dark chocolate, chopped
2/3 pint of raspberries (or other berries: strawberries, blackberries, currants, etc.)
about 1 c. seedless raspberry jelly or jam (or other flavor, complementary to berry choice)
1 c. heavy whipping cream
2 tsp. sugar
*Requires a 9” springform pan for baking. For a taller cheesecake, use an 8” diameter pan.

1.  Prepare your pan by greasing the bottom and lining with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In small bowl, crush cookies into fine crumbs (a potato masher is good for this, especially with crushing graham crackers).  Add melted butter, cocoa, and melted chocolate and mix.  Press firmly into bottom and sides of prepared pan.  Put into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

2.  (In medium to large mixing bowl) blend or process cheese in food processor or with mixer until as smooth as desired.  Add white sugar and mix.  Then add egg white, followed by vanilla.  Separate out about one quarter of the cheese mixture into another bowl and add melted chocolate (to the smaller portion).  Stir until completely combined.  Take the pan with the crust out of the refrigerator and spoon the chocolate cheese mixture into the pan first.  Spread evenly over crust.  Then spoon on white mixture, and smooth the top, careful not to mix the layers.  Put the cheesecake into the oven, and immediately turn down the oven’s temperature to 275 degrees.  Bake for about 45 minutes or unti l the cheesecake appears fairly firm on top.  It may not look done; that is okay.  Turn off the heat and leave the cheesecake in the oven for an hour to cool slowly (leave the oven closed; the cake will continue baking for a while.)  After an hour, remove cheesecake from oven and continue to cool at room temperature until completely cool (or overnight).  It can be put in the refrigerator after it has cooled for some time at room temp.

3.  Spread the top of the cooled cheesecake with a layer of raspberry jelly and some of the berries (if desired), sliced.  Then chill while preparing your ganache for the next layer.

4.  Chop the chocolate finely and put in a bowl.  (You can also use a food processor to chop the chocolate coarsely, but make sure the chocolate is cold and you don’t process too long, or the friction will melt the chocolate.)  Heat whipping cream in a saucepan on the stove quickly over medium high heat, until it just boils and remove immediately (be careful not to burn or curdle!!).   Immediately add the cream to the chopped chocolate and stir completely.  Your ganache should look shiny and dark.  Add to the top of the cheesecake by pouring or spooning it over the jam and berry layer.  Do not spread ganache; just let it coat the cheesecake.   Return the cheesecake to the refrigerator or freezer for another chill.

5.  Meanwhile, whip your cream with sugar (I added a few drops of vanilla to this as well.)  Spread on to the cheesecake (Yay!! This is the final layer!)  And top with your choice of berries, curls of shredded chocolate, etc.  Refrigerate until serving.  Smacznego!!!!

"I sit beside the fire and think 
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.

But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door."
-J.R.R. Tolkien

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Late Autumn Walk

 An unexpected afternoon so rich in Fahrenheit degrees that there were plenty to spare yesterday!  I stuck my nose out of doors (at last) toward afternoon, like Kenneth Grahame's Mole (only then it was Spring), to find that the sunshine was not being a false, painted lady, but even warmer than it looked.  Not wanting to pack all the trappings and gadgetry normally ascribed to forays into the world with infants in tow, I wrapped the baby round my middle and off we went. (God bless the individual who invented the Moby wrap! Otherwise known as an instrument of freedom to walking mothers.)

We found ourselves a nice bit of conifer wood and sundry, and meandered around, blissfully contented. Baby dozed off inevitably, and I took the last few pictures of fall foliage for the year, for the end of the season is now in sight here in New York.  We took a short rest on a bed of pine needles, and laughed together at the pictures I had taken.

We weren't much alone, though; it seemed a thousand thousand people had taken to the streets and then parks and woods with the same idea... must-get-out!  But I felt rather chummy with everyone on this occasion, seeing as how we had all responded to the same tug and knew exactly how the others felt.

Towards suppertime we made our way home with an appetite not to be reckoned with by any sandwich known to man... we must needs seek more serious fare to finish our lovely outing.

Linden leaves: "Light as leaf on linden tree..." J. R.R. Tolkien

 "Oh hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know. ..."
-Robert Frost