Musing with Max

Musing with Max

October 29, 2012

Flowers in the Sandy house

No I'm not at the beach. Wish I was though; instead we're preparing for "Frankenstorm", "the perfect storm", "the mother of all storms"...whatever it is it's not pleasant. It's just plain nerve wracking. Last year we had Irene which was pretty bad and I erroneously and innocently thought this year that once we passed the I names we were sailing smooth waters. Boy was I wrong...S? I've never ever ever ever heard of an S named storm, uch! So here I am the girl who grew up in Florida and thought that I had left any worries of hurricanes behind when I left there 30 years ago. Well here's the scorecard: Miami 1, New Jersey 5-the higher number is the loser in this case. Lesson learned, or taught. What can you do? FITH party at Jane's who's getting hit worse than me.

the last of the zinnias and the most beautiful leaf/herb ever-sage


and pumpkins
which wound up in the house for fear of high winds.

So batten down the hatches, hunker down, eat something stewy, drink some (lots)  wine and hope for the best.

Or maybe I'll just follow Max's example

take a nap until it's over, and don't open the basement door for three days.

Good luck to everybody in the Mid Atlantic Northeastern US.

October 21, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

I actually debated whether to buy a pumpkin this year which is not like me at all since I usually get several. But last year the squirrels just obliterated the one pumpkin that I did buy which was destined for Halloween carving. It never made it anywhere near Halloween. So I decided they would only be indoors and got some cuties at Trader Joe's.

But then driving home the other day I passed the church that covers their front lawn every year with pumpkins

and I came to a screeching halt. How could I resist?  Considering they had only been out for less than a week and this is all that was left, I better move.
So I got 6.
warty ones...
little,  medium, and big
...and sprayed them with hot sauce! he he.

Max approves.

October 1, 2012


October is my favorite month. I'm biased, I was born in it. I was really thrilled when I got old enough to bypass the birthday party present part of it and see the beauty of it. All those incredible colors of the changing leaves never cease to amaze me because regardless of how many times you have looked at the same exact tree and watched it go from green to yellow/orange/red/brown, it is never ever ever the same shade and it always glows in a different way. That is just beginning right now and hopefully it won't come and go in the blink of an eye as it has at times. This weekend we spent it cleaning out the fading garden; pulling out dry and spindly tomato plants yet leaving a couple that are still holding on with fat green fruit. The peppers are going real strong right now

these poblanos which didn't show fruit all year are suddenly full. Hopefully they'll mature enough to reach full size before the nights get to cold.

The Portugal peppers are also making a second showing, the first wasn't much but now they are teeming. This is the first time I plant them and I'm a little afraid of them; I mistakenly thought they were piri-piri and then found out they are super duper hot. We'll see.

I already have jars full of jalapenos and bags of frozen ones but they just keep going and going. Some people will get presents!

Most of the flowers are gone or fading, there's an occasional zinnia

here and there but the morning glories are making up for it

and since the days are cool they stay open way beyond the morning.

Day glories maybe?

We harvested all that was left of the basil and made pesto
which made the kitchen smell yummy

and made us a little dizzy.

And what's the best thing about this time of year? Stewy stuff!

Chili Verde, adapted from I Made That

2 lb tomatillos
6 garlic cloves, not peeled
3 Anaheim or Poblano chiles
3 JalapeƱos, seeds removed, chopped
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
4½ lb pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 to 2-inch cubes
Olive oil
2 small yellow onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP dried oregano
3 cups chicken stock

- Remove papery husks from tomatillos and rinse well. Cut in half and place cut side down, along with 6 garlic cloves, on a baking sheet. Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skin. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

- Roast the Anaheim chiles over a gas flame or under the broiler until blackened all around. Let cool and remove the skin, seeds, and stem. Roughly chop.
- Place tomatillos, skins included, into a food processor. Remove the roasted garlic cloves from their skins and add them. Add chopped JalapeƱo peppers, Anaheim chilies, and cilantro. Pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed.

- Season the pork cubes generously with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed dutch oven over medium high heat and brown the pork chunks well on all sides. Work in batches so that the pork is not crowded in the pan. Using tongs, lift the browned pork out and place in bowl. Set aside.
- Pour off excess fat, leaving 1 or 2 tablespoons. Place the onions in the same dutch oven and  season with salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until limp, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Add the pork back to the pan. Add the oregano, the tomatillo puree, and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a slight simmer. Cook for 2½ – 3 hours uncovered, until the pork is tender.

- Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt. Serve with rice and warmed flour or corn tortillas.

Then take a nap, with the warm October sun streaming through

and dream of pumpkins and mums next weekend!