Saturday, February 25, 2017

Strawberry Season

It's Strawberry Season again.  Well not here, but in some parts of America.  So each time I walk into the produce department, I am faced with luscious looking strawberries.  The problem with this is I cannot justify buying fresh strawberries when I have pints and pints frozen at home with no plan for how to use them up.

What do you do with a whole bunch of frozen strawberries?  You make Strawberry Crisp.  I found this recipe on Pinterest so if any of you are in the same predicament I highly recommend it.  It says to serve warm with vanilla ice cream, But in my opinion it's better refrigerated with whip cream.

Strawberry Crisp
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yield: 6 Servings
  • 32 ounces of strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned roll oats
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)
  • Instructions
    1.      Preheat oven to 350*F
    2.      Spray an 9 x 9 inch square pan with non-stick cooking spray.
    3.      In a bowl toss strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar and cornstarch.
    4.      Place berries into prepared pan.
    5.      In a separate bowl, mix flour, oats, 1/3 cup white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
    6.      Add melted butter and mix well.
    7.      Pour oatmeal mixture on top of berries.
    8.      Bake for 35 minutes or until topping is golden and berries are bubbly.
    9.      Serve immediately with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Early Birds

We have been enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures for February.  Along with most of the country.  It is becoming more and more usual for us to get winters here in Western NY where you can spend a day or two sitting outside enjoying the sunshine.  What is not normal, is sitting on the patio on February 19th, watching blue birds fight over the bird house.  Two pairs.  I wouldn't expect to see them until May.  And now I want to build more bird houses.

Photo from June 2013
 Surprise #2 came this morning when on my way to work I spotted a small flock of robins.  They used to arrive mid-April.  The past two or three years they have been early, first appearing mid-March.  Mid-February is a record.  

I feel like I should plant peas or something!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Chain Reactions - also referred to as "collecting"

Collections start with a chain reaction don't they?  You see something you like so you buy it and take it home because its so neat that you want to look at it some more.   And then you see another one that is exactly like the first, or just slightly different, and the novelty of that discovery leads to you buying that one too so you can take it home, set them side by side and look at them some more.  That's how I ended up with several hundred year old marshmallow cans. Of course there are those of us who collect still useful items and defend our collection with "but I use those".  Of course.  But how many can you use at one time?

Take for instance enamelware roasters.  Years ago I bought a small oval roaster for my kitchen collection.  I thought it would be nice to display in my 1920s Even-Heet oven.  I love the oval shape which is a bit different than the squarish, flat topped, rounded end roasters that look big and clunky and it was small so it wouldn't take up too much room in our little house.

I've used the oval roaster many times.  The double walled construction makes the best roast chicken ever.  I liked it so much that I thought I'd keep an eye out for a larger version so I could try roasting a turkey in it.  I still haven't found one because I haven't found one in the right color with a domed top (as opposed to flat) and  dimples (instead of rings).  I love these dimples.  This attention to detail, while it may sound a little obsessive, is the only thing that keeps a collection in check.  If I weren't so picky I would have too many pieces of enamelware.  Like more than 90.   Ahem.... so...

I have seen a few round roasters, and I thought they were kind of interesting.  I liked their proportions.  But I have a roaster.  If I needed another roaster, and that's a big if, it would be a large roaster.  And then I saw ~ dimples.

The two roasters will now have to share display space

And that's how I've ended up with so many enamelware pieces.  When I started out my intent was to fully accessorize my Hoosier cabinet, gas oven, and refrigerator.  I found an article in a 1933 Good Housekeeping Magazine which listed the inventory of a well equipped kitchen.

There is only one piece of enamelware in this ad.
The tea kettle on the stove.  It was all down hill from there.
So I started with the basics.  One tea kettle, one coffee pot, one milk pitcher...  And then I became what collectors call a "completist".  Which translates to "I have to have every variation they made".  That's not really possible with enamelware because of the very wide range of products.  But you can get most of the way there.

If you like Cream City Jello molds, you need both the round one and the oval one.

Cream City Jello Molds
Creamers?  Did you know some of them come with lids?  I didn't.  I love things with lids.  So I needed another creamer.

And while I'm at it, I decided I'd collect a whole bunch of creamers.

A small assortment of creamers
To go with my tea...

This tea kettle was the first or second piece I bought.
...and Coffee.

The tall coffee "bigguns" were harder to find.
Then I found two at once.

Large and small Preserving Kettles
An assortment of refrigerator dishes
And that's how a collection starts.  I collect several different things.  Old print blocks, playing cards, horse anchors, bits, trophies, chicken stuff, farm stuff etc.  But the enamelware is my favorite and at least its still useful, besides being decorative.  What sort of neat stuff do you all collect?

1936 apartment sized Frigidaire