Lights in the Darkness

Flickering candle flames are mesmerizing. It’s hard to avert your eyes.

They cast a flattering light.

The sound of the strike of a wooden match. Tapers on a dinner table. The evening’s about to begin.

Lighting votives in the alcove of a church offers comfort when there’s really nothing else one can do.

Skinny candles on birthday cakesthe smell of wax and smoke after you make your wish, blow them out.

Everyone’s getting those battery operated, remote control, waxy but not real flame candles these days. No carbon marks on paint behind picture frames. No danger of setting the house afire.

I’ve got a set on the mantel right now. Need a load of double AAs. Make them glow again.

The wavering lights of true flames, hypnotize me.

Create shadows on the walls.

Light up a winter night.

H.B.T.Y.

Baklava Ice Cream at Amel’s

A delicious lunch with a nice friend on Wednesday. Amel’s Restaurant describes itself “Homey Mediterranean & Middle Eastern eatery”

I had the Butternut Squash Tortellini with Sage Butter and Pine Nuts and an Amel’s Salad.

For dessert our server went into the kitchen and chopped up fresh baklava and mixed it with vanilla ice cream. Oh my. Honey syrup, walnuts and flaky phyllo and a smidgen of cinnamon perhaps?

So refreshing. We shared one order but I know I could have eaten it all by myself. Oink!

Two Tangy Lemon Bars

It’s buttery crumbly shortbread on the bottom layer and a tangy sour sweet lemon curd- like top. I love lemons.

I met a friend for breakfast and she brought me these two delicious lemon bars. She knows they’re a favorite of mine. They were leftover from her book group gathering.

It’s the kind of taste that makes a mouth water. I opened the foil package and took this quick shot on my car’s console before I pulled out of the diner parking lot.

I nibbled at the first, my mouth watering with pleasure and then eyed that second bar. I managed restraint, wrapped it up in the wrinkled foil and put it out of reach, avoiding the temptation to make it disappear.

Steve certainly enjoyed it at lunch, unaware how vulnerable it had been to my midwinter gluttony.

My mother always said “it’s better to have a hankering for more, than to regret you had too much.”

Here’s a Lemon Bar recipe I found online, a woman says they’re the best. The 50 year old recipe from Wisconsin.

https://www.yourhomebasedmom.com/best-lemon-bars/

Deep Cleaning Closet Yield

Found this newspaper page from June 17,1966 today. Our eighth grade class.

My Grandmother’s High School Class 1904 picture, too.

I’m tackling a closet which had a few random treasures in the miscellaneous.

What sensible person holds onto this stuff?

Happy Birthday to my Dear Longtime Friend with much love. I hope you’re reading the blog today.

(Seriously longtime. We were in Mrs. Stewart’s class when news broke of JFK’s assassination. I remember Miss McCarthy crying in the hall).

But I figure you prefer anonymity so you know who you are.

“We were so much older then, we’re younger than that now”

Happy Birthday to my Cherished Friend

My maternal grandmother, Charlotte Rowley- bottom right

And in my mother’s handwriting -the names of the 1904 Durand High School class, Durand Illinois. Mr. Greenough didn’t get a first name?

Tugs and Barges Passing at Dusk

IMG_3115Ohio River Sunday night.  We were visiting our Neville Island friends again. They live on the banks of the Ohio River.  We had a wonderful boat ride earlier and it was time for dinner.  Two tugs and their barges appeared up river and down river.  Our host pointed out the buoy that marked the channel and told us they both had to be on this side on it.  How would there be enough room?  As the sun was sinking we watched them approach one another, a horn blew.  It was a dramatic end of the day on the river.

Neville Island Night Lights on the Ohio River

The retirement party at our friend’s home on Neville Island began in early afternoon but the barges and tugs went by into the night. Both directions!

Lots of drama to watch. Multiple freight trains on the opposite bank blew their train whistles.

See the powerful blue light the Captain was shining down river to illuminate a buoy in the middle of the river?  Neville Island Bridge is in the background.

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Centerpieces with tiny white lights and fishing accessories glowed like lanterns.

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Here you can see the dark barges being pushed by the tug as they approach the bridge.IMG_1673.JPG

 

 

IMG_1657.JPGIMG_1639.JPGIMG_1699.JPGIMG_1736IMG_1683The bonfire kept us warm and warded off the increasing damp chill as the sun disappeared. Skipping the photo my friend took of me devouring a gooey s’more.

 

IMG_1687.JPGHappy Retirement, Sy

 

Polish Pottery Holds Warm Blueberry Muffins

My friend J in Florida sent the blue star studded Polish pottery dish for my Fourth of July birthday.

My friend J in Pittsburgh baked blueberry muffins Sunday morning and brought them to my front porch to go with scrambled eggs.

My friend V will wonder what happened to my plan to post a whole week of bridges.

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Truffle Atop Poached Egg and Wild Asparagus Risotto

IMG_5711What an evening of taste bud surprises! WOW.

We took an evening tram to meet my son’s friends at a café.  Because it was the night before the Easter Holiday, every seat was taken. Quite a wait for a table. Everyone celebrating being off the next workday.

Bummer-  BUT  When the friends arrived they had a discussion for an alternate plan.  Wow, did I ever luck out that the café was full.  One went to procure a  bottle of red.

The first delight was I’s Sour Cherry apéritif which he’d made.  At first,  I was worried it might burn but my concerns were totally unfounded.  In fact, the drink defined summer captured in a slim crystal cylinder.  All I can say it the ruby liquid of summer’s sour cherries woke up every taste bud in my mouth.  Delicious.  Not to sweet, not too tart, zero burn. Perfection!

And then the surprise of M’s creation- Poached egg on fresh bread with the fruitiest most fragrant olive oil drizzle AND the unexpected luxurious truffle on top of the gently poached farm egg.  Or “home eggs” as my family refers to them.

I was feeling quite content with all I had eaten. Italian cheese and olives to start and then the Sour Cherry apéritif and the lovely truffle surprise.   And then the Wild Asparagus Risotto was ready to eat.  Freshly Grated Cheese on top. Oh my.  So bold.  It was wild! A flavor I’dd never before experienced,  created by a culinary expert.

I was happy to meet my son’s friends and be invited into a Zagreb home to experience  these tastes and more importantly their friendship and hospitality.

Sretan Uskrs and Hvala for a wonderful evening in Zagreb.

IMG_5711 iPhone photos don’t do justice to this dish.

 

 

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The wild asparagus simmers

 

 

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Words are inadequate to describe this bold Wild Asparagus Risotto. WOW!

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