Still Life With Stuff in the House

My next door neighbor, who is an artist, suggested I put things together in my house, create a still life and photograph them.

I shot the flowers in the pottery vase the other day.

Here is today’s collection.

When Your Neighbor Brings You Pancetta

When your neighbor brings you pounds of pancetta, what else can you do? (Thank you Joaquin.)

Find a recipe, quickly.

I read some eat pancetta raw but that turned me.

Next time I’ll slice it more thinly. First, I warmed the dish in the oven, cooked the cut up pancetta for about 8 minutes in my cast iron skillet and then drained it on paper towels. Tossed  the eggs, cheese, minced garlic cloves mixture  onto the hot drained spaghetti  in the warmed casserole   Freshly ground pepper. Rich and good. Next time I’ll hold off on salting the pasta water as the pancetta and cheese made it salty enough.  The recipe called for 1/2 cup white wine which I didn’t have on hand so poured a glass of red to accompany this perfect dish for a snowy day.

Spaghetti Carbonara  

There’s plenty of pancetta left for several meals if you have any suggestions.

Hopkins County Stew

My neighbor up the street made a vat of Hopkins County Chicken Stew.(recipe)

She served it at their New Year’s Eve Party Saturday night.

I sent a text to thank her for the nice time and she texted back and invited me to come up around 4, bring an empty container, fill up! I took up a quart jar but she had a couple of gallons.

Yum.

When I got there, I was in awe of the huge pot she made it in. She was in the midst of major clean up from the party.  Steve and I  ate the warm penne and sweet sausage she sent home along with some stew.  Thanks for sharing your leftovers.

I’d never even heard of Hopkins County Stew from Texas.

Turns out there’s a big festival in Sulphur Springs Texas  (the fourth Saturday of October) and here is an excerpt from their webpage

“The cooking competition began in 1969, but the roots of the dish date from the late 1800s, The county had approximately 100 schools back then and it became customary to celebrate the end of each school year with stew suppers that were cooked in iron pots over open hardwood fires. 

There were no recipes.  Families just brought what they had and threw it in the pot.  The meat most likely was squirrel, and typically the most dominant vegetables were potatoes, onions, corn and tomatoes.

There is still no authentic recipe for Hopkins County Stew.  For the annual cook-off, contestants may use chicken or beef (no squirrel) and there are separate prizes for the best stew with each meat.”

Here is another link to a recipe   I will have to ask Susanne which one she used.  The ones listed above (potatoes, onions, corn and tomatoes) are still the dominant ingredients.

 

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When your neighbor brings you baguette…

You eat a slice at dinner time. Buttered.

The next morning you need to soak the crusty thick slices in a mixture of eggs and milk, a dash of vanilla. 

Melt butter and a bit of olive oil in a big skillet.

Golden brown French Toast is the goal, not burned. 

Real maple syrup. A mug of coffee. 

Starting the day right.  Thanks J & P for the tasty baguette. 

   
    
 

My School Neighbor Gave Me These- Said They Look Like Me

A couple of weeks ago, my next door neighbor at school put out a call for a poster about reading.

There was to be a state inspection and a visual aid encouraging reading was on the checklist. When I saw her in the hall, I offered a collage of photographs of students reading their favorite books.  She was thrilled and one of her students created a large poster with the photos and added some text about the benefits of reading.

It looked good and she told me it was well received by the inspection team.  My colleague was pleased.  And grateful.  I wish I had a photo of the finished poster to include in this post but it is at school.

As a thank you, she brought me this unexpected gift.

She said when she saw them at the store, they reminded her of me.  I looked in the mirror and I see the resemblance!

When I saw the smiling face socks,  I thought of fellow blogger Stef and her Smile, Kiddo blog. Always on the lookout for smiles.

Here’s a link to a cool post titled What I Like About Me.

 Right now the high school students are working on creating images for a positive image campaign so it’s a great post for that theme.

smiley face socks

 

p.s. You can see Twilight, Gregory Crewdson’s book of photographs.  If you haven’t seen his movie Brief Encounters about how he makes his photographs, check out the trailer and the film.

Mother Mary in the Snow – Before the Puppeteer Painted Her

A few years ago this Mary statue was a curbside alert through the neighborhood listserve so I walked up to Winterton St. to save her from the trash.

She was peeling paint and looking a bit worn.  Somehow it didn’t seem right to have her picked up by the garbage truck. So I put her in my side “garden” and called her Our Lady of the Weeds (due to my lack of gardening effort)

About the same time I hired a friend of a friend to come and do some master gardening, get rid of the weeds, plant something decent.  And the skilled gardener took the Mary statue home with her and she was gone a couple of months.  The gardener is an excellent puppeteer and brightened up the statue with new paint.  In fact, when she was returned it took awhile to get used to her brightness and revitalization.

Then my neighbor restored the bird bath bowl my father gave me when I bought the house.

One day I came home and the Mary statue was perched in the now repaired bird bath.

It’s been a team effort to get me spiffed up around here.

MAry in the Snow

 

Before

 

bvm painted in a bird bath

This Spring I’ll take a new photo with the plantings and green surrounding her.