Winter is scheduled to show its snowy face tomorrow in our mountains. Our yard is two feet deep in leaves and the gutters are overflowing with pine needles. Last weekend Rick suggested I get up on the roof with the blower. I suggested other options. In the end we hired the services of a local yard man …… who will do the job when he’s in town. Oh, sorry, I have Christmas carols dancing in my head. Ach.
On schedule, he arrived at 10:00 this morning. At the moment leaves are raining past the windows at an alarming rate. Boo, the Queen of Cats, is transfixed as the waterfall of debris continues to cascade. Between the activity beyond the glass and the deafening noise of the industrial blower, she is looking as though the end of the world can’t be lagging far behind. On opening the front door, having only spoken to Al on the phone, I expected to find a more youthful face staring back at me. I don’t know why. A little snow on the roof doesn’t mean there isn’t any fire in the hearth. I enjoy seeing someone a bit longer in the tooth active and involved. It gives me hope for the years ahead. I spend my days zooming up and down the stairs with ease, but someday I assume the two flights might prove a more daunting proposition. Perhaps if I keep flying up and down all day, this will not be the case. Aging can be annoying.
While at my new doctor’s recently I was weighed and my height measured like a Palomino headed for auction. Always priding myself on being tall, I was shocked to find I had misplaced an inch and a half in my travels over the past couple of years. Like the Wicked Witch of the West, it appears “I’m melting”. This is a bit alarming, as I don’t have much surface space to spare. The doc assured me this was perfectly normal as we age. Right. The woman is all of thirty-two. I’m assuming the “we” in this statement would be more me. At thirty-two the only wrinkle I had to deal with could be easily dispatched with a little spray starch and a hot iron. Hmmmmmmm. No, I’m sure this wouldn’t apply to skin. Hollywood would already be on top of it.
To add to my diminishing size, I’ve noticed a slight thinning of my hair in one spot on the back of my head. Sheesh. I’m going to be a short, bald woman in ten years. Rick’s going to have to put a tracking device around my neck to locate me in the room. Several weeks ago I woke up in the middle of the night to find Boo grazing on my hair. She’s an odd cat on her best days, but I find this behavior really outside of the norm. Last night Rick came to bed late to find her doing the same thing while I slept. Now, we’re not the brightest bulbs in the box, but it occurred to us simultaneously Boo may be actually harvesting my hair. Do any of these bizarre things happen to anybody else but me? I need answers. He suggested I wear something on my head to bed. Really? Perhaps I could wear a metal colander tied under my neck or pick up a pith helmet at the war surplus store. Maybe, just maybe, Miss Boo needs to make other sleeping arrangements unless she can get her primal urges under control. Contrary to her belief, we still make the mortgage payments on her domicile.
It took five full hours for Al to complete the job of clearing the front yard and decks, as well as the roof. Had we continued with the back yard, I would have had to make up the spare room. We now have four massive piles of leaves in the back yard which need to be disposed of. The quickest way, my new friend informed me, would be to burn them. He suggested I obtain a burn permit and some diesel fuel and on a “burn day” strike a match have at it. Obviously the man doesn’t know me at all, or he would never make an incendiary statement like without representation by an attorney. With my track record the entire housing community likely would be in jeopardy, and if I said Al suggested it the attorney might come in handy.
This might be reminiscent of the first time I ever used a Weber kettle to barbecue. I had seen it done certainly, but never attempted it myself. Newly on my own, my children wanted a barbecue. I wasn’t about to admit their mother was incapable of grilling a steak without a man in attendance. My first bad assumption was one large bag of coals per cookout. Whoops. If one bag of coals was good, probably a whole of bottle of lighter fluid would be required to get those embers burning brightly. Can you see my little blond head bobbling on my shoulders? My son and I stood there and added flame to that megabomb. It created a light bright enough to be picked up by passing satellites. For all I know that Weber kettle is still smouldering somewhere in a landfill south of here. If memory serves me it burned for three days and created enough heat to warp the lower part of the kettle, an occurrence my neighbor said he’d never seen before. Do not try this at home. We enjoyed dinner at KFC that night. To this day, like the pressure cooker, I approach a grill with reverence.
So, it looks like our yard will be pristine for a few days until the wind comes and disturbs the trees again, or the snow falls as is in the forecast for tonight. Life is good. I dug out our gloves and warm hats, expecting the temperature to plummet below freezing when the sun goes down.
I had a craving for crepes. The first crepe I ever tasted was in Montmartre in Paris, where they make a business of it. So light and delicious and filled with creamy eggs and cheese. I’ve never tried them with tuna before but this was, as my Canadian relatives are wont to say, “absolutely lovely”.
Tuna Crepes with Vermouth Mushroom Sauce
Crepes (Makes 6)
2 large eggs
1 cup nonfat milk
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. Canola oil
Combine all ingredients except Canola oil in large bowl and emulsify still smooth with an emulsion blender or put in a blender and process until smooth. Put in refrigerator for 1 hr.
Heat skillet over med-high heat. Brush skillet with Canola oil, reserving the rest for following batches.
Using a ladle quickly pour one ladle into pan swirling around to cover bottom of the pan.
Cook until edge begin to crisp, then turn over (about 2 mins. per side). Repeat until all batter is used.
Stack with a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper in between crepes.
1 6 oz. can tuna, drained and flaked
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped fine
2 Tbsp. onion, chopped fine
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. lemon olive oil
2 Tbsp. dill
1 Tsp. prepared mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix all ingredients together. Distribute filling evenly down center of each crepe.
Roll like a cigar and place in sprayed casserole dish. Brush tops with butter. Bake for 20 mins.
Serve with vermouth mushroom sauce.
Vermouth Mushroom Sauce
1/4 cup shallots, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. butter
1 lb. sliced mushrooms
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup dry Vermouth
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
Heat olive oil over low heat. Add shallots and cook for 5 mins. or until translucent. Add butter, mushrooms, and kosher salt. Cook for 8 mins. over med-low heat Add garlic. Cook for 1 min
Whisk in Dijon mustard, sour cream and milk. Continue cooking over med.-low heat until bubbly and smooth. Whisk in Vermouth and continue cooking 3 mins. Remove from heat and add parsley. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve over crepes.