Here in Philly, Irene wasn’t really all that bad. Of course, the rivers are still rising, and the commute tomorrow may be a nightmare, but we kept our power, our basement stayed dry and the plants seem to have survived.

peppers from the garden

We picked all the ripe and ripe-ish peppers of the plants in the back, in case the winds blew them down. Not sure what we’re going to do with this many hot peppers… I tried to plant a bell pepper and a pablano plant, but they turned out to be a jalapeno and a cherry red hot, both plants I had already planted. Damn you, Home Depot, and your poor labeling. Oh well. The largest ones are cow horns. The first one we picked was frighteningly spicy. The rest of these aren’t nearly so bad. Not sure if its the season or the fact that the plant has more fruit on it now and needs to spread out the spice (does that even make sense) but I’m glad we’ll be able to cook with them without fear. We seem to have two kinds of jalapenos, the small red ones and the fatter green ones. I think they’ll be good in all sorts of things. Mmmm.

The rest of our hurricane preparedness was a little lackluster. I filled up our water bottles, filled the tub, bought a candle from my favorite bee guy at the farmer’s market. We stocked up on fruit and got some bread from the bakery guy at the market. (We were out of bread, it wasn’t a particular hurricane purchase.) As the rain started we headed out to Ippolitos to pick up some fish for dinner and grab lunch (they have The Best Fish Tacos Ever!). Of course, we got completely soaked. But being full-bellied-later was totally worth it.

oysters to bake

Chris’ old room mate is back in Philly, and bunkered down with us for the hurricane. We planned a feast. Four each of four different kinds of oysters, to bake with butter, garlic and cheese for an appetizer. We forgot to get french bread, so toasted up some naan to soak up the extra sauce. Next up- hurricane stew. We’re pretty backed up with our farm share usage, a soup/stew seemed like a pretty good way to use a lot of it up.

hurricane stew

The other benefit was that if the power went out, we could easily re-heat the soup with my camp stove. (Although, we have a gas stove, so Chris thought it would still work without power. I was skeptical, but turned out to be moot anyway.)

We paired the soup with swordfish loin steak sandwiches. So good. Food coma. Mmmm…… We have tons of soup left, which is going to be great for lunch this week.

We spent the rest of the night watching Doctor Who and trying to watch other cheesy tv, but being thwarted by the Irene news-takeover. Tornado warning. Lots of really dramatic maps. Nutter saying people could be without power for two weeks.

At the end of it all, we survived. I won’t be snarky about how freaked out everyone was, because some areas were really hard hit. But we emptied the tub and got on with our weekend. I made cookies. It was lovely.

oatmeal raisin cookies

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Christmas Cookies, originally uploaded by ducksRfriends.

Its not that I haven’t been wanting to write, its just that I have been running around ridiculously, and not managing to take photos of any of it (and I really don’t like posting without photos, its just too boring). It seems that the holidays tend to do this. To date, I have all but two of my immediate family members presents. Wrapped and everything. The package to Seattle has even been sent already. I’m missing Mike, who still hasn’t gotten back to me, and Chris- who doesn’t really want anything, and I know too well to buy random stuff that I already know he doesn’t need/want. Makes it tough.

Next week is Chris’s family Christmas event. We’re doing a cookie exchange, so I made my traditional family cookies. We don’t have a name for them. The recipe just says “festive cookie dough”, but they’re made with creamcheese and chocolate chips, and dipped in chocolate and sprinkles. I think we managed to cook them the perfect amount, too, which is always tough because they look uncooked when you take them out of the oven, but when they cool are soft and just right. Even though I don’t think I’m going to get a little tree this year, making the cookies makes me feel like the holidays are really here.

oatmeal raisin cookies

oatmeal raisin cookies

pear-raisin-ginger muffins

pear-ginger-raisin muffins

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I was bored on Sunday. Kept expecting thunderstorms, but instead it was just wonderfully cool. Solution to my boredom? Baking! I made a batch of pear-raisin-ginger muffins and a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies, both out of Chris’s “Once Upon a Tart” recipe book. A little orange zest added to the cookies… so yummy. The muffins were a little bland, perhaps a riper pear would have helped. Or some orange zest…. but very good with coffee this morning. There are a whole bunch of good looking recipes in the book that I never noticed before. Usually I flip right to the madelines without perusing the rest. Perhaps its because of the great food pictures on Curious Bird’s site, perhaps its this cool weather that calls for warm cookies and tea, but I’m getting back into the baking spirit. And I can’t wait to have tomatoes and cucumbers from my garden for delicious salads…..
I had a bit of a challenge finding oranges, which always surprises me. The grocery story is sometimes out of the oddest things. Bananas, oranges, red onions. Staples, but somehow missing.
I probably should have gotten some work done on one of my documentaries-in-progress, but it felt nice to take a real break.

I think I am still coming down from the sugar rush that is Easter. Jellybeans, chocolate and dessert, yipes. Though I have to say, I love any holiday that gives me an excuse to make madelines. They have to be one of my favorite cookies. Fairly simple to make, the hardest part is probably getting just the right amount of dough to fill the mold but be fully cooked without getting the bottoms too dark. They’re of course best right out of the oven but are still quite good when cooled with some powdered sugar…. yum… off to have some with my coffee right now….

This year was a small turnout for decorating, but led to some very interesting cookies. Best viewed from my flickr album here. Jen O. brought her lovely puppy DeeDee, and she Mom and I started the decorating. Chris R. came over later, and man is he good at decorating those cookies. Always impresses. Even did a re-creation of last year’s Christmas tree, Tony.
What a lovely Christmas it was this year! Minimal as far as gift giving, which was great. Everything that exchanged hands was appreciated and meaningful. True spirit of giving this year. It seems everyone is trying to clean house, and I was lucky enough to get some of the spoils… enough yarn to attempt my first sweater! I’m going to try to make the uber-buttony sweater Miss T made, I just need to get the right kind of needles….