Monday, September 01, 2003

My grandpa died about seven years ago this winter. He was quite a man. Among other things, he really enjoyed to cook. No, not just to cook, but to experiment in the kitchen. He loved kitchen gadgets! I was blessed (being the kitchen gadget lover that I am) with the opportunity to go through the his kitchen and get what I wanted. One of the things I found, in never-been-opened condition, was a pastry cloth and frame. I tucked it in a box, toted it the 800 miles home, unloaded it into a cabinet, boxed it up when we moved six years later, unboxed it into another cabinet, and finally found it and actually opened its packaging for the first time today. WHAT A COOL THING!

I rolled out my pastry for pear dumplings on it. Pear dumplings -- another first. Anyway, it's about 20" square, with wooden slats fitted to the top and bottom of the cloth. Then there are two metal pieces that fit over the wooden slats on both ends -- with the bottom end of the metal pieces fitted to attach to the counter top. The pastry cloth is taut, from the frame, and anchored to the counter, so it doesn't flop all over the place -- it was delightful to roll out pastry! How often can one say that?!?

I've never made dumplings before, but Todd brought in some pears off the tree, and I felt challenged to find something to do with them. I pulled out the recipe books, and actually, there is quite a lot you can do with pears! They are actually very interchangeable with apples, in most apple recipes. Dumplings sounded like fun, so dumplings it was. I've just pulled them out of the oven, and I have to say, they look good. But even more telling -- they smell wonderful!

We're having burgers on the grill for dinner. I wish our tomatoes would ripen already, so I could quit purchasing those nasty, hot-house tomatoes from the grocer. With our move happening when it did, we were unable to get the seedlings started and planted like we normally do. I say we, but I mean Todd. I did cook eggplant from our garden on Saturday. Julia gave me the recipe and it was terrific! The peppers are coming in now, and the tomatoes are on the vine, just *really* green. I'm not that into fried green tomatoes! The sweet potatoes are going to be a major crop! I'll be making sweet potato casserole and pecan pie for Thanksgiving, out of the bounty of our land! Next year, it'll be even better!

I've really enjoyed this weekend. We switched the chore day from Saturday to Tuesday evening. It took us about an hour and a half for everyone to do their chores Tuesday night, and it was soooooo nice to not have to worry about chores being done on Saturday! I get so uptight watching the clock tick on towards the deadline, and watching my teens do *nothing*. Now I'll just not feed anyone who hasn't done their chores on Tuesday evenings! And no one goes anywhere on Tuesdays -- house rule. It was hard to do that on Saturdays! I mean, it is the weekend! Plus, if anyone spent the night away or had friends in on Friday, it made it all the more difficult. Thanks to the Torres family who inspired me -- they have their chore night on Thursdays -- but we have too much going on to use that night. Oh well. This way we go through the weekend, and my house gets picked up after we trash it on Saturday and Sunday with our lazings! Just kidding. Or am I??

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