Welcome. Spring. 2012.


Soup's On!

Okay, admittedly, this obviously isn't a bowl of homemade.  What is more comforting though, on a cold, autumn day than a bowl of soup?  Maybe it's a bowl thing.  Soup, mashed potatoes or banana pudding?  All three are quite comforting...

But I digress.  I love soup.  More on the potatoes and banana pudding another day.  

Soup, stews, chowders.  There are particular combinations that are married, you see.  Kind of like salt and pepper.  Okay, ABC soup?  That's peanut butter and jelly.  Cream of tomato?  Grilled cheese, of course.  Cream of broccoli?  Grilled ham and cheese.  New England Clam Chowder?  Of course those wonderful hexagonal-shaped chowder crackers!  What's your favorite combination?

Having a hard time deciding what to serve for company?  Try a soup potluck.  That's what the girls and I are going to do for our monthly potluck next month at our house.  I'm going to make 5 different kinds of homemade soups and for the potluck part, each gal will bring an accompanyment, like bread, cheese, or crackers...

Here's the famous apricot corner recipe for: 

Cream of Broccoli Soup

3 large bunches fresh broccoli
Mashed potatoes (5-6 yukon gold potatoes, heavy cream, butter, salt/pepper)
1 stick butter (thank you Julia)
1/2 t. sugar
1/4 c. bacon, diced (again, love you Julia)
2/3 c. onions, diced
2/3 c. celery, diced
1 c. flour
1 1/2 quarts 1/2 and 1/2 (or whole milk, or if you must, heavy cream- um, Julia ;) )
1 quart chicken broth
1/4 t. pepper (or to taste)
2 t. salt (or to taste)
dash nutmeg

Clean, cut, and separate broccoli bunches into stems and florets.  Trim the outer layer from the stems with a potato peeler and cut into bite size pieces.  Blanch stem pieces and florets in enough water to cover.

Melt butter in a saute pan.  Add bacon, onions, celery, and sugar.  Cook until very tender and bacon starts to brown.  Add flour and whisk together to make a roux.  Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Slowly add half and half to roux, whisking until smooth.  Cook on medium heat until thick.

Add stock to pot of broccoli with blanching water.   Stir in mashed potatoes and onion/celery/bacon cream.  Add pepper, salt, and a dash of nutmeg.  Bring just up to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. 

Enjoy.... see ya round the corner!



rainy day people...

I am a rainy day person, for sure.  All my best days seem to be on rainy days.  J proposed to me on a rainy day.  We were married on a rainy day.  The best smells and colors come on rainy days, too.  The sage here sends out this wonderful scent when it rains.  The fall color just glows against the gray sky. 

Here's the view from our kitchen as we found ourselves with 1/2" rain and
 a bit of snow up above 9000'

...found some goodies in the garden hidden amongst all that brown

cleaned the veg...

... muddy shoes and muddy monkey doggie I'll take care of later

See ya 'round the corner...



Sunday afternoon...late lunch

Well, here it is.  The perfect sandwhich for a late afternoon lunch. 
The Apricot Corner grilled cheese.

softened, salted, sweet cream butter
freshly baked white bread
smokey bacony goodness
fresh from the garden, ripe, golden tomatoes
the sharpest cheddar on the planet
good ole' miracle whip

can't ya just smell it?!?

buttered bread, butter-side down in the pan... very important

slices of cheesy goodness and a Z of miracle whip

now we're gettin' somewhere...

goldenly sweet like ripe apricots...

piled high...

cover with foil (there are two beasties under there, one for me, one for J)

perfectly toasted and buttery on the outside and gettin' nice and melty on the inside...

two words.  yum.  o.

happiness is...



the Levi Project

22 pair of Levis.  Most people don't own 22 pair of pants or shoes or anything else for that matter.  This was the Saturday morning project.  Instead of purging the whole closet, I decided to tackle one chapter of that closet. 

I actually didn't plan on doing this until I found myself staring up at the "stack" on the top shelf and wondering why on earth I have so many and why I only wear one or two and why none of them make my backside look smaller...

Step one, admitting you have a problem.  Step two, strategize.

So, I pulled them all down and laid them on the bed.  Two were missing from this shot.  I was wearing the pair that I could never live without (we all have that pair) and the other was in the laundry, meaning that it must be okay.
After a brief sigh, I started in.  Some went on with absolutely no trouble.  Checked the hiney in the mirror; it looked good (well as good as a size 12/14 hiney can look).  Those went in one pile.  Most, I'm sorry to say were a little difficult, but got them on... just a little snug.  Those went in another pile. 

Then there were the final five.  I couldn't even get them past my thighs.  Was I really that small at one time?  I checked the label.  Size 8.  No way.  I double checked the zipper thinking that maybe I forgot to release it.  Yah, that had to be it.  Nope.  Zipper down. 

I offer no other excuse other than to say that my husband makes me eat ice cream every night. 

Here's how it ended up coming out.

Two were put in the "free box" pile, headed to the recycling center where maybe someone else will enjoy my extra huge Levis.

Here's the rest:

The first two piles (total 8) are fine.  Piles three and four are future aspiration piles.

Pile 3, where there's some hope in these 5 pair...

And pile 4, where there really is no hope, but... there's 5 pair of perfectly good Levis awaiting a size 8 hiney.

So, in the end, didn't really purge, but had a good reality check.  Next week maybe I'll tackle the shoes.  Feet don't get fat, do they?

See ya 'round the corner.



Finding extravagence in the simple

Smokin' Eggs...

(I forgot the chives for this batch)

I find nothing more fun than taking something simple, like eggs, and making something totally extravagant.  Usually reserved for ladies luncheons, Easter dinner, or the occasional potluck, deviled eggs are an inexpensive, simple way to make the day a little more special.

Now, admittedly, I've found that the hardboiling of the eggs really can be the most difficult part.  I can't explain it.  I've tried various methods and each time they come out differently-loose whites and/or centers or green around the yolks are usually my norm.  Then there's the shell that simply won't come off and you end up with an egg that looks like it had terrible acne in it's youth.  I would love to blame our water (which is totally laden with mineral), our altitude (7000 ft), or the fact that electric stoves and I have never gotten along.  Maybe it's a fresh vs. not so fresh thing, which is totally possible when you get your eggs from 1000 miles away, because your husband is anti-backyard chicken at the moment (more on that another day).  So, the only thing I can say is that it's always a surprise when I go to open my first one.  Usually I end up cranking up the water again and boiling them all another 10 minutes. 

I think that the main reason for this is to provide lots of auditory stimulation for the monkey dog, Cowboy, who patiently listens to his Mom curse and of course, waits for something to drop.


So, when I say that this recipe can make the day a little more special, once you get past the hardboiling, then the special-ness can begin...

Smoked Deviled Eggs

1 dozen eggs, hardboiled (anywhere from 12-30 minutes in boiling water)

Slice the peeled, cooled eggs lengthwise and pop the yolk out into a medium size bowl.  Line a plate or deviled egg platter with the whites and set aside while you prepare the filling:

12 hardboiled yolks
1/8 c. miracle whip (or mayo if you must, but the mw really does give it extra flavor)
2 T. butter, softened (thank you Julia)
1 T. sweet pickles, chopped fine
1 T. dijon mustard
Salt/Pepper to taste
Smoked paprika and chopped chives for garnish

Blend well with mixer in a medium sized bowl, by hand or electric power.  If it seems a bit crumbly, add more softened butter (remember: everything's better with butter and bacon).  Form into a nice ball within the bowl and put into a large gallon size ziploc storage bag.  Work the ball down into one of the corners of the bag, leaving the bag unzipped.  Snip the corner you've pushed your filling into to create a small opening to pipe the filling into the whites.  (You can practice on a sheet of wax paper to see if it's the right size.  If it's not, then scrape the filling back into the bag and snip the other corner of the bag and try again)  Fill all of your whites and prepare a slice of toast or a cracker for the remaining filling.  One must remember to provide some sustainance for the cook.

Sprinkle the filled eggs with a few chopped chives and a dusting of smoked paprika.  Eat your egg and toast and admire your plate of extravagence.

Hope these make your day a little brighter...



the Beginning....

Well, here we are.  I'm feeling a little like the gal from "Julie and Julia" but am certainly sure that this will never become anything other than a place to write my thoughts and post a few photos to fill a little creative void that I've been experiencing for a while.  I'm not sure where I really want to go from here, but suffice it to say, I've put together a laundry list of things that I wish to write about here in my little place, I've decided to call Apricot Corner.
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