Saturday, September 23, 2017

Crunchy Cornmeal and Tomato Galette

The following recipe is from
The only reason I've added it to my blog is the hope I never lose it. I've made this recipe over 4 times this summer (sorry, summer is now over, but I'm in denial), because it's so dang delicious.
Thank you, Joanne.

Crunchy Cornmeal and Tomato Galette

1 cup all-purpose flour, frozen for 1 hour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal or polenta, frozen for 1 hour
Coarse salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into  1/2" pieces, frozen for 1 hour
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 ounces coarsely grated mozzarella
3 ounces coarsely grated fontina
1/4 cup basil leaves, cut into thin strips
3 ripe but firm medium tomatoes, cored, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper

Place the flour, cornmeal and ½ teaspoon salt on a work surface.  Add the butter to the flour and with a pastry scraper, cut the butter until it is the size of peas and oatmeal.

Alternately this step can be done in a food processor by pulsing several times

Whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and 1/3 cup ice water and add a tablespoon at a time using a fork to toss and distribute the water.  Add water until the dough holds together.  If you use all the water, add additional water, a teaspoon at a time, until it holds together.   Let rest 30 minutes in the refrigerator or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400oF.

Roll the dough on a floured surface to make a 12" circle.  Trim the edges to make a rough circle shape.  Place on a baking sheet.  This can be done several hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to finish.

In a bowl combine the mozzarella, fontina and basil.  Spread the cheese over the dough leaving a 2" border around the edge.  Place the tomatoes over the cheese overlapping slightly.  Season with salt and pepper.  Fold the uncovered edge of the pastry over the cheese, pleating it to make it fit.  There will be an open hole in the center.  Bake until golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes.  After 5 minutes, slide the galette off the pan and onto a serving plate.  Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or room temperature.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Dear David

Dear David, friend of my youth.
Thank you for trying to save me.
Though no one knew how or what from.
How sweet the life you must have shared
with your family.
You were the glue in my youth.
My first kiss.
A reason to believe there is
living and breathing goodness in the world.
Your generosity of spirit
Will live forever on.
Thank you.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Retirement Musings

It was sometime in my late 30's when people ceased to rib N that he had robbed the cradle when he married me. I had learned to laugh it off and quit calculating how old he would be when I was ??. Then he set the date he planned to retire.

When he first began to count off the work days he had left, I repeatedly and loudly proclaimed that I'd be working until I was 70. N humored me, until one day (shortly after he retired) he asked if I'd thought about how old he'll be when I'm 70. {sound of breaking glass} Oh, well then, that might be a hindrance to the number of years we can be active together.

Part of my reasoning for wanting to work longer was to keep my brain active, because (for me) that's what work does: Troubleshooting problems, educating and negotiating with small people, creating papers/ideas for lessons, organizing, being a sounding board, etc. And then I'm hit with the realization I've been selfish, despite my semi-valid concerns.

On the positive side, this school year, I've learned having a retired spouse does have its upside--I'm able to come home and chill while N makes dinner. Which wouldn't happen without adjusting my attitude. So far I've done well with keeping my critiques to myself, unless asked. I have a good thing going. Why oh why would I want to ruin it by telling him he's not shopping or cooking the way I would? I may still be younger than N, but I'm not stupid.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Who Are You Now?

This morning I was struck with the thought that all three of the female children in our family experienced a trauma: sister K's first born passed away and sister S's husband died in his prime. I began to ponder about the sons of my parents: C went to jail and J lost a child in divorce.

Then I began to wonder how all those events shaped us as individuals. I recently listened to someone on NPR say we may all change significantly during our time on earth--an average of 3 times, if I remember correctly.

Though I don't see us as completely malleable creatures. I believe we're born with a personality that our environment influences. And depending on the strength of our personality, each person we spend significant time with helps us to see things differently--perhaps changing our social or political views and practices.

But, can we look back and see when or how we changed? Or are the effects so subtle even the people who've known us for years would be unable to say for sure?

A Carolyn Hax column from this year suggested that we become different people depending on who we decide to spend our lives with. A reader wrote in concerned about a friend's post marriage behavior. Here's part of CH's response:
"Relationship living involves at least some compromise somewhere, unless you manage to pair yourself with the person who has the exact same peer group, taste in television, bedtime reading habits, politics, drinking/eating/smoking habits, energy for going out, contentment with staying home, financial priorities, preferred form of exercise, approach to family and whatever else.
And so being apart from the person you’re compromising with on a daily basis usually means you plump out into a fuller version of yourself, even temporarily, in their absence.".
This rings true for me, as I've known people who lost a spouse whose friends and family remarked on how much they changed afterwards.

Today is a good day to raise a glass to all who have changed/influenced me for the better and may there be many more.
I never know what my brain will choose to ponder in the shower . . .

Who are you now?

Sunday, December 4, 2016


I will never forget the first time I met Kim. It was 1992, opening day of the new school year for my girls. Our family had arrived in Salem nearly a year before, the day before Halloween, 1991. Before we knew it, it was time to come back after our summer break. I was outside, with the rest of the parents, near the Salem Heights Elementary parking lot at a table set-up for parents to meet-up and collect information about school activities. Small talk buzzed throughout the area, then our eyes met. A connection! Despite ten months in Salem, I was eager to meet possible kindred spirits.

Kim and I shared our arrivals to town. She said she hoped to find a part-time job that allowed her to be home when her kids were home. I told her I'd found such a job I loved. Our conversation continued a short while from there. A few weeks later, I spotted her at the school where I worked. She'd been hired as a one on one for a young child in a neighboring classroom. I was surprised and pleased to see she had listened and acted upon what I'd told her.

Eventually, after being a one on one and subbing around the district, she became the second KG assistant. She was kind, loyal and efficient. And now, 20+ yrs later, both of us have gone through teachers & changes over the years. We've bonded with the teachers, watched them move on and in Gwen's case, mourned a wonderful teacher passing.

Now we've begun a year that has challenged both of us on many fronts. Our principal has taken advantage of the district homogenizing the description of our position. Instead of kindergarten being our focus, we've been scheduled to assist in 5th, 4th & 1st grades. Moving to a different location every 30 minutes. Instead of focusing on the development of the skills of the youngest, we're being deployed into other classrooms to assist with a new curriculum.

All of us working in kindergarten are frustrated. Partly because "change is hard", but mostly because we both believe the district's focus ought to center on the youngest. It's the reason (we heard) for the district's full day KG investment. Sadly, it'll also be the reason Kim will leave sooner than she planned. I'll miss her: her obvious love of the children, her attention to detail, how she never fails to remember to help us all everyday.

Now that I think on it, this will be the most selfish thing she's ever done. I only say that because she's never selfish, but her action is completely understandable in this situation. Not only is she old enough and situated well enough to retire, but she's no longer enjoying her days. We've experienced changes we don't agree with before, but this latest change has made the least sense and caused the greatest upheaval to all of those involved.

I'll miss her every day. So glad she has my phone number!