Monday, October 29, 2012

Reunion Weekend

The Wolf in front of NC State Alumni Center.

In the fall of 2011 Dan and I toured Italy with a group of NC State Alumni.  We've stayed in contact with most of the folks who were on the tour, and this weekend we had a reunion here in Raleigh of all sixteen folks who were in the group.  It was pretty special that all sixteen could be here for the reunion.
The entire group.

It was a full and fun weekend.  We began with lunch on Saturday at the Alumni Center over on the Centennial Campus.  After lunch everyone enjoyed the State/Carolina football game via the large screens set up in the bar at the Center.
Gray and Susan Lewis and their daughter Cassia, an NC State sophomore.  We were happy to meet Cassia.

Shelley and Paula at lunch.

 After the ballgame we had dinner over at the NC State University Club.  We had fun reminiscing about our trip to Italy last year, and it was fun catching up on everything folks had been doing this past year.

Barry and Jesse at the University Club Bar.
Caprese salad skewers with balsamic vinegar in keeping with the Italian menu theme.
Dinner at the University Club.
A.D. and Susan talking with Becky and her husband, Frank.

On Sunday Mary Todd, with help from Betty Stagg, hosted the entire group for brunch in her lovely home here in Raleigh.
Hosts Betty and Mary with their aprons they bought in Italy.
Brunch goodies.
More goodies.
Barry and Patsy enjoying Mary's lovely porch.
Barbara and Becky having fun conversation with Barry and Patsy.
 We enjoy each other so much that we hope to travel to some exotic place together in the future or at least get together again next year at some place here in the U.S.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Owl Tree at Logan Trading Company

I've already lamented that Christmas decorations are up all over town, and it's not even Halloween, but I was taken with a "bird" tree, mainly owls, on display at the Logan Trading Company the other day when I was over buying pansy plants for our window boxes.  I just had to snap a few pics of some of the ornaments on the tree.
The "bird" Christmas tree at Logan's.
In flight.

This owl is rather mean looking.

A sad owl?

Oh wise one.

This one reminds me of Hedwig. 

Although many of these ornaments were awfully cute and I do love owls, I did resist the urge to buy one.  Dan and I are trying to "declutter".  Adding another Christmas ornament to our collection isn't going to help.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Erik's Sgraffito Pottery

Erik Farrell's Sgraffito plate. (All photos by Mary Farrell from the Westmoore Pottery website.)

This past weekend we were visiting Dave and Mary of Westmoore Pottery down in Seagrove, and I was delighted to see the Sgraffito pottery that grandson Erik had decorated during his summer there.  (Erik is now in England studying for his Master's at the University of Durham).

Sgraffito (in Italian "to scratch") is a decorating pottery technique produced by applying glazes or slips to leather hard pottery and then scratching off parts to create contrasting images, patterns and texture and reveal the clay color underneath.

In Erik's decorations, green slip was applied and designs were "scratched off" revealing the redware underneath. After the initial firing, a clear glaze was applied to the interior only before the final firing.

I don't have a video of Erik decorating the pottery, but this video will give you an idea of how it's done.

Here are some of Erik's Sgraffito pottery.

Erik's Sgraffito Plate 566
Erik's Sgraffito Plate 509.

Erik's Sgraffito Plate 570

Erik's Sgraffito Plate 568.
I think Erik has done a terrific job with these plates.  They are lovely!!!!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mixed Berry Cobbler

Mixed berry cobbler.

The News and Observer had an article recently about food served at the UNC home football games Catering for UNC football games  One recipe that caught my eye was the Mixed Berry Cobbler.  Since I don't expect to be sitting in the Blue Zone for a Carolina football game, I decided I would make it, and we could eat it while watching the football game in the comfort of our TV room.

Here's the recipe:

Mixed Berry Cobbler
The chefs say you can change out the berries for whatever you like. I used 6 cups of frozen mixed berries: blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Adapted from a recipe from Rocky Top Hospitality.
1 pound pitted cherries, can be frozen
2 peaches, peeled, pits removed and sliced
1 pint raspberries
1 pint blue berries
1 pint strawberries
1 cup sugar, divided
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, cubed, plus more for greasing baking dish
3/4 cup milk
Heavy cream
PREHEAT oven to 375 degrees. 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

COMBINE fruit, 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice in a greased 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish. 

Mixed berries with sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice.

WHISK together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Blend butter cubes into flour mixture with two knives or a pastry cutter until butter resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk and stir until just barely combined. Do not over mix. Knead dough gently on a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat out the dough to a 9-inch-by-13-inch shape. Gently place on top of fruit. Brush with a little cream. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour until the fruit is bubbling and the dough is browned. 

Into the oven.
Out of the oven.
Yield: 10-12 servings

Cobbler with topping of vanilla ice cream.

We may not be sitting in the Blue Zone, but we can enjoy our mixed berry cobbler right here as we enjoy the game on TV.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Grandson Tyler's Dinner at the Angus Barn

 My third and youngest grandson, Tyler, turned thirteen last week, and Dan and I finally got around last night to taking him out to a restaurant of his choice to celebrate his birthday.  Tyler chose the Angus Barn, without a doubt one of the finest restaurants in the Triangle. We liked his choice.
Tyler, my third grandson, is as tall as I am, and he's only thirteen.

It had been a long time since Dan and I had been to the Angus Barn, and Tyler had eaten there only once with his family and that was last year.
Rustic decor of the Angus Barn.
 The decor is very rustic and the food delicious.
Tyler perusing the menu.
 Tyler and I each had the 7 oz. filet mignon and it was more than I could eat.  Tyler seemed to have no trouble eating all of his.  Dan chose a NY Strip steak.
Filet mignon with baked sweet potato.
 A birthday pound cake that would feed six people was brought out at the end of the meal.  We were too full to have dessert, but Tyler took it home to share with the rest of his family.
Birthday Cake courtesy of the Angus Barn.

Happy Birthday Tyler!!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Grandson Erik and Indiegogo

Erik Farrell's one of a kind sgraffito plate.

Grandson Erik Farrell is attending Durham University in England working towards a Master’s degree in Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects.  In seeking assistance with expenses for his studies Erik signed up at Indigogo.

 Indiegogo is an international crowd funding site founded by Danae Ringelmann, Slava Rubin, and Eric Schell in 2008. Its headquarters are in San Francisco, California. As of 2012, it has hosted over 100,000 funding campaigns in areas such as music, charity, small business and film.

Erik is a talented potter and to raise money to help with his graduate studies he has made limited editions of pottery.

For $50.00 one can have a coffee mug made and decorated by Erik. Go to Indiegogo
Erik's limited edition coffee mug.

For $200. one can have a small sgraffito plate, approximately 6.5 inches in diameter, made and decorated by Erik.  Go to Indiegogo
Erik's limited edition small plate.

And for $750. one person can have a large sgraffito plate, approximately 14 inches in diameter, made and decorated by Erik.  Go to Indiegogo
Erik's limited edition large plate. 

To see these lovely limited editions of Erik's pottery, go to Indiegogo.

Or you can even assist Erik by donating $10. and you will receive a personal postcard from him.

As grandparents we are extremely proud of Erik, and I think if you visit this website, Indiegogo, you will see that Erik deserves help in pursuing his graduate degree.   And most of all you could become the proud owner of one of Erik's pieces of pottery.  I suspect these will be collectible one day.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Capri Flavors, Morrisville, NC

When we were in Nova Scotia this summer, I made manicotti several times using a recipe I got from Lynn Zimmerman.  Back in NC I decided yesterday to make manicotti with yet another recipe I found in one of my new cookbooks.  After checking with several local grocers---Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Harris Teeter-- I could find no dry manicotti pasta.  After finding manicotti pasta in Sobeys in the small town of Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia, I was exasperated that here in a big city I could find no dry manicotti.  Do Raleighites not make stuffed manicotti from scratch?

And then I remembered the Italian food market over in nearby Morrisville,  CapriFlavors.  Costanzo and Titina Vuotto are the proprietors of CapriFlavors.

Costanzo and Titina Vuotto are the proprietors (Photo from their website.)

A really, really big jar of Nutella.
I scurried over and it was like being in Italy again---so many good Italian products. They even have the really big jar of Nutella that I saw in many stores in Italy.  I found lots of goodies in addition to the manicotti.
Lots of different cheeses.

Cookies and other sweets.

Titina teaches cooking classes, and I intend to sign up for one this fall.  I can't wait.

Titina in the kitchen. 

The next time I'm looking for ingredients for an Italian recipe, I will head right over to CapriFlavors.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Grace and Grandpat's Pizza From Scratch

Homemade pizza ready for the oven.

While the rest of the family went to the UNC-Virginia Tech Football game (UNC won--go Tarheels)  today, Grace and I stayed home and made a vegetarian pizza from scratch---crust included. I must admit this is the first time I have ever made pizza dough from scratch.

Here's the recipe we used for the pizza dough:
1 (1/4 ounce) package yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2.5 cups bread flour

1.  Mix yeast in warm water until dissolved.
2.  Stir in oil and flour until it forms a dough ball.
3.  Cover bowl with a kitchen towel, place in a warm place.
4.  Let rise for 15 minutes.
5.  Punch down and wrap in Saran wrap and refrigerate for as much as 8 hours. We refrigerated for about an hour.
6.  Remove from fridge, warm up and let rise.
7.  Spread in pizza pan or on baking stone. We used a 12" pizza pan that we bought at Williams-Sonoma.
8.  Add favorite toppings.

This makes enough for 2-12" thin crusts.  I saved half of the dough to make another pizza (the dough will keep in the fridge for 3 days).
Grace spreads dough in the pizza pan.

Oiling your hands with a bit of olive oil makes spreading the dough easier.

We had earlier made our own tomato sauce using a can of diced tomatoes to which we added fresh basil and garlic.  We cooked this down until it became thick.
Spreading the tomato sauce.

For toppings we sauteed onions and mushrooms.
Mushrooms and onions provide topping.
 And of course we added cheese, in this case shredded cheddar.
Grace adds the shredded cheddar cheese.

Into the oven for 15 minutes at 475 degrees.
 We baked it in a preheated 475 degree oven for about 15 minutes until browned.

Bobby B was here so the three of us finished off the pizza (we did save one piece for Dan).  We were so eager to try the pizza that we forgot to take a photo of the finished product. It was a good pizza!!!  And we had fun making it.