Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Baker Yes, But Not Just a Baker

Mushroom frittata.

Macy is known for making beautiful and delicious cakes for special occasions, and I first met her when she made a birthday cake for my friend Virginia last year.
Birthday cake Macy made for my friend Virginia, a cat lover.
 Recently though I learned that Macy was looking for some part time work while she was on vacation from her regular job as Assistant Food Director at White Memorial Church.  She had mentioned she would in addition to baking cakes, prepare meals.  I jumped at the opportunity to have someone help with making meals to freeze for use when I was too busy or too tired to make a meal.  I am on a low salt diet and don't use ready made TV dinners because they are so high in sodium.  I make TV dinners from scratch and to have someone help with this is a God-send.

Last week she came for her first gig as a Chef.  She had proposed three different entrees with two sides each and had sent me a grocery list.  I did the grocery shopping and had all the necessary food ready for her arrival.

The first entree was a delicious meatloaf.  There were six dinners with this entree with sides of green beans/wax beans and mashed potatoes. 
The meatloaf just out of the oven.
Meatloaf dinners with beans and potatoes.  The meatloaf had a delicious sauce for topping.

She had everything planned and moved smoothly from one task to another, actually multi-tasking as she went.  I was so impressed.

After the meatloaf was in the oven, she began making chicken gumbo.
Macy preparing the chicken for the chicken gumbo.
 The sides for the chicken gumbo were rice and green peas.  Again six meals with this entree.
Chicken gumbo, with rice and green peas.
Finally she made a mushroom frittata, with green peppers, zucchini, onion,
Macy's recipe for the mushroom frittata.

The frittata is out of the oven. 
Six of the eighteen dinners ready for the freezer.

After four hours Macy had prepared 18 meals with a bit leftover, had cleaned up the kitchen and was ready to depart for another job. Yes, Macy is amazing and although a great baker, she's not just a baker.  She's a great cook too.  Dan and I have already enjoyed some of the chicken gumbo---yummy!  We're looking forward to more Macy Dinners.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lunch at the Peak City Grill

Peak City Grill and Bar.

Dan and I were in Apex last week to pick up the DVD made from our 35 mm slides, and we decided to have lunch there.  The Peak City Grill is just down from the photography shop where our DVD was made. They had just opened at 11:00, and we were their first customers of the day.  It was a hot day, and I was quite thirsty so I immediately ordered an Arnold Palmer---so cool and refreshing.
Cool and refreshing Arnold Palmer.

Dan and I each had the special bacon cheeseburger with fries.  The burger was cooked to perfection, and although I'm not really too fond of fries, I found these delicious.
Bacon Cheeseburger with fries.

After perusing the dessert menu, I couldn't resist the Chocolate Butterscotch Fallen Cake which Dan shared.
The dessert menu.
Chocolate Butterscotch Fallen Cake

The staff was friendly and service was excellent.
Dan and Waitress.

There were many interesting metal artworks decorating the brick walls.
Beautiful art on the walls.

All in all, Peak City Grill is a fine restaurant, and it is worth making the short trip over to Apex to just have lunch.

I can also highly recommend the company that converted our 35 mm slides to a DVD---Home Video Studio

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pinehurst Number 2

Pinehurst Number 2.

Patrick, Zach and I along with two of Zach's friends were in Pinehurst on Saturday for the US Open Men's Golf. They banned cell phones and cameras so I couldn't get any photos to my disappointment.
Here's a photo of us on the way down.  The boys in the back Chris Corchiani, Chris Shrum, and Patrick.  Zach was driving and I rode shotgun. 
Back Seat Boys (Left to right Patrick, Corch, Shrum (Photo a selfie from the front seat.)

Patrick and I had a gif made while there. 
Our gif made by American Express.

The best shot that we saw that day was by Ken Perry, the older guy in the Open.  He hit the ball out of the rough---wire grass and weeds---it hit the green and bounced high in the air came back down on the green and rolled right in the hole for an Eagle. 
Kenny Perry (Photo from the AP.)

I did get a really nice visor as a souvenir.

My souvenir.
It has a big black bow in the back.  
Visor in back. 
I want to go back some day when there's not a tournament in progress so I can take photos and can eat in the Pinehurst Clubhouse. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Back on the Champs-Élysées for an Evening

Hereghty in Glenwood Village, Raleigh. 
This evening Dan and I found a wonderful little French patisserie within walking of our house.  We had gone down to Glenwood Village, a small shopping center at the corner of Glenwood and Oberlin, hoping to eat at the Glenwood Grill.  Luckily for us, the Glenwood Grill was fully booked, so we noticed a little patisserie and cafe tucked away on the other side of the parking lot.
A dessert shop in Paris.

Upon entering the Hereghty , one is immediately reminded of the dessert shops of Paris. 
This is a true French-style Patisserie with a wonderful European atmosphere.  We weren't looking for dessert, but rather something for a quick supper.  Their wide selection of soups, sandwiches and salads fit the bill.

In the summer time, I rarely pass on a chance for gazpacho, and here the gazpacho was made of watermelon rather than tomato.  Delish!

Watermelon gazpacho.
My choice of egg salad was served on a freshly made buttery croissant as good as any I ever had in Paris.  Dan was equally pleased with his smoked salmon sandwich.

Egg salad in buttery croissant.
When we had set out to find a quick supper, we weren't intent upon having dessert.  But upon entering this gem of a place, leaving without dessert was impossible.  The problem was deciding what dessert to have.  There were so many choices---and all looked soooo good.  

I opted for  tiramisu and I think it was the best I have ever had. Dan declared his chocolate mousse  good---perhaps not as good as some we have had in France---but really good for Raleigh. 
Ambiance reminiscent of European cafe.

Friendly staff.

Apart from the delicious food, the ambiance is quaint with a Parisian feel.  The staff was friendly and service was quick, although there was only one other couple having a meal.  Many folks came in and ordered desserts to go.
Ordering desserts to go.

Yes, for just one evening it was almost like being back on the Champs-Élysées.  Although it's a little frightening to know there are so many delicious desserts within walking distance of our home. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Easy Parsley Potatoes

Quick Parsley Potatoes.
I tried a different way to make parsley potatoes today, and they were quite good and this method is so easy.  We like the little red new potatoes, and we like to eat them with the skin still on.  I bought a small bag of these potatoes, rinsed them off while still in the bag, and placed the potatoes (still in the bag) in the microwave.  Cook them on high for 8 to 10 minutes (mine were done in 8 minutes), pierce them with a knife to determine if they are done. 
i popped this whole bag into the microwave to cooke.

While the potatoes are still hot, cut them in half or for larger potatoes in fourths.  Add olive oil and butter and stir to cover all the potatoes. 
Cut in half while still hot and add olive oil and butter.

Sprinkle minced fresh parsley on the potatoes and season with salt and pepper.  I use only pepper, because we try to keep our salt intake at a minimum. 
Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

I served these with country style steak with mushroom gravy and French green beans.  A quick and easy lunch.
Potatoes served with steak, gravy and French green beans. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen. ~ Winnie the Pooh

Our wedding announcement.

When I was a graduate student at Duke in the summer of 1964, I heard about one of their professors, Dan Livingstone, who had survived a crocodile attack while working on a lake in Africa.  Later in the early 1970s as a graduate student at NC State, I had read papers by this Dr. Livingstone.  However, it was not until 1973 that I finally met this renowned biologist.
Dan the day after the crocodile attack.  (Photo courtesy of Joe Richardson).

 I was on a plane departing RDU for an International Biological Congress in Boulder.  This was before assigned seats, and this charming man sat down beside me.  After we were airborne, I took out my program for the meeting and was leafing through it.  This man next to me looked over and said, "Oh, I am going to be one of the speakers at this meeting.  I'm Dan Livingstone from Duke."  And I said, "Oh you are the guy who escaped the crocodile!."  That is how we met.

In 1989, we were married.  We had planned to get married in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  We thought we could just go down to City Hall and get a marriage license and be married by a Justice of the Peace.  But no, it was June and they were completely booked.  Furthermore the Public Gardens our second choice for a ceremony were also booked.   There was some kind of meeting for ministers in the area and the only minister we could find who was available to perform the ceremony was the Associate Minister of the Unitarian Church who happened to be expecting her first child any day (otherwise she would have been off at this meeting).  Yes, we were married by a pregnant minister.

The ceremony was held in the beautiful garden of one of Dan's friends, Roger Doyle, in Halifax, with just a few family and friends in attendance.   The garden was abloom with lilacs at the time.

The ceremony.
As something old, I wore a white shawl that my mother had made over my navy and white dress.  It is a bit cool in Halifax in June.  I wasn't one to wear hats at the time, but I had found a pretty white hat, and I adorned it with a navy ribbon around the band.  
"You may kiss the bride."
The happy couple---married.
After the noon ceremony, we all went down to the Athens Restaurant on Quinpool Road in Halifax for a luncheon.  Great food and a wedding cake.
Cutting the cake. 

Yes, it has really been an adventure these last twenty-five years.  We're still a  happy couple who love each other very much.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Gadding About to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC

I jokingly told some of my friends that we were going to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC because that had always been on my "bucket list".  They thought that a strange thing to have on one's "bucket list".  Not really.  But Dan's first cousin twice removed, Ryan Spencer, was the speller representing Nova Scotia.  We had seen Ryan and his twin brother grow up during our summer trips to Cape Breton, and we wanted to be there to support him. 

Ryan is from Great Village, Nova Scotia, a small town near Truro, NS.  He won the Nova Scotia Bee by correctly spelling placeboRyan spells the winning word.
Ray spelling his winning word.  (Photo from the Halifax Chronicle Herald.)

In Washington, there were 281 young spellers competing for the national, really international, title.  The contestants were there for a week, and on one of the first days they each had to take computer tests that involved spelling, definitions and word origins.  Results of the computer tests were used to narrow the field for all the spellers who weren't eliminated by misspelling a word.

Dan and Marilyn Campbell, Ryan's maternal grandmother who accompanied him, before the quarter finals. 
 Ryan spelled both of his words correctly--sauerbraten and necrogeneous but was eliminated by results from the computer tests.  Only 46 of the 281 advanced to the semi-finals.  From that group, twelve competed for the title.

For the first time in over 50 years there was a tie with two winners.
The two winners. 

When we went down for breakfast late on Friday morning, I was happy to meet both of the winners who were also having breakfast in the Atrium.
Pat with one of the winners.

Pat with the other winner.

Ryan enjoyed this opportunity very much.  He won a $5,000. scholarship by winning in Nova Scotia, and he had fun visiting Washington.  He had not been in the United States prior to this trip.  He rode a very high ferris wheel down at the National Harbor near the Gaylord Hotel where the competition was held, and the highlight of his trip, apart from the Bee itself,  was going to a Washington Nationals baseball game and visiting the Smithsonian Museum.