Sunday, August 29, 2010

The BLT-est Time of the Year

It's that time of year here in Cleveland- BLT season!

In our CSA bag this week, we got big slicing tomatoes and lettuce (and other goodies), so I figured it was time. Yesterday Kim and Sam and I took a walk up to our favorite bakery, On the Rise Artisan Breads (a healthy hike at 4 miles round trip- had to earn those carbs!) and bought fresh bread. OK, several kinds of fresh bread. We used their pavé for our sandwiches. I'm fond of this style of bread for many reasons.

I made a yolk's worth of fresh mayo (so easy!) with an egg from our CSA, bacon is also from a local farm. So very delicious!

What does the lad think of BLTs? YUM!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Produce, Dinner, Baby

To stay with the food/baby meme, here are some shots from today.

First, our weekly haul from Fresh Fork Market. This week, tomatoes, purple beans, honeydew, sweet corn, zuc, new potatoes, lettuce, swiss chard, eggs.

For dinner, then, a frittata, with beans, swiss chard, sausage, basil, and parmesan. Sweet corn and grape tomatoes on the side.

And the littlest dude, what did he think?

"You lookin' at me?"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sam turns 3... months

No story, no philosophy, no cats, just a three month old baby boy, resplendent in blue.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Peppers, Tomatoes and Baby

Food and baby seem to be a recurring theme on these pages.

This week our bag of groceries from our CSA Fresh Fork was a pizza kit- dough, 2 pounds of Roma tomatoes, onion, peppers, sausage, fresh mozzarella and a few other goodies. When we got home, the big cooking pot came out and the Romas began their journey to becoming sauce. The pizza was quite yummy- fresh sauce, sausage and mozz making for quite the combo.

I had to take a picture of the baby bell peppers though. These things are almost as cute as babies and kittens. I included my chef's knife and the Romas to give a sense of just how teency, yet perfectly formed, these little gems are. The whole lot is sitting on our sweet new Boos cutting board. Love it!

What did Jasmine-kitty-cat think?

"Throw some of that sauce on these toes for me, old man."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Visitors and the Bard

We've had a busy week at Chez Claspy, company from two sets of Californian family and Shakespeare Rocks! camp for Maggie. We've been so busy we've had to enlist a new baby sitter.

Kim's sister Teri and family arrived on Monday, en route from San Diego to Bath, Maine. They spent two days with us and we had a great time! We visited the Children's Museum, went pond fishing with my nieces, and ate a lot of good food. Sam felt just fine in Aunt Teri's arms, which probably felt somehow familiar.

Here's the whole family, plus little Sam. Maybe his Uncle Tom can give him surfing lessons in a few years.

Maggie spent the last two weeks in her third year at the Laurel School's wonderful camp, Shakespeare Rocks! The theater director there works with the kids on all sorts of dramatic arts, culminating in a performance on the last day. This year they performed a fantastic abridged version of Romeo and Juliet. Maggie scored the role of Juliet (one of the Juliets, that is- they rotated roles through the play.) She did a great job! How all of those kids remember their lines so well after only two weeks, I'll never know. Here's our own Juliet on the boards, in a scene with her mother.

And a food shot. Our green bag from Fresh Fork Market contained many goodies, including this eggplant which has a perfectly formed nose. Now to see if I can prepare it in some way that will convince Kim that eggplant are tasty...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Chioggia beets

We had some credits to spend with our CSA Fresh Fork Market, so instead of just buying as much bacon as I could, I decided to get some beets as well. We've enjoyed having the fresh beets we've gotten in our weekly bag, so why not? (Don't worry, I got bacon too.)

I washed and peeled the beets, along with a couple I'd gotten at the grocery, and when I cut into them, the ones from Fresh Fork looked different inside. They were red and white striped in concentric circles, like those peppermint hard candies you see (and probably avoid) at Christmastime. Kim fired up The Google on her computing device and read the description to me. They were chioggia beets.

I did my usual preparation- bagged them in several layers of aluminum foil, drizzled with olive oil and a good shot of salt and pepper. I put them on the grill for 30 minutes or so (the accompanying flank steak got 10 minutes) and out they came. They were delicious! Here's a shot of them in preparation, with the regular beets mixed in.

What did Sam think? HOORAY for beets! (Maggie had the dissenting opinion.)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dear Stella

A week or two ago, my cousin Emily emailed me and said that her young daughter Stella was very curious about Sam, and about how his two older sisters liked him. Below is my reply to Stella.

Dear Stella-

I apologize for the delay in writing back to you, but I wanted to do justice to the reply, since you are so curious about your young cousin Samuel and his big sisters. So here is my answer to your question "how do his sisters like Sam, and what do they do with him?"

Samuel was born on a Sunday in May. It was a beautiful day, and even though Sam thought he might like to come out very, very early in the morning (like, before they start showing cartoons on the television!), he then decided to take his time making his way into the world, and arrived late in the afternoon. His sisters Anna and Maggie were among his first visitors the very next day!

Since it was a Monday, and during the school year, and since both Anna and Maggie are very, very BIG big sisters and go to school, they had to wait until after school was over to meet their little brother. I would say that they weren't pleased about this. Not pleased at all. In fact, perhaps you can remember something that made you very cross recently. Like perhaps your mother told you it was time to go home from the beach because it was time for supper. BOO! Or maybe then your father asked you to eat ALL of your brussels sprouts! DOUBLE BOO! Remember how cross you felt? Well, this is exactly how cross Anna and Maggie were when they had to wait a whole day to see their new brother.

However, when they did finally get to see him, boy were they happy! Like, after you ate those brussels sprouts, then you got ice cream for dessert? Just like that! They got to hold Sam, and he made gurgling baby sounds, and they made Big Sister "awwwww!" sounds and everyone smiled with very big smiles, and some even cried a little. But not the kind of crying like when you got stung by a bee that one time- the happy kind of tears like the kind Mommy gets when you do a great job in the school play. So since then, Sam and Maggie and Anna have decided that they all like each other, even though sometimes one of them might do something that makes them a little mad. That's the way it is with sisters and brothers. They make you mad sometimes, and maybe sometimes you think that you don't like them very much! But really, you do like them, you just forget for a minute, and then, later, when they share their awesome purple sidewalk chalk with you, you remember that you really do like them.

BUT! That was a whole two months ago. More than two months! What have Anna and Maggie done with Sam since then? Holy cow, they have done a LOT! Here are just a few things.

First of all, Sam is pretty tiny. And he doesn't really DO a whole lot of things. The things he is really good at are eating and sleeping. And POOPING! He's really good at that. But those aren't things Anna and Maggie can do with him. Especially the pooping. You really don't want anything to do with that if you can help it. Maggie and Anna are old enough to know that.

Anna and Maggie help out Sam's mom (that's your Aunt Kim!) a whole lot though. Sometimes, she needs to do something for herself, like eat her peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. Eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch is hard if you are holding a baby, so sometimes Maggie will hold baby Sam while Aunt Kim eats her sandwich. Or, sometimes, Aunt Kim needs to wash her hands after changing one of those icky, smelly, poopy diapers. With a clean diaper on, Sam is pretty happy, so Anna will play with Sam while Aunt Kim washes her hands. It's REALLY IMPORTANT to wash your hands, especially after changing Sam's diaper, and especially if you are going to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich later.

Last week, we all went to the beach! I bet you know all about the beach, don't you? Building sand castles, and playing in the waves, and getting sand everywhere and sometimes feeling like it's just TOO hot. I love the beach, and it turns out Sam loves the beach too! Well, while we were at the beach, Sam and his sisters had fun. Mostly Sam watched while Maggie played catch with her Aunt Ellen (hey! she's YOUR Aunt Ellen too!), and he watched while Anna built a sand castle. He likes watching. I think he is watching his sisters do all of those things so he can do them later, once he is big enough to body surf and build sand castles and play catch.

So, Stella, those are just a few things about how Anna and Maggie like their little brother Sam, and the kinds of things they do with him.

I hope you are enjoying your summer!

Uncle Bill

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bike as transportation

Yesterday Anna and I made our way on our bicycles from our home near the intersection of Cedar and Lee to her mother's home in the northern reaches of Cleveland Heights, by way of the Heights main library. Anna has a part time job at the library shelving books and being generally helpful (hey, it runs in the family!) and will be doing some commuting by bicycle in the next few weeks, so we thought we'd get the route planned out on a quiet Sunday morning. From our house, it's an easy walk or ride, but it's a bit longer and not nearly as easy from her mother's house.

Sadly, bicycling from south to north in our fair city is not the easiest thing to do. The main routes (Coventry, Lee, Taylor) do not lend themselves to bicycling, and there are few side-street alternatives. So we chose Taylor, which makes for fewer miles riding west-east on other bicycle-unfriendly roads. It was not pleasant, even on a Sunday morning. It's not a long ride for Anna, perhaps 15 minutes, but that stretch of Taylor, particularly from Severance shopping center to Cedar Road, is particularly unpleasant and full of perils for a cyclist.

I suggested to Anna that she make use of the sidewalk on her ride if need be. Normally, I bristle when I see cyclists on the sidewalk. Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is only appropriate if you are under the age of 10. But in this case, it might be the choice between that or being taken out by a pothole or a parked car suddenly opening its door.

On my solo ride back home, along this very stretch of road, I mused on how different this location is from where I'd last been riding- along a stretch of sand on Hilton Head island, straddling a beach cruiser. Still, my mid-route destination here at home was On the Rise bakery, which was bustling with customers on a Sunday morning. Felt great to say hello to the kind faces there, and to fill my pannier with carbohydrate goodness. It also felt great to ride home with my haul of fresh bread in the cool, dry, 72 degree air, another difference from coastal South Carolina.

And now, a gratuitous picture of a baby.