Sunday, January 31, 2010

From Snow to Dreams

SNOW!After an hour of watching people not used to driving in the snow doing circles, the sun finally came out.Then to the local church, just on time.
Just outside Londonderry, signs of life. Or at least humps.
Arrived near the Causeway. The view from the room.
A short drive before dinner.
Tomorrow, climb some cliffs and explore some castles, for now, some relaxation.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

More From Donegal

click to enlarge any photo

A walk before breakfast.A trip to the local bookstore.
A view to the sea.
Even if you are in the middle of nowhere, you can't drop your pants to pee without getting an audience.
The end of the day's trail.

Sweet Dreams

There's not a sound outside but the moon. A little whiskey, a book, and sleep.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Another Day of Adventure

I spent the night in the city, this photo being the view of the sunrise from my second floor window as I woke up. The rest of the trip is small hotels and B and B's, out in the countryside.

Lunch was from a grocers, bread, cheese, olives and a cold beer. When I checked out the girl asked for my shopper card. I said "I'm from the US" and she said "well you sure don't look it" and I realize that I look VERY much like everyone walking around me, hair, skin, clothing. I passed more than one woman that could be my sister. When the Catholic Children's Home Society folks name you Mary-Brigid it stands to reason you're at least part Irish. :-)

I slept like I haven't in years. Then off for another day of adventure. I'm getting used to the driving and the traffic. I did go for a walk that included a trek across this incredibly busy intersection that had about 12 lanes and tiny little islands for the pedestrians to cross the whole thing. You'd get a light and scoot across one or two lanes to the next island, which had fence rails around it as the cars were whizzing by just feet away, then on to the next. Remember the game FROGGER? That was me.

A lovely pub dinner and then to sleep for an early departure.

I'm Scots/Irish. Guinness and SALE all in the same place?

I think I need a cold shower.

Until I'm back online. Slainte. - Brigid

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I've arrived.

Walking the fields of my dreams. Ireland.

The cell does not work at all, and my computer access will be limited as I didn't bring a laptop. (Work has no way to contact me, what a concept :-)

I got a few hours sleep in Dublin by the airport then it's time to head out in a rental car. Ive got it for at least 10 days so a lot of ground can be covered, or not, the joy of no itinerary.

I'd forgotten how mystically beautiful this country is, and how incredibly nice the people are.

Aer Lingus

Remember the service you used to get on Pan Am back in the 70's? Yes. The best flight EVER.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Reloading involves lead. Lead and food do NOT mix. This croissant was for a photo only.

Look, you can start your day with a tasty bowl of gruel.

Or how about some -

Croissants Pain au Chocolat . In plain English that's a croissant loaded with dark chocolate pieces.
I'll be frank, this is NOT an easy recipe to make. The professional pastry chef who wrote the cookbook labels it "difficult". Sort of like cleaning your Ruger Mark III is "difficult", unless you're an engineer and/or work on a Starship. But it's worth it if you have a kitchen to yourself and a few hours some evening.
You can make them all the way through, or freeze before the final rising. Then you can raise them overnight, to have them in the morning for breakfast.

The ingredients are simple - sugar, flour, yeast, egg yoks, whole milk, butter, butter and more butter, and some shaved dark chocolate (did I mention there's butter?) Once assembled (which includes two sit periods of a couple hours between incorporating the butter into the layers and a final rise to let the yeast do its thing), it's ready to go into the oven. Puffy little footballs of goodness.

The end product needs no butter (gee, imagine that). It's incredibly flaky, tender layers of light pastry in which resides in the center, melted pieces of dark, rich chocolate. Barkley didn't get one as it is too rich for his tummy AND contains chocolate which dogs should not have. It did not, however, keep him from sitting in the kitchen as the aroma filled the house as they baked. His new name around here is "Puddles O'Drool".

click to enlarge any of the photos, have a napkin handy

Thursday, January 21, 2010

All I can say on the matter. . .

I wish I lived closer to a rifle range.

Checking the adjustment on your toys at home just is NOT the same.
- Love Brigid (happy to be posting this somewhere other than MA )

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Well it FEELS like a Monday.

It was the Monday to end all Monday's. To start it was Tuesday. But it was still Monday in my book. Let's just say the world wasn't a calm pretty place over the weekend and I came back on duty to a VERY full plate, muddy dogs and a few fires to put out.

You've all had those days, where all you wanted to do when you get home is get a shower and something cold to drink.But in all the madness I had to make a sidetrack for Barkley as he'd been at a friend's house while the Realtor showed the house I owned prior to my recent marriage.

I'd come off a long week. I can't say I was a walking biohazard, but I definitely needed a shower after being out in the field. Now.So a simple request. Mind if I take a shower and change? I've been in the man's bathroom before. I can find what I need. I think. OK. . shampoo. Everyone has shampoo right. Oh there it is. It's utilitarian. It's efficient. It smells like someone just cut down a tree. With nothing but testosterone, a pocket knife and some muscles. Unfortunately it's the kind of shampoo made for guys that work really hard and have a military haircut. My hair is long, down my back and it's fine. There's a ton of it, but it's fine as frog's hair and shampoo like that will have it a snarled mess. Hmmm. Maybe there's something else under the sink, left by a girlfriend or something. Ah AH. There under the sink. A big girly looking white bottle that said "extra conditioning shampoo". It smells all tropical. Yes! So I ignored the "Lava Soap For Your Head" shampoo in the shower stall , grabbed it and showered up. It smelled wonderful, and my hair was really soft after. I even used the a blow drier to get all the curls out and make it all smooth. I'm all dressed and my friend walks though, laughing. "So", he says. Why did you use the dog shampoo??? That's right. Did I say it was a long day? I think, after that, it was time to just give up and make some comfort food.

Easy Baked Mac and Cheese. I love the "just like Mom made" stuff with ham and onions and homemade roux, recipes like I have on the sidebar from really good cooks. But some days you just need EASY. This one is. But is also delicious and unbelievably creamy. You can assemble it in 15 minutes, if you get out the ingredients ahead.
You start with some Cabot extra sharp cheddar, and (don't faint) a little bit of Velveeta to make it creamy and a can of Campbell's Cheese soup.

Toss in the rest (not pictured, some Penzey's Northwoods seasoning for the most subtle of bite).
Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle a little more cheddar on top and bake a bit more.
It's the perfect bowl of comfort food.
click on photos for the full effect
This really is intended as a side dish for ham or pork or meatloaf, other comfort foods, but on a plate, solo, it holds its own. As many of us do on those occasional "Mondays".

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Truth in Advertising

This is a Bob Evans Frozen Omelet from the grocery store. The box was about 10 times the size of the actual "omelet" (and I added the quotations because I can't really call a 3 inch piece of preformed egg an omelet). Compare it to my apple. Yeah. That's going to fill me up for breakfast after doing chores outside for an hour. Some people might fall for the marketing one time, but not twice.

In the same fashion, one day a gun store employee tried tried to sell me something like this as the right self defense gun for a female.
WORD. . . . . NO.

THIS is my idea of breakfast (yes, that's a fried chicken breast , bacon, gravy, egg, cheese AND biscuits.)

And THIS is my idea of a personal self defense carry piece. Some choices are shadowed with false advertising. Some choices are black and white. They most definitely are not pink.

The life I defend is big, so is my weapon. For I won't get a second chance to make the right choice.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Chicken - Rio Style

Rio Arriba started it with his post on his own barbecue sauce secret. He didn't post measurements so I just used instinct to get the seasoning just so. I tweaked it slightly, not that it needed improvement, just to make it my own with what I had on hand. I replaced the chiopotle, which I was out of, with dried jalapeno and to offset the hot, added some raw honey.

To that some homestyle corn, a couple of tablespoons of cream cheese added to the cooked corn along with some fresh dill then simmered gently. Then some fresh baked Italian bread to clean up the crime scene.

There were bones and sauce on all surfaces when the carnage was over.

click it and you'll want to make it

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Blog Meet

The Indy blog bunch meets up at one of our all time favorites, Brugge, with a special guest, the handsome and dashing Turk Turon. He was visiting for the week, bunking in the guest quarters at the Range while visiting one and all.Fifteen folks showed up bringing appetites, stories and even an antique sewing machine. (A tiny little marvel courtesy of Mrs. Shomes).
I wasn't sure I'd make it in time, and still have my suitcases on the seat of the truck. Turk brought me luggage tags for the next trip. That explains it!

We ended up spilling over into two table areas, a nice sized group.
Pictured are the usual suspects (excluding yours truly, holding the camera) who braved the balmy 15 degree high today to come on down to Broad Ripple. You made it!

The Brugge was the spot and as usual the food was supurb. Hand crafted Beer.
Their incredible little cheese plate. The famous pommes frites, incredible fries with 11 dipping sauces that ranged from the standard mayonnaise, house-made ketchup, and horseradish to the more adventuresome, sea salt and sherry vinegar, poplar syrup and French Dijon mustard, herb pesto, blue cheese, roasted garlic aioli and my personal favorites, sweet chili or the hot curry.

Would you like fries with that?

Don't forget the mussels which the Brugge is famous for.
The conversations? Antiques, Sci-Fi, shooting (Hey has anyone tried the new Springfield XD 9 mm?), hit movies (it seems everyone has seen "Dances with Smurfs" but me), travel, the holidays, the latest in techie toys and the best Wedding Cake Topper ever!

Why yes, I WILL have another beer!
Tam had the steak and eggs.I had the beef tenderloin, medium rare. With more frites of course!Old Grouch had the Waterzooie, the quintessential Belgium fish stew.

And Joanna had Carbonnade Flamande (a stew made with beef, Belgian ale and onions)

Then there were the dishes with duck.
Like duck confit mitrailette. Delicious tender Brassiere bread piled with perfectly cooked pulled duck and crisp fried leeks mixed with a dried cherry and lambic compote with a hint of spicy mustard. I'm now eying the ducks in my pond with a whole different outlook. Shomes, Jr., sitting next to me shared a bit of his pan roasted duck crepes with sweet onion confit. (When is duck season?) Oh my. Then there were the dessert crepes. Plain sugar cinnamon and an amazing one filled with nutella and drizzled with sweetness.

I managed to drop a piece of crepe in my beer
my in my beer as I sampled a bite or two (Hey, she got crepes in my beer, she got beer in my crepes!) I ate it anyway. It was still good.

There was very little remaining.

All in all, a good time was had by all!