Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Into the New Year

As we head into the new year--it is certainly a time for reflection and contemplation. Here Zen Ginger is deep in meditation! Gentle Ginger indeed.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

OH! That cake!

The cake was a hit! Not much left although it joined three tasty pies—cherry, pecan, and pumpkin. Think about it, there were only five of us. We did major damage.

Enough, two, folks have asked for the Tres Leche Flan Chocolate Cake recipe that here goes.

First, the easy way. Go buy the wonderful book I found it in. The Tex-Mex Cookbook: A History in Recipes and Photos, by Robb Walsh. The recipes are all as yummy as the cake and the pictures and stories are enchanting. My daughter, who is an occasional cook and then not Tex-Mex, has about worn out her copy just reading it and dreaming! Great give for Tex-Mex lovers, Texans (former, present, and wannabe). The recipe for the cake is on page 151.

Robb calls for a 7 quart Bundt pan.

I’ve never even seen Bundt pan that big. I either cook two (doesn’t hurt either the cake or the flan to wait bit) or several individual Bundts—my little ones hold about a cup.

First get ready. See if your story had goat’s milk Cajeta, of course, my Fiesta market is loaded. If you can’t find the cajeta or if you want to have some fun, make your own dulce de leche. Robb has the recipe, but I’ve done it for years. It’s fun and sort of an adventure waiting to see if the can explodes. It doesn’t.

Take the label from one can of sweetened condensed milk. Sink it into a pot of boiling water. Make sure it’s completely covered. You may need to add more boiling water later to keep it this way. Reduce the heat and keep it barely boiling for 3 hours. Remove with tongs and let it cool before opening. Maybe you should do two because it’s so good you’ll be tempted to gobble up the first one.

Cajeta Flan Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put a large baking pan in the oven and water to come up about 2 inches on a Bundt pan. Make a chocolate cake from a good mix following the package directions.

Make the flan by combining one 14 or so ounce sweetened condensed milk, 1 14 or so can evaporated milk, a scant cup of whole milk, 8 ounces of cream cheese (not low fat—go all the way) 1 teaspoon real vanilla and 8 large eggs. Combine well with a mixer or food processor. Don’t think about calories.

Grease and flour a Bundt (about 2+ quarts) pan (you could use an angel food pan, but I haven’t tried it—let me know). Pour about half a cup of cajeta or dulce de leche into the pan cover as much of the surface as possible. Pour in half the cake mix, and then pour the flan mixtures slowly around the top of the cake. Cover the pan with foil and put into the pan of water in the oven. Start testing with a toothpick after 45 minutes. Mine took about 55 minutes. My individual cakes were done in about 20 minutes. If you go for one BIG one, give it more like 2 hours, but test often.

When the cake is done, let it cool in the pan for about an hour (individuals less long). Put a plate on top of the pan and turn over.


The flan has moved from the top of the pan to the top of the cake—without picking up even a cake crumb. Wonderful.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Oh! M’gosh it’s good.

For Christmas I’m going to make it with a spice cake instead of chocolate, but with extra ginger. Or maybe, I’m brave—Gingerbread! I’ll let you know.

The pie recipes are easier: Go to Three Brothers Bakery on Braeswood (or your favorite) and get in line. You can't make 'em like this at home. Especially the cherry. The crust, oh! the crust!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sarah comes to our neighborhood

Ahhh! Just home from a walk the not quite mile and a half down to Borders where we gawked the crowd standing in line to get Sarah Palin’s autograph. Very docile bunch of folks. Not nearly the crowd we hear about at the neighborhood Barnes and Noble for Dubya, but then, he’s a local boy—sort of. There were plenty of cops and more than plenty media trucks. Much ado about. . .

Funny, W. and Sarah both making stops within a couple of miles of our house, and neither one of them dropped by for coffee. Dang it!

On the way home we walked by our “club.” But even for these two old Texans 11 a.m. is a bit early for a brew. We did pick up a couple of tacos from the Taco Caliente wagon for lunch. Never too early for one of their tacos!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ginger the Magnificent

It’s the week to be thankful. I’m giving it a try.

Three years ago Thanksgiving Day, I got soft hearted and fed the feral cat that had been hanging around for almost a year. He’d put up with a diet of squirrel (I found the leavings) and Bob taking shots, never hitting him, with the BB gun. He wouldn’t go away. He wanted to be our cat. (You can read about him in some of this blogs "Gentling Ginger" but beware the dates are messed up; he came to us in 2007.)

One little pile of cat food. A “here Kittie, Kittie, Kittie,” and now who’s First Cat (and only cat—Dollie moved in with Bainbridge friends and lives the life of luxury) around here?

King Ginger! Ginger the Magnificent!

And I’m mighty thankful for that tenderhearted moment! I think Ginger is as well!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

'Morning glory

‘Morning Glory! We had a glorious start to the next-to-the-last month. Isn’t it (or is it?) surprising how many things we can find to do outside on a day like this? Our morning included a pleasant walk through the neighborhood, the rewarding experience of taking the pedestrian bridge across I59—getting to look down and watch all the cars zipping their drivers to ‘something important’ while we enjoyed the sun and soft air.

Wasn’t just folks enjoying the day. These morning glories greeted us from a yard along the way. The yellow posies waved hello in the breeze. Wish I knew their names.

Today is different, it's raining. Better to stay home! I know it's election day, but I voted early--staying home is fine.

Morning rain, cars race

Everyone going somewhere

I'm glad I'm home.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

August haiku

Early, very early, this morning when I stepped out to get the morning Houston Chronicle, I stopped, and stepped back inside to fetch the camera. The almost full moon in the before dawn western sky, soft, cool (for Houston in August) breeze let me know. Haiku time.

Slowly clouds puff past

Breezes float in silent air

Soft moon’s morning glow

Sunday, August 22, 2010

City Kitty

City Kitty

If you look back at some of the early entries of this blog you’ll see a fairly scraggly, definitely wild feral cat with a taste for squirrel transform himself (with a little help from his friends) in to the Gentle Ginger we have today. He did not lose his taste for the outdoors though. Not until we came to Houston. Of course, Ginger packed his kitty bags and made the move with us. We live on a busy street and outdoors is no place for a cat. Took a while, but the versatile Ginger has made the transition, he’s now a fine city kitty.

He hasn’t lost his taste for the outdoors, but now he’s willing just to watch from inside. That is from inside the blinds and up against the window.

Of course, getting there is half the fun.

Monday, June 21, 2010

And we're off!

And we're off on our Alaskan adventure. Katy is already in the air between Atlanta and Houston. We hop on the same plane and the adventure begins. Join us! We are at

Friday, June 18, 2010

A bloomin' difference

A year ago my yard was a parking lot--a dirt parking lot. (We followed 4 students who all parked in the front yard.)

It's a different story today! Thanks to containers, Cornelius Nursery, and lots and lots of water!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rothko Chapel Morning

Early June morning at Rothko Chapel. The egret and I relish the peace of a new day.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ssssummer fun

Summer fun!

Start with a grandson and a pancake breakfast--then head to the Houston zoo for make-believe dinasaurs and real lions, the new baby elephant and, of course, a few ssssssssnakes!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

Earth Day--let's celebrate our planet. Here are two lovely views of my favorite doth on our globe the Lone Star State--especially the Bayou City.

The field of bluebonnets is near Enchanted Rock. (Thanks to brother-in-law Bill for the shot.) The city shot is on White Oak Bayou looking at downtown Houston.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Glorious Texas

It's glorious time in Texas again. Even in the city. I captured this beauty in the heart of Montrose. I'm setting off this morning on more glory hunting. Stay posted.

Monday, March 22, 2010

And what will the birdies do then, the poor things?

We dashed off to Dallas for a weekend of visiting and for me to attend a gathering of Veteran Feminists. Talk about wonderful women—including Sissy Farenthold and Gloria Steinhem. Made me proud to have been a foot soldier way back then!

We thought we’d officially welcome spring just after noon on Saturday, but Persephone decided not to make her appearance. Winter persisted (P.’s here now—Houston is glorious, more in days to come). We took shelter in our room with books, and one poor pigeon must have thought we were having fun—she hopped right onto our 10th floor window sill and spent the afternoon. If it had been an opening window, I would have invited her in.

Saturday night we went to a party with new and old Dallas and Houston friends. We drove back to the hotel in a snow flurry, but we woke to lots more. Brrrrrrrrrrr.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring in the park

Spring comes early in Houston. This year we had a couple of false starts, but the blossom goddess has definitely come to call. After a (for Houstonians) cold, wet winter, folks all over want to witness her handiwork.
Saturday, tranquil Menil Park, my neighborhood’s front yard, transformed into a festival at the annual Community Day. Strollers, picnics, posters and a clothesline art show—all part of the fun.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Welcome, Year of the Tiger

Here's a lovely close to the celebration of the New Year of the Tiger. The Houston-style Chinese banquet benefiting the Gee Family Scholarship was great fun. A huge amount of food, good company and one heck of a dragon dance, which an only slightly out of focus Trilla and Bob enjoyed greatly. Bob especially since he's a Tiger. Click those chopsticks to a bright and fine New Year!

Monday, February 22, 2010

It's been a long, long time!

It’s George Washington’s birthday! My mother always baked a cherry pie and delivered it to the supper table with vanilla ice cream and a lecture on telling the truth. “Always the best policy,” she declaimed.
Here’s my February 22, 2010 truth. I’ve been gone from this blog a long, long time, and on about half of those many intervening days, I’ve told myself tomorrow, or maybe next week. Today, I thought Now!
So, a quick 21 months and few days update. Ginger is gentled. Heck, Ginger is a housecat par excellence! Here he is gazing out the Houston living room window and posing for his Valentine portrait.
Houston? Yes! I say “Houston!” For we now are for the most part (still have the house in Georgia) far from the glories of southern Georgia small town living, and in the heart of the exciting city I’ve felt was my home from the time I first visited in 1965 right through my long (20 plus years) sojourn away. We call a leased house in Montrose (the artsy, eclectic fun part of the city) home.
Thanks to my friend Linda who revved up her first blog yesterday—check her out here, . I realize it’s time to get back. Ginger agrees.

And enjoy a view of Houston February glory--although it may snow a little tomorrow night.