The Yard Misses You! (says the Grill-Meister)

When I travel, the Grill-Meister keeps me posted on happenings at home. I love it when he sends flower photos – they make me feel so connected to Glover Gardens. This week was no exception.  I was in Washington, where it was cold and rainy all week (although I was almost never outside because I was attending a conference), and these pics with the Grill-Meister’s cheery messages provided all the sunshine I needed.

“Frank-biscus is showing off!” (The hibiscus below is named after my Dad; see Death is Life-Affirming: Hibiscus Haiku).

fullsizeoutput_1900

“….So is Mahogany Splendor aka Hollywood Video….” (The Grill-Meister gives nicknames to many things, and calls this unusual hibiscus with the red foliage and velvety maroon flowers Hollywood Video.)

fullsizeoutput_1901

“And Yuletide Camellia sez ‘Don’t Forget About Me!'” (This winter beauty is blooming early this year.)

fullsizeoutput_1902

I love how the Grill-Meister’s shadow is in the photo above, and how he keeps me grounded in the flora of Glover Gardens when I’m away.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

Watching Game 7 of the World Series; Sharing Astros Mementos and Family Memories

My son and I did some reorganization of his room a couple of weekends ago, a natural progression as he moves through his sophomore year in college. At this stage,  just as many items go into the giveaway pile as the “must keep memories” box in the attic.

We did find some treasures, though, as we processed a whole chest of drawers bulging with the history of his childhood, the objects providing a physical testimony about his youthful interests and experiences.

There were signed baseballs from his Little League days, those times when he earned the game ball from his coaches, men who seemed like titans to us at the time but were simply eager Dads looking to provide a good experience for their sons. Unbeknown to us, our little one was a “late bloomer” in Little League. The coach called me one spring night back in 2004 to tell me he had drafted Thomas onto his team, and asked me about his experience.

No Place for Hate 2
8 years old, with his award-winning anti-bullying poem right before a baseball game

“Experience?” I was confused.

“Yes, what positions has he played?”

“None, this is his first season.”

“Really? He hasn’t played before? He doesn’t know anything about the game?”

“He’s only 6 years old?!” I was still confused.

“My son started just shy of his 4th birthday. We even have pictures of him playing catch in his diapers as a toddler.”

This is going to be a challenge, I realized. Only 6 years old and he’s already behind. 

Despite this inauspicious start, Thomas acquitted himself admirably in his 8 years in Little League. A lefty, he became a dependable and sometimes awesome pitcher, and a capable hitter, delivering mostly singles and doubles. He never really mastered the art of stealing bases or sliding, which told us to focus our college scholarship hopes and dreams in other areas. This is why we call him our Musical Millennial rather than our Pitching Prodigy.

We had some really good times during the Little League days. Championships won and lost, good-natured rivalries with his classmates on other teams, frenzied times between the pickup at after-school day care and the 6 p.m. warmup on the baseball field when dinner was a 30-second microwaved “quesadilla” (really just a flour tortilla fold-over with grated cheddar cheese thrown in) eaten in 60 seconds. During the off-season, our backyard was the sandlot, with girls and boys from all over the neighborhood passionately playing their positions and breaking a window or two, just like it would have happened in the movies.

Good times. But I digress. Tonight, we’re watching Game 7 of the World Series, Astros vs. Dodgers. Go Astros!

exxon_tigerBack to the treasures. Among all the game balls my son earned in his days as a player, we found other baseball mementos. Two “signed balls” from the Astros, those give-aways with the facsimile signatures stamped on them that you get for being one of the first 5,000 fans at an important game. They’re from the 1997 – 2005 period; the signatures include Larry Dierker (manager), Billy Wagner (pitcher), Matt Galante (coach), Craig Biggio (catcher, 2nd base and outfield) and Jeff Bagwell (1st base).  Good times.

fullsizeoutput_18d3

There was also a super-special memento from my Dad. He was a junior executive for Exxon in his early 30s, and snagged this commemorative bat back then. It was before the merger with Mobil changed the company name to ExxonMobil, and back in the days when the tiger was the mascot. I loved watching baseball with my Dad. And that carried forward to watching baseball with my son. Memories and mementos…

fullsizeoutput_18d6fullsizeoutput_18d7

Good times.

As I write, it’s the top of the 7th in the 7th game of the 2017 World Series matchup between the Astros and the Dodgers. Of course, I’m rooting for my hometown ‘Stros, but whatever happens, it has been a great ride. Baseball really is the national pastime.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday Brunch: Simple is Good

menu_pic6

We had a little family birthday celebration for yours truly this past weekend at a local eatery, Crú Food and Wine Bar in The Woodlands, TX. It was simple, unfussy, lovely, and delicious. Check out some of our dishes.

Crab Benedict at Cru
My choice was the Crab Benedict; rich and simple, it was a perfect birthday brunch dish
fullsizeoutput_1667
The Caprese Melt was served alongside a fresh, tangy arugula salad
fullsizeoutput_1669.jpeg
Mussels swam in a lemony, buttery, white wine broth
fullsizeoutput_166b
The Napa Burger was dressed with fig jam, arugula and sharp cheese and served alongside crunchy matchstick potatoes
fullsizeoutput_166a.jpeg
The Lemon Tart was just the right balance between tart and sweet; a scattering of chopped pistachios added a special touch
Molten Chocolate Cake
The Chocolate Lava Cake was happy birthday to me! Dark and gooey, it spoke to me…

The food was world-class, and not so expensive that the fam couldn’t also swing for birthday gifts!  And the mimosas were excellent, with carafes of about 6 glasses for only $10. Yes, you heard that right – $10 mimosa carafes. We’ll be back for brunch again soon!!!

photo_set_brunch
Photos courtesy of Crú; they also serve bellinis and mojitos with their stellar brunch selections
fullsizeoutput_164f
The Grill-Mesiter and me rejoicing – turning 54 didn’t hurt at all

Resources

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

A Solo Date with Poirot and Nachos

220px-davidsuchet_-_poirot
David Suchet was my favorite Poirot

From a while back…Facebook reminded me today about this event.

I was home alone, a rarity at the time, and made myself a date with Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot. I have the Masterpiece Mystery DVDs (thank you, Grill-Meister!), and I know how to stretch out the pleasure of watching them.

It doesn’t make any sense at all that I’d pair a spicy southwestern dish like nachos with the natty, stuffy, short, smart (fictional) Belgian detective from the 1930s, but it worked! Great story, great food. Great (alone) time.

Something I’ve learned is that the better I treat myself when it’s only me, the happier I am with my alone time.  Thus the sides and the garnishes and the special plating. Go, Sriracha!

Just looking at this picture again makes me hungry for nachos paired with a Poirot DVD or two.

11894005_10207275907126677_2680252317596066774_o

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

 

my days by the water

i’ll never forget my days by the water
a childhood so perfect
it almost hurts to remember

seashells and crab boils, best friends and cousins
a brother so close
he was almost my double

sunburns and skinned knees and sand in our eyes
fishing and sandcastles
huge wide-open skies

potluck parties where parents talked politics
where active listening happened
and no one left mad

“beach bum” friends of my parents, ex-soldiers
recovering from war
found peace in the waves

bonfires, fireworks, beach birthdays and family
acceptance and love as
abundant as sunshine

i’ll always remember
those days by the water


e9
Image by Bikurgurl

I stumbled on the concept of “100 Word Wednesday” in a blog called Bikurgurl and decided to participate this week, Week 15 of the challenge. The prompt was this beautiful lighthouse, and the rules are simple:  write something 100 words long, use this image or another of your choosing, and link back to the original blog. The lighthouse made me think of my childhood living by the water on a very different kind of shore on the Bolivar Peninsula in Southeast Texas.

This rough little poem came spilling out of me as I thought of those halcyon sand-ridden childhood days and so many memories flooded in.  Everything seemed so safe, so permanent, so lively-lovely in our tiny town of 600, Gilchrist, Texas.  My brother and I went to the beach almost every day, even in the winter.  My aunt and uncle moved just down the street from us, and our cousins became more like brothers. Beach birthday parties and fireworks spawned grass-fires and the scruffy men of the volunteer fire seemed delighted to be called out.  My mother made mirrors rimmed with sea shells and sold them at a local art gallery.

My parents, while definitely not hippies, had escaped the mind-numbing sameness and materialism they found in suburban life for the quirky, slower and sometimes downright backward way of life on the Bolivar Peninsula.  I didn’t realize at the time that the larger world was present, even there.  Mom and Dad hosted election parties and invited all kinds of folks from both sides of the political aisle, and taped the lively but respectful conversations to send to my uncle, who worked for Hamilton Beach in Africa and was on a plane that was hijacked on his way home (he survived).  A young man who was AWOL from the Army climbed up our stairs turned himself in to my Dad on our deck one Saturday morning while we were watching cartoons.  “Beach bums” staying in a cabin a few doors down from us turned out to be Vietnam vets, confused and weary guys trying to patch up their lives and come to terms with their experiences.  They were kind to an awkward tween-age girl; they paid me a few dollars to embroider peaceful sayings and seagulls on their frayed bellbottoms.  They remained friends with my parents long after they all left the beach for more stability inland.  Hurricane Ike took away the entire town in 2008.

So many more memories and stories, but this was supposed to be a post for 100 Word Wednesday.  So I’ll leave you with some links with related stories and a few pictures.

img20170419_18232452
In this photo, my brother was the awkward tween
img20170419_18233039
Mom on the deck; she made those macramé plant hangers
img20170419_18233303
My Dad and brother, fishing in the Intracoastal Canal, at the end of our road
Harvell House - View
The view from the deck, some years after my childhood but before Hurricane Ike

 

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Home Alone Comfort Food: Scrambled Egg Sandwich

So over the last three weeks I had a long trip for work to Paris and then right away, a shorter trip for relaxation to Colorado (I know, I know, you’re not crying for me). After arriving home in Southeast Texas in the wee hours last night and working all day today, I found myself home alone for dinner tonight with no “on purpose” food in the refrigerator. That is, no food that was purchased with a menu or recipe in mind; all the Grill-Meister and I have in the icebox is a plethora of condiments and some too-old leftovers, and he’s not here tonight to justify my ordering Chinese.

What to do? What to do?

Comfort food to the rescue: a Scrambled Egg Sandwich.

I give thanks to my Dad for teaching me the joys of this humble little culinary bundle of joy. I made it a little differently than he did when I was growing up: his version with “Sandwich Spread” and cheddar on white bread evolved into mine with jalapeño jack and fresh baby spinach on wheat, but it’s still a wonderful go-to comfort food item.

fullsizeoutput_565

There’s really no recipe for this:  simply scramble a couple of eggs the way you like them (don’t forget the salt and pepper), toast a couple of pieces of bread, and assemble by resting the eggs atop a bed of baby spinach or perhaps some thinly sliced tomatoes on the bottom piece of toast, adding a slice of your favorite cheese and topping with the second piece of toast.  Voila, a lovely dinner for one, reminiscent of your childhood.  Or mine, at least.

I’m curious – what is YOUR easy comfort food when you’re home alone?

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Postcards from Montmartre

More random photos from an extremely pleasant afternoon in the Montmartre section of Paris.

Flowering trees and shutters, seen from the viewpoint of Renoir’s Gardens, otherwise known as the Museum of Montmartre.

fullsizeoutput_54c

The Eiffel Tower framed by ancient oaks, a few steps from the famous Steps of Montmartre.

IMG_2773

More to come…

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook