Posts Tagged ‘At Home’

At Home: Azaleas in Bloom

May 23, 2018

At Home 2018: Azaleas in Bloom

I took this about two weeks ago. The blossoms are now fading.

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At Home: The Daffodils Recover

April 23, 2018

Daffodils Recovery

Sunshine and warmer temps did the trick.  And a few more — white instead of yellow — have blossomed.

At Home: Tree Removal and Pruning Spring 2018

April 9, 2018

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

After March 2nd storm’s extremely high winds, we discovered that one of the trees in our woods was leaning precipitously over our neighbor’s fence.

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

If it fell, their fence would be severely damaged, and they would be responsible for clearing whatever part of the tree landed in their yard. We know the laws pertaining to this issue because we had a similar situation years ago though in reverse when a tree from the neighbor’s property fell onto ours, and we had to take care of it. To determine how likely it was that the tree would fall, we put in a call to Aspen, our long-time the tree experts. This would also be a good opportunity to have a general tree inspection. I should mention that a new family moved into that house last year. We told them what we were doing and if the tree needed to be removed, we’d take care of it.

As we suspected, that tree definitely had to be taken down. In addition, the inspection found that one of the trees in the woods facing the center of our house had rot at its base and while not in immediate danger of falling, it would at some point. Now, anyone who visits this blog with any regularity knows that we’ve been through the trauma of a tree falling on our house. And there was no way we were going to take a chance of that happening again especially since unlike that event where the tree fell onto and over the garage, this tree would fall smack in the house’s center. So, we said, take it down asap. We would also have them cut back the branches overhanging the house from the tree on the right side of the yard.

When I awoke around 9 a.m. this past Friday, Aspen’s crew was already at work. Since taking the two trees down and pruning the third required climbing, a different man was assigned to each tree. I’ve seen it done many time times, but it still amazes me. As the men up in the trees did their work, another crew member on the ground assisted with ropes and worked on clearing the wood.

Climbing the leaning tree:

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

Climbing high enough to start sawing the upper branches:

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

I didn’t take any more photos of the work on this tree. The top branches which were sawed off landed in our neighbor’s yard. The crew later went into their yard to clean them up. I did see them take down the major trunk of the tree. The cuts and sawing were done in such a skilled way to make it land in our woods.

In the tree at the side of the house:

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

Moving into position to saw off the overhanging branches:

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

Almost ready to prune:

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

Pruned branch lowered with a rope so as not to hit the house:

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

Done:

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

Climbing the tree facing our house:

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

Positioning:

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

First branches to come down:

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

You will note that this was taken indoors. In fact, most of the photos were taken from the safety of our kitchen.

Tree sections to be hauled away via tractor to the chipper out front:

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

Logs sawed from the upper trunk that fell onto the ground:

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

Most of the tree is down:

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

Hauling tree branches to the chipper:

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

Feeding the chipper:

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

On Saturday, I took these photos showing the results of a job well done.

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

At Home: Tree Work Spring 2018

 

At Home: Signs of Spring

March 19, 2018

When we moved into our house at the end of 1969, the landscaper we hired the following year planted an entire bed of daffodils on the right side of the house. Those pretty yellow flowers bloomed like clockwork in early spring each year. However, in the mid-70’s, when we put in a fireplace in our living which is on that side of the house, many of the daffodils became victims. And eventually, the remainder began dying out. By the time we did a complete landscaping overhaul in 1996, we did not include any in the new design.

For some time, I’d been thinking about having daffodils again. Not an entire bed but rather little groupings placed in the backyard beds. Last spring, I discussed it with our landscaper Ed Wendel. In order for them to bloom this spring, they needed to be planted in the fall. In October, he bought the bulbs and his men put them in.

Despite the snow from three March Nor-easters, last week, I noticed they’ve begun to sprout.

At Home 2018: Signs of Signs of Spring

At Home 2018: Signs of Signs of Spring

A true sign that spring is on the way. Can’t wait to see them flower!

Lunch at Home: Stuffed Puff Pastry

February 28, 2018

I had some puff pastry leftover from chicken pot pies I made a couple of weeks ago. The wrapped pastry was sitting in the frig awaiting a future use. Some time ago, I came across and bookmarked a recipe for stuffed puff pastry in the NY Times by David Tanis, which he calls “Flaky Chicken Hand Pies.” On Tuesday, the twain met.

Since his recipe was for eight pies and I was making only two, I guesstimated the amounts of the filling ingredients: onion, garlic, mushrooms, flour, s & p, chicken stock, and heavy cream (substituted for crème fraîche). I started by broiling a small piece of chicken. While it broiled, I prepared the filling. As I worked, I kept an eye on the chicken, pulled it out when it was done, let it cool, and chopped it into chunks. It was added to the filling last along with chopped scallions.

I waited until the filling was ready before taking the pastry from the frig as it’s best to roll it out when it’s cold. Because I had cut circles out of the sheet, the leftovers were an add shape. I needed enough to be able to cut two squares. By rolling it quite thin (it rolled easily), I was able to cut off the excess and have what I needed though the squares were not perfectly symmetrical. I divided the filling between each square. Happily, I had guessed the perfect amount. I folded the squares into a triangle, sealed the edges, pressed down with the tines of a fork to make sure they wouldn’t open, brushed them with beaten egg, and put them into the oven. Fifteen minutes later, voilà!

At Home: "Flaky Chicken Hand Pie"

This is actually the first time I’ve ever made this sort of thing. It’s great when you try something new, and it turns out so well. A really tasty filling and, of course, a very flaky, delicious crust.

Notes:
Not one to ever attempt making puff pastry, I always have Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry in my freezer. Tanis even says that “[s]tore bought pastry makes it easy.”

Tanis has the oven set at 375 degrees, but I followed the Pepperidge Farm box and set the oven at 400.

Tanis has the completion time at 2 hours. Perhaps it would take that long if you’re making eight. But for my two, start to finish, it took a little less than 45 minutes.

It was recently announced that Tanis has been appointed executive chef at The Monkey Bar, in midtown Manhattan. We ate there several years ago when Chef Damon Wise was helming the kitchen. But he didn’t stay long, and we haven’t been back. Once I’m sure  Chef Tanis’s menu is in place, we’ll definitely be trying it.

Deep Freeze!

January 5, 2018

Deep Freeze

Deep Freeze

Deep Freeze

Deep Freeze

Deep Freeze

The proverbial light at the end of this frigid tunnel:

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Mother Nature Adds Insult to Injury!

January 4, 2018

We came back last night after spending almost a week in NYC dealing with sub-sub-freezing temperatures! And today, we are being bombarded by a winter storm that is being called a bomb cyclone. In our neck of the NJ woods, it’s in the form of a blizzard. Lovely way to start 2018. Not!

Have I mentioned that I. Hate. Winter?!

At Home: January 2018 Bomb Cyclone Blizzard

At Home: January 2018 Bomb Cyclone Blizzard

At Home: Chanukah Dinner 2017

December 17, 2017

At Home: Chanukah Dinner 2017

This year’s Chanukah dinner took place yesterday evening. As you can see by the place settings, there were four of us: Jen, Louis, Michael and me. The menu for the savory part of the meal is one that has become a tradition.

At Home: Chanukah Dinner 2017

Plain Soft French Brioche Baguette (cut up); Gluten-free Ciabatta Rolls

The Ciabatta rolls were, of course, for Louis.

And speaking of Louis, he doesn’t normally like salads. However, this one he loves. As does everyone.

At Home: Chanukah Dinner 2017

My Famous Chopped Salad

I did ask if we should have something different for the main meat, maybe short ribs or even chicken?  But the resounding response from the others was, “No way!”

At Home: Chanukah Dinner 2017

Pot Roast

At Home: Chanukah Dinner 2017

Potato Latkes

Jen insisted that we grate the potatoes instead of using the food processor because, she said, that “would make them taste better.” O.K.! Using my 50-year-old box grater, we took turns and got the job done managing not to add any grated finger tip skin. I did, however, use the food processor to grate the onion since I wasn’t in the mood to cry, which is usually what happens when you use the box grater. We kept the latkes warm in a 250 degree oven until it was time to serve them.

To accompany the latkes, of course…

At Home: Chanukah Dinner 2017

Homemade Applesauce

At Home: Chanukah Dinner 2017

Red Cabbage with Apples

Time for dessert!

At Home: Chanukah Dinner 2017

Homemade Gluten-free Chanukah Cookies

As I mentioned in a previous post, although I originally started making them for Louis, because they’re so tasty, we all like them, so I stopped making regular ones.

At Home: Chanukah Dinner 2017

At Home: Chanukah Dinner 2017

Gluten-free Jelly Donuts

By the Way Bakery is near Jen and Louis’s apartment. Their entire line of baked goods is gluten-free and kosher. These cake-like little suckers were excellent. In Israel, by the way, sufganiyot (donuts) are traditional for Chanukah. (Notice what I did there?)

At Home: Chanukah Dinner 2017

Ice Cream and Sorbet

Salt & Straw is a company located on the West Coast which makes really delicious ice cream. Our friend Andrew has twice sent us gift packages from them containing a variety of flavors. A few months ago, Daily Provisions, the take-out spot next door to Union Square Café, began carrying Salt & Straw’s ice creams. D.P. is conveniently located a short walk from our apartment. Lucky us! For this occasion, we selected two flavors we’ve had before: Sea Salt & Caramel Ribbons and Joe Coffee & Freckled Chocolate. Louis prefers sorbet, one of his favorite flavors being chocolate.

Jen bought these at Eli Zabar’s.

At Home: Chanukah Dinner 2017

Milk Chocolate Chanukah Gelt

A sweet end to what everyone agreed was a delicious meal.

Chag Sameach!

At Home: Chanukah Cookies

December 15, 2017

At Home:  Chanukah Cookies (2017)

Getting ready for our family Chanukah dinner tomorrow night. These cookies are gluten-free. I started making them several years back for Louis along with regular cookies for the rest of us. However, because they’re really tasty, we all like them. So, I stopped making the regular ones.

At Home: Earthquake!

November 30, 2017

At Home: Earthquake!

So, this afternoon, I was relaxing in bed reading. Suddenly, a little before 5 p.m., I felt the bed, the room, indeed, the entire house moving!! It lasted only a few seconds. While it was happening, I had this very strange feeling. A kind of disorientation. When Michael came into the room shortly afterwards, I mentioned it to him. He said he hadn’t felt anything. Could it be I imagined it? A few minutes later he was back.  He said there had been an earthquake along the mid-Atlantic coast, magnitude 4.1.  Originating in Delaware, it sent shockwaves through parts of New Jersey. Obviously, those parts included our area. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that it was an earthquake. Definitely an experience I hope not to have again.