August 13th, 2009

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Poem: "The Hero Stars"

Tonight Doug and I went outside to stand for a while in the ritual meadow and watch the Perseids. I got this poem out of it, which I share with you.


The Hero Stars


Out of Perseus they come,
sparks from a hero’s sword
as I stand,
rapt in the whispering darkness,
my head tilted back,
mouth hanging open,
waiting for the stars to land on my tongue,
waiting for the sky to fall
through my eyes
into my soul.
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The Most Honest Town in America

I was encouraged by this article:

The Most Honest Town in America
There's no need to lock your doors on the southern shore of Lake Erie in the tiny town of Lakeside, Ohio. Unlike almost every other place in America, people still actually trust one another. In most of the town's stores money is exchanged on the honor system. Even in the candy shop, a handwritten note encourages children to make their own change from a jar of cash. (CBS News)

Note that a key way of making people more trustworthy ... is to trust them, like that trick with the cash jar. Around here, occasionally I see someone who's put out a table of farm produce or used books, with a cash box for people to put their payment in.
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See Me as a Wolf Girl

I participated in the free art day that thornwolf hosted. The results are really cool -- I think the sketch looks like me. See if you can spot which one I am without peeking at the names! It's on this page:
http://thornwolf.artspots.com/files/image/file/35942/FreesketchPg2.jpg

This artist got a LOT of interest in the project; there are pages and pages of comments and art. I don't know how well the donations worked out, but in terms of audience participation I'd call this project a rousing success. Other artists may wish to consider trying something similar.

EDIT 8/13/09: thornwolf reports that the donation side of the project was also a success, coming very near the $500 goal:
http://thornwolf.livejournal.com/919235.html?view=7118019#t7118019
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Blueberry Bagel Bread Pudding

Continuing my experiments with bread pudding, I made this the other day. I already had some blueberry mini bagels, and then I saw fresh blueberries on sale at the grocery store. I didn't have time to type this up earlier. I made time today because ... this afternoon's sale was fresh strawberries. I'm planning to tinker with the first (plain) bread pudding recipe and see if I can make some strawberry sauce. So I needed to get this out of the way.

Oh, that reminds me -- if you don't have stale bread and you want to make bread pudding, there's another option besides quick-drying fresh bread. Just check your local baker or supermarket for day-old baked goods. Those are usually on sale cheap. If you don't see any, ask at the counter; they don't always put it out in plain sight.


Blueberry Bagel Bread Pudding



Ingredients:

2 stale blueberry mini bagels
handful of fresh blueberries
1 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla pudding cup

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Put cooking spray in 4 holes of a muffin tin. Tear 2 stale blueberry mini bagels into small pieces, using half a bagel to fill each muffin hole. Add several blueberries to each muffin hole, tucking them under the bagel bits.

In a small pot, cook 1 cup half-and-half until a skin forms. Remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons butter. Stir until butter melts. Allow to cool to lukewarm.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine 1 egg, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat with a fork for about a minute. Gradually add the half-and-half mixture, continuing to beat with the fork, until fully mixed.

Pour the batter over the bagel pieces, distributing it evenly among the 4 holes. Gently press the bagel bits into the batter so they soak it up. Make sure the blueberries don’t all float to the top or sink to the bottom.

Bake at 350ºF for about 30 minutes, until the tops of the bread puddings are lightly browned and no longer wet.

Remove from oven; place muffin tin on a rack and cool for 3-5 minutes. Scoop each bread pudding out of the muffin hole and transfer to a dessert bowl. Top with a spoonful of vanilla pudding, distributing the contents of the pudding cup equally across the four bread puddings. Add several blueberries atop the pudding on each bread pudding.


Notes:

I happened to have blueberry mini bagels. If you don’t have mini bagels, substitute one normal-sized bagel for two mini bagels. This recipe would probably taste just as good with other fruit bagels; an earlier version used strawberry ones.

If your bagels are very fresh, you can dry them by toasting them lightly and then letting them sit for a while. But bagels tend to be on the tough, dry side so usually they work fine in bread pudding without that step.

If you’re working with frozen bagels, try really hard to remember to put them out early so they have time to thaw naturally. If you forget, then you have to microwave them, and that makes them very soft until they cool down – which means the bread mashes as you tear it, which means it doesn’t soak up the batter as well. Cold bagels are tough enough to tear without mashing.

I added the blueberries to each muffin hole after the bagel bits because I figured that would be an easier way to distribute them evenly through the bread pudding. If you want to try putting the blueberries in first, or tossing them with the bagel bits, that might also work.

This recipe uses a single egg – to halve it, you’d either need to use half of a broken egg or work with egg replacer instead of fresh egg. But you could probably add another mini bagel and a bit more half-and-half to get 6 servings, or just double the whole thing for 8.

Yes, I cheated and used store-bought vanilla pudding, since we like pudding cups. It seemed like the best way to get a small amount of pudding. Feel free to make your own pudding, especially if you’re increasing the number of servings.