Dear Diary,

Yesterday was the Mamas’ 8-year anniversary. They left town without us. I was a little upset at first, because if there’s any place we belong on their anniversary, it’s by their sides! Ideally, on their laps, but we can be by their sides too. Anyway, Mama L. told me what they were up to, and I decided that it was probably a good thing that we didn’t go with them, because Madeleine would have whined and complained about the trip for the rest of the year!

The Mamas drove to a place called Mount Tamalpais State Park. Mama L. later told me (privately, of course) that Madeleine would have lost all her cookies on the way in, coz she always get carsick on these types of drives. Then the Mamas went on a 4-mile hike that took them nearly 3 hours to complete. Mama L. said that for the first 3 miles, it wasn’t too bad, because it was a slight descent and it was pretty pleasant. In some areas, the trail is pretty steep, though, and she had to go down these tall steps which hurt her right knee. Some areas were so dense with trees that had fallen over and you had to crawl through. Here is a picture of Mama M. lifting the tree so that Mama L. could pass through safely. I think I would have had a nice time, but I am sure Madeleine would have been miserable with all that walking. But the worst part, Mama L. said, was the last mile or so, when they climb straight up to go back to where they started out. The Mamas stopped many times along the ascent, but by then they were so doggone tired that they just want to sit down and eat the rest of their Doritos. Mmmmmm…I love Doritos, especially the Nacho Cheese ones!

After Mount Tam, the Mamas went to Stinson Beach and spent an hour getting bombarded by negative ions! It sounded scary so I’m glad I didn’t go. Not only that, Mama L. said that Madeleine would have been traumatized by the ocean. It is a gazillion times bigger than Piano Lake at the Glasshouse, and there are giant sea monsters called “Waves” and they would have crashed down and gobbled us up. She said she saw a couple of puppies there, scared and shivering; one just refused to go into the water at all. That would have been Madeleine! Although if “Waves” are anything like “Sprinklers”, I might not go in either. They are way scarier than anything I’ve ever seen, except for maybe Colonel Sanders on that KFC bag that flew at me that one time.

After the beach, the Mamas went to see Dr. Ross where he snapped, crackled, and popped them back into shape after all that hiking and walking around. Auntie Juniper came home with the Mamas and showed me her elbow where a spider had left giant fang marks! That is one big spider! I wonder if it hurts as bad as when Madeleine got stung by a bee on her snout. Heeheehee. That was pretty funny. Her nose was all crinkled and munched up. Anyway, Auntie Juniper wrapped up a cotton ball soaked with apple cider vinegar and taped it in place with an band-aid. She said that the apple cider vinegar is supposed to keep the tissue from dissolving. That sounds disgusting, I decided, and so I wanted to make sure that everybody knows to relocate their spiders outside their houses, and to use apple cider vinegar. Mama M. relocated a gigantic yellow spider later that night. She said it was pregnant.

When the Mamas and Auntie Juniper came home, they saw this. We conspired with Uncle Brian and Cousin Chester to surprise them!

The night before last, Auntie Iris came over too, and she brought the Mamas a present. It’s called the Magic 8 Ball, and it’s supposed to predict the future. I don’t think it works so well though. When they weren’t looking, I asked the Magic 8 Ball if I was going to get a treat before I go to bed, and it said “It is Decidedly So”. I was all excited and waited and waited and waited. There was no treat. I didn’t get anything until breakfast the next day.

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Juniper’s Radish Butter

My friend Juniper had an abundance of radishes growing in her garden. What can you do with all those radishes? They’re not an easy ingredient to play with. Outside of putting them in salads, I’m not sure I’ve seen any other creative ideas for them.  Well, Juniper came up with this recipe, and since I’ve tasted it, I can say “witness!”, it was really good. So the next time you have an extra half-pound of radishes sitting around, give this a try.

Radish Butter

Ingredients:

1/2 pound round red radishes, trimmed, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, completely softened
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or 1/2 teaspoon Maldon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper
About 24 thinly sliced rye toast points, toasted slices of French bread, water crackers, 2-inch celery sticks, endive leaves, or romaine heart halves

Instructions:

1. Put the radishes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the radish is chopped into very fine dice, four or five 3-second pulses.
2. Transfer the contents to a length of cheesecloth or a double thickness of paper towels and wring out the excess liquid.
3. Transfer to a medium bowl and add 4 tablespoons of the butter.
4. With a rubber spatula, cream the radish and butter together, adding more butter 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together in a smooth, pliable mass.
5. Transfer the mixture to a 2-cup ramekin or bowl, sprinkle the salt and pepper over the top, and serve immediately. (The butter will keep, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
6. Remove it from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving to let it soften. Sprinkle the salt and freshly ground pepper over the radish butter before serving).

 

Picture below, added to breakfast scramble. This looks absolutely delicious:

Blueberry Curd

(Image found on the web. Recipe by Juniper B.)

I saw this in January, but it wasn’t blueberry season… now it is and I am so happy that I just came across it again.

blueberry curd
adapted from fruits of the earth by gloria nicol

1 1/2 pints blueberries
zest and juice of two lemons
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1 3/4 cup fine granulated sugar (i use raw)
3 large eggs, preferable organic, beaten
double boiler, or heat proof bowl to place in pan

this makes approximately 3 cups so have 3 small jars or containers ready. one to go directly into fridge and two for the freezer.

1. place whole blueberries, lemon zest & juice in pan and cook on low until berries are very tender. about 10 minutes.

2. place a sieve over a the bowl you are using as the double boiler and mash berries through, so that the juice flows to bowl and the berry skins and lemon zest stay in sieve. if you have a very fine sieve you can use that and all of the tiny blueberry seeds will also stay in the sieve. mine isn’t fine but i don’t mind the little berry seeds in the curd.

3. set the bowl over simmering water and add the sugar, mix until sugar is dissolved. add butter cubes.

4. pour the beaten eggs through a sieve into the bowl and stir the curd. make sure everything is blended.

5. continue to cook and stir until the curd becomes thick enough to coat the spoon. this will take about 20 minutes.

6. fill the three small containers.

note: in the olden days, home canners used to hot waterbath can curd in order to store it at room temperature. this is not considered safe anymore because of the egg and butter content.

but it’s the egg and butter content that makes it, oh so good! curd stays fresh in the fridge for 2 weeks and you can preserve it in the freezer for up to 6 months.