Anyone else watch that new show on Nat Geo called Abandoned? I don’t know why they drive so far to check out abandoned buildings….there certainly seem to be enough of them in Chester County…
Monthly Archives: September 2012
This morning the breeze has started the fall rustle of leaves. Don’t know how else to describe it.
Fall means the start of comfort food season. What people don’t realize is there is something to be said for the basics. Basics include foods we grew up with, comfort foods.
Last night I made an old-fashioned pot roast. Mine is different because I use a little lemon or orange peel in mine and toss in a small can of crushed tomatoes and wine along with a few kinds of mushrooms (fresh not those rubberized canned things). To make a perfect pot roast you need a heavy dutch oven large enough to comfortably cook your roast and you must dredge the meat in flour and brown up a little before putting in a low and slow oven and ignoring for a few hours.
What I made the other day also falls into the category of old-fashioned comfort food: rice pudding. I never wrote my recipe down before, so I hope the proportions are right.
Here it is:
Start with turning on the oven to 350 degrees to pre-heat. Next grab some unsalted butter for greasing baking dish
3/4 cup white sweet rice cooked and cooled (sweet rice is an extra sticky rice used in Asian cooking and you can buy it at an international grocery or specialty foods store)
3 cups whole milk (you can also use the canned Carnation milk you use to make pumpkin pie)
1 cup fat-free half and half
1 cup light cream
6 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon ground green cardamom
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup white raisins
Grease well a round baking dish (I use Pyrex 2 or 2 1/2 quart baking dish – not sure which one – it has a lid which makes for handy storage of leftovers)
Into the bottom of the baking dish first add rice. Smooth out evenly on bottom. Sprinkle raisins evenly on top. Sprinkle coconut on top of that. Set aside
Combine egg yolks, vanilla and salt in a bowl. Add sugar. Beat until sugar is dissolved, incorporated, not grainy on the bottom of the bowl
Add cornstarch, lemon zest, spices.
Slowly add milk, half and half and light cream. Beat until frothy . Pour over rice/raisins/coconut in round baking dish.
Take your round baking dish and place in a Bain Marie – a Bain Marie is literally a water bath.
I take a larger rectangular pan, place my round baking dish inside it, and then pour hot water inside the rectangular pan AROUND the baking dish (DO NOT get the water into your rice pudding mixture)
Bake until the rice pudding is no longer liquid – at least an hour. When I made a few days ago, my oven may not have been properly pre-heated and it took about an hour and 20 minutes to cook. Your baked pudding will be caramel and brown colored on top when cooked and a knife inserted will come out clean. You just have to watch it.
Take pudding out of oven and place baking dish on a trivet to cool. I like serving the pudding still slightly warm. Some people like putting whipped cream on top to dress up the pudding when serving. I do not – I think it is overkill. You can have fun with this dessert and serve in red wine or martini glasses (wide rim).
Pudding variations include:
- You can tweak recipe and remove just the rice and add a can of DRAINED cream corn to make a sweet corn pudding.
- You can also substitute cubed day old brioche and make a bread pudding. You can omit the cardamom and mace and raisins and coconut and add chocolate chips and it becomes a chocolate chip bread pudding.
Puddings are fun.
down on the farm activities 9/29/2012
So I was looking on that West Vincent website today (I am a glutton for punishment) and I noticed they seem to be advertising a community event that I have heard people talk about (which is truthfully very neighborly they should do that for ALL community events) . Anyway this event is always partially crossover time to other fall events – Maysie’s Farm Fest 2012 – it is a big WXPN event day with folk music and stuff. I checked the acts and nothing I want to listen to in particular, but still thought it might be fun to check out.
Only I can’t figure out what kind of a non-profit they are. WXPN says they are a non-profit, they say they are a non-profit but they don’t say what kind. So are they like a 501(c)(3)?
I called up the Department of Charities in Harrisburg because I could not find them in the searchable database. And I was told that they did not renew their registration in November 2011? What does that mean? Why? Do they make below that threshold of $25,000 or whatever? Maybe they now piggyback off of someone else’s non-profit status?
Anyway this Maysie’s Farm seems to do great stuff, so I would say check it out if you are looking for fall fun tomorrow. Maysie’s does all sorts of cool stuff like this folk music day and CSAs .
The Mill at Anselma is a place to buy advance tickets for this until 6 pm – $15.00. At the gate before 6 pm on Saturday tickets are $20.
about those photos I promised to post…
….file under long overdue, life got in the way. Here at long last are the photos from my 9/11 hot air balloon ride. The cover shot here is of a father and his child. No idea who they were, just love the moment of the photo. A first responder and the next generation taking part in remembering 9/11. People like this are the real deal, pure and simple.
CLICK HERE to check all of the photos out.
Thank you again to my friends Teri and Barry for taking me up on such a special day for such a special ride.
Now I am sure the freaks in West Vincent who think nice hard-working people like this are awful will immediately tear into this photo set to see who was there on 9/11. Here’s a tip: resist the urge to be freaks. Appreciate the good people in this world and all those fabulous first responders who joined us.
Enjoy the photos, all.
do you dream in buttercream?
Well I don’t actually dream in buttercream, but it makes for a jazzy sounding post title.
So I have been working and working on a buttercream frosting worthy of posting and I accomplished it with a birthday cake I baked last weekend.
So here it is:
Dreamy Vanilla Rosewater Buttercream Frosting
(frosts a 9 inch layer cake and 2 -3 dozen cupcakes depending on how frosted you want things)
1 cup of butter softened (1 stick salted, 1 stick unsalted)
4 cups of sifted confectioners sugar
7 teaspoons of half and half (maybe a smidgen more, maybe a smidgen less depending on what you want)
1 Teaspoon of rosewater (as in used for COOKING)
1 1/4 Teaspoons of a good vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon of salt
Combine butter, sugar, and salt until well blended and smooth (use a mixer and use a large bowl and don’t splatter)
Add half and half and vanilla and rosewater and beat until smooth – between 4 and 6 minutes.
Come on people, how easy was that? Why use frosting in a can?
You can add a couple of squares of unsweetened baking chocolate melted to turn this frosting chocolate. You can add about 2/3 cup of shredded sweetened coconut to make coconut dream frosting.
chester county take heed and have a look….
the awkward thing about photo credits
This is something truly awkward to write about. But it is something every photographer deals with. It is uncomfortable, unfortunate, unfair.
What am I speaking about?
Simple. Media publications that whether online or in print which do *not* give a photo credit when they *know* who lent or gave them the photo. As in, they did not just go out to Google and find a photo. This has happened twice recently with the same publication, so I need to say something.
The first photo was from 2012. The second photo is one I took October 2, 2009. It appeared September 21, 2012.
I am loathe to say something about this, because I lent use of the photo in August because one of my favorite restaurants in the world needed a good, clear photo for a write-up and the writer was on deadline. And I had just happened to have taken photos out in their location within a couple weeks of they article. So of course I said yes. This is NOT the restaurant’s fault, incidentally. I have the e-mail where they clearly stated “photo credit goes to….”
The second photo was one I told a local business district authority they could use, but as was the case with other photos of mine they had used, when they went out to the media even in a press release there is supposed to be a photo credit given.
These photos were used in an online publication of a regional magazine. A magazine which has used my photos before over the course of several years including one which has become a sort of iconic shot for Ardmore, PA and was featured as the cover shot of a special insert they have done once a year for the past few years.
Because I previously had received proper photo credit from this magazine, I lent them the photo in August. But the little article came out, and there was NO photo credit. Did I mention I have it in writing that they would “certainly” give a photo credit? I just today stumbled across the other photo of mine they used in the same food blog without a photo byline.
I messaged the magazine that I was thrilled to see my August photo used, but could I please have a photo credit. No response.
I even tweeted at the magazine (which has a fairly active twitter account) :
@MainLineToday I gave you use of a photo recently. I did not seem to receive a photo credit, and that was the deal so I am confused. Thx!
No response there, either.
So I checked the online portion of their website where my photo was used – a food blog they publish. I noticed something – no photo credits that I can see on any of the article/posts. I have a suggestion for them – a page on the blog that lists photo credits. Maybe their programming won’t allow photo credits IN the posts, but their website seems fairly up to date – I just do not know. All I know is when someone says you will have a photo credit, you have a photo credit.
I have several seasoned photographers who have been mentors to me upon occasion. I second one of the area’s best photographers on occasion. ALL of these photographers warned me about this happening. They said it was a hard choice because photographers want to get their names out there and sometimes to do so, you need to give a photo versus having a publication purchasing a photo. These photographers told me that people take advantage of this. I did not want to believe them. How sad, as now I do believe them.
Until now I never had a problem. Whether online or in print, local, regional, and national publications which have used my photos have given me the proper photo byline. I never have to go back and say “hey, you left off the byline.” As a matter of fact I recently donated my services to Pattye Benson for the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust because the The 8th Annual Historic House Tour held last Saturday needed photos. My photos were featured in several online and print publications and in literature of the Trust itself. Each and every time, I received a photo credit.
Here is my conundrum, my catch 22: because now that I am writing about this, the publication Main Line Today will undoubtedly never use one of my photos again. But if they aren’t going to pay me for photos and they aren’t going to give me a proper photo credit, maybe this is for the best? After all, my work is not only good and creative, it is solid. I meet my deadlines. I nail my photo assignments. My photos deserve a proper byline. Any photographer’s photos deserve a proper byline when the media uses a shot.
So aspiring photographers out there, take this as a lesson. I am not angry, only very disappointed. As much as anything else, it is a question of honor. When you give your word, maybe it is naïve, but I think you should honor it. I also now completely understand why the majority of photographers will not give or lend photos period. (And that is not the same as occasionally donating services to a worthy non-profit)
east goshen farmers market light coming to malvern in 2013
File under taking the farmers market show on the road.
I love the East Goshen Farmers Market . It is far better run than the Farm to City Markets I used to patronize because although not inexpensive, the price points at East Goshen’s market are a lot more attractive than the pricing I see some of the same vendors do in Bryn Mawr. And there is a far greater variety of farms to choose from. Also, the vibe is so awesome each week. As someone settling into a new community after 30 plus years in another community, this is one of the little things that has helped my transition because although I do not know a lot of people out here yet, going to the market has helped be become comfortable with my new community.
East Goshen Farmers Market has so many terrific farmers, and I patronize all but one farm – the farming folk known as the Millers and Birchrun Hills Farm. Given the treatment people I know in West Vincent receive from Farmer-Supervisor Miller and the other supervisors in West Vincent, it is so unfortunate, but I just can’t patronize them. To me it would be morally wrong to put jingle in their pockets. And that pains me, because no matter what I like to support local farmers whenever I can.
Mind you that opinion cost this blog being linked to the East Goshen Farmers Market site (at their original request, not mine) and for the market manager Lisa O’Neill to treat me like I had a disease any time I tried to say hello. She and her co-market manager Donna Levitsky are trying to be politically correct and face it, I am not your average PTA mom…. and I am a blogger who doesn’t just blog about recipes and homemaking projects, so I get that, it’s cool. I just don’t bother to say hi any longer. It is easier and makes them more comfortable – they are so busy on market days, I wouldn’t want to detract from what they have to do by saying hi, you know?
Anyway, Lisa has in all honesty produced a most fabulous market for East Goshen (I featured it in an article I wrote about farm markets and community gardens for Philly.com this summer) , and she is apparently taking her show on the road for 2013. Malvern Patch is reporting that East Goshen’s market will be giving birth in the spring of 2013 to a mini version of itself in Malvern on Saturday mornings. That is awesome, even if it is the exact same time and day I believe as the West Chester Growers Market which is quite simply amazing, as well as the market that is the original of all these local farm markets.
I am glad local farmers will be getting more exposure – this will be another producers only market. That means to be there and sell, you grow it/you raise it.
One question, however. East Goshen Farmers Market is sponsored by East Goshen Township and The Friends of East Goshen – and part of the money they say in their mission statement goes back to East Goshen Park. So will part of the monies here go back to Burke Park in Malvern Borough where this will be held? Who is sponsoring this market? Is the borough or is there another non-profit sponsor? Or maybe they will start their own company or non-profit at this point? And what do Lisa O’Neill and her co-manager Donna Levitsky (one of the owners of Shellbark Hollow Farm which is a participating farm at East Goshen Farmers market) get out of this monetarily? Not being mean, just being realistic. A former neighbor is the market manager of the Bryn Mawr Farmers Market and I know the lady who manages the Collegeville Farmers Market. I know the incredible amount of time they put into running just one market. Will they receive a salary for this Malvern market? A profit-sharing slice of market profits? Or is this all done in a volunteer capacity? Either scenario is fine with me, I am not judging – I am merely curious how it all works. Most markets I have come across, pay their market managers something for all their efforts. And running a Saturday morning market will sure mean more effort as they will be up with the roosters to ensure the market is set up by 9 a.m.
Here’s the update from Patch and I am looking forward to this market and Kimberton Whole Foods coming to Malvern! I am still not a fan of the development occurring on East King Street, however, outside of Kimberton Whole Foods coming to town. I think the development in the end will prove to be too dense and too much for the borough of Malvern to handle.
New Malvern Farmers Market Begins in Spring 2013
About 25 growers and vendors will set up shop in Burke Park on Saturdays.
ByPete Kennedy Email the author 5:30 am
Malvern Borough will have a new, weekly farmers market in Burke Park starting Saturday, May 4, 2013.
The Malvern Farmers Market will be held Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Burke Park. It will feature about 25 farmers and food artisans in its first year, some of whom will appear on a rotating basis.
“It will start as a producers-only market,” co-manager Lisa O’Neill said. “There will definitely be a meat vendor in there, farm fresh eggs, local cheeses, local bakeries.”
What about cupcakes, dog treats and other less typical items for sale?
“The, what I call, value-added products will be there, but we’ll introduce them to the market after we get a solid farmers market up and going,” she said.
O’Neill, who currently runs the East Goshen Farmers Market with co-manager Donna Levitski, presented the plan for a Malvern market at the Sept. 18 Borough Council meeting. She credits Borough manager Sandy Kelley with helping her see the potential in Malvern….
In an email, O’Neill said the market will boost the local economy:
Malvern is the perfect community for a farmers market – a walking town, with plenty of parking on a weekend morning, and just the perfect distance from existing Saturday markets. We think this will benefit the entire Malvern community – every Saturday shoppers will head to Malvern for the market – while they’re in Malvern they can visit with all of the other Malvern merchants – giving local businesses a big weekend boost – everybody wins.
Many farmers markets have popped up in and around Malvern in recent years, but few have demonstrated staying power. The fate of the East Goshen Farmers Market for 2013 is in the hands of township officials, and two other nearby farmers markets—Great Valley and Rushton Farm—did not return in 2012.
Lisa O’Neill is right – local communities do indeed benefit HUGELY from things like farmers markets. It brings people to town who might never otherwise visit. And Malvern is cute. The Bryn Mawr Farmers Market (albeit expensive) has greatly benefited Bryn Mawr by giving it foot traffic on Saturdays, and things like First Friday Main Line and Clover Market have also similarly benefited main street Ardmore. (and if you have never been to either First Friday Main Line or Clover Market, you should check them out!)
Final note – today’s photos are of the veggies from Balsam Farms in Amagansett, NY…a little slice of heaven much like Sugartown Strawberries around here.
Hey, it is the end of September so what farms are doing the best corn mazes and hay rides and pumpkin things this year? Let me know! You know how I love pumpkins!!!
pay to play lament: west chester area school district teachers picket
“The district has the money!”
Ah yes, the things that are heard on the picket line. As in yesterday, in West Chester.
I have written about the ongoing issues between the teachers and the West Chester Area School District before. And I am about to be the most unpopular girl at the dance again as far as these teachers and their supporters go. However, much like yesterday’s teachers who picketed and those who support them, I am also allowed to express my opinion on the topic.
One teacher heard hollering for the benefit of the television cameras who bore witness yesterday said it wasn’t about the money, it was about making a “living wage”. I am sorry, did I hear her correctly? Are teachers in the West Chester Area School District so grossly underpaid? Am I to envision the need for tip jars on every teacher’s desk throughout the district?
I truly don’t think so.
And whomever wants to can jump all over my back for having that opinion, but after following this story off and on for close to a year now, that is how I feel.
As I said before, I will say again:
Ok, here is what I think: Both sides will of course (to an extent) interpret the facts to suit their cause. No one is perfect. When the economy was better, I am sure everyone can agree this district spent like a drunken sailor on leave, correct?
So now times are tight. Funding, grants, you name it are down. Which means both sides need to give as they get.
However, that being said, I think this teachers’ union and others need to wake up and smell reality.
They aren’t being asked to suffer a great injustice if they have to contribute towards their healthcare benefits! Give me a break! I am one of the millions of Americans who pays for their own healthcare out-of-pocket. As in 100%. And oh yes, I paid for breast cancer doing that and survived just fine.
Salaries. My goodness, where else can you earn a fine salary and take off a few months a year on the taxpayers if you so choose? Wow. Most of us in the private sector have considered ourselves lucky for years if we managed to get a cost of living salary increase! Sorry, but between the salaries and the retirement benefits that enable teachers to not only retire early, but if they have been paying attention, retire rich, I do not feel the love in a need for an 18.3% bump up over three years.
Accountability. Charter schools and private schools hold teachers accountable. Heck most jobs in this country exist with a review process as part of the every day dealio. Public school teachers should be equally accountable. But if everyone is accountable than those who should have either chosen other career paths or been put out to pasture can’t slide by any longer, can they?
But is the school district itself with 100% clean hands here? Doubtful, never seen one that was. School districts have all sorts of issues and skewed politics.
Now, do I believe there are people who are underpaid? Yes. School District employees like teacher’s aides are often grossly underpaid. But the teachers? I am not so sympathetic.
And I have a comment to the blond teacher who said on camera “we want fair wages for our work…we live in the district too.” My comment? Simple. If these teachers live in the district then they KNOW that there are a lot of people living on a LOT less than they have. People without jobs, struggling to make ends meet. People without benefits.
The day of the fatted calf is done. These teachers have a LOT more than a lot of other people. Period. This economy sucks for a lot of people, not just teachers.
If all of West Chester Area School District were so fabulous then they would not have kids being home schooled. Or in Charter Schools. Or in private schools. Or in Catholic Schools.
I am sorry, but it truly upsets me to see people who have decent jobs and benefits most can only dream of complain chronically that it is never enough. If it isn’t enough, then they have options including going to work for other school districts and moving.
But to stand there and complain when so many more are going without right in their own district, well enough is enough. Grow up.
And think twice before you roll up on this blog and accuse me from hating teachers. I don’t hate teachers. I know a lot of them. And some of the teachers I know live with a LOT less all the way around than the teachers in the West Chester Area School District.
Overall, I think a lot of school districts spent a lot of years being bloated and neither teachers nor administrations planned adequately for “rainy days”. Furthermore, yes times are tough, but in my mind that doesn’t mean you just shell out more to some, while so many others go wanting. And there are a lot of people in Chester County, let alone West Chester who are seriously wanting and in need. Maybe these teachers need to go volunteer at local soup kitchens, homeless shelters and food banks – see what real need is. Right in Chester County. Right in West Chester.
I apologize again for those who feel I am being strident. It’s just the simple fact that SO many are detrimentally affected by the current state of affairs as far as the economy in Pennsylvania and the US as a whole. These teachers aren’t by themselves suffering on a little deserted island.
West Chester Teachers Rally For New Contract By David Kinchen, Reporter
FOX 29 News September 25, 2012
West Chester teachers say they have been working without a contract since June 30th and want the West Chester Area School District to pay up.
“We happen to know that the school district (is) finding money and has the money to settle these contracts,” said Debbie Fell, president of the West Chester Area Education Association. …
District leaders say the school budget is fine for this year. However they are worried about deficit projections up to $18 million two years from now and want to be careful about future financial agreements.
Union leaders say they have already saved the district nearly $3 million by agreeing to pay a pay freeze last year.
Both sides will continue negotiations on October 10th
West Chester Patch: West Chester Teachers Rally for a New Contract
Members of the West Chester Education Association gathered outside the district’s administration office to rally support for a new contract.
ByJake Speicher Email the author 5:45 am
The West Chester Education Association held a rally in front of the district’s administration building before Monday night’s school board meeting.
“We didn’t get in this for the money,” said teachers’ association president Deb Fell in front of a crowd of district teachers. “All we want is a fair wage.”
Didn’t get into it for the money? Really? Good to know, from an outsider’s perspective it is hard to tell. Seems to me the teachers are telling us ordinary lay people that we are just supposed to work our tail feathers off to support them? At the expense of what we can afford? Do they think that the WCASD administration is just going to pull the money out of thin air? Or knock over a leprechaun’s pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?
stealing history update
In August, I told you about the precious artifact stolen from a Bryn Mawr home. It was so egregious to me, I called the post “stealing history”.
Well apparently, at long last, there is an update. The thieving former cleaning lady has been caught.
This case caught world-wide attention, and even late yesterday was in the news in the UK and Europe. Of course, as many feared, this greedy ignorant woman not only stole history but damaged it as well. Between the Federal and local charges pending against Andrea Lawton, I hope they throw the book at her.
I am still curious to know whether or not she was part of a larger theft ring. Or just one stupid woman acting on her own.
Housekeeper arrested with $3 million Franklin bust
The owner of a stolen portrait bust of Benjamin Franklin valued at $3 million said Monday that he was relieved that the art treasure had been recovered, but was anxious to know how badly it was damaged by the thief.
George A. D’Angelo said he “stopped breathing” when he was told the porcelain object stolen Aug. 24 from his Bryn Mawr home had been recovered in Elkton, Md., with a cracked breastplate.
The FBI is holding the piece for fingerprints, so he has yet to see it. Once “Ben is back,” D’Angelo said, he will hire a restoration expert.
“I think it can be repaired,” said D’Angelo, 85, a Philadelphia lawyer. “I hope so. It would be ghastly if it can’t.”….
Andrea Lawton, 46, of Philadelphia and Mobile, Ala., was arrested Friday as she got off a bus in Elkton. She was carrying the bust in a gunny sack, D’Angelo said.
Lawton, also known as Andrea Gresham, was charged with theft, fraud, and interstate transportation of stolen property, according to papers filed in federal court in Philadelphia….
The 25-pound, 28-inch-high bust was made in 1778 by Jean-Antoine Houdon while Franklin was visiting Paris. There are only three others like it in existence.
A framed case containing a picture of Victor Herbert, a conductor’s baton, an autograph, and a list of his music – valued at $80,000 – was also gone. D’Angelo said police told him that piece was still missing.
“It’s a bizarre story,” D’Angelo said. “She said she doesn’t know anything about Victor Herbert” and may have disposed of the picture at a secondhand shop without realizing its value.
Police and the FBI traced the address of Lawton, who has four burglary convictions, to Hazelhurst Street in Philadelphia, but when she didn’t return there, the FBI tracked her to Mobile, her hometown.
On Sept. 19, a witness told the FBI that Lawton “still had possession of the bust, and that she intended to transport it outside of Alabama in order to sell it on the black market.”
“It’s like stealing Venus de Milo from the Louvre,” said D’Angelo. “What in heaven’s name would you think she was going to do with it?”
Daily Mail Online: Housekeeper arrested for stealing $3MILLION sculpture of Benjamin Franklin from millionaire’s home
PUBLISHED:21:38 EST, 24 September 2012| UPDATED:07:40 EST, 25 September 2012
A bungling housekeeper turned thief was arrested Friday for stealing a precious sculpture of Benjamin Franklin she managed to break in the heist.
Andrea Lawton, 46, was briefly employed by Philadelphia attorney George A. D’Angelo, 85, this summer when she first spotted the 18th century bust when she was told to be careful cleaning around it because it was ‘extremely valuable.’
She was fired on August 21 before returning three days later to grab it from Mr D’Angelo’s Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, home and run off to Elkton, Maryland, with the $3million bust stuffed in a burlap sack …
Lawton was seen rushing out of the home on August 24 by the new cleaning staff, who recognized her getting into a red Chevy Taho or SUV.
Police said she entered the home by pushing in an air-conditioner on the porch while another woman was waiting in the car.
When she didn’t return to her Philadelphia home, police tracked her to another address in Mobile, Alabama.