corn bread….with fresh corn ūüĆĹ

Corn Bread made with fresh corn.

Yum.

It’s an easy solution to not wasting corn on the cob that you may have cooked but not buttered and eaten. It also makes your cornbread not as dry as normal cornbread can be and adds a layer of flavor/texture.

It could not be simpler to make:

1 cup of white all purpose flour

1 cup cornmeal (Mine came from Anselma Mill)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

Dash of powdered ginger or cinnamon (but not together)

1 cup whole milk

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup melted butter with 2 tablespoons bacon grease

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup fresh sweet corn cooked and drained

** The wildcard if you want to spice it up is to mince one fresh jalape√Īo pepper and add it to the batter

Preheat oven to 400¬į F and really grease a 9″ x 9″ baking pan (I use butter.)

If your fresh cooked corn is still on the cob use a knife and take it off the cob. Let it sit in a strainer over a bowl so any additional liquid drains out.

Mix together all dry ingredients.

Stir in all wet ingredients.

Stir in fresh corn, and if you are using the wildcard minced jalape√Īo this is where you add that as well.

Do not over mix or your corn bread batter will be tough.

Before you add your batter to your pan put the greased pan in the oven for 2 or 3 minutes.

Pour batter into the pan, and bake at 400¬į F for 25 to 28 minutes.

It might be baked sooner — so you might want to check it with a toothpick or a skewer and see if it comes out clean from the center of the pan. I have gotten pretty good at eyeballing it over the years, so if the edge of the cornbread has kind of separated from the pan and it’s a nice goldeny color— it’s done.

Cool enough to serve warm, or eat at room temperature. Make sure you wrap leftovers tightly or it will dry out.

Enjoy!

remains of the day

Every now and again in the midst of all the development and stores and businesses and office parks we see a glimpse of what made Chester County well…Chester County.

Your lovely organic and other produce is not grown on the roof of your local Wegmans or Whole Foods, people.

Chester County's agricultural heritage disappears more each day along with the farmland and open space. Chester County is also disappearing under the ugliness of pipelines, not just overdevelopment.

Thanks for stopping by.

the united states of hate

I can’t stand it. ¬†Every day, something more wicked this way comes. ¬†People using vehicles as weapons and mowing people down in Charlottlesville and killing them, is the latest.

Earlier this year we had lovely things like shooting a United States Congressman at a softball practice for a charity match (Alexandria, VA).  In this country, they also shoot police officers these days, people in malls and schools and movie theaters. Pick your atrocity.

The United States of America is our collective home, so when did we stop respecting it?

When did we as one nation under God stop respecting what our forefathers did for us?

When did we get so ugly and angry?

When did we become a country of angry seething and racial and religious bigotry?

When did we become a country that hates immigrants and we are a country founded by immigrants?

When did peaceful resolution and polite and respectful dialogue go out of fashion?

Why are so many conservative pundits in papers, on the radio and television, and on social media stoking the fires of hatred? I don’t understand it, since given the administration in Washington, this should be their time, they should be happy, not angry and hateful.

I am someone who was once a political junkie, now I hate politics as much as I hate news.  Politics is a dirty business, and the harsh reality is more people are in politics for the wrong reasons, versus the right reasons.

Extremism is the name of the game these days, and extremism in politics is so bad for this country, yet we as Americans seem to allow it?

The USA is turning into one long night of hell with this current administration in Washington. And we are turning into a joke with the rest of the world.

This terrifies me and makes me sad.  What are we teaching our children? What is the legacy we are leaving our children and future generations?

People, we need to find peace.  We need to stop the hate and violence.  We need to take our country back from political extremism.  Peacefully.  Hate begets hate and violence begets violence. It has to stop.

Be kind to one and other, remember what made America great is actually none of the crap we are seeing currently.  What made America great was our fight for freedom, our independent spirits, our ingenuity, our grit, our kindness, our ability to love one and other, our ability to unite as one people.

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

small art

Small art is anything but. They are a little jewel boxes of works of art that you can tuck into small corners in your home. You can even tuck them into bookcases.

My friend Sherry Tillman, who is an artist and owns a store in Ardmore, PA called Past*Present*Future used to have an artist show hang in her store occasionally during First Friday Main Line events called a "Square Deal".

This "Square Deal" was a show that always intrigued me – it was a show of literally small art as in inches big that was affordable to everyone, and helped spread the principle of art in unexpected places and didn't intimidate people. Because that is the thing about art – it shouldn't intimidate people but it often does.

A lot of people when it comes to the art in their homes are hung up with names and value. To me it is more important to have something hanging that you love to look at, versus an actual monetary value.

Nothing is worth anything if it does not bring you pleasure when it comes to art. And beautiful art can be sourced from all sorts of places and doesn't have to cost a lot.

For example, one of my favorite pieces in my home has no real value and I found it quite literally on a trash pile before a home in Haverford, PA was demolished years ago near the Haverford School. It had meant something to the occupants of the home at one time, but it wasn't anything that would ever have resale value so after the property was sold the house with everything that was left inside of it was demolished. This one piece was left propped up with bags and bags and boxes of trash and I happened to see it walking my dogs. So I took it off the trash pile, and had it reframed.

Again, nothing valuable, I just like it.

And that is how I have chosen my art. Do I like it when I see it? Does it evoke emotion in me? Do I think it's pretty?

I have never forgotten those "Square Deal" art shows. They have made me mindful of the beauty of small pieces, so when I see ones that I love I don't pass them by.

Recently I found three very small pieces. Not expensive, in fact so inexpensive you might term them "cheap" yet there's nothing "cheap" about them.

These pieces are Chester County scenes and they are literally inches big. None of them are signed that I can determine, but I think they're beautiful.

I just tucked them into little spots around my house. And there they will hang, bringing me pleasure.

I have written before about how you can find art all over the place. You can find artists hanging art at local fairs and festivals. You can find art at garage and yard sales and even estate sales. You can pick art out of barns, and find it in thrift shops and consignment stores. The piece just above this paragraph is a little winter scene oil painting. I paid six dollars for it. It is about 3" x 5". Tiny and I love it.

You can also find reasonably priced art of lesser known artists at local galleries. It doesn't have to be expensive – the most basic of rules (again) is you just have to like it.

The only person you need to impress with your art choices is yourself. Art is a very personal thing – just ask any artist who creates. And don't forget as we grow as human beings, often or tastes will change or evolve. So you don't have to be wed to pieces. You can swap things out.

Twenty years ago I would've looked at people like they were crazy if someone mentioned to me how cool small art was. Today, I totally get it and appreciate it.

Experiment with small art. And always remember you can source local art probably more inexpensively wherever you live then the fake art canvases you will find at stores like Home Goods or TJ Maxx.

When you find yourself a piece of local art it ties you to where you are from no matter where you move in the course of your life. Small art is portable. And to me the other thing that is important to me is someone actually took the time to create it, it just wasn't an image transferred in a factory onto a canvas.

One of the great things about living in Chester County is the fact that there is a thriving arts scene. You can find beautiful quality pieces hanging in local galleries and shops, festivals, fairs, and so on. And one of the things I love is the abundance of small pieces out there that you can buy to experiment with.

Small art. It's a good thing 😊

Thanks for stopping by.

drivers have rights too

I am all for cycling. But as a driver I have rights too.

I was driving on Ravine Road in East Whiteland. It's twisty and narrow. The cyclists were not going one by one up the road, they were traveling a couple across which would not have made for safe passing. (And it's a road where you could not even pass safely in my opinion.)

So I put on my hazards and stayed behind them at literally a snail's pace. And these two cyclists in front of me were talking to each other on their way up the hill. No offense to them, but they were on a windy and narrow public road with cars behind them and opposite them, not a nature trail.

And when they got up to where Ravine meets West King, you can see clearly in the second photo where they just migrated across the road without even the courtesy of a hand signal.

Once years ago when I worked in Conshohocken, on my way to work traveling down Conshohocken State Road which is another windy and somewhat hilly narrow road, I passed by police and paramedics tending to a cyclist who had been hit. I never forgot that scene. It was horrible.

I have a lot of friends who cycle, and they're courteous to drivers. When you run into cyclists like this who seemed so oblivious to their surroundings and vehicles, this is why motorists get frustrated with cyclists.

Please cyclists, we as motorists are trying to be courteous and cautious when you are on the road with us. Please afford us the same courtesy.

“the cut”

As I said in 2013 when I first wrote about Duffy’s Cut, ¬†given the clouds of mystery and intrigue still surrounding Duffy‚Äôs Cut, I think the foggy afternoon ¬†I photographed the historical marker was perfect. ¬†You can never truly move forward into the future if you can‚Äôt honor the past, or that is just my opinion as a mere mortal and female.

I have written before about Duffy’s Cut and thanks to my friend Dr. Bill Watson at Immaculata, I have been blessed to have been to see ¬†Duffy’s Cut twice. ¬†And no, you can’t just go, you need permission. There is private property of homeowners and AMTRAK involved, and those who show callous disregard for either put the project at risk. ¬†So please, don’t just go exploring. ¬†Dr. Watson and his brother Rev. Watson and their team have worked so hard.

My last Duffy’s Cut adventure was about a year ago. ¬†I was invited to accompany them on a brief dig last summer. I was with the Duffy’s Cut team and teachers attending the¬†National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) ¬†Duffy‚Äôs Cut Teachers Institute. Everyone was so warm and welcoming to a non-educator. It was an experience I will never, ever forget.

Earlier this year, a new film on Duffy’s Cut was released. ¬†“The Cut”¬† by Irish American Films. I was originally supposed to attend the premiere of the documentary film at Immaculata, and this was yet another thing my blasted knee at the time did not allow me to do.

But I bought the DVD and it has sat on my desk, haunting me until today.  Amazing.  It is amazing. So very good and true.

In the very beginning of the film they discuss the “Irish Need Not Apply” of it all. I have personal family memories attached to that. ¬†When I was little my maternal grandfather (whom I called Poppy) would tell me stories of how the Irish were persecuted at different times in this country (John Francis Xavier Gallen¬†was Irish and born in the late 19th century) . When he was a little boy, my great grandmother Rebecca Nesbitt Gallen was in service and was¬†the summer housekeeper to the Cassatt Family in Haverford. If I recall correctly, he lost a lot of family during the Spanish Flu Pandemic of the early 20th century, but I digress. Poppy would tell me of anti-Irish sentiment and tales of ‚ÄúIrish need not apply‚ÄĚ.

I remember feeling wide eyed and incredulous as a child hearing that.

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child”

~1 Corinthians 13:11 

Yes, it was kind of like that. ¬†Because today I heard that phrase again, in The Cut, as an adult. ¬†And I recall the wonderful (and recent) series by Sam Katz, “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment” (which you can watch in it’s entirety online at 6ABC).¬†¬†¬† Sam Katz also discussed the plight of the Irish immigrant in his series.

Today as I watched this brilliant documentary that is so honest and true, I was struck by it all again. ¬†I was also struck by the parallels ¬†into the world today in which we live. Power, political power, the almost¬†obfuscation ¬†of the law, prejudice, religious persecution. ¬†Here we are, residents of a country where out very forefathers fought and bled and died for our rights, our inalienable rights, and look how we treat one and other? And even in 1832, when the Revolutionary War wouldn’t have been as distant a memory, let alone the War of 1812, right?

This area in 1832 was farming and countryside and rather rural. ¬†These Irish rail workers were discriminated ¬†against, abused, persecuted, and ultimately murdered. And one who was complicit? A fellow Irishman named Philip Duffy. ¬†He was by most accounts a bully who exploited these men and women who had traveled thousands of miles to a different country in the hopes of a better life. ¬†Of course by the very nature of how Duffy treated these workers, he was was also a big coward, wasn’t he? The Philip Duffys of this world persist throughout history, don’t they?

This documentary also delves into the politics and political climate of the time, which seemed somewhat chaotic.  I have to ask have we evolved enough from then? It seems like history is so often doomed to repeat itself unless we take the steps to be part of the change, right?

I am the child of immigrants, including Irish. ¬†I am not related to any of these workers (at least that I know of), but this inconvenient history of Duffy’s Cut hits me at the core of my being every time I read about it. ¬†These dead men could have been my ancestors, or yours, or anyone’s. These men and women mattered. All Americans are the descendants of immigrants. It is how the U.S.A. was founded, remember?

I was struck by an interview of Walt Hunter, Duffy’s Cut Board Member, supporter and long time KYW TV 3 reporter in Philadelphia. ¬†He spoke about having a certain feeling when onsite at Duffy’s Cut. ¬†I totally get it, I have felt it twice. ¬†It’s a feeling, a knowing, an awareness that great evil happened there.

You can buy a copy of “The Cut” through Irish American Films. ¬†I strongly recommend it.

Also Dr. Bill Watson and his brother , Rev. Frank Watson can always use our continued support of this magnificent and historically important archaeological project. ¬†Donate to The Duffy’s Cut Project.¬†¬† You can donate via the Duffy’s Cut website, just look for the little round button partway down the front page of the website with the PayPal icon. Or click here to see the Duffy’s Cut Donation Page. You can also donate via Square and checks are graciously accepted.

Donations can be made directly to Duffy’s Cut Project by check or money order and mailed to:
Duffy’s Cut Project
C/O William Watson
21 Faculty Center
Immaculata, PA 19345-0667

 

This history of Duffy’s Cut is so important. ¬†Yes it is ugly and brutal and raw. ¬†It is a true tale of the horrific things human beings do to one and other. ¬†But this was so awful that I totally understand why people literally tried to make this whole part of American history, local Chester County history, disappear. To the descendants of anyone involved, I am truly sorry. ¬†It doesn’t matter that it was 1832, it’s so ugly. ¬†But the dead will not rest until the workers are all discovered and honored. ¬†And that will be a good thing.

Please support Duffy’s Cut.

Recent Duffy’s Cut in the media articles include:

 Promising discovery in 1830s deaths of Irish rail workers on the Main Line
Updated: JULY 13, 2017 ‚ÄĒ 3:45 PM EDT¬†by Genevieve Glatsky, STAFF WRITER (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Daily Local: Duffy’s Cut: Search continues for 19th-century railroad workers’ graves in Malvern

By Bill Rettew, brettew@dailylocal.com
POSTED: 06/10/17, 5:30 AM EDT

CBS3 KYW: Brothers Work To Recover The Rest Of Duffy’s Cut Remains

Delco (Daily) Times Local filmmakers create Irish-American programs to celebrate culture

By Peg DeGrassa, POSTED: 03/06/17, 9:16 PM EST

the pipeline destruction of chester county breaks my heart

The ugliness of the Sunoco pipeline takes my breath away every time I see it.

Where there once were trees and beautiful landscapes, all you see is destruction. It’s now a barren, jagged, raped landscape.

I travel down Boot Road, 352, and similar roads and I see the little orange flags that mean what once was someone’s front yard will now be pipeline. I have seen photos all over social media of people’s gardens dying because of what Sunoco has done to the landscape.

Every time you see land that was once graceful and lovely or even just had trees that now has become all jagged and bare and dotted with construction equipment and orange construction fencing you can’t help but wonder how can they not see this? How can they not care? How can our elected officials seemingly not care?

Sunoco has just stomped along and taken what it wants, when it wants, like a big corporate bully that it is. And the people working for them often seem lacking in respect in my opinion for the residents a lot of the time. We all understand that they have jobs to do and families of their own to feed, but do you think they could even be a little bit more considerate where they are parking at times?

Sunoco’s talking heads will tell everyone how they care, but really? Do they think we are stupid? We know they don’t care…..except about their bottom line of course.

It’s like the inalienable rights that we are all supposed to have as US citizens and even as residents of Pennsylvania mean nothing.

And how will we benefit from the pipeline? I don’t think we will and only corporate greed will benefit, correct? How is any of this being done for us?

It would be great if politicians enamored of big gas and big oil would travel the roads and see what we see. Let them deal personally with their land that is part of their home being stolen via eminent domain. (And in my opinion it’s also eminent domain for private gain which is detestable. ) Let these politicians personally deal with wondering if their kids are safe, their first responders are safe, and the drinking water is safe, right? Let them watch their real estate values plummet, right?

So how about it Governor Tom Wolf? U.S. Senator Pat Toomey? Congressman Pat Meehan? Care to walk a mile in the shoes of Chester County, PA and Delaware County, PA residents? Never mind, don’t bother answering we know you don’t care.

This pipeline is a referendum on why we must choose our elected officials on every level better. It might be an off year election this fall but it’s never too early to start. It’s time to clean political house in Pennsylvania.

savoring summer

Summer always means fresh pesto sauce. And fresh pesto is totally easy to make.

All it is is olive oil, huge bunches of fresh basil, salt to taste, fresh garlic cloves, a pinch of thyme, a sweet onion, a dash or two of balsamic vinegar,and a red bell pepper if you have one laying around.

Today I probably used about a cup and a half of olive oil. I easily used four cups of fresh basil because my plants need it to be pruned.

You blend it all together in a food processor or blender and you let it sit in the refrigerator to chill so the flavors meld. When you go to heat it up with pasta you can add pine nuts and grated fresh Parmesan cheese. I also like to sauté chicken tenders and add that to a pesto and pasta dish.

People also use pesto sauce in vegetable soups like tomato in particular. Some people also like to add anchovies and sun-dried tomatoes, but I don't really care for that taste combination with pesto sauces .

Often homemade pesto will not be as thick and gummy as store-bought pesto sauces but those sauces have thickeners and / or preservatives in them. I love homemade pesto sauce, store-bought not so much.

I will also note that I saw the "West Chester Food Co-Op" is advertising a Gazpacho Adaluz (I put them in air quotes because they aren't a real bricks and mortar store they are just a booth I don't understand at the West Chester Growers Market. ) So I thought I would remind my dear readers that I shared such a recipe with you five years ago. It is called Kendall's Gazpacho as it is named after my late mother in law who bought the recipe back from Spain many decades ago.

Click here for the recipe to Kendall's Gazpacho. and the photo you see below is a batch of the gazpacho I made recently. The color of the soup is determined by the color of your vegetables. So when I use green bell pepper it stays green. When I use an orange or red bell pepper, the soup takes a red or orange hue. This is different from other gazpachos and doesn't actually have as many tomatoes as you would put in one of those.

Anyway I hope you make yourselves a batch of pesto and/or gazpacho before the end of the summer. The flavors of fresh vegetables this time of year can't be beat!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen.

this is not o.k.

This is a photo which has been haunting me since yesterday.

It was taken by someone in the area in a hot grocery store parking lot while waiting for police to respond. Photo was taken in a public parking lot.

Look at that little face. Left in a parked car in the heat.

This little dog was left in a car when the outside temperature was still 88° according to one Good Samaritan's cell phone.

Eighty-eight degrees.

There was NO air conditioning turned on, car was not running, windows were cracked.

That is NOT sufficient in the heat. You can't just crack the windows and leave.

I do NOT understand how local police can bend over backwards with safe summer tips for human beings large and small and pets in cars, as well as all the media releases which occur similarly, and finally the tragic media reports we hear EVERY year of small children and pets left in hot cars in the summer and we still see things like this?

I do not know the outcome here, police responded within a couple of minutes I am told. Which makes me hopeful everything turned out O.K. Please….don't be afraid to call police when you see something like this- better safe than sorry.

Please do not leave your pets and humans unattended in hot cars in the summer. Unless the only thing you want to have is the memory of a little face staring back at you like this…from a photograph.

Our pets in particular offer us the great gift of unconditional love. Please honor that love.