okay 2020, can we cry uncle now?

Classic Diner Photo

It has been a day. I thought I was having a bad day with all my biggest pots blown over and things blown to bits in the garden until I started seeing the pictures my friends were taking.

But for the grace of God go any of us. Tropical Storm Isaias reminded us when it comes to Mother Nature, just who is the boss.

Earlier PulsePoint had a notification that I knew wasn’t good but oh these poor people!

Source: Facebook. Sproul Rd East Whiteland.

All over the region and into other states, the weather was horrible. What they think were tornadoes that even took down billboards in Delaware near Odessa, DE. See these photos posted by New Castle County Paramedics:

And then there’s the stuff that’s hitting the news. Like the Darby Creek flooding like crazy. Or this video sent to me by a friend who lives adjacent to the Schuylkill River:

Schuylkill River and flooded neighborhoods in Roxborough

One photo I saw today came from Long Branch, New Jersey. It was a new house being built and it looks like a bunch of match sticks. Really gives you pause about new construction doesn’t it?

New house being built in Long Branch, NJ reduced to rubble by today’s storm.

And then of course there are all the photos of all the trees down around here.

I think one of the things that floors me the most are the photos that were taken by the people at the Classic Diner in Malvern. Much like my friend’s photo from Long Branch, NJ it provokes the need for a serious conversation on development and stormwater management. Of course it also provokes the conversation of why do people drive through flood water like that?

Hershey’s Mill Road East Goshen where the dam used to be. Facebook photo.

But the more our area gets developed the more flooding we will experience because the water has nowhere to go. And also there’s the whole thing of global warming and changing weather patterns. It seems like we get more and more of these “hundred year storms”.

Please stay safe out there, we have more flood water on the way after this storm. Thank you to all the people who kindly lent their photos to me, Facebook and other social media sites.

And as a general life commentary, I don’t know about you but I am definitely over 2020. It’s the year where the hits keep on coming.

Classic Diner photo. Source: Facebook

socially distancing sale saturday in chadds ford

It’s a beautiful weekend and my friend Lisa is having a sale! Social distancing must be observed and masks, please.

Brandywine View Antiques 1244 Baltimore Pike Chadds Ford PA. #shoplocal

playing mad scientist with sourdough bread

So since March, you all know I have been learning about bread, specifically sourdough (read this post and this post). It has been quite the process and learning curve.

Bread is literally a science to learn, and it’s also trial and error. as I said to my friend Chad who owns the Master‘s Baker in West Chester yesterday it is a fascinating process to see how things like even the weather affects your bread baking.

I am now working with two strains of sourdough starter. One came from my friend Tracey Deschaine who owns Dixie Picnic in Malvern, and the other strain comes from San Francisco and has a very old strain of starter. As in more than a century old. You can find these strains from places like San Francisco and Europe and I wanted to try one just to see.

So what I’ve discovered in my learning curve here is I like the San Francisco instructions better for feeding the starter, but I use Tracey‘s recipe for making a loaf of bread. The difference between the San Francisco and local instructions for feeding the starter is they suggest you use distilled water. So I’ve been using distilled water. It seems to make a difference. We are on a well here and there are a lot of minerals in the water.

When I make up my dough I use half San Francisco starter and half Dixie Picnic starter. They both live in my refrigerator side-by-side like thing one and thing two when I am not feeding them or using them up to bake with. I’ve also discovered that getting my starter out the night before I wish to prepare dough is more effective.

I don’t know if this is all right or wrong but I am feeling way way through and it’s nice to be conquering my fear of bread making. Because before this I didn’t think I could do it.

But I am discovering I can and it’s kind of fun!

Next up? Learning how to make other kinds of bread. My husband gave me this awesome bread cookbook for a present. It’s called Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast. It’s an awesome book.

Stay cool today and I hope everyone’s enjoying the holiday weekend. Thanks for stopping by!

new penn med at radnor is spectacular!

Inside looking out to the courtyard and newly planted gardens

Today I had my second Mohs surgery for skin cancer. I had another one two years ago. Today my procedure was in the brand new Penn Medicine at Radnor At 145 King of Prussia Road in Radnor.

Reception in the front.

It was a little dicey getting into the new complex because the brand new PennDOT installed left turn arrow light was broken. And there is road work going on. But then you see the new building and a big parking garage. If you have gone to Penn Medicine in Radnor over the years at the old location you know one of the biggest problems has always been parking, so this is welcome.

It’s a giant building. It’s pristine and amazing. I did get lost but I think that is because I was so used to the old building.

Central registration

The two wings of the new building have an amazing courtyard in the middle complete with a garden. The garden in the center of Chester County Hospital is one of my favorite things about the hospital so I’m really glad they did this year as well. it has little tables and benches and once things are more opened up I’m sure people will be able to sit outside.

When you go in you are greeted by reception and they take your temperature. They then direct you to where you were going when I got upstairs to where I was going which was on the third floor, the first thing I saw getting off the elevator was central registration where I checked in.

One thing I did not care for as I was charged a co-pay and I was not supposed to be charged a co-pay today because I was there for a day surgical procedure. But I think those are kinks they will work out in this new registration process. That step did occur at the old building.

The exam rooms are bright and spacious and so are the waiting room areas. What I am missing however, is all the art from the Delaware Valley Art League they hung on the walls of the old building. My exam room had a view of the natural pond being built. It had a couple families of Canadian geese complete with goslings so it was really kind of fun to see.

This is an amazing building that one commissioner in Radnor Township in particular fought and still is. Commissioner Booker, please give it up. It is an amazing and necessary facility and you’re lucky they didn’t leave Radnor Township…because they could have.

Well my face literally hurts so that is all from me today.

Thanks for stopping by.

bbq season is here! get the best at farm boy fresh in malvern!

Let me start by saying Farm Boy Fresh is on Toast Tab now. And in our COVID19 world you can order BBQ ahead for pick-up the next day. Yes next day. BBQ like this is an art form, trust me. They are weekends right now until Pennsylvania truly opens up.

Chef Paul Marshall

Back to the beginning.

Farm Boy Fresh photo – loading up the smoker for all of their happy customers

You all know I love the food from Farm Boy Fresh. And I had just started going there when stay at home orders and COVID19 hit. So I have been waiting. Last week I found out that Chef Paul Marshall was taking barbecue orders and I thought it would make a perfect Father’s Day treat for my husband. So I placed an order for brisket, ribs, chicken, sides and they should be illegal little key lime pies.

I went at my pick up time with my husband and our food was ready and waiting for us. We had a chance to visit with Paul and his lovely wife Julie, and oh my there is no barbecue in this area like his.

My husband was barely in the house sampling it and declared it “superior“ to anything else around here. I love barbecue when it’s good but we haven’t had any really good barbecue in years in this area right or wrong. Farm Boy Fresh has just elevated BBQ to the next level. (Guy Fieri are you listening? You might want to visit in your shiny red car.)

I am just sharing about Farm Boy Fresh again because I love their food. I want everyone to know that because a lot bloggers are compensated and I am not. I am just a happy customer of Farm Boy Fresh.

I will close with saying now I understand why people say good barbecue brisket is like a religious experience.

I hope you will place an order and enjoy the old-fashioned but never out of style tastes of summer. And let Chef Paul know that you read about Farm Boy Fresh on this blog!

Farm Boy Fresh. Located at the Sunoco at 7 Lancaster Avenue, Malvern PA19355.

Please note that for now until everything opens up in Pennsylvania, Farm Boy Fresh is open weekends 9 AM to 2 PM. And yes proper social distancing is being observed in my opinion. Find them on Facebook if you have questions.

sourdough day 2

So this morning I got my sourdough starter out of the refrigerator and mixed up my first batch of dough ever. I wrote about day 1 yesterday. So welcome to day 2.

I will remind everyone that this is not my recipe, the recipe and instructions come courtesy of Tracey Deschaine who owns Dixie Picnic a marvelous scratch kitchen in Malvern/Frazer. If you live locally I hope you will patronize her business and she has been one of the bright lights in this whole stay at home of it all during COVID-19 by gifting starter and selling flour to those who wish to try.

I will be honest and say it took me almost a month to get fresh flour. Everyone has been sold out of it and even King Arthur is on a backlog for catalog ordering. But because of the generosity of Tracey some of us have been able to buy it when needed.

I actually have made bread before. Even focaccia. I took a baking class with Patricia Polin the pastry chef at The Master’s Baker. But I didn’t venture into bread making solo until now. Bread is like a fun science experiment!

So I used the food scale just like Patricia and Tracey taught me and measured out:

10 oz. of sourdough starter

8 oz. warm water

1 lb. bread flour

1.5 oz. of canola oil. (Tracey calls for Crisco but never use it so I don’t have it)

1.5 ounces of oil ends up being 9 teaspoons.

So I followed Tracey‘s instructions and first I mixed the water and starter and then I added the rest. I mixed the dough until it came together and was smooth and pliable in the bowl. I then let it rest covered with a linen towel at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

Then Tracey‘s recipe asks for 0.5 oz (0.8 TBSP) of salt. That’s roughly 2.4 teaspoons. I mixed the salt into the dough and kneaded until the salt was all incorporated and the dough was once again smooth. You can feel the little granules of salt and when you stop feeling them it’s mixed.

I then took my dough and put it in a clean lightly oiled second mixing bowl and covered it with saran wrap. It will sit there and rise at room temperature for about eight hours until I take the next step.

I also decided to grow my starter again today so I could just bake next week again. The last picture in this post will show you that my bread is already starting to grow in size.

What I will do later is shape the dough and de-gas it, i.e. punch it down to remove large air bubbles. Then it will rest on a cookie sheet covered with the saran wrap I use to cover the ball this morning until tomorrow in the refrigerator. Then I bring it out to start the final process before baking.

So stay tuned and fingers crossed that I can do this right and make Tracey proud!

learning something new: sourdough bread

Our friend Tracey who owns a local scratch kitchen called Dixie Picnic is an amazing bread baker. One of her breads I love is her sourdough.

Well she gifted me some of her starter. So today I grew it. You can see the result in the above photo. The black line on the jar is where it was before I “fed it“.

I popped my starter back in to the refrigerator and tomorrow I will make my dough, and the next day I will bake. She gave me really clear step by step instructions and it’s kind of a three day process.

I used to be very intimidated by making bread but she and other people have encouraged me to learn and I’m having a whole lot of fun!

I have heard stories of people who have had the same strain of starter for decades. That blows my mind! I found an article where it talks about starter that’s over 100 years old and that was in 2011. There was an article in 2018 about Sourdough starter that was over 120 years old! That’s a crazy kind of antique to have, right?

Even recently in San Francisco this kind of a cool thing has started happening. A mystery person has set up a Sourdough kiosk offering how to make bread with it. And apparently it’s 100 year old starter. I think it’s really cool! Seriously… a phantom baker with what is supposed to be San Francisco’s oldest starter and only a couple of people have or had it.

Phantom Bakers Sharing Sourdough Starter In Walnut Creek By NEWS24-680 – Apr 26, 2020

If someone famous hasn’t already said the true measure of a community is how it rises to help others during a time of crisis – we’ll say it now.
Over in Walnut Creek, outside the entrance to Buena Vista Elementary off San Juan Avenue, an anonymous baker with a talent for making sourdough bread is sharing the wealth with neighbors.
A self-help kiosk complete with a recipe and history of the starter – which is over 100 years old (attached below) – along with sample containers of precious starter are fresh and replenished every day.

The history of sourdough bread and sourdough starter is fascinating to me. And I never knew about it until I started doing research after Tracey gave me some starter.

I also discovered this article:

Before DIY sourdough starters became popular, there was home economics Mary-Leah de Zwart, University of British Columbia May 5, 2020 4.30pm EDT

My niece is sheltering at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s making sourdough starter for the first time because she couldn’t find any dry yeast. It’s like having a newborn for the first three days — keep warm, stir three or four times a day, watch for bubbles, feed regularly after use. On cold winter nights, old-timers used to take their sourdough starter to bed with them.
Meanwhile flour is also scarce. A well-known flour company has run out of its usual bright yellow bags and has to use white ones instead. It seems everyone is baking these days.
Questions come to mind. Are people re-enacting the traditional household activities of their mothers and grandmothers? Does this signal a massive change in society?

We don’t really know. Søren Kierkegaard, the father of existentialism, once wrote that we live life forwards and understand it backwards. People may simply be stocking up on baking supplies while they’re in quarantine. It may or may not be largely limited to women who are baking.

Caring for one’s sourdough starter will not alleviate the fear of loss of control, but, as psychologists suggest, it offers the physical and emotional comfort of working with one’s hands. It makes me wonder if people are trying to remember what their home economics teachers taught them, or wishing they had taken home economics electives.

I have found some things on the Internet for those of you who are interested in learning how to do sourdough bread:

King Arthur Flour: Sourdough Starter

All Recipes: Sourdough Starter

The Clever Carrot: Sourdough Bread: A Beginner’s Guide

You Tube: The Ultimate Sourdough Bread

You Tube: I Love Cooking Sourdough Masterclass

Tasty: How To Make Homemade Sourdough Bread

Taste of Home: Country Crust Sourdough Bread

Food Network Sourdough Bread

Knead Not Sourdough Recipe | Alton Brown | Food Network

haters gonna hate

Haters gonna hate COVID19 shaming style

Hey Taylor Swift you are so right, haters are gonna hate. And when I agreed to be interviewed by Bill Rettew for The Daily Local this was one of the things that I told him often happened to bloggers. No not mommy bloggers who write about Disney or who are compensated bloggers for pimping out products in exchange for compensation, or bloggers who stick to sharing about gardening, crafts, cooking, i.e. safe topics. I mean bloggers like me who tackle local issues, current events, and even politics.

As long as I color inside the lines, I am good. But the minute I am vocal about things that concern me, or even current events including the COVID-19/coronavirus, I am somehow a bad person, someone who must be targeted, disciplined, called out. According to these people who do these things you aren’t supposed to speak, you definitely aren’t supposed to care about your community or the greater good.

The reporter had wanted to talk to me because before Coronavirus full onset had happened and it was essentially a news topic because it was happening overseas, I went to a horticultural event that ended up having Chester County’s 2nd coronavirus victim also in attendance. Public health reports on this person, a man much younger than I came out a week after the event, just as we were all getting glimpses of what is now our new normal. The reports stated he had mild symptoms and was at home.

I stated all along and it’s true, that when I got to this event which had been going since early in the morning that Saturday it was close to their ending time. I went to see a specific plant vendor and to buy a book. There weren’t many people there in that part of the event. There were a lot of people in the actual meeting house across the way, but I did not have tickets for those talks and wasn’t in that building at all.

I was in and out in a short amount of time and went home. Yes, I was less than happy when I found out I was at an event with someone who tested positive. But I did and my family did exactly as we were told to do by my doctors at Penn Medicine AND the county. We took the most conservative approach. I was NON symptomatic. We all were. It meant NO symptoms. NO fever. NO cough. NON SYMPTOMATIC .

Today I am off self-quarantine. Yesterday after 5 PM my lovely husband went to the CVS drive thru to pick up my cancer and thyroid meds we could not get for days because of self-quarantine. Medicine that is not an option for me and I was running out. If I can’t pick up the meds, he is the only other person as my spouse who can get them.

After he got my meds, he stopped at a local business that was essentially empty to pick up beer. A friend’s business that was closing last night until the governor says businesses which are non-essential can re-open. Social distancing was observed and paying by card he and the clerk at the counter had zero contact.

My husband came home and literally wiped down the whole inside of the car, everything he bought home and washed his hands. We had dinner.

Then the comment appeared as captured above by a screenshot. Oh goody, a stalker. You will note the made up profile name. Before I blocked and reported them, I looked at the profile. Nothing real about it. Just someone looking for an A-Ha moment to get at me. And how creepy was it they were ummm seeming to follow my husband around? It makes you wonder if they drive up and down your street too and go through your trash, doesn’t it?

People sometimes disgust me and this is one of those moments. They would not target a traditional journalist or writer like this, just me as a blogger. The point of transparency and education since I decided to talk about this first on my blog and then to a reporter escapes them. They just wanted to get at me, shame me.

But what did this person do instead when they chose to do this? They actually discouraged other people from coming forward to report they had been around someone who was exposed.

Think about it, I know I did the right thing by reporting that I had been at an event where a COVID19 victim was. The event did the right thing by telling us that poor person was in attendance, but if you hadn’t bought lecture tickets, they had no way of knowing specifically who was there. So how many people do you think who may have stopped at this event actually reported they were there like I did?

People are scared about this virus . I am scared about this virus. My one and only sister and one of my step-siblings live in New York City which was described as a virus epicenter with among the most victims in the US I think.

So shame on whomever this person is for rolling up with personal animus and misinformation. I will note they should be more concerned about the groups of kids and people still out there going around barriers to closed playgrounds and basketball courts because those groups of people in close contact like THAT? They are the ones who are going to spread the virus.

I am doing my part and so is my family. Instead of trying to stalk, harass, call out your friendly neighborhood blogger, why don’t you do your part and take care of your family?

I will note that the comments have since disappeared. I don’t know why or how or who. It’s just discouraging that even at times like this as people are trying to pull together and do the right thing, some people just suck.

more foodie fun….in glenmoore!

It is just a foodie fun weekend this weekend. This evening we went to Glenmoore Deli and Country Market which is located at 1941 Creek Road, Glenmoore, PA 19343. (Phone 610-942-4321)

The proprietress/chef is Christie Keith and she is another kitchen wizard I am lucky to know. Her place is a cool little joint in the delightfully sleepy village of Glenmoore. It’s a weekend breakfast and lunch place and it’s another hidden gem that more need to visit.

I will warn you, it’s a cell signal no man’s land, so call ahead to make sure they are open and when you get there, you unplug and enjoy your meal.

I know, I know I have kind of turned into a breakfast and lunch and brunch person. It’s what I really like.

Every once in a while, Christie does a special dinner. There is no liquor license here, so you can BYOB but a lot of people just don’t. There is always some wonderful teas or lemonade or coffee or infused water served.

This evening it was a Polish dinner. It was nothing short of amazing. Pierogis that were delicious and light and fluffy. Kielbasa. Tiny meatballs on fresh arugula. Borscht. All sorts of homemade fresh pickles. Cucumber salad. Kolaczki. Honey Almond Cake.

It was delicious. We were seated with a lovely local couple as the tables are sort of family style after a fashion. People came with their families, and young and old and every age in between, we just enjoyed a wonderful meal.

Christie is calling this her Comfort Food Series and we can’t wait for the next one!

Check out Glenmoore Deli and Country Market for breakfast or lunch one weekend. They have a Facebook page so keep an eye out for Christie’s next fun dining adventure!