Sunday, July 20, 2008


I came home from work on Friday, opened the door, and the first thing I said was, "Dude!"

The scene of the crime

So about a quarter of the time when we get home we find that Mac has escaped his pen by the bed. We don't know how soon after we leave that he escapes, but he hasn't had an accident in the house for at least a month and hasn't really destroyed anything so I haven't worried too much. I do, however, wish to keep him penned to give Ayla a break from him pestering her - though they probably both just nap anyway. Back to the picture above, though, I had noticed his interest the night before in a cat scratcher we keep on the lower shelf of the cat tree in the photo. Sometime during the day he escaped his pen, pulled the cardboard out of the scratcher, and shredded it, leaving bits of cardboard and catnip everywhere. When I came in he innocently jumped out of the chair he was sleeping in and came to greet me. I could only laugh. After all, Gretel didn't even use the scratcher and he hasn't destroyed anything else, or shown interest in destroying anything else. He's nearly ready to be left out all day I guess. And it could be worse.

We saw The Dark Knight yesterday. We got in to the theater just as the movie was starting, missing the ten minutes of previews that attend a matinée, thinking we were going to a later showing. That worked out quite nicely. The movie was pretty good, with decent action scenes and good acting. Heath Ledger was fairly chilling as The Joker. But it seems to me that movies lately don't trust the audience to understand what is happening. Rather than have good dialog and let the story speak for itself, they resort to telling the audience the what and the why of what is happening. This makes the emotional connection to the story tenuous at best, and while critics are lauding the movie for how dark and emotional The Dark Knight is, I rather disagree. I wasn't allowed to forge my own connection to the characters and story and understand the movie; they told me what to think and how to feel. I think that's a shame and undercuts the power of a story. This seems like a lot of thought to put into Batman, but its a trend I don't like. And I did quite enjoy the movie, which is perhaps why this patronizing irks me so.

Okay, now that that's off my chest... I just finished reading the last of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. Its bittersweet - I very much enjoyed the story and read voraciously, not being to wait to find out what happened next, but I hate when a story ends. I want to follow the characters more, find out what happens next in their lives, especially when the story has covered six books of roughly 1,000 pages each. That's quite an investment, and I don't want it to end. I do recommend this series though, what Chris took to calling my "romantic time machine" books. She does have three ancillary books, following a character from the Outlander series, that I am excited to read. But perhaps first I'll take a break with another author... Suggestions?

Finally, we visited with some friends for lunch today. When I asked what I could bring I was very happy to hear "dessert." So this...

Bing and Rainier Cherries

... became this:

Sweet Cherry Pie
from Martha Stewart

2 pounds Bing cherries, pitted and halved (I used 2/3 Bing, 1/3 Rainier)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
All-purpose flour, for rolling
large egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
1 tablespoon turbinado or granulated sugar, for sprinkling
Pie crust (I used a pre-made crust from Pillsbury)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in lowest position. On a floured piece of parchment paper, roll one disk of dough to a 14-inch round. Wrap dough around rolling pin; unroll over a 9-inch pie plate. Gently fit into bottom and sides of plate (do not stretch dough). Using kitchen shears, trim dough to a 1-inch overhand all around. In a large bowl, combine cherries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice; toss until cherries are coated. Pour into prepared bottom crust.
  2. On a floured piece of parchment paper, roll second disk of dough to a 14-inch round. Cut into eight 1 1/2-inch-wide strips; discard the shortest two. Weave strips over filling to form a lattice (see photo, page 28). Using kitchen shears, trim strips so they hang over rim by 1 inch. Tuck strips under rim of bottom crust; press to seal. Crimp with a fork all around the edge.
  3. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush lattice with egg wash, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  4. Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until filling is bubbling rapidly all over, 60 to 70 minutes (tent with aluminum foil when crust starts to brown, about 40 minutes). Transfer pie to a wire rack, and let cool to room temperature, at least 3 hours.
What I learned: A cherry-pitter would be a useful tool if you use a lot of cherries. My fingers are still a little stained from halving and pitting two pounds of cherries with a knife. But it was almost meditative once I got into the rhythm, so maybe I wouldn't want another kitchen tool after all. Although... a pastry wheel to give my lattice top edges a nice scallop cut would be nice though, instead of using my pizza cutter.

1 comment:

Liz and Kurt said...

Kurt and I started listening to Robert Jordan's wheel of time series (science fiction) when we were making tons of trips to PA. He is so long winded, but once you got the hang of his style, we both really liked listening and it made the trips go by faster. When we got to his last one (the 11th book) we were sad that it was over and then he died, so we really know that there won't be any more books.