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Archives for : March1956

Glamoury

I could see the exact right pumps in my mind – a light coral, something that would brighten up my skin under my hose. Easter was always a chance to invest in my pastel collection. I confess to keeping a section in my closet devoted to the shades of Spring. I tend to keep my hatboxes above them as a reminder of the adventure of dressing up.

I’m not a glamourous woman, but I can lean toward glamoury. I know the right ways to hold and wear my gloves to exude a French air. I can even hold a clutch purse without looking like I was holding a big rock. I don’t get too many chances to show off my more formal side while taking care of the children and Steve. Really glamourous women probably don’t have to get down on all fours and scrub their kitchen floors or remove gum from the hair of a little girl who blew a bubble gum bubble too big.

Mags was my true glam model. I once counted the black dresses in her closet and stopped at double digits. In fact, she even had three white dresses that she decorated with spectacular antique pins when she wore them in the Summer. Three. White. The one white dress I had was a shirtwaist and it was perfect for picnics as long as you didn’t sit on the grass.

I did pride myself on my shoe collection but would never have as many as I liked. I often had to show restraint and choose between two I wanted to buy. A glamourous woman would probably choose between two in her closet at home. I must have a little Cinderella in me.

As for jewelry, I play it safe for daytime wear. My wedding band and diamond give me a warm feeling whenever I look down at them. I keep them particularly clean doing a ton of dishes. I wear earrings off and on but my earlobes are delicate and the clips sometimes hurt. I like a cute bangle when I am running errands or shopping. If I could think of a better way to store them all like they do at the jewelry department, I would buy more.

My necklaces are sometimes a lazy mess and they find a way to wrap themselves around each other. The sparkly bling likes to show off and tends to comfortably shine in my jewelry box, making it hard to choose what to wear. Maybe I should adopt a classic look and wear some “signature” pieces but that might not satisfy my need to just add a random piece or two to my collection “just because.” Just because, I’m glamoury.

Apple, Onion, Celery and Herb Stuffing

8 cups (¾-inch-diced) white bread cubes, crusts removed
4 tablespoons ½ stick) unsalted butter
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
1 ½ cups medium-diced celery
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
½ cup medium or dry sherry
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
7 extra-large eggs
2½ cups heavy cream
1¼ cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 cups grated Gruyère cheese, lightly packed (6 ounces with rind), divided

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the bread in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, tossing once, until lightly browned. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large (12-inch) sauté pan over medium-low heat. Stir in the onions, celery, and apple and cook over medium to medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the sherry, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1½ teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until most of the liquid is gone. Off the heat, stir in the parsley.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, cream, chicken stock, and 1½ cups of the Gruyère in a very large bowl. Stir in the bread and the vegetable mixture and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the custard. Pour into a 9 × 13 × 2-inch oven-to-table baking dish. Sprinkle with the ½ cup of Gruyère and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is browned and a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Serve hot.
Make Ahead:
Assemble early in the day, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Bake just before serving

Spring Ahead

My previous angst over the state of my life had taken a back seat to the baby dreams of Gail and Edie. I self-talked through a lot of thoughts about my own life and came to the conclusion that I should do the same thing that we recommended to Gail and Edie – relax a little. The anguish of the actual worrying was keeping me from enjoying the first signs of Spring. I noticed the tops of some crocus bulbs popping up and realized that life was busy around me and new life was possible in many ways.

I followed my time worn answer to boredom – I cut a new recipe out of a magazine for dinner. I don’t like to try out anything too wild on my family but I had noticed a recipe for a moist stuffing recipe that contained more cream than normal. It was filled with herbs, onion, apples and celery. The picture showed a beautifully puffy bread dish. I chopped and measured exactly to insure that it would look the same way after it was baked and served it with pork chops. It was comforting and Steve and the children liked it. I was pretty pleased with myself. It made me think that frustrating moments in life should be followed by initiating something new, like a baking or cooking technique. That may explain why I have become such a good cook and baker. I rarely indulged in sweets but liked the effect baking something sweet had on others. Smiles could be generated easily at the sight of a beautiful cake and adults regularly become children when offered cookies. They are happy moments and it always pleases me to cook for someone else.

Maybe my Spring should contain a big new baking project. My intense examination of brownies last year resulted in my to-go recipe for those. The question was only what to focus on.