Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Anna Sultana’s Pumpkin Cheesecake, Maltese Style

October 21 was ‘Pumpkin Cheesecake Day’.
Hope you had one to celebrate the day.
Pumpkin seems to be everywhere now.

Pumpkin is a popular ingredient in Maltese cooking, especially in vegetable soups.
In coffee drinks, not so much.

According to an early American legend, leaving a half pumpkin open or exposed in any room, but especially the kitchen, attracts negative energies into your home. 
tell that to the gang carving up the family jack-o’-lantern.
Just don’t say anything while they’re holding knives.

Pumpkins are symbols of the fruitfulness of the earth in Autumn time.
Something about their round orange bodies representing the abundance of the Mother Goddess or Mother Earth. 
And those pumpkin seeds…
Pumpkin seeds, when roasted, are a great low calorie snack.
Pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie are said to bring money and luck your way as well.
Low calorie they’re not. 

About that Pumpkin Cheesecake tradition…
The pumpkin will be cluttering up your kitchen after October 31.
You don’t want bad feng shui.
Follow my Ma’s example and make a Pumpkin Cheesecake.


Check cheesecake doneness by gently shaking the pan. 
If the cheesecake is done, it will be set except in the centre that will be soft. 
Do not insert a knife into the centre.  
This may make the cheesecake crack during cooling. 

Want to make the cheesecake in a 9x13-inch pan to serve as small dainties?
No problem.
Line the pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. 
Prepare the cheesecake batters, then spoon into the prepared pan and swirl. 
Bake in a 350°F oven 45 minutes or until centre is almost set. 
Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours. 
Use foil handles to lift cheesecake from pan before cutting to serve.

                        Pumpkin Cheesecake 

Serves 16

Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
Butter the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
Preheat the oven to 350º F

The Crust

Combine in a small bowl
1 1/4 Cups graham wafer crumbs
1/4 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup margarine, melted 
Press the mixture over the bottom of the prepared pan.
Bake 8 minutes.
Place on a rack to cool.
Leave the oven on.

The Filling

Combine in a large mixer bowl
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 Cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat at medium speed until smooth.
Add, one at a time
3 large eggs  
Mix well after each egg is added.
Remove 1 cup of the plain cheesecake filling and set aside.

Add to the filling in the large mixer bowl
1/4 cup sugar
1 Cup pumpkin (canned or cooked and pureed)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Beat at low speed until smooth.  Do not over beat.

Spoon half of the pumpkin cheesecake filling into the prepared pan.
Top with spoonfuls of half the plain cheesecake filling.
Repeat the layers, then swirl gently with a knife. 
Bake for 45 minutes.
The pie should be set around the edges, with a slightly soft centre.
Cool on a wire rack 1 hour.
Keep the cake in the pan, wrap it in foil, and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

About an hour before serving remove the cake from the refrigerator.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan and remove the sides of the pan.
Serve with 
whipped cream
Sprinkle with nutmeg (optional)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I'm Turning 60... plus 5 by Margaret Ullrich

I’m still in a bit of a celebrating my blog's Anniversary mood.
Publishing I’m Turning 60... has been such fun!
I’ve really enjoyed doing this blog and I’m so grateful that you’ve been visiting.

We’re enjoying a mild Autumn this year.
I still have a few tomato plants which are still giving us fruit.
A tossed blanket takes care of them on the nights we’ve dipped below freezing. 
It’s such a treat seeing them by the side door that I don’t mind helping them along.

Soon enough everything will be covered in snow.
But, not now.

I made a few changes - just small tweaks - and I hope you like them.
Since the top posts were listed in the Anniversary post, I added the post to the list that’s on the right side called ‘Handy Pages of Grouped Links & Info’.
I also made a post for the ‘Translate Measurements’ chart.
By removing the two lists, their 20 pictures, and the chart the page loads more quickly.
That’s a good thing.
I’ll make a few more posts that will gather links under one topic and add their posts' links to the list so you will be able to find things more quickly.

A friend asked if I’m going to change the title to I’m Turning 65.
I know I’m not turning 60 any more.
I got my letter and the pension forms to fill out from the government.
In a few months I’ll be a card-carrying, pension-collecting, bone fide senior of 65.

As I mentioned in the Anniversary post  visitors use search keywords to find posts.
Sometimes they even use I’m Turning 60.
It would be confusing to change the name of this blog just to reflect my age, which will keep changing.
Folks know and find me as 60 year old lady.
So, I’ll stay blog-wise as 60 year old lady.

It’s like the television show Two and a Half Men.
Alan's son Jake grew up and left the show.
Charlie Harper's daughter Jenny moved in with Walden and Alan.
But the show is still Two and a Half Men.
It makes it easier to find the show in the television listings.

A couple of weeks ago I posted about Thanksgiving, the blood moon, the eclipse and all the other excitement that was happening in the sky.
I’m sorry that I posted about that on the day of the eclipse.
A friend pointed out that she got her e mail about the post on the day after the post had been published.
So, it was day-old news and useless.

From now on I’ll post about time sensitive topics - like full moons, new moons and eclipses - before they happen.
That way, if there is anything special about something happening that week, you’ll have time to prepare.

Speaking of which…
Thursday night there will be a new moon and a partial solar eclipse.
This is a link for what you need to know so that you can enjoy it safely.
The sun, moon and venus will all be perfectly aligned and close together.
What a month for special effects in the sky!!

About Thursday night’s new moon in Scorpio…
According to the folks at astrology.com:
Some of us have a list of hopes that was composed at a different time of our lives.  They no longer align with who we are now. It’s important to occasionally review this list and make sure that everything on it speaks to where we are at present.

It's time to ditch old emotional baggage so you can move forward. Take advantage of this opportunity to step into your power and transform yourself and your life! 
All solar eclipses initiate an important new cycle. For this one in Scorpio, you receive helpful knowledge just as secrets and agendas are revealed. 

Put everything you've got into furthering your goals, and allow the transformative energy of Scorpio to help make your dreams come true.

This being the final eclipse of the year, astrologers feel that as people transition through this fall season, they will begin to have a greater understanding of the struggles they have recently experienced.

At the next full Moon on November 6, you'll have a chance to stand back and see everything you've accomplished!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Happy Five Year Anniversary, I’m Turning 60! by Margaret Ullrich

Happy Fifth Birthday to I'm Turning 60...!!
I want to thank everyone who has been kind enough to visit, whether you have visited on a daily, weekly or occasional basis.

I’m amazed at how quickly the past five years have flown.

I used to send Ma recipes, especially the holiday brochures and leaflets I had found in the baking section of the supermarket. 
I still enjoy sharing recipes, especially Ma's recipes. 

I recently took a look at how this blog’s 802 posts have been doing.
According to the all time top posts, Ma’s recipes are more popular than Carmela’s.
Here are the current all time top ten posts:

During the past month these have been the top posts:
If you haven’t tried the recipes on any of these, I hope you’ll pick one and try it soon (well, not the lion one).

Finding out where you live has also been interesting.
Blogger also keeps track of visitors. 
Since I began this blog, there have been 209,346 visitors.
The United States is still number one.
American readership has gone up from last year’s 76,356 visitors.
And the U.S. is followed by Canada.
By last year 10,581 Canadians had visited. 

Last year the top countries also included: Malta, Russia, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Romania, Germany and Indonesia.

Now the top ten countries and their visitors are:

United States....... 108,408
Canada…………………. 20,729
Malta…………………….. 12,284
Australia…………………. 8,056
United Kingdom……….7,289
Russia…………………….. 6,791 
France…………………….. 4,530
Ukraine.………..……….. 3,513
Romania……….…………. 2,624
Germany…………………. 2,612

During the year there were also visitors from Turkey, Italy, Finland, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Macedonia, Mexico, Afghanistan, Thailand, Slovakia, Ireland, Denmark, Bangladesh, Sweden, Israel, Moldova, Malaysia, Ireland, Singapore, Kuwait, Greece, Kenya, Vietnam, Czech Republic, Namibia and China.
I’m amazed at how we have been able to connect!

Your choice of search keywords have been interesting.
I love things like:
60 year old lady stuffed hot cherry peppers recipe
Thank you for finding me!

I'd also like comments.  Really.  
It's easy to do.  Just click on Comments and write. 
Or message me on Facebook. 
Tell me what you want to know about. 
Would you like more holiday recipes, or more easy, cheap, quick meals or…?

Thanks again for visiting!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

There Be Circles by Margaret Ullrich

I recently posted a story about Paul meeting the performer Geoffrey Holder.  
I had written it for when I was a co-host on ‘2000 & Counting’. 

Last week I got an email asking if I’d post the Halloween story I had also read on air in 2002.  
I had also read it on a few other pre-Halloween shows.
It had become one of our show's traditions.

For you, E., here's the story.  
Thank you for remembering.  

And Happy Halloween, everyone!!

     I don't know if you've ever noticed but there are an awful lot of cul-de-sacs in this city.  I've never understood why they're so popular, especially after a Winnipeg snow storm.  After the city plows all the snow into a small mountain on one curb and blocks the view, you have to take your life into your hands to drive out. 

     When we first moved to our present home neighbours told me about a cul-de-sac a few blocks north of us.  When kids have to sell candy in September they avoid going there.  It's not far but I don't walk our dogs near it.  Well, our neighbours had said to avoid it.  The people there have a reputation for being 'different'.  Nothing dangerous.  No, nothing like that.  It's just that they have a bit of history.   

     I've heard stories, but I'm sure there's no truth to them.  I mean, things like that don't happen.  It is the twenty-first century, right?  Still… better safe than sorry.  

     The interesting thing is that the families in this cul-de-sac are all descendants from some of the Selkirk settlers.  Imagine that.  A few families that have managed to stay near each other and to intermarry for almost two hundred years.  

     The Selkirk settlers faced hard times when they arrived in Winnipeg in 1815.  Cold weather and lack of food and housing to name just a few.  The Selkirk settlers were strong and brave and never complained about these physical hardships.  Some people find comfort in religion at times like that. 

      There again the Selkirk settlers, mostly Presbyterians, had a problem.  They had to wait until 1851 for a minister to be sent over from Europe.  Imagine that - 36 years without an ordained minister.  Two generations with no one to properly officiate at weddings, christenings or funerals.  In the spiritual void they had to take care of themselves.  If I were in their place, I don't know what I'd have done.  Do you?  Some continued as best they could with Bible readings and trying to observe the Christian calendar. 

      But, some of the settlers went further back, as if some primitive force was just waiting for them to need more than Bible stories.  Well, that's what some people say two or three of the settler families did.  That that's what their descendants were still doing.  It actually looks cheerful to drive by and see neighbours gather around and celebrate things like solstices and equinoxes.  That's all it is, right?  

      One story - oh, it couldn't be more than a local urban legend - is that Sally, a young woman new to the north end, met Bethany from the cul-de-sac, when they were both out walking their dogs.  The dogs, both healthy puppies, took to each other and started playing together.  Well, you know how it is.  The pups were on their leashes so while the dogs played, the women chatted.  They were both about the same age, so they had a few things in common.  They'd walk and chat about work, husbands, kids, the usual stuff.  

     Well, as sometimes happens, the economy took a downturn and Sally's husband lost his job.  Bethany offered Sally the usual tea and sympathy and said she'd pray for them.  Sally didn't think the prayers would make much difference but she thanked Bethany and didn't give it another thought.  Within a few days Sally's husband got a job at twice his former pay.  Well, Sally was thrilled and phoned Bethany to tell her the good news.  

    Now, here's where the story gets a bit hazy.  It seems Bethany told Sally that she had to do certain things.  Sally was a Catholic and she was used to things like saying a rosary or publishing a notice of thanksgiving to St. Jude.  But, what Bethany said struck Sally as being, well, a little odd.  Sally said sure, no problem, she'd do them.  But she didn't.  Sally couldn't take what Bethany said - things like retribution - seriously.

     A month went by.  Sally felt a little funny when she bumped into Bethany.  She had the oddest feeling that Bethany knew she hadn't done any of those things.  Well, Sally couldn't really trust her feelings.  She'd just found out she was pregnant and you know what that can do to a woman's perceptions. 

     Then things started going wrong.  First Sally's freezer went off.  It was the strangest thing.  Sally opened the lid and the stench nearly knocked her out.  All the meat had gone bad.  Yet the other food was fine and the freezer  was cold.  None of the clocks were flashing 12, so Sally knew it wasn't a blackout.  The repairman said there was nothing wrong.  Sally figured it was just one of those things and bought fresh meat.

     A few days later, Sally's husband was downsized out his job.  Well, the economy was a roller coaster.  Then Sally's puppy was found dead under a bush.  The vet couldn't explain how a healthy puppy could die like that.  No poison, it hadn't been sick, no explanation.  Then Sally miscarried.  The doctor reassured her.  It happens all the time, probably for the best, Sally was still young, nothing's wrong, probably stress.

     Sally was distracted and almost didn't recognize Bethany when she bumped into her on the way to the market.  Sally told her about how things had taken a turn for the worst.  

     Bethany listened without comment.  After a long pause, Bethany gave Sally a cold stare and said, "What did you expect?  You didn't do as you were told."  And with that Bethany just walked away.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Anna Sultana's Lentil Soup, Maltese Style plus 6 Soup Links

The holiday season is here.
It’s time to serve traditional dishes.
Christmas is coming. 
It’s time to start saving to pay for all the gifts and holiday expenses.

Soup is a great money saver.
What’s not to love… 
a big pot of water filled with a little of this, and a little of that.

Most of the time the this or that is something economical.
Like bits of vegetables, or rice or lentils.
Pick up a bag of lentils and make a big pot of soup!

                        Lentil Soup

Place in a large pot
1 3/4 Quarts water
1/2 pound lentils
1 teaspoon salt
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, simmer 1 hour.
Reserving cooking water, strain out lentils and set aside.

To the original cooking water in the same pot add
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
1 large onion, minced
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, simmer 10 minutes.
the cooked lentils 
1 pound tomatoes, chopped
Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Want a few more soup recipes?
No problem.
Here are a few more of Ma’s Maltese Style soup recipes:

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Anna Sultana’s Pumpkin Pie

It’s looking like it will be a very nice Thanksgiving weekend here in Winnipeg.
We enjoyed seeing the full moon this past week.
The tomatoes and flowers in our garden are doing well.

I love smelling the alyssums.
Our dog, Popcorn, always rolled himself in the tiny white flowers until he smelled like a barking, walking alyssum himself.
The scent of the flowers reminds me of him, and of our other dogs.
We’re so grateful we had them in our lives for the time they shared with us.

I just got an email for a pumpkin pie recipe.
Seems it was in a safe place, but it had been a while since it was last used.
No Problem.
I have Ma’s nice easy recipe.

Pumpkin is suddenly THE flavour of the year, never mind the holiday season.
Sometimes a recipe, especially the new pumpkin drinks, calls for a spice blend.

If your pie crust recipe is also in a safe place here’s a recipe for a crust that doesn’t even need a rolling pin.
Just place the ingredients in the pie plate, stir, press and bake!

                        Pumpkin Pie

For 2 pies
Have on hand two 9-inch pans

Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven.

Pastry for 2-crust pie 
Line each pan with half of pastry
(or use the above pie crust recipe in each of the pans)

Place in a large bowl 
4 large eggs
Beat lightly.
1 large can pumpkin (796 ml / about 3 1/2 Cups)
2 Cups brown sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt
Stir until well blended.
Stir in
1 1/2 Cups evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 425º           

Pour half of the pumpkin filling in each of the pie shells.
Place in the oven.
Bake at 425º 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350º and bake another 40 minutes.
A knife inserted in the centre of the pie should come out clean.

Cool and serve with whipped cream.
Sprinkle with nutmeg (optional).

Want something a little different?
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are easy to make and they pack well for lunch.

Here's How Ma prepared turkey, for the full Maltese holiday experience!!

Happy Holidays!!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Anna Sultana's Dead Man's Bones #2 / Traditional Maltese Cookies for All Souls' Day

The picture I posted with the story about my husband Paul meeting Geoffrey Holder reminded me that Halloween will be here in a few weeks.
Yeah, my mind works that way.

Let’s see…  Halloween…  Halloween…
It’s time to pull out the recipes for family favourites and start baking some holiday treats.

Dead Man's Bones is a cookie Maltese folks made for Halloween.
Well, actually, they - the Bones - were usually made in November.
During November Maltese would remember their dead and eat Dead Man's Bones.

Yes, that does sound like something out of The Walking Dead.
I don’t know why they made cookies that looked like bones.
It’s an old recipe.
Maybe a long, long time ago people had a different sense of what was creepy.
Well, it’s possible.

Anyway, we were living in America.
Halloween was as popular in the 1950s as it is now in the twenty-first century, so Ma baked Dead Man's Bones for Halloween.

About three years ago I posted the recipe for Ma’s recipe for Dead Man's Bones - Ghadam tal-mejtin.
Of course, as with other Maltese recipes, Ma had more than one way to make Bones.
The first recipe I posted was pretty basic.
This recipe is a little more labour intensive.
They are almond filled pastries shaped liked bones.
With the icing, they look less like bones.
Every little bit helps.

                        Dead Man's Bones

Preheat oven to 375º
Place the rack in the middle of the oven
Grease a baking sheet

for filling
In a medium bowl combine
1 3/4 Cups ground almonds
1 3/4 Cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon rind
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or almond extract)
Stir together until it forms a ball.

for pastry
In a large mixer bowl place
4 Cups flour
1 Cup margarine
Cut in the margarine until it resembles crumbs.
3/4 Cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon lemon rind 
2 eggs
Combine to form a dough.
Add a few drops of water if necessary.  

Roll out the pastry.
Cut out rectangular shapes, 4 inches by 6 inches. 
Place some of the filling down the centre of the pastries.
Moisten the edges with water and close the pastry into a strip. 
Shape the pastry by squeezing the centre part and shaping the edges to make it look like a bone. 
Place the bones on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes. 
Let cool completely on a rack.

for icing
in a small bowl place
1 1/2 Cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 Cup water
Add more water or sugar if necessary.
Spread icing on cookies.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Moment with Geoffrey Holder by Margaret Ullrich

Geoffrey Holder, a Tony Award-winning director, actor, painter, dancer and choreographer who played a scary villain in a James Bond film, died on October 6.  He was an amazing person and performer.

Back in 2002 I wrote the following story for the CKUW radio show ‘2000 & Counting’.  
After I read the piece we chatted on air about Mr. Holder, his performance in the James Bond movie, and, of course, his 7 Up commercial.  

Some people just live on in everyone’s memory.

R.I.P. and thank you, Mr. Holder.

    Last Saturday we saw the 1973 James Bond movie Live and Let Die.  It brought back memories of one of the most amazing musical experiences we've ever had.  No, we didn't see Paul McCartney with the Beatles or with Wings.

      Do you remember Geoffrey Holder - he was the tall dancer with the memorable Jamaican accent who did a voodoo number in the scene where Dr. Quinn nearly got a bad case of snakebite in Live and Let Die.  Maybe you remember him from television.  In 1971 he did a 7 Up commercial where he held up a glass of 7 Up and said: Try getting that out of a cola nut Ha, ha ha ha, ha.  

      Well, thanks to Geoffrey's bladder I have a 3 degrees of separation connection to James Bond, I mean Roger Moore.  No kidding.

     In February, 1981, Paul and I took a trip to New York.  We went strictly as tourists.  None of our relatives knew we were in town.  That's the only way former native New Yorkers can see New York.  We stayed at a nice hotel and got theatre tickets from the kiosk in Times Square.

     We saw Superman, Christopher Reeve, with Jeff Daniels and Swoosie Kurtz in Lanford Wilson's Fifth of July at the New Apollo Theatre.  Fantastic.  We also saw Tony Roberts and Anita Gillette in Neil Simon's They're Playing Our Song at the Imperial Theatre.  The songs by Marvin Hamlisch and Carol Bayer Sager were fun.  We bought the original cast album with Robert Klein and Lucy Arnez.   

      But we really hit pay dirt when Paul got tickets for Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.  What can I say about Ellington's music and Gregory Hines and Judith Jamison's singing and dancing?  That alone would've made it a memorable evening.  But the night we went was unbelievable.

      The Times Square Kiosk was the way theatres filled empty seats at the last minute.  People could pick up same-day theatre tickets at discount prices.  As long as you didn't have your heart set on a particular show or seat location you could get incredible deals.  

      Well, there we were with tickets to Sophisticated Ladies in our hot little hands.  That night Paul, dressed totally in brown, and I, in a nondescript drip-dry polyester outfit, got to the Lunt-Fontanne a little early to savour the ambiance of a New York theatre.

     Then we started spotting celebrities.  Okay, it was New York and that happens, but every time we turned our heads it was "Oh, my God! that's...  Look, look... no don't look.  Oh, my God!  LOOK!!!"   

     Lauren Bacall, Diana Ross, Lena Horne, Pia Lindstrom and Bobby Short were some of our fellow patrons.  And, trust me, they were not wearing nondescript drip-dry polyester outfits.  They were dressed to the twelves, never mind the nines.  I hadn't seen so many diamonds since we'd strolled through Tiffany's.

     An insert fell out of my program.  I took a quick look at it.  That explained why everybody who was anybody was there.  We'd picked up some unsold tickets for a benefit performance organized by The Doll League, Incorporated in support of The Dance Theatre of Harlem and The Negro Ensemble Company.  Yeah, we didn't have a clue what they were either.  But there we were, warming a couple of seats with some pretty fancy folks who were all dolled up in tuxedos and designer gowns.  It's a safe bet Lauren Bacall hadn't picked up her ticket at the kiosk.  

    Then, as if seeing a great show and all those celebrities wasn't enough, during intermission Paul went to the men's room.  He came back babbling like an excited school boy.  "You'll never guess who I was standing next to, right there whizzing, the same time as me.  Guess… you'll never guess.  Geoffrey Holder!"

     Well, who'd have thought nature would've called Paul and Geoffrey Holder at the same time like that?  It was a memorable moment, if not a Kodak moment, alright.

     I wish he'd gotten an autograph, but maybe that wasn't the right time.  I wish I'd been there… well, maybe not. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Thanksgiving and Tonight's Full Moon / Blood Moon by Margaret Ullrich

Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Canadians!

Time flies!!  Next Monday we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving in Canada.
Autumn has returned to our Canadian prairies.
There’s a chill in the air, and an occasional risk of frost during cloudless nights.

Leaves are turning golden, not red, and covering our lawns and streets.

As I get older I find greater pleasure in celebrating Thanksgiving and find it to be a more important holiday than either Christmas or Easter.
Those two holidays, while important, are weighed down with rituals and expectations.
The huge amount of advertising attached to both have unfortunately turned them into more impersonal, commercialized affairs.

With age comes more appreciation and gratitude for our actual blessings.
Experience has taught us that things can easily go wrong, or be so much worse.
Compared to the things we are grateful for, I feel that over the years the religious stories, while important, can lose the power to touch us.

Our Thanksgiving isn’t the start of the holiday shopping frenzy that the American Thanksgiving is.
Christmas is still nearly three months away.
Harvesting conditions for our farmers were recently in the news.
And those with home gardens can add their homegrown produce to the feast.

Oh, about the frost at night, Green Tomato Pie takes care of a few tomatoes!

We're in for something a little special tonight.
The full moon will also be a blood moon.
Remember the red moon we saw back on April 15, 2014?
Well, it’s back. 
And we’ll see it again on April 4 and September 28 next year.
It’s called a tetrad - that’s four successive total lunar eclipses, each of which is separated from the other by six full moons.
Now you know.

October also brings us two eclipses on October 8 and 23.
For North America and Hawaii, it happens before sunrise on October 8. 
For Australia and eastern Asia, it is seen after sunset on October 8. 
A partial lunar eclipse can be seen before sunrise, October 8, from much of South America, or after sunset, October 8, from western Asia.

Oh, there’ll also be a Mercury Retrograde from October 4 to October 25.
Mars, Saturn, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter are going to be the five brightest planets visible in the October night sky.
There’ll also be two meteor showers: Draconids and Orionids this month.
Think of it all as something to observe during an evening walk, especially if you don’t like the new television shows.

About tonight’s full moon in Aries…
It’s also called Sturgeon Moon, Corn Moon, Green Corn Moon, and Grain Moon.

According to the folks at astrology.com:
There is a total eclipse of the full moon on October 8, 2014. This is the Northern Hemisphere’s Hunter’s Moon. It’s also a Blood MoonThe lunar eclipse harkens back to last April, so expect circumstances that first arose then to come back for review in a very powerful way! 

The eclipse carries with it currents of upheaval and an energy that can bring very disruptive and exciting experiences from out of the blue. 
There will be a lot of excitement. There is a lot brewing. You might be noticing it already. Your heart may be feeling it. 
Calm down. Relax. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Anna Sultana’s Pork Chops with Capers, Maltese Style

It’s been fun posting dessert recipes.
But man does not live by cake alone.
Time to get back to a main course recipe.

Capers are popular in Maltese cooking.
When Ma visited her sister in Malta, they picked capers when they went for a walk.
The capers would then be pickled and used in many recipes.

Don’t be afraid to buy a jar of capers.
They won’t go to waste.
The recipe for Anna Sultana’s Chicken Piccata uses capers.
You can use them when you make Carmela Soprano's Veal Piccata with Capers.
Capers are also an ingredient in the recipe for Spaghetti Puttanesca.
Do give them a try.


The pickled peperoncini might be something new to your family.
If you’re nervous about it, use a bit less.
You can add more next time.

                        Pork Chops with Capers

Serves 4

Sprinkle both sides of 
4 pork chops 
salt and pepper
Set aside.

In a large frying pan place
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil 
Heat the oil over medium high heat.
Quickly sear both sides of the pork chops in the hot pan.
Remove the chops from the pan and set aside.

Add to the skillet
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil 
Heat the oil over medium heat.
Return the pork chops to the pan.
1/2 Cup dry white wine
1/2 Cup beef broth
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sage
1 Tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
1/2 Cup pickled peperoncini, drained and rinsed
Let the chops simmer for 8 minutes.  
Add more broth (about 1/2 Cup) if it gets dry.

Serve immediately with rice and green beans.
Pasta and a different vegetable could also round out the meal.
As would the rest of that white wine.