Saturday, October 17, 2009

Taking tomorrow off. Soup's On at Mike's

Not going far tomorrow but I am taking the afternoon off. Yes, it is Sunday but I do have a habit of working 7 days a week. Either that or clean the house. Give me work anyday. My brother invited me for Sunday early dinner with his family. He asked what I wanted and I told him. Home made soup and home made noodles.

When my Grandmother was alive, every Sunday we would have her home made soup and home made noodles. IMHO, there is nothing better than a good bowl of home made soup and none of that fancy soup stuff. Good old peasant not pheasant. Peasant soup.

My brother Mike makes it on Sundays from time to time.

My Grandmother would do her soups a little different than most. She never chopped anything up. Started with a big chuck roast and some soup bones. Brought them to a boil, skimmed the broth and let it simmer for a few hours. Then she tied fresh dill and parsley and whatever herbs she might want to add with a string and dropped it into the pot with the bones and beef still in the pot. It was always a huge pot, the size you boil lobsters in or bigger.

Next she put in whole peeled potatoes, whole carrots, maybe some parsnips, some celery and a whole onion. Simmered it till the veggies were cooked. She did the salt and pepper but often dumped some pickle juice in the soup to sour it up a bit and give it flavor. She would season it up and let it simmer.

Noodles were nothing but flour and eggs. No water. A bit of salt. Made the dough to rollable consistency, rolled it out thin then let it dry on newspapers in sheets. Then she would cut it in strips, layer the strips and slice the noodles, fluff them up with her hands, let them dry a bit more and boil them. When they floated, they were done.

She would take the big hunk of chuck out of the soup and the bones. She would plate that up and then plate up the veggies. You took what you wanted., You wanted carrots, you took one, sliced it in your bowl with whatever else you wanted. You then added noodles and broth. She always had a bowl of pickled cauliflower and onions and pickles you could put into your soup. Oh, and only white pepper. I got the pickles in my soup thing from her. We were the only two who sliced pickles in our soup.

But the treat, called szpik You mashed a potato, put a hunk of butter in it, never oleo (that was never allowed in the was butter or lard only), shredded up some of the soup meat and then took some marrow from the bones and mixed it all together. You ate it like that or spread it on some home made bread.

This happened every Sunday. She would have her whole family over. Gram would go to the early 7 o'clock mass, come home and start cooking. It was all done by around 1PM and everyone showed up. One of her last meals she made before she died was chicken soup. I rememember my father brought some to our house (we ended up moving out of theirs and moved across the street when I was around 4) and I could not bring myself to eat it.

My own family made Sunday soup after she died. It tasted the same but was never the same. I left home about 3 years after she died and my brother learned to make the soup from my father who was a far better cook than my mother was. She would murder her food and everything tasted like overdone cardboard.

I made a big pan of brownies to take to Mikes and plan on enjoying Grandmother's version of soup for the first time in over 40 plus years.

Soup to me is good food, very comforting and I love it. Not really the fancy soups like pureed cauliflower or cream of this and that, but good old throw the chicken or beef or even pork in the pot and some veggies and enjoy!

Hope the szpik did not gross you out. We always ate marrow. Marrow is a big thing in European cooking. Most of those traditions have been lost in our contemporary American cooking. But if you read anything about Julia Child, she used a lot of marrow.

I don't really eat it much anymore. My dogs give me the evil eye when I mess with marrow bones. That is their territory.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Cyber classes

This is something I always wanted to do and now I am doing it. Teach a cyber class.

My class will be conducted through the Shining Needle Society in a yahoo group format.

You can read about it and link over to the group for information on how to sign up. This will be fun and educational, promise you.

Announcing...The SharonG Network -- a class in canvas embellishment

New class for painted canvas lovers and fans of SharonG!

Announcing...The SharonG Network

Shining Needle Society is very pleased to announce our latest class offering

which features SharonG. Sharon is the creative force behind a number of

enterprises -- most notably, her very successful line of painted canvases.

Sharon is somewhat of a rarity in the needlepoint world, however, in that she

both designs AND stitches her canvases.

The SharonG Network will allow you to tap into SharonG's extensive creative

resources and get advice for stitching your SharonG canvas directly from the

source -- SharonG herself!

Think of the SharonG Network as a club you join and then you can interact with

Sharon via email as you stitch your canvas. Sharon will offer stitch and thread

suggestions to help you make your SharonG canvas project uniquely your own! You

will also learn along the way as Sharon consults with your fellow classmates

about their canvases -- what a great opportunity to get inside the mind of the

designer!!! While we will be discussing ONLY SharonG canvases in this

classroom, you don't actually have to own one to sign up for the class.

Sharon's canvases are so appealing, however, that we bet you'll want one

sometime during your membership and Sharon will happily direct you to a shop in

your area where you can purchase your canvas. Online sources will also be

listed, so anyone anywhere can participate.

How does the new SharonG Network work? There will be quarterly signups for the

classroom and it will be ongoing. The cost will be $35 a quarter (three months),

and if you sign up for a year, we're offering a discount making it $120 total.

So, for $10 a month, you can lurk and learn all sorts of embellishment tips and

techniques with Sharon. You have the joy of working at your own pace, and

Sharon will be there to assist as needed. She may even throw in a few general

lessons or an occasional recipe. It's rumored that her baklava is to die for!


Many of you already know that Sharon has a welcoming style in her email

communications. She has been a frequent and knowledgeable participant in the

ANG email discussion list. For an example of her online work and the clarity of

her charts, a ready reference is her own Website and her contribution to ANG's

Stitch of the Month in 2005 (Dragon and Butterflies Kimono).

For Sharon's website:

For Dragon and Butterflies Kimono:

There are a few ground rules for this new class:

This classroom is for SharonG's canvases only. Sharon has a wide range of

canvases in her line, so we hope there is something that will appeal to anyone,

but please know that Sharon will provide stitch and thread advice for her

canvases ONLY. That said, you are more than welcome to join this class and

listen and learn from a true expert in the painted canvas world.

This is NOT a "get a complete stitch guide for your canvas" class. If you just

want a stitch guide, Sharon has a number of stitch guides that can be purchased

with her canvases. Your local shop can help you with that. However, if you

want a chance to work with the designer to create a unique piece of needle art,

then you're in the right place. The idea is that you may already have some goals

for your canvas and how you want to stitch it -- or maybe Sharon will start you

in an area. You complete that and then we take the next area. As each area

builds on those already completed, your piece evolves into your own unique


Shop owners -- this is great opportunity for your customers to get some

specialized help with their SharonG canvases and we welcome you and your

customers to participate.

So, if you're ready to work directly with SharonG to make your canvases amazing,

it's time to sign up for this new class!

Class: "The SharonG Network" (TSGN)

Teacher: Sharon Garmize

Type of class: canvas enhancement/embellishment; canvas is student's choice,

limited to SharonG canvas line

Length of class: Three months (10/21/09 thru 1/31/10 -- and yes, you get a

little more than three months of class time because we can't wait to start!!!)

-- or sign up for a full year (10/21/09 - 10/31/10) at a discount)

Kit contents: No kit.

Student to supply: An open mind and a willingness to learn. If actively

stitching a canvas, then student provides all stitching supplies. Canvas

discussion is limited to SharonG painted canvases.

Skill Level: All levels welcome. Some experience with painted canvas stitching

and reading charts is helpful.

Price(s): $35 per three month signup period, discounted to $120 for four

quarters, paid in advance.

Registration begins: Sept. 28, 2009

Registration for first quarter offering ends: Oct. 14, 2009 -- with late signups

allowed through Nov. 15. Late signups are not pro-rated, but will have access

to posts from beginning of class.

Class begins: Oct. 15, 2009

Class ends: Jan. 15, 2010 (end of first quarter, class will be ongoing)

Payments accepted: PayPal and checks.

To sign up, send an email to Sharon Garmize at sharon@... and include

"SharonG Network" or "Network Class" in the subject line of your email.

Please include the following information:

Your name

Your address

Your email address so we can enroll you in the online classroom

Your method of payment -- check or PayPal.

Your desired length of membership at this time: 3 months for $35, or 12 months

for $120.

Any questions, just email us!

We hope you are as excited as we are about this innovative new concept in

painted canvas embellishment.

Kate Gaunt and Marie-Therese Baker

SNS Founders