Friday, 29 June 2012

Pollo Oreganato

I finally got around to finding a use for the great big  healthy clump of oregano in my garden. I'm sorry it took so long! This was received with great enthusiasm. It was also really very easy.

If you have a barbeque (grill) this would work very well on it, I'm sure. If you miss garlic scape season (mine are getting tough very quickly on account of the heat and drought) you could replace them with 4 to 6 regular cloves of garlic. Pass the chicken with a few extra slices of lemon for those who like it really zingy.

I used both skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, and skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into pieces the same size as the thighs. 

6 to 8 servings
1 hour 20 minutes - including 20 minutes prep time
NOT including 2 to 16 hours marinating time



Make the Marinade:
6 large garlic scapes
1/3 cup packed fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
the zest of 1/2 lemon
the juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Wash and cut up the garlic scapes, and strip the oregano leaves from the stems, also the thyme leaves. Place these with the remaining ingredients into a food processor, and process until finely chopped and pesto-like in texture. You will likely need to scrape down the sides several times. 

Marinate & Cook the Chicken:
1 kg (2.25 pounds) chicken pieces

Put the chicken in a non-reactive, coverable container. Add the marinade, and rub it evenly over the chicken pieces. Store them in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spread the chicken pieces out in a single layer on a broiler pan, leaving the marinade in place. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until done. As ever, boneless pieces will likely cook a little faster than the bone-in pieces, so you should check them seperately if you are doing both. (Or add boneless pieces 10 minutes after the bone-in pieces go into the oven.)




Last year at this time I made Rhubarb Crumble.  Not this year; the rhubarb has been over for a couple of weeks. Too hot and dry for it.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Jamaican Patties - Greens

Most people are probably more familiar with beef-filled Jamaican patties, but I was first introduced to vegetarian ones, through a vegan friend, and so always regard them as slightly the more authentic. In reality, I am sure people fill them with whatever they like or have available.

My impression is that in Jamaica, a greens-filled patty like this would contain callaloo, a member of the amaranth family. For me, Swiss chard makes an excellent substitute and it is widely available throughout the summer. We also freeze it for winter use, so I can make these all year long if I want. Swiss chard really freezes very well - I am almost convinced that I like it better than fresh chard!

I forgot to check - sorry - how many Swiss chard leaves this was, but I would say about 12 to 16 good large ones.

12 patties
2 hours - 1 hour prep time



Make the Pastry:
2 cups soft whole wheat flour
2 cups soft unbleached flour
2 tablespoons Jamaican curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup mild vegetable oil
1/3 cup soft unsalted butter
about 1/2 cup very cold water

Measure the flours and mix in the salt and the vegetable oil. Cut the butter into chunks and rub or cut it into the flour until it is fairly evenly distributed, in small pea-sized bits.

Mix in the oil, until it is roughly distributed, then stir in the water, one half at a time, with a fork or the side of the spoon. (Use cutting motions.) Be prepared to use a little more or less, depending on the flour and general humidity.

When the flour is mostly moistened and the mixture is starting to hold together, dump it all out onto a sheet of parchment paper. Work it gently into a ball, picking up any dry bits and folding them in, but do not knead or overwork the dough.

When you have a rough but solid ball, wrap it in the parchment paper and set it aside to rest while you make the filling.

Make the Filling:
2 cups packed cooked Swiss chard or other greens
3 large shallots OR 1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
OR 1 teaspoon rubbed dry thyme
1 tablespoon Jamaican curry powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
OR hot sauce to taste
1/2 cup water 


Wash the Swiss chard, and trim off the stems. Chop them coarsely, and drop them in boiling water for just a minute. Drain and rinse in cold water. Squeeze them well to remove as much liquid as possible. Chop them again, and measure out 2 packed cups.

Peel the shallots or onion, and chop finely. Peel and mince the garlic. Make the bread crumbs and set them aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the shallots or onion and cook for a minute or two, until soft and translucent. Add the chard and mix it in well. Add the salt, thyme, curry and cayenne or hot sauce. Add the bread crumbs and mix them in well. Add the water, and cook for several minutes, stirring well, until it is all absorbed. It mixture should be fairly moist but not sloppy. Turn off the heat and let the it cool a bit as you roll out the dough.

Fill & Bake the Patties:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion out quite thinly, and as round as you can make it. I find it best to press and pat it into as flat a circle as I can, before I actually start rolling. I also find it best to do this on a sheet of parchment paper.

Once you have a circle rolled out, take one-twelfth of the filling (about 1/4 of a cup) and place it in the middle of the circle. Fold it over and pinch it closed, pressing down the edges with the tines of a fork. Poke the top several times with the fork to allow the steam to escape. Place the prepared patty on a baking sheet, preferably also lined with parchement paper.

Continue rolling and filling the patties. Once you have 6 made, they can go into the oven to be baked for 30 minutes while you continue making the rest of them. Then bake them too for 30 minutes.

Best served warm; they can be re-heated for 15 minutes in a hot oven.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Jamaican Patties - Beef

Being an ex-Torontonian, I have been eating Jamaican patties for a long time. Not recently, as they are a lot harder to get outside the Big Smoke. Soooo... I decided it was time to make some. Results: very good, although how authentic I really wouldn't want to say.

One or two of these is a meal by itself, unlike most of the ones available, which are more of a snack size. You could, of course, make them smaller and get more of them. Whether you do that or not, they freeze very well and reheat nicely once thawed. In the oven please; microwaved pastry gets soggy.

12 patties
2 hours - 1 hour prep time



Make the Pastry:
2 cups soft whole wheat flour
2 cups soft unbleached flour
2 tablespoons Jamaican curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup mild vegetable oil
1/3 cup soft unsalted butter
about 1/2 cup very cold water

Measure the flours and mix in the curry powder, salt and the vegetable oil. Cut the butter into chunks and rub or cut it into the flour until it is fairly evenly distributed, in small pea-sized bits.

Mix in the oil, until it is roughly distributed, then stir in the water, one half at a time, with a fork or the side of the spoon, using cutting motions. Be prepared to use a little more or less water, depending on the flour and general humidity.

When the flour is mostly moistened and the mixture is starting to hold together, dump it all out onto a sheet of parchment paper. Work it gently into a ball, picking up any dry bits and folding them in, but do not knead or overwork the dough.

When you have a rough but solid ball, wrap it in the parchment paper and set it aside to rest while you make the filling.

Make the Filling:
3 large shallots OR 1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 or 2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
600 grams (1 1/4 pounds) ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
OR 1 teaspoon rubbed dry thyme
1 tablespoon Jamaican curry powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
OR hot sauce to taste
1/2 cup water OR beef broth

Peel the shallots or onion, and chop finely. Peel and mince the garlic. Make the bread crumbs and set them aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the shallots or onion and cook for a minute or two, until soft and translucent. Add the beef, and cook until browned through, breaking it up into fine pieces as it cooks. As it cooks, add the salt, thyme, curry and cayenne.

When there is no longer any pink, add the bread crumbs and mix them in well. Add the wateror broth, and cook for a minute or two longer, stirring well, until it is all absorbed. It mixture should be fairly moist but not sloppy. Turn off the heat and let the it cool a bit as you roll out the dough.

Fill & Bake the Patties:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion out quite thinly, and as round as you can make it. I find it best to press and pat it into as flat a circle as I can, before I actually start rolling. I also find it best to do this on a sheet of parchment paper.

Once you have a circle rolled out, take one-twelfth of the filling (about 1/4 of a cup) and place it in the middle of the circle. Fold it over and pinch it closed, pressing down the edges with the tines of a fork. Poke the top several times with the fork to allow the steam to escape. Place the prepared patty on a baking sheet, preferably also lined with parchement paper.

Continue rolling and filling the patties. Once you have 6 made, they can go into the oven to be baked for 30 minutes while you continue making the rest of them. Then bake them too for 30 minutes.

Best served warm; they can be re-heated for 15 minutes in a hot oven.




Last year at this time I made Creamy Smoked Trout Casserole.  Man, what a different summer this has been... cool and rainy! Ha ha! Sure could use some of that...

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Jamaican Curry Powder

Okay, you know what it means when I post a spice blend recipe: I'm about to use it to make something more- in this case, Jamaican Patties, both with meat and with greens.

Interestingly, formulae for Jamaican curry don't generally contain a hot element. That usually gets added to the dish in the form of hot (Scotch bonnet) chiles or hot sauce. The allspice also gives it a nice mellow quality, so you can make your final dish as mild or spicy as you like. 

about 1/4 cup curry powder
15 minutes prep time


1/2 teaspoon green cardamom (8 pods)
5 teaspoons coriander seed
3 teaspoons cumin seed
2 teaspoons anise seed
1 1/2 teaspoons fenugreek seed
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 piece star anise

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 teaspoons ground turmeric

Measure out the first 7 ingredients, and toast them in a heavy skillet until fragrant and showing some signs of slight browning. This will take only a minute or two once the pan is hot. Turn them out at once onto a plate to cool.

Once cool, grind the whole spices very thoroughly. Mix the ground spices with the last three remaining spices. Keep stored in a cool, dark spot in a well-sealed jar until needed.

Monday, 25 June 2012

A Visit to Kimberley General Store


It seems like I hardly get out anywhere, anymore, but after hearing about the Kimberley General Store for at least a year, I finally made it over there. Kimberley is a village south of Meaford, not too far from Flesherton. It's mainly a ski-resort and cottage hub, such as it is. The General Store is pretty much the only store in town. It was originally built as a general store, but until Stacie took it over, it was a private residence for many years.


The store is owned by Stacie Constantine, who started it up about 2 years ago. Hannah Clairman is now on board as well, doing catering as well as helping around the store.


When they say they are a general store, they definitely mean it. It's got the usual drinks and snacks, cleaning supplies and dairy products. Also, vintage knick-knacks, used books, videos, pies and breads, candles, condiments, smoothies and milkshakes, soups, salads, dips, sandwiches, local crafts, fruits and vegetables, frozen fish and meat, and seating to facilitate hanging out.


Mr. Ferdzy was really taken with this store; he loved the eclectic mix of this 'n that, the slightly shabby and cluttered aesthetic resulting in a charming and homey atmosphere. Me too, I have to say. Pity we have spent the last 2 years only whizzing by.


In addition to the prepared foods - many of which they do themselves - many of the foods they carry are locally produced.


However, they don't aim to be strictly a local food store. Stacie's philosophy is that local and healthy foods should be a seamless part of a store which is accessible to the entire community. They are a general store, not a specialty store, after all.


But with home-made breads and baking and even jam - that's a sample of rhubarb marmalade right out of the kettle on the plate to the left - I can't help but think a lot of people will be showing up for the local food.


They even have a little spot to grow their own sprouts, which are available in the store and from other local stores. When they say General Store - they mean General Store. Stacie has also put a little video up on You-Tube - check it out!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Strawberry Gelatine

I love gelatine desserts in the summer - they are just so refreshing, and not too filling either. The exact amount of sugar will depend on how sweet your strawberries are, so do taste and adjust.

6 to 8 servings
20 minutes prep time - 2 to 3 hours set time


1 quart strawberries
1 1/2 cups cold water
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup sugar
the juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons powdered gelatine
1/2 cup boiling water
extra strawberries to garnish

Wash and hull the strawberries.  Put them in a food processor or blender with the 1 1/2 cups cold water, the honey and the sugar. Start with 2 tablespoons of sugar, and once everything is processed, taste and add a little more if necessary.

Process the berries until very smooth, with no visible pieces left at all. Strain the mixture into a mixing bowl, discarding any seeds or pieces that won't go through.

Put the water on to boil. Squeeze the lemon juice into a small bowl, and sprinkle the gelatine over it to soak while the water boils. Stir in the boiling water, stirring well until the gelatine is completely dissolved. Add the gelatine mixture to the strained berry purée, mixing well.

Divide the mixture into individual serving dishes. I find there is a certain amount of froth on the top; this is fine, in fact it becomes a feature of the jelly. Refrigerate the jellies until set; 2 to 3 hours. Serve garnished with extra strawberries, or a dab of whipped cream if you like. Alas, I didn't have any.


Monday, 18 June 2012

Goat Cheese Canapes with Strawberries & Balsamic Reduction

I was lucky enough to be able to find some decent passable strawberries last week. I know I say this every year, but good strawberries get harder and harder to find. Remember, people: small, dark red, and perhaps a little dull in texture. If they are big, red and shiny, they are NO GOOD. Do not buy them. Call over the store manager, and weep and wail and carry on. I can't be the only one, surely? As you may suppose, I did not find these in the grocery store. According to my local strawberry farmer, the local groceries won't even buy the good strawberries any more, even though she still grows them.  What do you think of them berries?!?

Ahem, sorry. That seems to have turned into my annual strawberry rant.

However, even with "just okay" strawberries, these were magnificently good. The combination of everything is hard to beat with the slightly sweet vinegar really bringing out the sweetness of the berries. 

24 pieces
30 minutes prep time


Make the Balsamic Reduction:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey

Put the vinegar and honey in a small pot. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat, and simmer steadily until reduced by about one-third. Set aside to cool. This can be done in advance.

If you reduce the vinegar too much, and it is too thick, thin it with a little more vinegar, a few drops at a time, until it is the right consistency. Mr. Ferdzy took it for chocolate sauce at first, and that's about the right consistency.

Finish the Canapes:
24 thin slices of baguette
70 grams (2 ounces) chevre (soft goat cheese)
24 strawberries

Toast the slices of baguette lightly. Spread each one with about a teaspoonful of chevre. Wash and hull the strawberries, and cut them in halves or slices, and top each slice of baguette with a couple of slices of strawberry. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the strawberries.




Last year at this time I made Garlic Scape Burgers.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Radish, Snow Pea & Goat Cheese Canapes

My mother used to make summer meals that consisted almost entirely of little appetizer type things. I remember those meals fondly, and occasionally do the same too. Nothing like grazing on a table full of tempting little morsels. Devilled eggs, tuna salad (crab when we were really lucky), smoked oysters, cheese or dip-like spreads on toast or crackers, and a salad on the side... delicious.

24 pieces
15 minutes prep time


24 thin slices of baguette
8 to 12 medium radishes
48 snow peas
1 tablespoon dried tomatoes
2 sprigs mint (about 8 small leaves)
140 grams (4 ounces) chevre (soft goat cheese)
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Slice the baguette and toast the slices. Set them out on a tray or serving plate.

Meanwhile, wash and trim the radishes and the snow peas. Put the radishes into a food processor and chop them, then add the dried tomatoes and chop again. Add the mint and the chevre, and process until fairly smooth, but with visible chunks of radish.

Blanch the snow peas by dropping them into boiling water for about 1 minutes. Rinse in cold water, drain well and pat them dry. 

Spread the cheese mixture over the prepared toast slices, and top each one with a couple of snow peas.




Last year at this time I made Sautéed Peas with Mushrooms & Green Onions.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Rhubarb & Lemon Balm Punch

My rhubarb has gotten quite tough, thanks to the very high temperatures and lack of rain we have already had this spring. However, it is still suitable for this use.

Lemon balm is another plant left in the garden by the previous owners of our house. It's a mint relative, and as such is very easy to grow. On the other hand you rarely find it for sale, so if you can't find it replace it with a couple of herbal lemon teabags.

I used 1/4 cup of honey and thought it was sufficient, but it basically balanced out the sour rhubarb and did not make the punch noticeably sweet - you may wish to use a bit more.

Makes 2 litres (quarts)
6 to 24 hours and - 10 minutes prep time


500 grams (1 pound) rhubarb stalks
4 cups water
2 cups loosely packed lemon balm
4 cups boiling water
1/4 to 1/2 cup honey

Wash and trim the rhubarb, and cut it into chunks. Put it in a large pot with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until very soft. Let cool.

Meanwhile, bring the remaining 4 cups of water to a boil. Pour it over the lemon balm and cover. Let steep until cool. Remove and discard the lemon balm.

Strain the rhubarb very thoroughly, keeping the liquid and discarding the solids. Add the rhubarb extract to the lemon balm tea. Remove one cup of the punch, and mix it with the honey. Heat until the honey is dissolved, then stir it back into the punch. Chill until it is time to serve it.




Last year at this time I made Asparagus & Feta Tart

Monday, 11 June 2012

Asparagus, Ham & Cheese "Danish"

These are very simple, almost plain, so it's important to use a good, flavourful cheese and high quality ham (or other meat). I used turkey, and while it was pleasant I think it was a bit too mild - ham would have been better. The cheese was extra-old Cheddar which I can eat any time of the day or night and be glad, but an Emmental or Provolone type cheese would work well instead.

Sharp observers will note that I've used this dough before. I just get more and more pleased with it. It's easier to work with than regular pie dough and flakier too.

I just served these with the extra asparagus as lunch, but if you made them smaller they would make a good appetizer.

4servings
1 hour - 30 minutes prep time

Asparagus Ham and Cheese Danish

Make the Dough:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup mild vegetable oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups soft whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

The butter should be very soft. Mix it with the oil and milk. The butter can be in fairly large lumps.

Mix the baking powder and salt into the flour. Mix the flour into the wet ingredients. Stir until everything is amalgamated. There should no longer be large lumps of butter, but small lumps or streaks are not only fine, but good.

Turn the dough out on a piece of parchment paper that will fit your baking tray. Knead the dough a few times until it forms a definite ball of dough. Divide it into equal quarters.

Using extra flour to keep it from sticking, roll each quarter into a square about 6" x 6".

Finish the "Danishes":
16 spears of asparagus
200 grams (7 ounces) thinly sliced cooked ham, chicken or turkey
100 grams (4 ounces) strongly flavoured cheese (see above)

1 teaspoon rubbed basil or oregano

Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

Wash and trim the asparagus, and drain well. Lay one quarter of the sliced ham or other meat in the middle of one of the squares of dough. There should be an inch, or better an inch and a half, of dough on either side of the meat. If not, trim it to fit. The trimmings can be arranged over the main slices. Top it with the cheese, cut in a neat rectangle that should not be any closer to any edge than an inch and a half, or else you can count on half of it running out when it bakes. Sprinkle on 1/4 teaspoon of the basil or oregano, and top with 4 spears of asparagus.

Fold up the sides of the dough and pinch them closed over the top the filling ingredients. Repeat with the remaining sections of dough. Once they are all made, put your piece of parchment paper into the baking tray and arrange the pastries on it. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

If you have more than 16 spears of asparagus - and of course you do, because lets admit that 4 asparagus spears is not a serving, it's just a tease - arrange them around the pastries, brush with a little oil, and let them bake with the pastries.

Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown.




Last year at this time I made Asparagus & Yellow Pea Soup, Cornbread or Muffins, and Apricot or Peach Sorbet.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Black Out Speak Out


Since I'm using Blogger, it's apparently a bit difficult to actually black out my blog, so I'm making a symbolic gesture here.

I'll just add that there can be no food without environmental protection. Ultimately, farming and protection of the environment must be one and the same. Nor are the pleasures of the table truly pleasures if they depend on the gross exploitation of the labourers who produce it. Nothing exists in a vacuum. We are all an interconnected web and we need a government that understands that.

Go to Black Out Speak Out for more info.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Another Garden Update


No surprise, the last couple weeks have been non-stop gardening pretty much. As usual, in late winter we were antsy and anxious to get started so we ordered a whole bunch of fruit trees and shrubs. I think we forgot to chant the mantra first: "Every tree, vine or shrub means digging a hole, buying or finding stakes, possibly chicken wire, cutting ground cloth to fit and watering, watering, watering for the rest of the season."

I think we ordered 49. Oops.

The good news is most of them are pretty tiny. Mr. Ferdzy is examing some of the blueberries in the photo above. It will be a few years before they are big enough for anything. We also ordered some haskap and strawberries. Oh, and sea buckthorn, Nanking cherries, sour cherries, Manchurian apricots, and kiwi - 2 kinds!


Strawberries and blueberries bought in earlier years are finally starting to look good, and in a week or so we expect to have strawberries! We're already getting the odd one. I should note that the best blueberry shrub in this bed is the one we bought at full price to replace one of the older ones, which died over the winter. We bought all the rest at half price at the end of the season 2 summers ago and they range from poor to feeble. Not worth it. Next time, we will buy them early, pay full price, and get healthy plants. However, they did produce a  handful of berries last summer and look like they are on schedule to do the same again this year.


I feel like we are way behind on lots of jobs, like pulling the spinach, which has bolted early due to the extreme heat and drought we have had this spring. We're not really; the warm dry spring has also meant that we have been out there getting lots done.


For instance, potatoes are all in and squash and melons should all be in by the end of the week. We are planting large numbers of cukes, squash and melons in the expectation that this will be a hot, dry summer. Although it was strangely cold and rainy when I took these pictures.


The irrigation system we installed in some beds is working well, although the water pressure changes regularly and it needs fairly constant monitoring. Still, it has saved hours and hours of watering, which we have still had to do pretty much non-stop due to how hot and dry it has been.


The heat and drought has encouraged us to try some new things. We have bought a huge roll of landscape cloth and are planting larger plants through it. Even some not-so-large plants. These beds have been planted with corn. So far, they seem to be sprouting nicely and making it up through the little holes cut for them.

We hope this will help conserve water and as a bonus cut way, way down on the weeding. It will also keep the soil warm and since we are expecting a hot summer, we are doing this only with the heat-loving crops.



Peas are much shorter than last year (hot and dry, etc, etc) but on track for starting to produce.


These are the peas we planted in the wet beds in March. Some spotty germination in the really wet end, plus much shorter than expected. Closer examination in the last week shows that it's not all due to the heat and drought - blasted rabbits have been eating them. Damnit. It's always something.

Enormous weeds have recently been cleared from the other bed, and it's been planted with squash.


And, after all this heat and drought it is finally cool and rainy for a couple of days. Here's Mr. Ferdzy weighting things down as we are also expecting some high gusts of wind this weekend.

I did a little research and it seems a "La Niña" has just ended recently, in early April. This, I believe, is what contributed so much to our warm, dry winter and spring. Here's hoping that things will actually moderate to a more "normal" summer for the remainder of it.
 

One other thing we did this spring was to hire a guy with a riding rototiller (oh be still my heart) to come in and do some roto-tilling for us. The good news is that this gives us all the beds that we had planned to have over the next 5 years now. The bad news is that this gives us all the beds that we had planned to have over the next 5 years now. Yeah; wasn't really expecting to have to sift, edge and maintain 10 more beds this spring. The other good news is that Mr. Ferdzy is finally starting to grasp that we have too much going on here... some of them may actually disappear again over the next couple of  years.

We've also smartened up enough to realize that even though the roto-tilled space in the photo above is destined to be 4 perennial fruit beds, we should not plant those fruits until the weeds are under control. Consequently the plan for this year and next year is to cover it with plastic or landscape cloth and plant all our extra squash and melon plants there.

***

On another note: I may be away from the blog for the next little while. Not only is the garden still very busy, but Dad is in the hospital with pneumonia just as a bunch of relatives are scheduled to come up and visit. I'm going to as busy as a one-armed paper-hanger, as they used to say. I'm happy to say the prognosis is looking better than it was for a couple of days there, but still, you know: busy and stressed. So I'll be back when I can.