Archive for the ‘Cats’ Category
Posted in Photographs, CSA, Cats, Eats, tagged mississippi, farm, cats, food, grandmother, photograph, CSA, cooking, grandparents, Yang, English peas, sauteed English peas, sauteed peas, saute peas, peas with garlic, steamed corn, steamed beans, microwave corn, Williams-Sonoma recipes on July 2, 2012 | 1 Comment »
I was excited and a little leery when I found a bagful of fresh English peas in my latest CSA box.
As confirmed by my CSA representative, English peas are extremely sensitive to hot weather, so they would have never had a chance on my grandparents’ farm in South Mississippi. Therefore, the only English peas I’ve ever eaten have come straight out of the can, slightly mushy and pretty bland. Meh.
Since the record-breaking heat in North Alabama/South Tennessee was making it clear that this would be the only fresh English peas I would get this year, I knew I had to make the most of them.
I don’t mean this as an insult to my Southern ancestry, but at some point cooks in the South started boiling vegetables into a salty mush. I remember the first time I ever had a string bean that had been briefly steamed, and thus still held a bit of natural sweetness and a light crunch. (Truly, it would have been considered underdone at my grandmother’s house.) Corn on the cob became a whole new experience for me when I discovered that I could simply wrap individual ears in waxed paper and microwave them for a few minutes, leaving sweet and crunchy kernels that needed neither salt nor butter.
I was determined not to turn these peas into mush.
I found inspiration at Williams-Sonoma’s website: Sautéed English Peas with Garlic and Sesame. Unfortunately, I didn’t have sesame seeds or sesame oil in my pantry, so I had to wing it. I also don’t know how many pounds of peas I started with; Williams-Sonoma recommended two garlic cloves for 3 pounds of unshelled English peas. Do the math for the amount of peas you have, or just use a couple of cloves of garlic.
There are few vegetable recipes that wouldn’t be made better with a couple of cloves of garlic.
The husband was at first stunned by the color of the peas when I removed the lid from the pan; the short cooking time had left the peas a brilliant green. The texture was magnificent; they weren’t crunchy or chewy, but they weren’t mushy either. The garlic flavor burst through with every bite, but not in an overwhelming way.
Sautéed English Peas with Garlic
- Fresh English peas, shelled
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- Pinch of sea salt
- Pinch of freshly ground pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl 2/3 full with ice water. Add the peas to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Drain the peas and immediately plunge them into the ice water. Let stand for two minutes and drain.
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant but not brown, about 30 seconds.
Add the peas, salt and pepper, and sauté, tossing and stirring occasionally, until the peas are just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve immediately.
Yang hasn’t given up his photobombing duties; here, he inspects the bowl of English peas mid-shoot.
Yang deftly took ownership of my green jacket in December after I left it on the bed after boot camp early one morning. It’s an actual cat place now, as in “Yang’s been on green jacket since lunch.” (And it’s not even the green jacket. It’s simply green jacket, like Atlanta or Birmingham.)
He likes green jacket to be spread out on the foot of our bed, and he often demands that we escort him there from various parts of the house. He does not object to the laundering of green jacket, although I have to move quickly to get it back in place in a timely manner.
It’s good to be the cat at Casa Shaggerty.
Posted in As Pictured Below, Cats, Family, Home, Photographs, Uncategorized, tagged Amazing Otters, animal books, Animals of the High Mountains, Animals that Build their Homes, As Pictured Below, books, Books for Young Explorers, brother, cat books, Cats: Little Tigers in Your House, childhood, children's books, kitten books, Paddy Paws, sibling rivalry, Toddly on April 23, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
On Sunday, I posted this photo to Facebook, noting that I had owned this book since I was 2 1/2 years old.
It took a friend approximately three minutes to name two of the kittens (Paddy Paws and Toddly) featured in the tale. He also quickly found a link to the series, titled Books for Young Explorers, on LibraryThing.
Looking at the inscription date — December 1974 — and considering the fact that the book was from a branch of the family with whom we did not usually exchange Christmas gifts, I can only reason that this book was offered to me as a consolation prize after my little brother was born.
A kitten would have been more appreciated.
My real question is how I didn’t manage to obtain this entire series. Because a quick look at some of the titles (Amazing Otters, Animals of the High Mountains, Animals that Build their Homes) tells me that this series was written specifically for me and my kind.
It’s made it through a lot of moves and book purges, I think because I love the title so much: Little Tigers in Your Home. I also must admit, however, that flipping through page after page of kitten photos never gets old.
Posted in Cats, Huntsville, Travel, Uncategorized, tagged alabama, Alabama tiger rescue, animal rescue preserve, Attalla, Attalla animal reserve, canned hunts, grizzly rescue, lion rescue, tiger rescue, Tigers for Tomorrow, Untamed Mountain, wildlife preserve, Yonah on April 6, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Several months after I moved to Huntsville, I cut out a picture of a woman holding a tiger cub and secured it to my refrigerator. The accompanying newspaper article described a relatively new exotic animal preserve called Tigers for Tomorrow, which rescued animals from private owners, carnivals and canned hunts.
Five years later, I finally got around to visiting the rescue preserve, located in Attalla, Ala. — a mere two-hour drive from Huntsville. The husband and I spotted an announcement about special spring break educational tours and planned a quick day trip.
Wilbur McCauley, Director Of Animal Care and Operations, led a couple dozen visitors around the preserve the day we arrived, sharing information on the characteristics, instincts and natural habitats (or, more likely, the shrinking natural habitats) of several animals.
Tigers for Tomorrow houses more than just tigers — you’ll find lions, bears, cougars and wolves in addition to smaller animals such as goats, miniature horses, emus and even a zebra.
McCauley explained that each animal has its own unique personality, and none of them illustrated this better than Yonah, a grizzly bear that arrived at the rescue when he was 6 months old. When Yonah realized that McCauley wouldn’t be coming into the enclosure with him, the young grizzly started making a growling/purring noise that McCauley identified as a self-comforting behavior. A self-comforting behavior that sounded like a two-stroke engine.
Make no mistake: This is an educational tour, not a zoo visit. You’re going to learn about the histories of several of the rescued animals. These are not happy stories, but they have happy endings.
A friend asked me if Tigers for Tomorrow was sad. My reply was that it’s sad that a place like this has to exist, but the preserve itself isn’t sad at all. The animals enjoy large enclosures, an appropriate diet and loving caretakers. There’s no evidence that the animals are uncomfortable or unhappy; one black wolf circled the perimeter of its enclosure almost obsessively while we were nearby, but McCauley assured me that this behavior was the temporary result of encountering such a large crowd of people.
Tigers for Tomorrow is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a board of directors that guides the rescue’s decisions. This rescue is not in danger of becoming what I would call a “hoarding” or “collecting” rescue; the group only adopts a new animal after sufficient funds are raised for the transport, housing and care of that animal.
One of the factors that prompted me to take advantage of the spring break tour promotion was the knowledge that I would be able to take photographs. McCauley explained that visitors on regular “walkabout” tours of the reserve are no longer allowed to take photographs because some people were tossing items at the fences to get the animals’ attention for better pictures.
Seriously? People visit a wildlife preserve and aggravate the wildlife? I’m not shocked, but I am disappointed.
Spring break tours are running through April 12 (I know, short notice). Gates open at 1 p.m., and the tour begins at 2. Children can feed the animals in the animal contact area (goats, calves, emus, etc.) before the tour. Tour admission is $10 for ages 3-11 and $15 for ages 12 and older. (Tours are usually $25 a person).
Head to the Tigers for Tomorrow website for the most up-to-date information on hours, tours and prices (hours are limited, and the preserve isn’t open every day). And GO. You won’t be disappointed.
At some point, the husband started calling the organization Tigers from Tomorrow, as in tigers from the future. Because who wouldn’t want to meet tigers from the future? That would mean that there are tigers IN the future, after all.
Posted in As Pictured Below, Cats, Home, Photographs, tagged As Pictured Below, bouquets, cats, floral arrangement, flower arrangement, flowers, home, photograph, vases on November 25, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
The secondary flowers from large bouquets usually last longer than the main flowers. When broken down into sub-bouquets, they stand on their own as quirky little arrangements.
Everybody knows that the best part of the cake-making process is licking the beaters. And the spatula. And any batter than may have dropped down the side of the mixing bowl.
The batter. The best part of the cake-making process is the batter.
The choices seem kind of exhausting when you could just make some cake batter.
But you never know, right?
I needed to make a couple of things for a bake sale recently (go back to college, get roped into a bake sale — live and learn), so I used it as an excuse to try a trendy-sounding recipe: Funfetti Cake Batter Fudge.
I need to point out that my mind skipped right over the “Funfetti” portion of the recipe title, since that word implies the use of sprinkles and sprinkles are the worst thing that can happen to a nice, clean kitchen except for glitter or a grease fire.
It called for only five ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, white chocolate chips, vanilla extract, almond extract and sprinkles. I melted the first two ingredients together as instructed, then stirred in the extracts. I did NOT stir in the sprinkles, since the recipe kindly warned me that the fudge would turn an “ugly muddy color” if the sprinkles were stirred for too long and I am always likely to stir things for too long. Instead, I poured about half the melted goop into the pan, tossed some sprinkles in, and then poured the rest of the goop on top before tossing more sprinkles on. I let the fudge set up overnight.
Did it taste like cake batter? No. It tasted like almond extract. Really sweet, really rich almond extract. With crunchy sprinkles.
Little kids (and, apparently, some college students) will love it. Me, I’d rather make a cake and lick the beaters.
Bonus Behind-the-Scenes Footage
Fall brings open windows and interesting scents.
There will be no setting up a cute stuffed animal/real animal shot with Yang, a light sleeper who dislikes such hijinks.