Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened....

On Saturday we were invited to join Gene and Kathy for a visit to East Haddam, CT to see "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" at the Goodspeed Opera House. We had never seen the musical, but heard glowing recommendations about the hilarity of the show, and evening with Gene and Kathy is always great fun.

We had a really nice dinner in Ivoryton at the Copper Beech Inn beforehand, and then made our way to the theater. The theater is beautiful, and the setting on the Connecticut River is breathtaking. The show was everything we expected, and more, plenty of talent, good humor making for a very fun evening. In spite of the "chucking rain", a phrase used by our friend Andrew to describe alpine weather that leads either to an epic or a fester, we enjoyed a great evening out. It turns out swanky dinners and posh theaters are okay in the rain.

Friday, October 23, 2009

National Mole Day

Hope you are celebrating in style on this 23rd day of the 10th month. October the 23 (10/23) is the holiday, "Mole Day", honoring the unit. The day is used because of the unit in the equation of 10 to the 23rd powerA mole has 6.0221415×10^23 atoms or molecules of the pure substance being measured.

As you can tell, it is a quiet Friday night at Hangman Hill. Maybe we should get out more?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cardoon Festival

Saturday was the first annual (?) Cardoon Festival at Hangman Hill. We planted cardoons (Cynara cardunculus), a member of the thistle family, for their "succulent leaf stems" that taste very similar to artichokes. "If you love artichokes, you will love cardoons ", so they say. That was all we needed to plant cardoon seeds in early summer.

By September the cardoons were nearly 4' high, and with cool autumn temperatures in the air, Bruno and Nick (Bruno's father) began the harvest process by wrapping the plants in burlap to blanch the stems. The blanching process takes place while the plant is still in the ground, and protects the stems from light. This is necessary for removing any bitterness and to reveal the sweet flavors that make this vegetable a gormet gardener's favorite.
Cardoon's at last!

It was this "big" (until it got away?)

So, in early October when Jerry(Sheri's father) came for a visit, it seemed like the obvious time to harvest and sample the cardoons. So with spade in hand we dug the cardoons, and Bruno carefully stewed and sauted them. Our good friends Jen and Mark were game for trying the cardoons, so they came for a dinner that started with cardoons and steamed artichokes (for comparision), followed by Chicken Mirabella (this is another blog entry!). Don't let those smiling faces below fool you, the cardoons were terrible! Bruno's reaction says it best. The cardoons were possibly the worst tasting vegetable any of us had ever had. Perhaps we need to hone our garden blanching skills, or move on to another unique vegetable for next year.