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Maile is Starting to Spell

I believe the first word on record that Maile could spell is Monte’s name which she nailed with “M-O-N-T-E.”

She will spell the word and then say it out loud. Here is a running list:

“M-O-N-T-E” …. “Monte”

Interestingly, she does her own name like so:

“M-O-N-T-E” ….”Maile!”

And last but not least, here is Maile spelling in such a way that shows just how well she knows her parents:

“M-O-N-T-E” ….”BEER!”

Kelly, Maile, and Monte at Clear Lake

Kelly Maile and Monte at Clear Lake from Peter Imburg on Vimeo.

Just back from Clear Lake

We just got back from spending a few days at Clear Lake (north east of Santa Rosa). We had spacious accommodations so Grandma Shar and Grand Tom were able to comfortably join us. Tom told me that Clear Lake is apparently the largest lake in California. I think it is a distinction which deserves an asterisk since Tahoe is bigger (but partially in Nevada). Beautiful country… photos and video will follow…

Too hot to handle?

Here is the latest is in fun tales of learning language.

Lately Monte has been letting us know when the bath water is too hot.  He tells us that he wants us to “Make the water warmer.”  I believe warmer to him means make the water less “hot” and closer to “warm.”   While this makes some sense to us, I don’t recommend you try “make it warmer” at home as it is likely to smoke you out completely.

Brown Sugar Kitchen, Oakland CA

Brown Sugar Kitchen Last week I ate at the Brown Sugar Kitchen with an associate who is a self described “Maximalist.” Well Brown Sugar Kitchen is a fine way to Maximalize with some great soul food. While I have only been there once, I think the best way I can describe it is a fusion of Lois the Pie Queen and Fog City Diner. The food is great, and the spare ribs I ordered were served with some divine mashed sweet potatoes. mmmm…. Mashed Sweet Potatoes.  It is on Mandela Parkway, a part of Oakland that I don’t visit often and that is really starting to look sharp.  Please go there and have yourself a very nice meal.

Fall, time for soup

This time of year we like throwing stuff in a pot and letting it simmer for a while.  We call it soup. Kelly has been making this great carrot soup lately which I highly recommend you try.  We have had it with and without the half and half.  It tastes great either way and is a nice way to warm yourself up as evenings get cooler. 


NOTE: This recipe is so easy but the result is so elegant! 3 lg. carrots, sliced 1 med. onion, finely chopped 4 c. (48 oz.) chicken broth 1 bay leaf 1 tsp. dried basil 1 tsp. sugar 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg 1/2 c. long grain white rice 1/2 c. half and half (could be replaced with whole milk) Croutons (for garnish, opt.)

  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Add carrots and onion and cook, stirring until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, bay leaf, basil, sugar, nutmeg and rice. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to let simmer, covered for 30 minutes. Or until rice is tender. Discard bay leaf.
  2. Strain off liquid through a colander. Transfer solids to an electric blender. Add 1 cup liquid to solids. Puree for 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in half and half, garnish with croutons.

NOTE: This soup can be made in advance and refrigerated or stored in freezer. If you do this, skip Step 3 until ready to serve. Found at recipe search.

Good manners: No, please

We try hard to teach the kids to use good manners.  It takes a lot of work and repetition, but they are pretty good.  A favorite twist on classic manners comes from Monte.  In what is likely a combination of the time tested “Yes, Please” and “No, Thank You”, Monte will sometimes decline an inquiry in the following way:

“Monte, would you like some oatmeal?”

To which Monte will reply “No, please.”

Sidewalk treasures

Fwd:, originally uploaded by pimburg.

Found these specs on the sidewalk @ Leach Ave.

Pancakes 1: Cooking with a Cast Iron Griddle

Since we have been making a lot of pancakes lately, I decided I would like a big double burner griddle.  After doing some research I settled on a large cast iron griddle that came pretty highly recommended.  It produced decent pancakes this past weekend; however it definitely takes some adjustment after my being used to cooking on some pretty standard non-stick pans.

First of all, the heat needs to come way down to cook on these things.  The cast iron distributes and retains the heat pretty well so I had the burners at 3 and 3.5 (we have higher BTUs on the front burner).  The pancakes stay on the griddle a bit longer, but  cook evenly at this low heat.  With the frying pan I had settled in at about 4.5 to cook the pancakes.

There are some funky things about dealing with cast iron.  For example, the method of cleaning: No soap.  If you use soap you pretty much blow the cooking surface for the next 20 uses until it is seasoned again.  I have to admit, that to the extent I like cleaning… I like doing it with soap.  While this hot water approach has a slight aspect of hygiene, it strikes me as the type of cleaning more suitable for people who bathe monthly and eat with sticks.

One final note of interest on the cast iron is that before putting it away the entire cooking surface should be coated in vegetable oil.  I will continue to give this a try; but if the continued use of cast iron freaks me out, it may be making its way up to craigslist.

This recipe will make you famous this Thanksgiving

I have been making this Corn Casserole just about every year since 1994. I got the recipe from my old college roommate, Kurt Rudolph. He got it from a cook book that his mom gave him (I believe it was a collection of recipes from Southern Living Magazine). If you make it I can *almost* guarantee that you will have lots of friends at the dinner table.

  • 2 – 16.5 oz Cans Yellow Cream Corn
  • 2 – Cups shredded cheddar
  • 1 – 4 oz. Can Chopped Green Chiles (drained)
  • 1/2 Cup – Finely chopped white onion
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 2 Large Eggs (Lightly Beaten)
  • 1 Cup Yellow Corn Meal
  • 1.5 teaspoons Garlic Salt
  • 0.5 teaspoon Baking Soda

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Fold into the corn mixture. Pour into a lightly greased 11 x 7 x 1.5 dish. Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 50 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

Here is a batch I made in 2002. I did not follow directions and used a round dish, but it still turned out great.

Corn Casserole

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