14 April 2024

April flowers (4)

It's very warm here this morning. Our outdoor thermometer, located in a shady spot on the north wall of the house, says it's 14.4ºC (58ºF) right now. The high this afternoon will be 23, Accuweather says. That's between 73 and 74ºF. That's very warm by our standards, but it's not supposed to last. We are expecting highs around 15ºC (below 60ºF) starting tomorrow.

Meanwile, we enjoyed spending time sitting out on the front terrace yesterday afternoon. In the morning, Walt was able to do a lot more mowing out in the yard yesterday. He's taming the beast. These are photos I took in late April of 2009, which was pretty mild compared to this April so far.

13 April 2024

April's grapes

This is what the grapes ought to look like in late April. They're not at this stage of development yet. It's supposed to turn chilly again next week. I hope we don't have a freeze the way we do in some years. Grapes bloom when they want to. The vineyard is not like a vegetable garden, where you can wait until later (mid-May here) to set plants out to avoid springtime freezes.

12 April 2024

April flowers (3)

The camera that I was using back in 2009 took really good macro shots. My late friend Charles-Henry had the same camera, and he always said he was amazed by the sharpness of the pictures it took. It was a Panasonic Lumix TZ3. C-H's TZ3 stopped working one day and he never could get it fixed. I replaced my TZ3 with another Panasonic, the TZ18. I still use that one a lot.

11 April 2024

April flowers (2)

I have a lot of fun combing through my photo archives to see what I can find. I often look month by month; right now I'm looking at April photos I've taken over the years. And sharing them, sometimes for the third or fourth time. According to Blogger's blog statistics page, yesterday my blog got 3,011 "hits" or views. And the total hits for March came to 97,985. I find those numbers unbelievable. Maybe I'm misreading them. Anyway... Hello, everybody!

10 April 2024

April flowers (1)

Yesterday when I went out for a walk in the vineyard with Tasha I noticed a patch of ground not very far from our house where there were about two dozen orchids growing. I didn't have my camera with me. However, I do have my photo archives on my laptop. So I picked a year, basically at random — it was 2009 — and loaded all the photos I had taken in April that year. These are some of them. They're the orchids I'm talking about, and they grow wild in this area. In French, they are called fleurs de Pentecôte. The ones I saw yesterday weren't as tall as these, but maybe they'll get taller this week. Predictions are for more and more sunny, warm weather as the days go by.

09 April 2024

Me and my camera out for a walk

When I went out with my camera the other morning, I didn't just take pictures of clouds. I also saw these things. The tree with pink flowers is an ornamental cherry in our yard. The picture of that yellow vehicle shows work being done to renew a few parcels of vines out in the vineyard. Below, cowslips next to a wood pile. In a neighbor's pond — can you see the raindrops?

08 April 2024

Yesterday at sunrise

We didn't really see the sun come up. It was too cloudy. But when it got a little lighter outside, we certainly saw the clouds. They looked threatening but they just blew on by.

07 April 2024

That air-fryer chuck roast, braised

Here are some photos of the chuck roast that I first cooked in the air fryer, to brown it, and then put into a pan of tomato sauce to finish cooking. Carrots, mushrooms, bell pepper strips, bay leaves, and red wine went into the tomato sauce, for flavor.

06 April 2024

A new kitchen gadget

We recently acquired a new kitchen appliance. A small one. In French, it's called une friteuse sans huile or une friteuse à air. Maybe you already have one. It's a miniature convection oven that quickly browns foods on the outside, letting the heat move through them from the outside in. It's an air fryer. You can cook foods that resemble deep-fried or pan-fried foods but without using a big vat of hot oil or having grease spattered all over the stove. The foods cook in a big, deep drawer. On the right is a photo that I grabbed off the Amazon.fr website. BTW, it cost about $75.00 U.S.
Above are some photos I took this morning. The fryer has a glass top which serves as the control panel. The drawer has a non-stick lining that makes it really easy to clean. A non-stick rack fits into the drawer, so foods don't stick to it either. It can be run through the dishwasher. So could the drawer itself, but we haven't felt the need to do that. It's so easy to wash it by hand.

So what have we cooked in it? French fries, of course, both frozen ones out of a bag (no need to thaw them first) and ones made using fresh potatoes. I drizzle a spoonful of olive oil onto the fresh-cut fries and toss them around in it before putting them in the fryer

We've also cooked a boneless beef chuck roast (une basse-côte de bœuf) that weighed almost two pounds. There it is raw in the middle photo above, and browned on the left. It browned very quickly and didn't have to end up with a mess to clean up on the stovetop or in the oven. I wasn't worried about whether it would be rare, medium, or well done inside, because after it had browned I was going to braise it (in tomato sauce, actually, with onions, carrots, bell peppers, and mushrooms.) We've also cooked chicken thighs, drumsticks, and boneless, skinless breast filets.