Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My dinner with Martha

So my husband is always teasing me about my ongoing secret love for Martha Stewart and anything Martha-like. If I ask him about anything pertaining to cooking or decor he responds with "WWMD?" (What Would Martha Do?) He makes jokes about my M.O. (martha obsession) and always teases me that the sign above my kitchen door that says "Live Love Laugh" should be replaced with one that reads: "WWMD?"
Its not that I'm obsessed.
I don't want to marry Martha or spend 24/7 cooking and creating.
I just want to BE Martha.
Not the Martha who went to jail for illegal trading.
No, no, no. 
The Martha who can take toilet paper rolls, pine-cones and a gallon of antique varnish and make an exquisite centerpiece.That's the Martha I want to be.
Or at least aspire to be. 
So I read all of her magazines. I make many of her recipes. I try being crafty, creative and make things from scratch. I'm successful about 50% of the time.
Its gotten so bad, I find myself really asking "WWMD?" when I'm in a store trying to decide between canned artichokes or using fresh and spending hours, cooking cleaning and cutting the damn things. Martha doesn't always win out, but I do ask. Sometimes I even daydream about meeting her. Not living anywhere near her, mind you, more of a long distance, seeing each other once in a while bestie. Living near here means she could drop by anytime and that would just be too much pressure. Can you imagine M.S. coming to your house any old time? I'd be so paranoid that my house wasn't clean enough or didn't smell like fresh baked cinnamon rolls (which I imagine Martha Stewart's does). No my little life or home is in no way prepared for daily visits from Miss Stewart. She'd see the dust bunnies in the corners of the rooms that the Roomba missed, she'd smell the lingering garlic smell from last nights dinner, she'd see the mess on the dining room table, in short, she'd be appalled.
So in my little fantasy about M.S. being my bestie and coming over for Sunday dinner: my home is immaculately clean. My two dogs are on their best behavior, dressed in hand knitted alpaca wool sweaters, (that I carded, dyed and knitted myself) my three cats are all wearing hand tooled leather collars that I made and beaded in an ancient celtic design (this is all fantasy mind you). My husband is splendidly dressed in his nicest Brooks Brothers suit, with a crisp dress shirt with french cuffs (he owns this suit, but would never wear this for Sunday dinner with Martha). I imagine my little troupe lined up like the children from "Sound of Music" behaving perfectly like little angels...this is where even with the most creative mind I can't imagine my husband not ruining this moment with a sarcastic comment. So in my fantasy I replace hubby with a cardboard cutout of him in his nice suit and tie. So the cats, dogs and cardboard husband are lined up neatly, dressed impeccably, no snarky remarks about insider trading, no drooling, scratching or (gasp) sniffing of ones hindquarters (the dogs not the husband) and Martha steps in and makes a witty remark about how elegant my home is, how lovely dinner smells and my what a lovely toilet paper roll, pine-cone and antique varnish centerpiece I've made.
I'm in heaven at this point.
Martha and I chat about hand blown glass ornaments and hand painted rugs for ones potting shed, we'd laugh and share wine and I'd bend cardboard hubby into his dining chair and we'd enjoy a wonderful four course meal I prepared in high heels and a dress. Over dessert (fresh baked blueberry scones and sweet cream) she tells me how lovely our visit was and invites me and cardboard hubby to the "vineyard" for the fourth. At the end of our visit, while cardboard hubby is in the kitchen cleaning up dinner (fantasy in overdrive) I walk M.S. to the door and before we exchange an air kiss on either cheek, I slip a small hand made gift bag filled with exquisite treasures I made into her hand to thank her for being a guest in my home.
Watching her car drive away I wipe a tear of joy from my eyes. Cardboard hubby has cleaned the kitchen, put away the toilet paper roll, pine-cone and antique varnish centerpiece and we enjoy a glass of sherry before I fold him up and put him away in the linen closet in case Rachal Ray drops by next week.

Blueberry Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, frozen
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1/2 cup raisins, dried blueberries or any dried fruit or chocolate chips, butterscotch chips or white chocolate chunks (don't use fresh fruit)

you can also grate in 1 tsp fresh lemon zest and two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice for lemon scones, dried blueberries are good in these.


1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients and set aside.
3. In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth.

4. Cut  butter into chunks and put in food processor and process intermittantly until in small pieces, slowly add dry ingredients and process until combined. Slowly pour in egg and sour cream mixture and process until mixed. Dough usually forms up in a ball. Transfer dough to a bowl and mix in your dried fruit by hand. Flour your hands if the dough seems sticky.

5. Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- to 8-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, sprinkle with powdered sugar or a dollop of sweet cream and serve warm.

American sweet cream

1 cup cool whip
1 package cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
dash salt

I make these sometimes on the weekend, I love them with sweet cream and they go so well with hot coffee or tea.

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