Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Yahrzeit #16

Lionel Stander (1908-1994) in 1936.
Photo for Columbia Pictures by Irving L. Schaffert.

My father died 16 years ago today. Unaware of the date, yesterday I rearranged the Dad Wall in my dining area. More than two years after acquiring the above photo (part of a large lot) I read the caption on the back:
Eager to preserve his new furniture as long as possible, eccentric Lionel Stander, most popular of Hollywood comedians, selects this strange pose for purpose of relaxation and reading. Whether the book's more interesting read sidewise is a question only Stander can answer. His latest Columbia picture is "Cinderella Man," directed by Frank Capra and starring Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur. Lionel recently moved into a renovated farmhouse in the center of Hollywood, modernized for him by R. M. Schindler.
"Cinderella Man," retitled "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town," was named Best Picture of 1936 by the New York Film Critics and the National Board of Review. Capra won his second Oscar for directing and Cooper was nominated as Best Actor. My eldest half-sister was 3; my mother was 2.

The man who "modernized" Dad's house was noted architect Rudolph Michael Schindler, an associate of Frank Lloyd Wright and Richard Neutra. According to this list, in 1935 Schindler remodeled a house for "L. Stander, 2006 La Brea Terrace, Hollywood" and "Apartments for L. Stander, Los Angeles." Wish I knew the story behind those apartments.

The house takes a good satellite picture:
OMG, it recently sold for $3.75M! Here's the realtor's listing:
4 Bedrooms/4.0 Bathrooms/3,753 Sq. Ft/23,070 Sq. FT. Lot
Rarely are homes available in this private neighborhood. On over half an acre of private gardens is this fine home. Large LR w/ fplc, formal DR, kitchen with best appliances, play room, FR, library w/ fplc. Master with balcony, fplc, sitting area, bath with spa tub. Pecan floors throughout. Pool, outside fireplace, guest house with LR, kitchen, 1BD and 1BA and 2 separate garages for 4 cars. RECENTLY LISTED FOR $5,500,000, CURRENT PRICE MAKES THIS PROPERTY AN OUTSTANDING VALUE IN TODAYS MARKET.
Looks like an old farmhouse all right, but the windows were changed:

The interior doesn't look nearly as snazzy as in 1936:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Best-Ever Thanksgiving Recipes

My friend Martha asked me to send her my "traditional" recipes for Thanksgiving. In the spirit of giving, I thought I'd share them with you all.

Garlicky Cranberry Chutney
Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's East/West Menus for Family & Friends (Harper & Row, 1987)

1-inch fresh ginger, peeled
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 TBS brown sugar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 can cranberry sauce with berries or 1 qt homemade sauce (or however much you get from a bag of fresh cranberries)
approx 1/2 tsp salt
a few grinds of ground black pepper

Cut ginger into paper-thin slices, stack them together and cut into really thin slivers. Combine with garlic, vinegar, sugar and cayenne in a small pot. Simmer on medium heat about 15 minutes or until there are about 4 TBS liquid left.

Add cranberry sauce, salt and pepper. Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Let cool, then serve. It will keep for several days--if you don't finish it ALL after the first taste!

Bella’s Garden Rice Stuffing
Cook 2 cups Arborio rice in 4 cups water.

Mix with:
1 lg onion, chopped
approx 1 cup toasted pecans, broken in pieces
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 med. carrot, chopped
1 tsp allspice
at least 1 TBS dried oregano
5 large sage leaves, chopped fine
10 lemon balm leaves, chopped fine
leaves from approx 6 sprigs of thyme, chopped fine
40 grinds black pepper
1 tsp salt

When cool enough to handle, stuff in bird. Put remainder in ovenproof casserole and bake in oven 1 hour at 325° (along with turkey, if your oven's big enough)

Turkey with Roasted Garlic Butter
(Washington Post, 1997)

2 whole bulbs garlic
2 TBS olive oil
8 TBS (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp salt
Uncooked turkey at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut about 1/2 inch off the top of the garlic bulbs to expose each clove. Drizzle with oil and loosely wrap the bulbs, cut ends up, in aluminum foil. Bake until soft to the touch, 45-60 mins. Let cool until easy to handle.

Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins. Discard skins. Mix the garlic pulp with butter and salt. Reserve 2 TBS of the mixture. Rub the rest of it under the turkey skin (loosen with your fingers on the back and legs). Note: If turkey is too cold, the butter will congeal instead of spread easily under the skin.

Preheat oven to 325 °. Put turkey on rack in roasting pan. After stuffing it, rub the remaining 2 TBS of butter all over the skin.

Roast for about 45 mins, till golden brown. Tent with foil and continue roasting. After 2 more hours, baste with pan juices every 15 mins till bird is done (approx 3-1/2 hrs for 12-14 lb bird). Use juices to make the best gravy EVER.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Going to the Dogs Birthday Party

Seated: Brady, Abby, Bumble (our canine host) and Poppy. Standing: Michelle, Marty (holding Clarissa), Polly and Gracious Hostess Colleen (look out, Martha Stewart!).

Abby is the only dog I've had whose real birthday I've known: Nov 7, the day before mine. I told that to my wonderful new friend Colleen (we met while walking dogs; go figure), and she decided to throw Abby a birthday party. So at 8:00 a.m. today, I and 3 other women and our dogs met at Colleen's Gracious Home (a fabu 1770s farmhouse joined to an 1820s one) for a wet but lovely walk.

Colleen doesn't do anything by half-measures: afterward there were wheat- and corn-free cookies from Pause Dog Boutique for the canines; coffee, homemade muffins and birthday cake for the humans. Plus a specially decorated cake for Abby to take home, which I'll give her Sunday when I'm hosting a birthday party at my own (much newer, smaller) Gracious Home.

Above: Brady, Bumble and Abby sniff at the goodies offered by Colleen. I'm the astonished one at left; Marty is holding Clarissa.

Below: I give Clarissa a treat while Bumble, Brady and Abby look on. (They'd just had one but of course wanted more.)