Monthly Archives: April 2015

All That Jazz and Corn Relish

Yes. My wonderful hubby and I have written a couple cookbooks. We did this because we were running the Clubhouse at a couple of the West Coast Regional SF conventions aka Westercon.

At the Westercons, there were two hospitality suites. Our Clubhouse was the one with the baklava, home baked breads, coffee cakes, fresh salads, and other wonderful food.

Our first cookbook was called MAWS. The second was called FOOD JAZZ.

That’s how I look at food. Here’s an excerpt from FOOD JAZZ.

“Food as jazz . . . Each ingredient playing its part in a harmonious combination of flavors. Consider a salsa. High treble riff of hot chilies, a melody of tomatoes, perky notes of cilantro, a background bass of garlic, and onions keeping a syncopated rhythm.

A duo of cooks steeped – and sometimes pickled – in experience tossing salad ingredients like a Dixieland band tossing happy notes. The ingredients are like little melodies waiting to be turned like the whippoorwill’s song into a blues potato salad, a curry, or a new dip that just seems to flow together.”

‘Nuff said about that. Here’s the corn relish recipe. Homemade beats store bought any day.

Corn Relish

2 cups cut corn (1-1/2 dozen ears)
1 quart chopped cabbage
1 cup chopped sweet red pepper

1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon salt
1 table turmeric
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 cup water 1 quart vinegar
1 to 2 cups sugar

To prepare the corn, boil 5 minutes; then cut from the cob. Combine with the remaining ingredients and simmer 20 minutes. Finish off by bringing to a full boil. Pack hot into hot pint jars, leaving 1/8 inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 15 minutes, following standard canning procedures. Makes about 6 pints

Corn Relish Dip

1 pint home-made corn relish, drained
8 ounces cream cheese

Mix together and serve with crackers, bread pieces, or veggies. By adding or decreasing the amount of cream cheese, this can be formed into a mold, used as a dip or spread.

Clothes for the Cause: A Recycling, Reusing, and Repurposing Fundraiser

I’m a collector, an artist, a creator. When we took apart the old dryer, the drum became a giant, outdoor flower pot. Deadwood pruned from my Japanese maple and twisty pine became walking sticks and garden fences. Clothes are worn until threadbare and then are cut into strips and used in art projects.

But there is a limit. And that limit is: How much room do I have to store potential art materials before I end up on an episode of Hoarders? Aye. There’s the rub.

One of my friends is a member of the Kenilworth Presbyterian Church in southeast Portland. OR. The church has a small community garden, and the parish lets me cultivate a plot. In it I grow organic beans, tomatoes, corn, tomatillos, eggplant, Swiss chard, and other lovely vegetables.

I like these people. They have good hearts. And even as a non-member, I try to help the parish as best I can – buying food for back-pack buddies, donating to their rummage sale, and now, gathering bags of clothes and other fabrics for their textile drive.

This textile drive is a new thing for me. I seldom throw away clothes and purging my closet is not a common occurrence. Mostly, I put clothes in boxes and store them in the basement. One reason is I used to work at Pendleton Woolen Mills. Visualize my wardrobe.

And that’s just a small part of my horde of vintage clothing.

So I read up on Clothes for the Cause, checked out their home page, read what they collect, was impressed by how they use the items they collect, and appreciated that they paid for the textiles donated.

So I bit the bullet, closed my eyes, and started stuffing bags with clothes. Occasionally, I held something up and said, “Wow. I used to be skinny.” Other times I said, “What was I thinking?”

Presently I have nine giant black bags sitting on my couch and loveseat. I’ve held out a couple Pendleton jackets, some awesome jeans, collector t-shirts, and vintage fabric. These will go to friends (jackets and fabric), the rummage sale (awesome jeans), and a local SF convention (collector t-shirts). Ah. And sheets. I’m hanging on to most of my stash of sheets. They have so many uses.

What I do donate will be sorted. Some will be sold. Some will become cleaning rags. And some will be shredded for stuffing and insulation. Little of it will end up in the landfill. What a good feeling.

So, if you are interested in really, really recycling, reusing and repurposing your clothes, check out Clothes for the Cause. It is a West Coast organization and if you miss a fundraiser, they have drop off bins in Portland, Boise, and Spokane.

Here’s the link for more info: