Fall is approaching – there is always room for dessert! Having a toddler around makes me want to make nutritious desserts …
So grab some local cream and eggs and you have a protein-filled nutritious dessert that can double as a dinner. But don’t tell the kiddies!!
What is this magical dessert that sounds too good to be true?
It is none other than Crème Brulée!
This delicious concoction traditionally made with vanilla flavoring first started appearing in cookbooks around 1690. It was translated into English mid-1700’s but kept the name. By 1800 it was called “Burnt Cream” in England.
Other names are Crème Anglaise. In Spain it is called Crema Catalana, and is the dessert served once a year on Saint Joseph’s day (March 19), and instead of vanilla, it is flavored with the zest of lemons or oranges. You can do Nutella, chocolate, rasberrry etc – that’s what is so great about this dessert!
I recently reintroduced myself to this dessert, thanks to my new friends Stephanie and Penny who were constantly being served custard, which is cooked on top of the stove vs baking. It is an easy technique and you don’t have to put the sugar on top and burn it.
It’s a delicious concoction that takes minutes to prepare and can be made ahead of time and keeps for a couple of days!
You will need ramekins for individual servings – or a glass pie plate will do for family style.
For the basic recipe you need:
1 quart of cream
6 eggs, separated Back at Rose’s shack – 6 eggs. pic: R.T.
1 cup of sugar
and a vanilla bean!
I’ll list them below again. The fun is you can substitute the vanilla and add lemon, orange, almond, chocolate, pistachio, coconut etc – endless combinations!
If you take a ride to Cooper’s farm in Leicester, a quart of milk there is magnificent to make this concoction!
Road trip! pic: R.T.
So turn your oven on to 325, separate the eggs and save the whites for breakfast.
Add ½ cup sugar to the yolks and whisk until light in color and very fluffy.
In the meantime, add the seeds from the vanilla bean to the milk/cream in your sauce pan and bring to a boil.
Let it sit for 15 minutes to cool down, then slowly add it to the eggs whisking constantly.
Prepare your baking pan by placing the ramekins in the large rectangle pan.
Fill the ramekins with the filling, then pour HOT water into the holding pan – so it comes up just over halfway up the ramekins or pie plate.
Place in your hot oven and bake for 45 minutes.
The center should be a little jiggly and yet firm to the touch. Depending on your oven, adjust the cooking time.
Remove from the oven, take the ramekins out of the water, place on a cookie sheet and bring to room temp, then refrigerate.
They are ready to eat like this or dust with the rest of the sugar, just a light coating, and using a blow torch, fire it evenly on the sugar until it melts! You can do it under the broiler, but just keep a close eye on it!
6 eggs separated
1 quart cream or Coopers Farm milk
½ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean (just the interior seeds)
325 degree oven – rectangular pan – 8 ramekins
… Webster Square’s Unique Finds Antiques and Vintage gift shop!
Located at 1329 Main St., Worcester – Open Mon – Sat
2 – 8 p.m.
Vinyl (lps, 45s, 78s) – neon signs – vintage – furniture – antiques – industrial – tableware – vintage toys – lamps – electric and folk guitars – jewelry – vintage toy trucks and cars – lamps – big mirrors – funky frames for your art AND MORE!
Thanks, Ronny! I’ve wanted the original album cover for a long time! pics: Rose T.
More goodies at Webster Square’s Unique Finds Antiques and Vintage gift shop at 1329 Main St., Worcester:
(Open Mon – Sat
2 – 8 p)
Vinyl (lps, 45s, 78s) – neon signs – vintage – furniture – antiques – industrial – tableware – vintage toys – electric and folk guitars – jewelry – vintage toy trucks and cars – lamps – big mirrors – funky frames for your art AND MORE!
Woo Drivers! Please SLOW DOWN WHEN YOU DRIVE THRU OUR INNER-CITY neighborhoods – there are many Worcester Public Elementary Schools in these neighborhoods! pic: R.T.
Well, it’s that time of year, sort of like January 2 when students are off for their winter break and parents are jumping for joy. Yes, we have the anticipated “Back to School” media blitz and all those school supplies and clothing ads.
Joey’s Gigi starts preschool soon!
Here she is with her cousins!
The mumbles of “We used to go back in September!!” and “Why August?” are heard among the people. The start date, does not really matter because the length of the school term is the same.
So we all know that education has been around for years. During the early beginnings of our country, the settlers would designate someone to teach kids, but it was more about survival techniques. It wasn’t until after the American Revolution – between 1750 and 1870 – that parochial schools appeared – thanks to the efforts by parishes. Generally, these “parochial” schools were just for the elementary grades. Open to all children in the parish, being of course mainly Catholics but also Lutherans, Calvinists and Orthodox Jews.
“Nonsectarian Common Schools” started opening up in America, thanks to the late, great Massachusetts State Rep. Horace Mann. His reason for promulgating public schools? “Universal public education was the best way to turn the nation’s unruly children into disciplined, judicious republican citizens.”! The principle was to teach the Three “R’s”: Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic. But ALSO with a side serving of geography and history!
Massachusetts was the first state to pass a law making education mandatory in 1852. It wasn’t until 1917 – in Mississippi – that a second state passed the same law!
In the 1890s high schools were starting to emerge and, by 1910, more than three quarters of American children were in school. During this time teacher accreditation and creating standards for exams and course requirements were established – still prevalent today. Moving closer to 1930, there was 100% student enrollment – except disabled or medically challenged children. Then there was a plunge due to World War II.
Post-WW II-America is where the food aspect came into our schools. The National School Lunch Act was created in 1946 to provided low-cost or free school lunches to students via subsidies for the “full stomach” idea.
The awful part about all this was that in some states, school lunch was not offered to African American students. They were literally banned from the school lunch programs!
It wasn’t until the late 1950s that things started to change: Great strides! We are fortunate enough to have coalitions for just about everyone/everything, but we still as educated adults tend to fight the road to the future … That’s another column.
School lunches have come full circle to nutritious well-balanced and ethnic pleasing menus! But there are still those students who like to bring their own lunches. In today’s world of ready to go food, lunches are a breeze to put together!
Here are a few school lunch ideas to spruce up your child’s lunch break!:
Cold Pizza – Wrapped in foil it warms up by lunch time. And who doesn’t like cold pizza??
No pizza? Pizza wraps! Fast and easy and you can add all kinds of toppings! Take 2 tortilla wraps and spray with vegetable spray on both sides and place on a cookie sheet. Place in preheated 400 degree oven. Toast for 5 minutes. Remove and top with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and whatever else you like: olives, peppers, pepperoni etc. Put back in the oven and bake 5-8 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and, using a spatula, flip over each side making an envelope of sorts. Let cool, wrap in foil and refrigerate. Place in fridge and place in kids’ lunch bags the next day. Easy to make and fun to eat. Healthy – and inexpensive!
Hummus Lunch – lots of protein
Veggie sticks and some fresh fruit. Make a small container of hummus, carrots and celery, or a small bag with fruit for dessert: cherries, plums apples… Yummy and Fun!😄😄😄
Yogurts are a great protein and don’t necessarily need to be refrigerated, as it is already cultured. Two containers have plenty of protein, and with fruit, it is like dessert!
Try and stay away from pre-processed meats and lunches!!
The sodium alone is brutal!
Get back to basics, with salads, berries, nuts, citrus slices … and cheeses, chick peas or beans for protein to break it up!
You know your child better than anyone – take their favorite yum yums and make ’em portable!
It was former ICT scribe Ron O’Clair, in the St. Mary’s church parking lot, in a red convertible, with white interior! Ronny was wearing his big black hippy sombrero and (I think) sporting a beard. He was looking up at me, while I parted the curtains in my fourth-floor shack to admire the sight and snap a pic. Then he gave me a wide smile and a big thumbs up and sped off! Quite the sight!
Ahhh, Ronny! On a high! Feeling good with the sun shining on his sombrero and a new shiny red toy! Here’s a guy who’s been knocked down by life from day #1 (childhood poverty, death of a parent when he was a little kid, then foster homes, depression, the murder of his brother, discharge from the military, alcoholism) and come back from the brink so many times (STILL brilliant and articulate, a TERRIFIC writer, in recovery for 30+years, a cool street social worker who’s helped hundreds of people find food, solace, housing, AA meetings as the live-in manager of a Main South rooming house ) that “resilient” is too weak (and serious) a word to describe Ronny. “Come backs” doesn’t fit either because the phrase makes Ronny seem old – which he sorta is, at 55!❤ – and a has-been, like a member of the Herman’s Hermits🎵 – which he is most definitely not! (Sorry, Peter Noone!)
For me, Ron O’Clair is more Dylan than Noone. More Byron than Seuss. He never goes out of style … But his bipolar illness makes him disappear from the scene now and then, leaving his friends worried and sad. His condition makes him see things so intensely! The perfect writer for ICT! Ron can be deep – deeply sad, deeply wise, deeply sensitive. He can also be deeply wound-up, loud, revved up, ecstatic. Manic. Ronny has always offered his friends his kaleidoscope of feelings – and experiences –
… often powerful. When in his emotional “troughs,” though, Ron pretty much hunkers down in his two rooms in Main South – for weeks. This breaks my heart. You can call it mental illness. But why put a complicated brilliant person like Ronny in a box? Still, his emotional vales break his momentum, whether it be his running for Woo City Council or following through on a marriage proposal that he made to a lovely – I mean lovely both spiritually and physically – hooker that he rescued outside his Main South building. … I think back to that time: Ronny was in love! But his complicated brain waves brought it all to a halt! It made me cry! I was rooting for the pair: Ronny bought “Sandy” a beautiful ring, rented a car one Christmas eve so she wouldn’t have to sit in his crap-cluttered vehicle on the trip to his brother’s house for Christmas dinner – to meet the family.❤ Ronny got Sandy clean and sober, took her to the doctors, the dentist, NA meetings. A gal pal gave Sandy bags of cool vintage clothing. I planned their wedding with our gal pal: she would provide the vintage wedding dress and I’d dress up my apartment. I’d make the mostly veggie meals, served on my late Mom’s china, turn my dining and living rooms into an inner-city chapel with all my candles placed on an altar I’d fashioned from headboards I had found on the side of the road. I’d board Jett for the day… Then boom. Ron shut down, so did Sandy …
… and that was the end of that. Ron dismisses the whole love affair as a non-love affair. A pain in his butt. But I know he’s lying.
Ron has shared many of his experiences with you in ICT. Like the time he was a boy in foster care in rural Maine and bonded with a buffalo on the farm he was living on. The buffalo was like a big pet for Ronny, and he visited him in the field next to his foster parents’ house every day. But one Christmas Ronny unwittingly ate his best friend in the world. The buffalo was the main course for his foster family’s Christmas dinner! Ron tells the story with a chuckle, but you hear the real pain in the story he wrote for InCity Times. ICT – the conduit for Ronny’s dreams and schemes – realized and/or crumpled. If you meet Ron in Main South or at any of his haunts in Worcester – at a Worcester diner eating a killer breakfast, at a junk-yard buying parts cheap for his cars that he collects like jewels – you would think he’s kinda glib and … a jerk. Incapable of the stories he writes. But if you read his columns – which I have with so much joy, through years – you’d soon realize Ron’s the brightest guy in the room. But his poverty, his living on the edge in the rooming house in Main South, his sometimes too enthusiastic emotional style, his physical SIZE! have left him the perennial outsider, here in Worcester, the hometown he adores. You all discount him and his intelligence and goals. It’s a kind of prejudice. Not racial. But economic. And maybe just maybe your version of mental well-being skews a little to the left or right of Ronny’s state of mind! Shame on you!
In this life: so many people crossing each other’s paths, so many good people shunted to another road or handcuffed into silence by the in-crowd, the money crowd, the politically connected crowd. The hit brigade wallowing in their version of Wasp happiness.
What about WOP happiness?
Wikipedia says: “WOP stands for WithOut Papers. Many Italian immigrants had no papers to identify themselves and were branded as WOPs.”
My grandfather Sabino was a WOP.
He was also a NANG: Not A Nice Guy!
I’ve told you all about him: Unlike Ron, Sabino took his outsiderness, his otherness and used it to become a pretty successful entrepreneur. But he was an asshole in every other aspect of his life: cheated on his wife who gave him 10 children, beat her, beat my father, was a bootlegger. I mean, the guy was BAD!
Ron – and this WOP! – aren’t bad: we WRITE, we try to do the right thing for our city and this makes us happy and proud! Forget about moi for a second, let’s focus on Ron. Over the years Ron has:
given me a million rides when the jalopy I am driving breaks down.
delivered gallons of gas to me when I’ve run out – usually at night in the inner city. How comforting it was to see my friend pouring the gas into my gas tank, wearing his fake-lamb-skinned-lined bedroom slippers. In the middle of a Woo winter night. He wasn’t smiling, made no small talk and walked away with a huge huff after he finished his AAA call, but he ALWAYS came, always came through for me.
driven tons of people from his rooming house to the food pantry to get food so they could eat.
driven tons of people from his rooming house to AA, Al Anon, NA meetings – often joining the group as he is in recovery and never gets complacent about the fact!
helped strangers when they needed help
befriended lots of Woo characters – including this one! I remember the night Ronny came to my house with an old ex-boxer from Boston who just got a room at Ronny’s place. I had called Ron frantic – my late Mom’s cat April had just become diabetic and I did not know how/was afraid to use the needles to inject the insulin into April. Well, Ronny brings the boxer over to my house to help – the guy is BALD, HUGE, covered with tattoos, standing at my door, with Ronny. It is close to midnight. I am distraught. April needs her medicine. I don’t want her to die. I say…OK, come in. The boxer comes in, fills up half the entry-way but … picks April up, talks oh so softly to her, takes one of the skinny needles out of her needle box (filled with about 1O0 needles), shows me how to poke the needle into the little insulin bottle (always shake it beforehand), measure the amount of insulin. Then he lifts a bit of April’s fur on her shoulder, making a little tent, and gently gives her her shot. Then the boxer gently massages the spot where he inserted the needle. He told me and Ronny his grandmother had been a diabetic and, as a little boy, he used to give her her insulin shots. Every day. He said it all so beautifully. I could tell he had really loved his grandmother. Maybe she had raised him… I felt like shit for having been afraid of the Boston boxer and hesitating to let him into my home. As he turned to leave, I hugged the boxer – and Ronny -and said THANK YOU, GUYS! They lumbered down the stairs that lead up to my 4th floor apartment. Noisy as hell. I loved them both!
A night I will never forget, courtesy of Ronald O’Clair.
Lilac and the late, beautiful April
Ronny has also:
supported his landlord who was overwhelmed with his rooming house.
worked with the Worcester police for years to make his neck of the woods – the corner of Main and Charlton streets – much safer and quieter and a little less heroin-infected, especially when the PIP wet shelter was still open (across Charlton Street!)
So naturally it enraged me to see my friend’s hopes dashed when he applied for a slot on a City of Worcester Board/Commission and was turned down by a City Manager toady. Not the commission who does the vetting but by one of former CM Mike O’Brien’s (an ICT detractor for sure) employees. This was about five years ago, when Ronny was on a huge UP and had all his i’s dotted and t’s crossed. He had applied to sit on a City of Worcester health or zba board – for no pay, as the job is a volunteer position. I had encouraged him to apply. Ronny, living the life he’s lived, KNOWS EVERYTHING ABOUT INNER-CITY HEALTH ISSUES. And what he doesn’t know – he’ll read up on. He’s a brilliant guy! Also, so compassionate! Hell, he’d be down in the trenches with Dr. Mattie at a homeless camp, talking to the folks, driving them to job interviews! I mean, he would be all in – give 100%. But CM O’Brien hated ICT, so Ron got screwed.
A few days ago I called Ronny. We were talking about city boards and commissions when I urged him to take another crack at the HEALTH commission. “The city needs lots of people from District 4! On lots of city boards!” I said.
Ronny was hesitant. I said: GO FOR IT, RONNY! YOU WILL BE GREAT – on that city board or any city board!
He laughed. Then I asked him to cover an inner-city health clinic’s health fair for me, to run in the next issue of CECELIA. Ronny said YES, attended the event for me and sent me some pics he took a few hours later. Here is one for you!
Ronny O’Clair: gotta love the man!! Baby in Piedmont. photo by Ron O’Clair
Catch Chef Joey’s ALL ABOUT GARLIC❤ column in this issue of CECELIA! (Rosalie’s new mag, named after her late, lovely, magical mom!👗❤)
Text and recipes by Chef Joey
It’s beautiful weather, and there are many days and nights when outdoor cooking is a nice break to the usual pots and pans! But outdoor cooking does not always have to mean meats, chicken, hamburgers or hotdogs. There are lovely vegetables to savor!
Italians have been grilling veggies for years, firing off peppers for antipasto, grilling eggplant, carrots, fennel, squash, zucchini to name a few, and the flavors are exquisite – plus, it is so easy to do!
Back at Rose’s shack: she sauteed some veggies… pics: R.T.
If you think about it, people have been boiling or steaming vegetables for what seems like forever – oven-roasted is popular now, too. However, that tradition of cooking is as old as the first oven. Go back a few hundred years – they had ovens, spit roasts and pots over a fire. As the concept of cooking came about in the 1700s with fancy chateaus creating stoves, sauces and other delights were new for the palate…
R.T. says, more veggies❤, less meat!
You do not have to have a grill outside to do this – a panini press or a “Forman” grill works great. The trick to grilling veggies is to cut them diagonally so they are large enough and you are not spending hours on small circles.
Carrots, for example, sweeten up and taste fantastic! Drizzle them with fresh olive oil and salt, and you have the sweet and savory effect that everyone loves.
Simply peel your carrot and cut lengthwise, as thin as you can, and toss them with a little oil before placing on the hot grill.
Close the lid, wait about 4 minutes, then turn them.
You don’t want to burn them!
Cook another 4 minutes or so and then place them in a pan and cover. They will continue to cook.
This is the same process for virtually every vegetable …
Rose’s Trader Joe’s organic yum yum
Asparagus cooks much faster and, of course, adjust the time for squash, which is very wet so it takes a little longer to cook.
Eggplant burns quickly – so keep an eye on it!😉
Once you have completed your grilling – take your veggies and arrange them on a platter.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt on top.
It is that simple!❤
If you want to take it to the next level…
pic: Chef Joey
Put 6 garlic cloves in the blender and ½ cup of olive oil and puree.
Add 1/22 cup olive oil and some salt – pour it into a dressing decanter and drizzle your veggies with that – the garlic adds a kick! And you have dressing for the next time. It goes fast, as the veggies soak it in.
Veggies like sprouts: I recommend a grilling basket. You can just shake it to move the sprouts around. Cut them in half for faster cooking times.
Rule of thumb is when you see the grill marks distinctly on both sides, chances are they are done. And again, they keep cooking when you take them off the grill.
When arranging your veggies, feel free to toss a can of drained chick peas, cannellini or navy beans into the oil and garlic mix. Place them with the veggies for added protein!!
No one’s perfect! Rose makes CHEF JOEY’S CAKE AND FROSTING – recipes on this website. She bought this cute little cookbook a few days ago!😉
Two Awesome Dogs that Need Homes to Call Their Own … and a Little Summertime Advice for Pet Owners
Text and photos by Dorrie Maynard
The first pup is called “Pinky Pie,” named after the pink horse from “My Little Pony.” Worcester Animal Rescue League staffers gave her that name because when she came in to the animal shelter on Holden Street, she was pink with very little fur. That’s because Pinky Pie has food allergies and probably seasonal allergies as well, which makes her skin pinkish looking – even though most of her “hair” has grown in!
Pinky Pie came into WARL as an owner-surrender. I imagine her owners couldn’t deal with her allergies. Pinky has been at WARL since October of 2016! She came in as a puppy and is now two years old! I am sure the reason why she has been at WARL so long is because of her allergies: she needs special food and medication, which can be expensive. And Pinky needs to be in a home where she is the only animal.
Both factors work against her adoption. She is a very good girl and small for a pit but strong as an ox. She can be around children, although she does have some issues with food and toys. She loves car rides, long walks and lots of play time. She is very high energy. A home with a really sturdy fence would be ideal.
The other dog I would like you to meet is “Mister.” He also needs to be in a home where he is the only animal. He came to WARL in October of 2016 as well, and came in as a stray.
Mister’s head is tilted, and the WARL staffers believe that is because of some sort of head trauma. WARL staffers think he is about 5 years old. They also believe that whatever happened to his head kind of left him in a “puppy state of mind.” He is a big lug that likes to lounge around and loves to play.
Both of these dogs have been at WARL for a very long time, and being in a shelter environment is not good for their spirit or well being. If you have room in your heart and can provide a home for either one of these dogs, WARL would be most grateful, Pinky and Mister would be most ecstatic, and I would be most happy.🌸
If you would like more information on either Pinky Pie or Mister, you can find their bio’s on the WARL website, and you can visit them at WARL noon – 5 p.m., 7 days a week. WARL is located on Holden Street in Worcester.
I would also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone who has pets: Please do not leave them unattended in a car. Even though you may think having the windows cracked or rolled down, and your car may be in the shade, the inside of your car becomes like an oven in no time.
Last year I was in the Walmart parking lot and saw a dog panting in a parked car. I saw no water and the car was parked in the hot sun. I went into Walmart and got a police officer who was on duty and he sort of laughed and said, “What do you want me to do about it?” I quickly said: “Make an announcement or break the window! The dog is in distress!” He followed me to the car, then sent the teen who was with him to get something to unlock the car door. I looked over before leaving – he had the dog in his arms. So I knew the dog would be fine. I am not so sure he would have been willing to make the effort if the dog had not been a small dog…??? If you see a dog in a parked car this summer, please call the police and report it – you could save his or her life!
I think signs should be posted in ALL parking lots telling people to NOT leave their dogs in cars. (I have seen them in Vermont) We have signs posted that tell you not to feed seagulls. How about saving a dog’s life, instead of worrying about people feeding the seagulls?
I also think that if a dog is left in a car and the police are notified, the owner should be fined or ticketed. I know in some states it is legal to break the windows out of a car if you see a dog in distress … not sure if that pertains in MA… I for one, would not hesitate to smash a car window and suffer the consequences, if necessary. I do carry a small hammer-type tool that is designed to break glass in my car…Please, don’t make me use it!!!