mulberryshoots

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

a new england fall day . . .

fall flowers from the garden . . .

fall flowers from the garden . . .

The weather has been temperate lately here in New England. The light is soft in the morning and late afternoons, the sun is out for most of the day and the temperature has been in the 60’s and 70’s. Good weather to pay our respects to Tom Menino, Mayor of Boston for twenty years who died yesterday a.m. around 9 o’clock. Tributes on TV have shown examples of his achievements, especially in the revitalization of Boston, his work with the underprivileged and his connections with a wide spectrum of people from all sorts of venues, businesses and walks of life. We are lucky that he was such a strong champion for the city of Boston, the people who live and visit here and that he served with so much dedication and resolve. So, here’s to Tom Menino for a life, well-lived.

Speaking of well-lived lives, a book arrived a couple of days ago that exemplifies living with passion (and luxury) in the Medoc countryside of France. Mimi Thorisson’s cookery book, illuminated (that’s the only word for it) by the photographs taken by her husband, Oddur Thorisson, is a cooking biography of a family with seven offspring (his two and their five) and terriers (he breeds them) too numerous to keep count. I had pre-ordered the book from Amazon because her blog, “Manger” had been previewing recipes for some months now in anticipation of their book’s publication.

Seeing her home, countryside and dishes serves as an exciting source of inspiration to live as wholly in my own kitchen and home as I can, each day. I have been remembering that I have a pair of large shino dinner plates in the cupboard that haven’t been used in awhile. Ditto for some other earthenware plates glazed with off-white nautilus spirals. If one is domestically inclined, this kind of book is truly one to savor, admire and enjoy. Kudos to the Thorissens and the passion with which they seem to do everything (looking for cepes in the wet woods for hours to no avail; then making ravioli with a handful that belatedly appear.) I’m glad that the two missing puppies were returned by the nefarious/mischevious fellow who brought them back on the day before Christmas for a “price.”

Later today, I’m planning to meet my daughter C. for afternoon coffee at Verrill Farms in Concord near the high school where she teaches. Along the way there, I’ll stop by Idylwylde Farms in Acton to pick up two small Bell & Evans chickens to make Judy Rodger’s recipe, (roast chicken with bread salad) to serve dinner guests tomorrow evening. In the roasting pan will go carrots, onions and some turnips. As a side dish, I’ll use up the portobella mushrooms in the fridge and stuff them with creamed spinach and garlicky crumbs. Verrill Farms makes delicious pumpkin pie which I’m hoping to pick up for dessert.

We are grateful for these beautiful fall days and feel fortunate in the midst of a swirling hostile world of political crises to be able to be with family, friends and each other.

 

 

 

 

 

music “binges” . . .

piano handEver since I was young, I’ve been prone to going on music binges. What that means is that I listen over and over to music that I love, entering a world of tonal joy and ecstasy. I think this kind of visceral and emotional response to music runs in my family, actually, since there are a lot of musicians in the lineage on both my mother’s AND my father’s sides. I’m a pianist and have perfect pitch. My younger sister is a violist and violinist who has played professionally her whole life. I have a first cousin who is a cellist who studied with a famous teacher at Yale before going to medical school and becoming a pathologist. The three of us have played chamber music together on a few occasions in the past.

Be that as it may, it doesn’t really account for these binges that I’ve had where I discover for myself a composition or a related set of pieces and then play them to death. In those days, we didn’t have earphones so I would listen to music as a teenager, holed up in my bedroom with a 33 rpm player. Some of my favorites as a music nerd from that time were Rachmaninoff’s Symphony #3 with the heartbreakingly gorgeous third movement and clarinet solo that was and and still is “to die for.” The opening repeating octaves of Brahms’s Symphony #1 are thrilling every time I listen to it. Other favorites at the time included Leon Fleisher’s recordings of the 1st and 2nd Brahms piano concerti recorded with George Szell; David Oistrakh playing the Khachaturian violin concerto and Jacqueline Du Pre, Daniel Barenboim and Pinchas Zuckerman playing Beethoven trios together when they were still young, vibrant and brimming with life’s exciting possibilities.

Believe me, it was another era in music. It was before Jacqueline du Pre’s career and life were cut short by multiple sclerosis. It was during a time when du Pre and Barenboim ran off to Israel and got tempestuously married with Zubin Mehta taking on a Jewish name so he could attend their wedding. It was before Pinchas Zuckerman divorced his flautist wife, Eugenia and married Tuesday Weld. And it was before Jacqueline du Pre’s life ended in her forties, her erstwhile husband, Daniel Barenboim having secretly abandoned her for a Russian pianist, Elena Bashkirova with whom he had two sons in Paris before du Pre passed away. I’m recounting this history because it illuminates how life takes turns we don’t expect, people change and find other people to love and life sometimes seems unfair.

But come back and listen to du Pre’s famous recording of the Elgar cello concerto conducted by John Barbirolli (who himself was a cellist) and you won’t feel so bad. Her sound and phrasing are incredibly moving. I read online that while playing piano trios together, du Pre (cello) and Zuckerman (violin) shared an unspoken kind of musical intuition that was different from that of Barenboim (piano) who wrote down markings all the time. The other two didn’t bother to note anything in writing but would “take off together” musically on occasion while they played, neither of them able to articulate how it happened or why it worked so well.

Some of you might have heard of the gossipy book and movie made by du Pre’s sister, Hilary after she died. It stars Emily Watson, and whether parts of it were true or not, certainly maligned the cellist’s personal reputation while giving air time for her sister, Hilary. Why do people do this? One of Hilary’s daughters countered her mother’s account, saying her father was serially unfaithful, even while carrying on with Jacqueline during the last years of her life. What family does this to each other in the public’s glare? Why was it important for Hilary to get her digs in after Jacqueline du Pre not only died of multiple sclerosis but whose talent was so glorious? Maybe that’s why. Daniel Barenboim, who doesn’t come off very well no matter how you dice it, was said to have asked plaintively, “Why couldn’t they wait until after I was dead?”

I also read that William Pleeth was with du Pre when she passed away from MS at the age of forty-seven. Pleeth was her teacher for seven years and was a prodigy himself. He was the youngest scholarship student at the Leipzig conservatory when he entered. At the age of fifteen, he had not only learned all of Bach’s cello suites by memory but also had thirty-two violin concerti under his belt by that time. I didn’t even know there were that many violin concerti, familiar only with about a dozen of them. My father was an amateur violinist who would play excerpts from the familiar Mendelssohn violin concerto, especially the poignant melody from the second movement that knocks me out every time I hear it. It’s not only lovely to listen to, it reminds me of a much simpler time in our family’s life.

Other musicians have had incredible lives as well. Anne Sophie Mutter, the premier German violinist who made recordings with Herbert van Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic was married for a few years to Andre Previn, believe it or not.  Lorraine Hunt was a violist and didn’t begin singing seriously until she was in her thirties. She then began a trajectory of concerts and recordings (Handel arias) that were cut short by cancer when she died at the age of fifty-two.

By now, you’ll have noticed that my binges include reading about musicians’ lives as well as listening to favorite recordings they have made. With the advent of I-Tunes, I can now satisfy my OCD-ness by listening to and comparing a number of renditions of a particular piece or movement online without even having to purchase them. Last night, I came across a recording of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Suites for Two Pianos, recorded by Martha Argerich and Nelson Freire in 1985. It’s an astounding set of movements played with top speed (Argerich) and yet amazing technique and clarity. Argerich has been married three times to two conductors and a pianist. A daughter was born from each union. In the meantime, I’ve always thought that Nelson Freire was in love with her the whole time anyhow even though they were good friends while she went through her marriages. They have not married, but I read somewhere awhile ago that he moved into the townhouse next to hers in London where they live side-by-side. In recent clips, you can see that they both smoke like chimneys while they keep on playing piano music together.

Maybe musicians’ lives are no more or less passionate than other people’s. Maybe actors and theatre people’s lives are similar. I don’t think there are many people who could/would learn thirty-two concerti, never mind that many pieces by the time you were fifteen years old. Daniel Barenboim has survived the approbations of his marriage to and death of Jacqueline du Pre. He’s aged and is now in his early seventies. His wife, Elena Bashkirova doesn’t seem to have aged much at all. It’s noticeable, though, that in their photos, she either has her arms around him, leans in or otherwise is saying with her body language, “he’s mine!” In a 2004 interview, Barenboim was quoted as having asserted that “I don’t think she knew!” referring to Jacqueline du Pre and his affair/family with Bashkirova before she died. As though that’s what he thinks might have mattered the most to her? or to anyone else besides himself?

 

 

 

 

kabocha squash, and tonight’s dinner . . .

roasted kabocha squash . . .

roasted kabocha squash . . .

Have you ever cooked a kabocha squash? Maybe not. They’re not all that commonly found in the grocery store. You’ll come across it in Asian markets and also health food stores. Its origin is Japanese and it’s not altogether evident when you bring home this compact squash what to do with it exactly. It has a hard texture to the dark green striated skin. I’ve had it before in Japanese restaurants and it tastes like a squash but its flesh tastes more like a hearty sweet potato.

Mine has been sitting on the kitchen counter for a few days, reminding me that I wanted to roast it to go with a meal. Yesterday, we had a cabbage moo-shi filling leftover meal, using the homemade wrappers that I made on Saturday to go with the roast duck I picked up from the Vietnamese market in town. For supper tonight, I’m heating up leftover brown rice, stirring it together with some scallions, eggs and the leftover moo-shi vegetables with a dollop of oyster sauce for flavor.

Alongside, there will be a bowl of gently steamed eggs, the heat so low that the custard of the eggs is smooth as silk. A little higher heat and the steamed eggs go to pot, that is, they puff up, filled with air and the silky texture is lost forever. Lest this sound too dramatic for food, here’s the recipe for the steamed eggs:

Luscious Chinese Steamed Eggs:

1. Mix a half cup of fresh ground pork with chopped scallions, a spoonful of cooking sherry, Ohsawa soy sauce and cook quickly in a small saute pan until the meat is tender and still a little pink. Let cool.

2. Break four fresh organic eggs into a bowl and beat gently with a whisk until well combined. Pour a cup of chicken broth and mix well with the beaten eggs.

3. Prepare a bowl to hold the eggs by spraying with Pam; place cooled pork into the bottom of the bowl and then pour egg/broth mixture gently on top. Add tablespoon of Ohsawa organic soy sauce and a tablespoon of cooking sherry. Stir well.

egg mixture ready to steam. . .

egg mixture ready to steam. . .

4. Place the bowl in a pan with an inch or two of water and then place the bowl into the pan to steam. Bring the water to a boil and then turn down heat until the water barely simmers. Put a lid on the pan and maintain the heat just below boiling. Putting the lid on raises the heat inside the pot so double-check the heat which should probably be turned down even more. With the water barely simmering, It may not look like the dish will cook, but if you let it simmer on very low heat for about twenty minutes, the egg mixture will present a custard-like appearance with a silky sheen on the surface.

5. When the custard has set, turn the heat off and either serve with the pot on a trivet or remove the bowl from the pan.

Baked Kabocha Squash:

1. Using a very sharp knife, insert it into the squash and cut lengthwise down one edge. Turn the squash over and cut through the other.

2. Scrape the inside of the squash clean (seeds, etc.)

3. For two people, slice half of the squash into segments. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Make a mixture of olive oil, soy sauce and maple syrup (equal parts, about a half cup of glaze.)

4. Stir glaze together until mixed and baste the squash segments all over. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the squash for twenty minutes and then turn the pieces over. Baste on more glaze. When squash is cooked after about twenty more minutes, remove from the oven and let cool.

5. Place the cooked squash pieces into a nice pottery dish, cover and wait for dinner.

leftover fried rice, steamed eggs and glazed kabocha squash. . .

leftover fried rice, steamed eggs and glazed kabocha squash. . .

 

 

 

the last rose(s) of summer. . .

We’ve had a couple of frosts (barely, not hard) and these roses were still blooming in the garden yesterday. I thought I would cut them and enjoy them inside, the week before Halloween!

 

roses 1

new england color . . .

It is a grey, rainy day here in New England. You might think it would be gloomy and dark but nothing could be further from the truth!

We happen to have sassafras trees in our yard that have the most beautiful leaves that turn brilliant yellow in the Autumn.

In addition to that, we plant climbing vines of morning glories every year (almost missed it this year due to our broken ankle and back injury,) that present beautiful sky blue flowers which are especially heartwarming on days like this. Here are some photos to enjoy along with us.

morning glories on a rainy day viewed from our kitchen window. . .

morning glories on a rainy day viewed from our kitchen window. . . 

more morning glories, two days later . . .

more morning glories, two days later . . .

brilliant yellow Sassafras trees from our rainy bedroom window . . .

brilliant yellow Sassafras trees from our rainy bedroom window . . .

 

 

more dahlias! . . .

dahlia burgundy 2

group of dahliasToday might be the last day that Fiveforkfarms, a flower CSA farm located in Upton will have fresh flowers since they’re expecting a frost to hit soon. So, today at the farmers market, I met D. the father of the five forks clan and G., the youngest daughter whose idea it was to start a flower CSA. I bought a bevy of huge plate-sized blooms. It turns out that D. and I discovered we are both Chinese, shaking hands, and joking back and forth about who was older (when he insisted he was older than I, I bet him a CSA subscription that I was older and he backed off!) I knew I would win because my kids are quite a bit older than his, it seemed to me. G. was so gracious to me when she wrapped up the bouquet of dahlias. I’m looking forward to a time when the farm decides to sell retail, maybe next year.

cream dahlia

Because it was a rainy day, I decided to do some errands early and visited the farmers market around 9:15 a.m., plopped the fresh flowers into a white enamelled pail filled with a couple of inches of water I had prepared, set on the passenger seat floor and drove into town to pick up a hand-made pottery vase that I had asked a shop to order for me.

If you look around, a number of potters have been making ribbed, white contemporary looking vases, notably Jonathan Adler about a decade ago, his prices going from reasonable to, well, way more expensive as he got famous. And others like Frances Palmer who hand builds white pedestal vases that were so gorgeous you wanted to figure out how you could justify buying one–and then, there are ones like the vase I ordered and brought home today. These flowers are just amazing to behold, aren’t they?

2 vases

“late style” . . .

title: "final fiesta" . . .

title: “final fiesta” . . .

This morning is gloriously beautiful–a temperate, sunny day in October here in New England. While reading the morning New York Times and drinking my coffee, I read about the Matisse exhibition opening at the Museum of Modern Art. Half a million people viewed the exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London.

title: "that's not my age" . . .

title: “that’s not my age” . . .

This phase of Matisse’s creativity came late in his life after a series of setbacks. His wife of forty years left him and legally cut off their marriage. He had abdominal cancer and endured surgery that made him a semi-invalid, bed-ridden for the rest of his life. Due to the War, he lost his apartment in Nice and moved to a temporary place in Vence, a town nearby. This is the setting for making collages out of paper cutouts, almost sculptural and filled with color. They are so uplifting to view that one wonders how he got these ideas and where he came up with the hues of paint he had his assistants apply to paper, pin up, move around and generally serve as cogs in a slow-moving artistic process.

The NYTimes and others labeled this “late style” to commemorate a burst of creativity late in life, Matisse having died at the age of 84 in 1954. As you know, I’ve thought a bit about how to continue to be creative as one ages. The only thing to fear is lack of time. Or, that you’ve just been daydreaming about things all your life and unable to carry out the kind of creative life that you wanted for yourself.

On a much more mundane level, one of our projects lately has been to put together a book of G.’s photographs of the ocean, taken at different locations in Rockport, MA. where we rented a cottage in the winter and in Truro in Cape Cod before a huge storm changed the actual configuration of the beach. An extension of the photo book idea is to enlarge some of the photos and mount them on the three-story stairwell of our Queen Anne Victorian house, rebuilt by G. over the last three decades. A few years ago, I had a Rockport seascape blown up (about 3 X 6 feet) which currently hangs on the second floor landing wall. Why not create a seascape gallery going all the way up the stairs, we asked ourselves at breakfast this morning?

A brief online search turned up all kinds of possibilities for blowing up images: prints on paper, laminated, on poster board, on canvas, and so on. As for me, I carried out a major clean-out of our sitting area yesterday. I washed an antique hooked mat that lives on the red-painted stand beside the sofa. We tried out various table arrangements and settled for one close to what we already had except that I put all the detritus that pebbled all of the surfaces into small boxes so that we could actually see the tables! It’s amazing what clutter does to the eye. And what the absence of clutter does for the soul. Honestly, I’m not kidding.

I also applied a coat of dry wax to our new soapstone counter. There were also a couple of other repairs we made yesterday, like replacing a three-way switch to an old marble lamp we had that now provides a new level of light in the room at night; and mounting a cherry Shaker door to an old shelf to hide miscellany that would otherwise spill out onto the counter: teabags, aspirin, vitamins, etc. These may not sound like Matisse, but they’re very economical and pleasing fixes for the way things were. A pottery lamp that I bought thirty years ago had broken into two pieces and sat downstairs waiting to be repaired. Yesterday, with the help of three pairs of hands, it was put together again with superglue, better than Humpty Dumpty! So now we have double the amount of illumination than we had before–and at barely any expense. The place is so de-cluttered now that it’s hard to believe that we actually live here. I am still making my way through sorting out the stuff in the cardboard boxes but at least they’re out of sight, if not out of mind.

Each day as we wake up to such fine weather, we know how we lucky we are to be living together and sharing our lives. This appreciation is in sharp contrast to Republican doom and gloom that everything has already slid into a hand basket on its way to Hell. And even as the newscasters dumb down their nightly broadcasts into a replica of People Magazine (especially David Muir on ABC), try getting a parking space at the mall (which I don’t go to very often,) where it is mobbed with so many affluent shoppers at Nordstrom’s that they can’t all fit on the elevators. The Apple store is usually mobbed and the sushi open restaurant is pretty full as well.

So where was I? Oh, yes: “late-style.” Well, we can make of our lives whether we think it’s late or not. Thirty-somethings might even think it’s “late” for them. Little do they know once they get to be our age that “late” is a relative term. Today is my husband, G.’s birthday and it happens to fall on the same day as his mother’s — who lives across the street from us. Gram will be ninety-six today and so we will celebrate with a bevy of birthday cards (the most preferred vehicle of good wishes with a dollar for each birthday year) and some birthday cake tonight. How’s that for some “late-style” activity?

Matisse 2

 

bean and ham soup . . .

It’s a fairly mild day in early October, warmer than it has been with the chilly rainy days we had last week. But the moisture has been great for the garden and the Montauk daisies are almost in full bloom.DSCN7159

These perennial plants are ubiquitous in Rockport, a town close to the ocean, and huge clumps of them can be seen all over town. They multiply and appear in the Fall in great profusion, a notable cousin to shasta daisies which bloom in the summertime. I bought some plants when we had a winter rental there and they are beginning to take hold in our garden this year.

Like the morning glories that we plant for their sky blue color which appear on the second floor deck on foggy mornings this time of year, these Montauk daisies 2Montauk daisies bloom after flowers have virtually disappeared from neighborhood yards altogether.

For some reason, I’ve been hankering for some bean soup that I saw advertised in a Vermont Country Store catalog that came in the mail yesterday. It boasted that its canned bean soup is still served in the Senate dining room. That’s U.S. Senate, I guess. I wonder if anyone is still eating anything there since there doesn’t seem to be a lot going on in the Senate these days. Anyhow, I decided to make my own bean and ham soup.

The recipes online called for boiling the beans, letting them sit (to make them less gassy) and to cook the beans with smoked ham hocks. When I looked at the package of smoked ham hocks in the grocery store, they looked rather gross with skin, bone, gristle and not much ham to speak of. They were almost black with 4-5 of them in a pack and I didn’t want to buy that many anyhow. So, for the same money, I picked up a thick slab of ham which I’ll cut in half and freeze the remainder to use in a batch of green pea soup later in the year.

The parboiled beans are now cooling on the stove. For this recipe, I will:

Cut the slab of ham into chunks and brown in unsalted butter

Take the ham out and saute a chopped vidalia onion in the ham/butter skillet along with a crushed clove of garlic

Add a couple of quarter-cut carrots and celery stalks with the onions

Tie together some sprigs of parsley and thyme from the herb pot on the back deck; add a bay leaf

Add back the beans and ham to the vegetables

Add 1/2 chicken stock and 1/2 spring water to cover; add a small can of stewed tomatoes

second simmering in the soup pot . . .

second simmering in the soup pot . . .

Cook low on simmer for a couple of hours or so; add more broth/water as needed (I stored the soup in the fridge overnight and then started it simmering again the following day, adding spring water to the soup)

I decided to incorporate the ham pieces into the pureed soup rather than taking them out. When the soup cooled, I spooned all of it into the Vitamix and turned it on low. Gradually increasing the speed, it suddenly took off and turned the whole pot of vegetables, beans and ham into a coarse puree.

I put it all into a saucepan and added another cup or so of chicken broth to lighten the soup consistency a bit. I heated it up on very low heat so as not to burn the soup on the bottom. It tasted delicious. To go along with the soup, I toasted some English muffins, spread with butter and grated gruyere cheese, broiling them until golden brown and bubbly on top.

pureed bean soup . . .

pureed bean soup . . .

 

 

 

 

 

dahlias! . . .

dahlia 1 dahlia 2 dahlia 3 dahlia 4 dahlia 5jpg dahlia 6 dahlia 7jpg dahlia 8There’s nothing as beautiful as seeing a bevy of dahlia blossoms in the beginning of October here on a New England Fall day! I went to the local farmers’ market this drizzly morning to buy eggs but the stand I usually buy them from said it was too cold for their hens to be laying!

It was slightly muddy, walking around the tents that were set up and I was getting ready to leave when I saw a booth with buckets of dahlia blossoms. Some had heads that were at least eight inches across! They were grown at a farm in Upton, MA. and after I selected three blooms, an Asian man who looked like a Zen priest wrapped them carefully in two layers of paper and handed the bouquet to me with a smile.

I’ve always loved the look of dahlias on a table–one of my daughters grew them and they always looked fabulous strewn in various bouquets around the house.

There’s also a house a few miles from mine here in town on a busy main thoroughfare that grows dahlias every year. And I don’t mean just grow them. Around the perimeter of the fence, there are five-foot high dahlia clumps with blossoms, spaced a few feet apart. There must be hundreds of them. I marvel at what it takes to grow them: to dig up the tubers and winter them over in the cellar with some mulch, then plant them each year, fertilize and stake them (that’s the laborious part) and then do it all over again every year. It’s certainly worth it but I’m not sure I have the patience although every year when I see the blossoms, I’m tempted to try them in my own garden. I do carry over amaryllis bulbs over the warmer months and they come back to bloom over the holidays after two months of a chilly/dry habitat.

Anyway, these three dahlia flowers were just a fraction of those at the market–but since we are enjoying them so much here on the kitchen table, I thought I’d post them for others to enjoy too.

Happy weekend!

Postscript: Just discovered the website for the flower farm in Upton, MA. where these dahlias were grown. It turns out to be a flower CSA farm–and they supply flowers to all sorts of florists and restaurants too.

Click on Fiveforks Farm and you can take a look too!

 

under the weather . . .

vegetable stock . . .

vegetable stock . . .

The weather has been unseasonably warm (87 degrees over the weekend) and is now rapidly cooling off. They say that rapid shifts in temperature are liable to make people vulnerable to colds.

I’m fighting one off the last two days and can’t remember the last time I had one. Lots of sneezing, sore throat and congestion. The plumber who installed the faucet and Insinkerator the other night was wheezing and coughing, saying he had just come from the clinic with a Z-pack prescription. Hmmmmm. Turns out the dishwasher he installed earlier in the week wasn’t getting water during the wash cycle.This became evident after I emptied dishes caked with drying fluid and still greasy. It finally dawned on me that nothing had been washed even though we had set the one hour cycle the night before.

One of G.’s workmen, J., came yesterday to troubleshoot the dishwasher and after testing the water valve in the house and the machine, discovered there was a kink in the hose looped around the back of the dishwasher that was obstructing water from coming in. I was relieved it wasn’t an electronic board fault that would have required a service call on a brand new machine–and thankfully it wasn’t. Anyway, that was a puzzling glitch yesterday. And hopefully the last.

My daughter, M. who is studying nursing skyped this morning and suggested I use my spirometer–a breath strength measurer they gave me after surgery to boost lung strength and to keep congestion at bay. I also followed her suggestion to humidify the area and took out ingredients to make a vegetable stock that would simmer on the stove all day: leeks, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes and parsley. It was satisfying to cut up all the vegetables and stir them in olive oil, then after browning, adding a gallon or so of spring water. It’s on the back burner of the stove right now, quietly cooking goodness that will supply us with stock to make fresh vegetable soup tomorrow and to freeze. I’ve found that the rich, hearty taste of this homemade vegetable stock is more appetizing than either the beef or chicken/pork bone broths that I made a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it was the proportion of ingredients to water but there wasn’t as much flavor as the vegetable stock.

french onion soup . . .

french onion soup . . .

Because J. is coming again today to work on some carpentry, I also decided to make a separate batch of French onion soup, using some bone broth I had in the freezer and two large onions which I browned in unsalted butter until softened and golden brown. This soup is one of our favorites and we’ll have it for lunch. I have a dry end of a French baguette that I’ll broil with gruyere cheese on top that will soften when we float them on top of the soup right before serving. Yum!

I’ve also been taking Airborne–cold-preventative tablets that fizz up in some cold water (I like to add an ice cube) that both G. and I have taken the last couple of years whenever we felt a cold coming on. It’s done us well as neither of us has had a serious cold since then. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to nip this one in the bud too.

humidifying . . .

humidifying . . .

 

 

 

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