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

“cooking on a rainy afternoon . . . “

After lunch today, I mixed a batch of bread dough using Quaker Oats steel cut oatmeal. It’s a King Arthur “back of the bag” recipe and its ingredients are lukewarm whole milk, yeast, salt, melted butter, honey and flour in addition to the oatmeal. The shaggy dough felt really good as I kneaded it for about ten minutes. Then I turned on the oven light in our electric oven and set a greased bowl with the dough to rise for the early part of the afternoon.

After it rose the first time, I took the dough out, gently punched it down and kneaded a little more before shaping it into a loaf and letting it rise in a buttered bread pan until the top had risen almost two inches above the rim of the pan. Gingerly, I lifted it up and set it on the table while I preheated the oven to 350 degrees.

The fragrant aroma of baking bread is one of its great pleasures, the anticipation of peeking through the (closed) oven door and waiting long enough to cut a slice, buttering it with Kerrygold unsalted butter. I’ve packed a small container of the coleslaw and when the bread is cool enough to slice, I’ll slice a third of a loaf for G. to take across the street for his brother and 98-year old mother who have their supper around 5:30 in the afternoon.

Nothing better on a rain-day and cooking out of the pantry and fridge! While Mother Nature’s rainfall takes the winter’s edge off my car in the driveway.


cooking on a rainy morning . . .

It’s raining steadily today here in New England. I moved my car outside so that Mother Nature would give it a good rinse. Afterwards, I plan to mop it up with polishing cloths that I’m going to experiment with – you know, use the magic polishing cloth and one pass through will make it shiny and bright! Or howsomever. I thought I’d try this rather than going to the carwash.

A previous FB post reminded me of an interesting article by “Bon Appetit” about a restaurant Hillstone that serves basic American food but which many chefs like to frequent. One of the recipes that caught my eye was one for “Ding’s coleslaw.” Most of the time, I don’t make coleslaw from scratch because it was always easier to buy a container of it at the seafood store whose coleslaw was made fresh there and tasted pretty good – not too much dressing and finely sliced cabbage.

But today, I thought I’d try it because I had the ingredients on hand except for buttermilk.  I looked online to see what a substitute might be and added a little lemon juice to whole milk since I only needed a tablespoon of it for the recipe. In the fridge was a fresh half of a small head of cabbage, some leftover red cabbage that I had used for an asian noodle salad, half of a carrot, half of a honey crisp apple, some radishes and scallions. By the time I had shredded the cabbage, the bowl I was going to use was obviously too small. By the time I was ready to mix the dressing with the vegetables, it needed an even larger, shallower bowl to mix it together in order for the flavors to blend.

I tasted Ding’s dressing which included mayo, pickle relish, mustard, buttermilk, horseradish and sweetener (I used honey instead of sugar) and it was light, piquant and tasty. Poured the dressing on top of the cabbage and apple, radish, carrot mixture and mixed it gently together.

Wow! now I have a huge amount of tasty coleslaw from a motley bunch of vegetables that were in the fridge. I love it when this happens – a silk purse of a dish from a sow’s ear of tired produce in the fridge.

This afternoon, I’m planning to set up some oatmeal bread dough so that it will rise once and again, baking the loaves right before supper so they will be hot from the oven when we sit down to eat.

I watched Martha Stewart make a frittata on TV this weekend and am going to shred zucchini and onion to serve as the base and puff it under broiler after the bread comes out.

So with pantry and fridge ingredients, we’re going to dine like princelings and princesses tonight!  Or something like that!