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

Tag: oatmeal bread

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!

sunday . . .

leek and potato soup . . .

leek and potato soup . . .

It’s a calm, sunny Sunday today. No snow. No rain. The sun shines through the windows and the skylights, shimmering on the wooden floors in the kitchen and our sitting room. The sun basked, warming our backs as we sat at the kitchen table, reading the newspaper and finishing our breakfasts.

Today is a slower cooking day: this afternoon, I’ll peel some russet potatoes, rinse a bunch of leeks carefully separating the leaves to make sure that dirt goes down the drain and not into the soup. Chop the leeks into small pieces and brown gently with a generous dollop of unsalted butter in a heavy pot; then add the cut up potatoes, stirring in some chicken stock. Simmer the whole thing with the lid on top, the fragrant soup finished off with light cream after it has been pureed in the VItamix and cooled on the kitchen counter. I’ve been looking for some vintage silverplate soup spoons with rounded bowls which we will use for the first time with tonight’s supper.

fresh out of the oven!~

fresh out of the oven!~

In the meantime, I’m mixing yeast, milk and honey with oats, flour and butter to start a loaf of oatmeal bread. I’ll time it so that the loaf will rise once, then shaped, risen again in the white stoneware loaf pan, baked to a golden hue, topped with a sprinkling of oatmeal. Resting for ten to fifteen minutes or so to slice thickly, spread with cold unsalted butter and a little honey, sliced into triangles, eaten with bowls of leek-potato soup.

I’ve been trying a different soporific (translate sleeping aid) every night and so far, the vexing pattern of tossing and turning, trying dreams and flopping my heavy cast back and forth has continued unabated. I’m hopeful to try a different regimen today/tonight that may result in more rest. Side effects of pain medication and insomnia have plagued me more than the amount of pain emanating from the ankle injury.

Noro "mossa" yarn . . .

Noro “mossa” yarn . . .

To while away the three week wait to have my cast removed, I’ve ordered some musky taupe Noro Mossa yarn with purple, green and brown colourways which should arrive this coming week. Planning to knit a simple garter stitch cardigan that will pass the time and give me a project that I can wear outside once my leg gets better and as Spring showers bring May flowers.

just in case . . .

People are predicting that “Sandy,” the perfect storm with the lowest pressure ever in combo with cold air coming from the north and warm gulf stream air entering from the south might become the biggest storm EVER. You know it’s serious when they shut down public transportation in New York City; evacuate people along coastal states, close schools and say you can work from home. Even the Court system in NYC will be closed today.

So, what I began doing when I woke up in the middle of the night around 3 a.m. was to start cooking the ten-pound ham that is not spiral-sliced, but an old fashioned, honest to goodness semi-cooked ham. I glazed it with Poupon mustard, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar on the outside. Baked it for almost three hours in a 325 degree oven while browning baby brussels sprouts in a skillet and steaming broccoli and cauliflower in another pan.

On the stove, I rinsed out the navy beans that had been soaking the day before, sauteed vidalia onion, carrots; put in a hambone from the freezer, adding spring water and chicken broth to make a hearty bean soup. There’s a head of lettuce and three asian pears for salad to offset the ham. Oatmeal bread and rolls should hold us for ham sandwiches or peanut butter too. There’s enough to share with family next store and tenants who live in the house.

In the freezer is a ten pound bag of ice which can go in a cooler to keep all this food chilled and safe to eat for a few days in case the power goes off.

While the vegetables were simmering, I brought in the wind chime that has sturdily kept going for almost ten years out on the back landing. And piled the flower pots together in the pantry too. There are a couple of Stanley tripod torches to give us light in case the electricity goes off. If it does, there’s always knitting or reading to do, and it will be a good test of how long we can live without being online!

So, this is about all I can think of to prepare for this impending storm. Maybe we won’t need it after all. Let’s hope so. I think it’s humbling to do what we can to prepare for this potential emergency, while recognizing that the magnitude of this storm (and its impact) rests completely in the hands of Mother Nature!

Afternote (31 Oct. 2012): Unlike many less fortunate, we were spared a power outage. So yesterday, slices of ham, vegetables, rolls, biscuits and soup went to family and friends. The ten pound bag of ice waits in the freezer for another day.