Okay, you know how sometimes if you say a certain word over and over, it starts to sound really bizarre? Try it. Bicycle. Bicycle. Bicycle.
The same thing happened to me just now as I was typing the title to this post. Biscuits. Bisciuts? Biscuits? Biscuits? Can this be right?
Anyway, this post is about one ambitious day (the same day, in fact, that I made my luscious Sweet Potato Bisque) that I made up a recipe for my own veggie burgers and made biscuits for the burgers instead of rolls. Why? Biscuits are quicker. Even if “biscuit” is a weird word.
Just want to point you all in the direction of my future niece-in-law’s blog today. She is an incredible cake- and cupcake-maker/decorator, and this weekend she competed in the National Area Cake Show Competition in DC. (Besides THAT fabulousness, she is also an inspiring and tough athlete. She’s quite awesome.)
The card is filled with sympathetic messages from some of the staff at the vet’s office where I brought Blur this past Monday. Not just “so sorry for your loss,” but sentences. Small paragraphs. Sweet and stunning.
And then there’s Blur’s left front paw print. It’s hers alright. Small, double-pawed.
I never expected this. The card, yes, but not the paw print.
I made corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day dinner last week. Actually, I’d started making the corned beef the week before, making a brine and soaking the brisket in the fridge for a week before finally boiling (simmering, really) it and the requisite potatoes and cabbage and carrots. (Turnips and other root vegetables would also be traditional, but I didn’t want a TON of leftovers.
What I did want was the left over corned beef. I used some of it make corned beef hash over the weekend, and used some more of it last night when I made a Reuben for my husband for dinner.
I wrote the post yesterday while the kids were still at school. I wrote it out, I cried when I needed to, and then I made some rye bread. Because life has to go on. Bread needs to be baked. And, later, children get out of school. And then they have to be told.
I was scrolling through facebook a few minutes ago after posting a link to the previous post, and as I scanned status updates and links to news articles and other posts, I was rather startled to bump into my own face.
New England Cheesemaking Supply Company had asked me a while back if they could use my post from last summer about making Feta. I’d said yes, of course, and then promptly forgot about it, figuring I’d find out whenever the post ran.
It’s basically a reprint of my own old post, but if you’re interested at all in cheesemaking, there are lots of great articles and interviews with other cheesemakers – from beginner to professional – in their blog.
This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie is the Salted Butter Break-Ups, and can be found on pages 400-401 in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.
I haven’t participated in several weeks, for one reason or another, and I was overjoyed – yes, overjoyed to be able to join in this week.
These cookies are a snap to put together, and because you don’t have to scoop them or cut them out into shapes (unless you want to cut them out – the dough would work just fine for that), they’re quick to prep and get into the oven.
They’re also quick to disappear. I made them yesterday, and after my kids’ lunches are packed, I don’t think we’ll have any left.
When we were in New Hampshire a few weeks ago we ate dinner out only one night. There were a bunch of restaurants in the area, and many of them looked appealing. We ended up choosing Margarita Grill in Glen, NH.
The interior is low-ceilinged and cozy, with rough exposed wood and rustic tables and chairs. We were led to a table to one side of the small room and handed Margarita Grill’s rather extensive menu.
I had a smoked turkey quesadilla, which tasted like a fine way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers, complete with a cranberry salsa. The kids had tacos, or maybe Julia had her usual – macaroni and cheese – and Bill had enormous fish tacos so big we brought one of them and half my quesadilla back to our condo and had them the following night.
And for appetizers, I don’t remember what everyone else had. All I know is I had their Chipotle Sweet Potato Bisque, and it was fabulous.
I also knew I had to try to make it at home some time soon.
When my sister and I were kids, we didn’t have any green clothes. I remember her giving me a rather odd look one day when I was old enough to go shopping for my own clothes. I brought home a green and white striped shirt. The horror should have been because the stripes were horizontal, but no, it’s because half the stripes were green.
Apparently my mother wouldn’t buy us green clothes because her father was Scottish and English and he wouldn’t have approved.
Yesterday was a Staff Development day where my kids go to school, so they were home with me. Alex had a bunch of homework to make up because he was out with strep most of last week, so after he did all of that it was time to make cookies.
As I said yesterday, I’m on a cleaning kick. Sort of. Put it this way – I’m in the mood to clean. I’m not always. Or for very long. But it needs to be done, and now that I’ve armed myself with all sorts of good-smelling, inexpensive but effective homemade cleaning supplies, I’m kind of raring to go.
Thing is, I’m raring to go about a lot of different things. Sewing. Revamping this blog (a long overdue project). Making more cheese. Cleaning out the house so it’s not so cluttered. Planning a yard sale for whenever yard sale season officially begins. (I’m thinking that will coincide with slightly warmer Saturday mornings.) Making more stuff for my Etsy shops. Cooking and baking more interesting stuff for this blog. Working in the gardens.
And, of course, in and around that there’s normal daily life. Husband. Kids. Pets. Dishes. Laundry. Meals. Work. Exercise. (Which needs to move farther up the list. Perhaps right after Pets. I figure breathing things should come first.)
Anyway, I have all these things I either should do or want to do, or a combination of both.
And I’ll tell you right now, flat out: I’m terrible at staying organized.
Just ran outside and took a picture of the first crocuses. They first bloomed a few days ago, but it was raining, so no picture that day.
So it’s March. Nearly halfway through. I haven’t done a whole lot of interesting (to me) cooking or baking, or, more importantly, a lot of photographing of cooking and baking, so in that department…I got nuthin.
But I did start brining some brisket, transforming it into delicious corned beef.
It has to brine for 8 days, which will take us a bit past St. Patrick’s day, but for us it’s not so much about the date or being Irish (I’m not, and if Bill is, it’s only a smidgen) – it’s about Hey! We should make some corned beef!
A few years ago I blogged about the whole process. We had a big Corned Beef dinner, which included both home-brined and store-bought Corned Beef, the requisite vegetables, and a couple of Irish breads, and some condiments for the meat. I followed the whole thing up with some excellent (if I do say so myself) corned beef hash a few mornings later.
You can read about everything that went into the meal here, and how I make corned beef hash over here.
And Bruce Aidell’s Corned Beef recipe (which is the one I followed) can be found right here.
I know it’s a bit late to get started if you want to be eating the Corned Beef dinner on the 17th, but there’s no law that says that’s the only day you can eat the meal. If you’re feeling adventurous, give this recipe a try, and, if you’re really feeling adventurous (and hungry), get some pre-brined corned beef at the store, boil them both, and compare the flavors. Just for fun.
What else is going on…
Spinach that survived outside in the winter garden and gave us these lovely leaves for a salad the other night.
Pretty cool, huh?
And speaking of gardening, Bill and the kids planted all kinds of things outside today.
Didn’t need to plant parsley – it survived the winter!
Didn’t need to plant kale – it also seems to have survived, so we’ll see.
And Bill moved the cippollini onions into one of the winter gardens for now. They’re still in their little peat pellet things, but they’ll be a touch warmer this way, and we’re planning to leave them outside from now on. Eventually (when we build another one or two raised beds) they’ll be separated and replanted in a more permanent spot. But for now, they’ll hang out here.
The broccoli is also going to stay outside now, too.
AND, in the tray where the onions used to be, Bill’s going to start impatiens (they’re flowers that like shade) for the shaded side of our yard. They do well there.
Indoors, the Spring Cleaning Bug bit me hard recently, along with the Green Bug. So, instead of actually cooking anything recently, I’ve been mixing up a bunch of eco- and economically – friendly cleaning products. The recipes I used are right here, at one of my current favorite websites, Chickens in the Road. You should check it out. Not just for the cleaning products, either. There’s so much more.
And then I started cleaning. Yesterday I cleaned the downstairs bathroom – from top to bottom, including the curtains and the shower curtain.
By the end of two hours, that room sparkled blindingly. Yes. Two hours. I sprayed and wiped and cleaned and scrubbed. I washed the floor by hand, with a sponge.
It felt good.
Today I repeated the process with our upstairs bathroom.
And after cleaning the bathrooms so thoroughly, I just have this to say.
Men are gross.
There, I said it. For a gender so overwhelmingly obsessed with sports (that involve, mostly, aiming at something), and shooting things, it’s amazing how out of control they are when simply aiming a short distance.
When my sister fell on her bike while riding over the train tracks at the other end of our street, our friend Dolores thought she was being kidnapped.
I guess Mere, my sister, must have screamed or yelled or something from just out of view, down in the dip of the road where the trains used to run, back before the town removed the tracks and made a bike path.
As we develop our own recipes, I’ll be posting them for you. I’ll also try to have Bill take notes when he’s revising a recipe. Can’t say he’ll take pictures, though. But maybe I can hire one of the kids to do it.
I admit it. I cut into this much sooner than I’d originally planned.
I made this Manchego on January 28th – not even a full five weeks ago. Now, there’s no official aging time with Manchego. You can leave it for a week and eat it really young, or age it for 3 weeks, 6 months, or longer. I had kind of intended to let this one age for at least a few months.
But what with being away for a bunch of days, and then being sick for most of last week, I just don’t have any food posts for you. And telling you I ate oatmeal with coconut, banana, raisins and almonds for breakfast just isn’t all that exciting. Is it? Of course not.
So tonight, since Bill had already got dinner under way, I figured I’d cut into the Manchego and see what was going on.
As I said in a recent post, whenever I resolve to eat better and exercise more, my body goes into a panic, gets sick, and begs for comfort (i.e. starchy and fatty) foods. The very foods I (mentally) want to avoid.
And that’s what happened this week. I’ve been congested and very achy, with horrible chills that roll across me like waves.
No, I’m not pregnant. Two is Enough in this house.
Two human charges, anyway.
But that doesn’t seem to apply to other forms of life.
We’ve got the three cats, as you know.
And Cricket-Catcher, the Cuban Knight Anole.
And a tank of assorted tetras and catfish and swordtails and other stuff down in the basement.
And we’ve had a series of Bettas (Siamese Fighting Fish) over the years. First Reddy, then ReddyII, then Bluey, and most recently (and briefly), Fire, who was overtaken by a rogue fungus of some kind. Very sad.
Well, two things have happened since I last wrote about the pets.
We’ve got a wedding to go to early this summer, and besides being very excited about it (for lots of reasons, which I’ll share at some point), I realize I’ve got a definite deadline and my work cut out for me.
See, it’s a destination wedding. On an island. Sandy beaches, gorgeous water, palm trees.
The sort of place where people stroll or lounge about in two-piece bathing suits (or at least the women do – the men would probably look a little weird if they did), and work – at a leisurely pace – on their tans.