We had yet another snow storm – and no-school-day – this past Thursday. We awoke to somewhere around a foot of snow on top of all the other snow we’ve had this season.
Bill started mounding snow against the deck after the first major snow, and he’s been adding to it with each successive snow storm.
The kids have actually been skiing on it, but this past Thursday, they were all about the sledding….
Yesterday, starting early, early, early in the morning, I fired up the smoker and placed a lovingly rubbed and injected hunk of pork on the rack.
You can read the first three posts about this day-long project here:
Smoked Pork Butt - I've Got a Hot Butt (clearly the smoke was getting to me here)
Now, for the final chapter of yesterday’s labor of love….
Ohhhh, I totally forgot what day of the week it was. The snow days we’ve had over the last couple of weeks keep throwing me off track, at least mentally, and yesterday I kept thinking it was Sunday, because everyone was home, and so this morning I had no idea WHAT day it was, and plus I was up at 4:29 am to play with fire and pig meat and then make cheese, and then at some point today it suddenly hit me:
CHICKEN B’STILLA DAY!
In case you can’t tell, they’re holding pieces of walnuts in their little cookie arms.
I was in the mood for cinnamon. And we’ve had our little squirrel friends stopping by for seeds and scraps of toast and stale bread a lot this winter, so I thought I’d use the squirrel cookie cutter for these.
I know – it’s supposed to be a project with my kids. But Sunday was a day of ice fishing and quilting, and we didn’t get the cookies baked.
So I baked them yesterday before everyone got home.
Bill and the kids and I went to our favorite Asian market recently to stock up on a few things and get ingredients for a couple of meal ideas Bill had been kicking around. Part of the fun of shopping there (besides the fabulous butcher, “Tommy” who talks fishing with Bill) is finding and trying out new and different ingredients. Sometimes we’ll just see something and buy it, figuring we’ll find a use for it eventually.
This time around, while the kids were searching for chicken feet in the poultry section (yes, really), I noticed bags of these noodles on an aisle shelf nearby. I saw that these were made from potato starch, rather than bean starch, and they were kind of gray in color, and, well, they just looked cool.
So I had to get them.
Yesterday Bill took Alex ice fishing. It’s cold up here in the northeast right now, –1 F this morning, for example, so the ice on the local ponds is pretty thick. The menfolk dressed warmly and brought an extra pair of gloves each, and off they went. Julia and I wisely stayed home and, more importantly, indoors.
I started working on Bill’s quilt, and Julia wanted to help, but there wasn’t really anything she could do to help…so I asked her if she wanted to make a quilt of her own, maybe for her dolls, or her 25,769 Barbies….
I figured I’d start out with some of the easier repairs first. There are a few spots where just a single piece of fabric is frayed or torn, with nothing going on nearby. Like the square above. There was a long tear where the fabric had just worn out, right along the seam. No good way to repair it directly, so I’d cut a square of fabric to cover the original square.
One of the nicest things, so far, about cooking my way through Dorie’s Around My French Table with the wonderful French Fridays with Dorie gang is that I usually have all or most of the ingredients already on hand. It’s so nice! Take this double chocolate mousse cake. I didn’t need to get anything for it. The ingredient list is very short – chocolate, eggs, sugar, coffee, butter, salt. That’s IT.
And it’s a good thing, because I made this, along with last week’s gnocchi, last Wednesday, which was A Day Of Much Snow in these parts, and no one was going anywhere.
My whole sewing area needed some straightening up, so I decided to tackle that earlier today. I moved and sorted and rearranged and consolidated, and now I feel much better about things.
While I was going through everything, I came across a white plastic trash bag with what I’d thought was a quilt in progress. Something my grandmother had started at some point but never finished. So, since Finishing Stuff is my project for the year, I figured I’d take a look to see what needed to be done.
Years ago (around twenty, actually) (wow) I did a lot of quilting. I’d learned to sew when I was a kid, and I made my first quilt when I was in high school. It was for my grandfather, who’d had a heart attack, and when I said I was going to make it for him for Christmas, someone (don’t remember who) said I wouldn’t have enough time.
I did it.
For French Fridays with Dorie this week, we made gnocchi. But not the gnocchi I usually make – you know, with potatoes. Or, sometimes, sweet potatoes.
This version has no potatoes at all. The gnocchi are made with pate a choux, the same dough used to make things like eclairs, cream puffs, and gougeres.
Those kooky French cooks!
I got home from work a couple days ago and Bill greeted me at the door with bad news.
He’d planned to cook some of our stockpile of stuffies (stuffed quahogs) for part of dinner (we had at least a couple dozen in the chest freezer in the basement) and when he took them out, the stuffing was mushy. As in, not FROZEN.
That’s not good.
I probably am creating too many projects for myself this year. I can tell that already because it was only weekend number 2 and we didn’t bake any cookie cutter cookies. Instead, we spent a lot of yesterday working on Alex’s room.
It’s been a mess, frankly.
I read an article on Etsy this morning called “Make Something Every Day.” You should read it. Go ahead. I’m still typing anyway. (ha ha. a bit of blogging humor. A very little bit.)
At first I thought “Drat, I can’t particpate! I’m already a week behind!”
Then I thought “What’s a week? Okay…then what could I do…day by day…I HAVE NO IDEA! I LACK CREATIVITY! MY SPARK IS OUT!”
And then I tilted my head and looked at this from a different angle.
I ended up skipping a couple of French Fridays with Dorie weeks in December. I didn’t want to – in fact I’d made most of the December recipes ahead of time. But then the holidays kind of took over and I slacked off in the Dorie department.
So I was quite determined to get back on track this month. And what a lovely way to start – mushroom soup!
And it couldn’t be simpler.
I’ve never been a fan of marmalade. I think maybe I’d tried some when I was a kid and the slight bitterness of it turned me off. I probably had it at my maternal grandparents’ house. They were English, so, you know, they were required by law to have at least one jar of marmalade (MAAHHM-uh-lade) in the house at all times. I think I tried orange.
But last month, when I was scrambling to make Christmas gifts for people, I came upon a recipe for Lemon-Ginger Marmalade, and it sounded really interesting. I’ve got an English cousin living nearby, and I figured he and his family (the rest of whom are Yanks), might like it…maybe my mother…and I forget who else I gave a jar to.
So I made it. And this morning, just before I started typing this post, I opened the one remaining jar, made some toast, and tried it.
It’s good stuff!
Yeah, we’re all about fusion here.
Let me back up a bit.
For New Year’s Eve, Bill made Peking Duck. We haven’t done this in YEARS – not since before we bought this house, and we’ve been here about nine and a half years. So that’s a long time.
We’ve been wanting to do Peking Duck lately, and this was the perfect opportunity. We had friends coming that night, so why not trot out something special, right?
In December 2010 my son, Alex, noting the vast number of cookie cutters I have, suggested we bake a whole lot of cookies and use ALL of the cutters. From that seed of an idea, the Great Cookie Cutter Project of 2011 sprouted. Every weekend (or most of them) of this year, the kids and I are going to bake a small batch of cookies using about half a dozen cookie cutters from my collection. Sometimes we might use more, sometimes we might use fewer, but the object of the game is to use ALL of the cookie cutters by the end of 2011.
I hope you’ll stop by every week and take a look at what we’ve done!
This is Week 1….
Just like a lot of people, I’ve made New Year’s resolutions.
I will do this, I will not do that. I will eat healthy food, I will exercise every day, I will balance my checkbook, I will meditate, I will post to my blog every day.
Just random notes, as I wander through this day….
I decided, spur of the moment, to take down all the Christmas decorations today.
To be honest, I’ve had enough of the holidays this (past) year. I try to feel all the joy and love and wonder and awe and excitement and everything, but this (past) year, it was hard to sustain. Fortunately, the kids had enough sweet and pure delight for all of us to share.
I am most thankful that they are. Yes, they are my children, but they are individuals, not just appendages of the family unit. I am blessed and honored to be a part of their lives, and so lucky to get to watch them grow and learn and become whoever they are destined to be. I am lucky and grateful for every unsolicited hug and kiss and smile – and even for the ones I demand, because they are generous with affection, these two little people. On days (weeks, months) when I feel I do nothing good, nothing useful, nothing of any significance, I can look at these two and think, “well, maybe I’ve done something right…”
Most of the Christmas things are packed away. Now I need to haul the tree outside and then clean up all the needles it leaves behind.
Our tree this year did pretty well, needle-dropping-wise. I think Bill bought a Noble Pine….something like that…anyway, it hangs onto needles no matter how dry it gets.
I took a little time to reorganize out little storage closet today. I put all the Easter stuff in one place, the Halloween in another, and so on. All the Christmas stuff will go at the back, and hopefully it won’t be such a battle to get to it next December.
I told the kids if they wanted to watch the Christmas movies one last time they needed to do it today, so they held a little Christmas Movie Marathon, at least for an hour or so.
I think it’s safe to pack the movies away now.
Guess I’d better get on my feet again and finish clearing out the tree. I’d like to put the living room back the way we’d had it before, so I can type on my laptop by the window in the mornings again.
I miss that.