Category Archives: food

Covid Silver Linings, Lasagne and ADD

I’ll start the list of Covid silver linings with two.

One, The first thing I hear every morning is, “I’ll go down and start the coffee.”

Do you now how nice this is?

Husband used to leave the house at 6:15, which meant he was up and out in full dark for portions of the year. I’d be so dead to the world I wouldn’t even hear his NPR-set alarm. I never minded making coffee but it is so nice to rise and shine with it ready to pour. His company is nice too.

Two, Covid has normalized my wardrobe choices. Ha! Most of what I wear has to meet a single criteria — is this outfit as comfortable as pajamas? The rest of the world has caught up to me I guess.

 

This is the time of year when my holiday timing clashes with my husband’s. That’s why I will begin to sneakily remove the smaller ornaments and put them away. Hope he doesn’t notice! Actually, this year he might go for full take-down before New Year’s because we got our tree the day after Thanksgiving. It is dry.

I got a rice cooker for Christmas and we might just have rice every evening from here on out. It comes out perfect every time. I used to have one. Here’s a fun fact you probably don’t know about me: I ate nearly exclusively with chopsticks for about five years.

But what am I saying about rice? I have all the ingredients for lasagne. I really hope it’s as good as the batch I made for my brother the trip before last. They purchased some specialty ricotta which was creamier than what I usually buy, and I think that made the difference. Wish me luck! It’s a lot of work for a meh-meal.

Lastly, I get to congratulate myself (again) for sticking with the Paris Collage Collective’s challenge for the entire year, even with four trips to Los Angeles and one to Boulder. I doubt I’ll do it again in 2022. I am eager to make some collages fueled by more personal images. This week’s image was a hand holding a balloon.

If you don’t have ADD or don’t know anyone with ADD, you probably can’t quite appreciate why this is such a big deal.

In the thirties

A good hearty soup for cold weather includes red beans, rice, and chorizo. I used homemade turkey stock.

Reading Bewilderment by Richard Powers. As you may know, he wrote The Overstory. This new novel features a young boy with issues, pretty severe issues. His widowed father struggles both to manage him and to avoid the pitfalls of diagnosis and medication. Naturally, the best scene so far took place while the two of them were camping (back to trees, in other words).

So far, it’s very, very good.

Too bad I can’t say the same about the week’s news. The SCOTUS decision about the Texas abortion law today released “the stench” that Sonia Sotomayor said it would. Yuck. What a bunch of partisan hacks! California declares itself a sanctuary state for women’s health.

We could write for days about all that is going wrong in this country, but I think I’ll go watch an episode of Top Chef (an old season I haven’t seen). Already watched this week’s installment of Project Runway.

This next Powers’ quote speaks to the moment.

To end on two positive notes: my brother walked 200 feet one day in PT this week; my younger son got an A minus in the writing class he finished today.

Well also: the 1/6 Commission seems to be gaining momentum. Good!

Bought a breast

We just learned that my brother-in-law was exposed to Covid on Saturday, so we are waiting to hear the results of his test. Fingers crossed, he’s okay.

On a more minor note, we’d been planning to have Thanksgiving dinner at their place.

All this by way of saying, I just got back from the grocery store. Rather than get a small bird for $32, I bought a hefty breast for under ten. When I got home, husband immediately lamented the absence of dark meat. True enough, and there will be no glorious leftovers for sandwiches or fettuccine but hey, I’m the cook around here and I went for simplicity.

After reading a restaurant review over at Donald McKenzie’s blog, diningwithdonald, I got a hankering for roasted cauliflower with a tahini sauce, so I bought the ingredients for some version of that as well. I’ll report back.

Mostly though today I am mildly obsessing about commas. My friend recommended the book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves for assistance. Thank you, Dan Preston! I’ve just started it and it is hilarious. Who knew?

I am more than halfway through my novel’s professionally-provided edits and I can’t tell you how many changes concern hyphens, commas, and dashes. It’s a little embarrassing but also eye-opening.

In other news, a Tarot deck arrived, one that I ordered so long ago I’d forgotten about it. The American Renaissance Tarot. Can’t wait to explore.

Also, a friend gave me an old jacket made of silk kimono scraps. I’m currently saying NO to most offers of this kind but made an exception for this. Thank you, Sue!

Lastly, a quilt I made K years back has needed repair. Some of the thinner cottons disintegrated. Appliqué is the way to go here.

Incoming edits this week

And hallelujah! Will be watching for the Fed Ex truck eagerly. Consultant is sending marked up pages — 200 to start. Very old school.

For editing, honestly, I prefer working on paper.

Attended an Amherst Writers and Artists Northeast Chapter meeting yesterday which was great (writers from Maine, NYC, upstate NY, Connecticut, and Massachusetts), but it means today feels like Saturday and it’s not.

Found a yummy looking recipe for roasted pumpkin wedges. Gonna give it a whirl. The same cookbook inspired breaded and fried leeks last night. The leeks didn’t hold together quite well enough but they were tasty.

I’ll report back on the pumpkin.

Update.

Well, I didn’t like them. Maybe you shouldn’t use a pumpkin that’s been sitting on your stoop for a couple of weeks.? The flesh was stringy and bland. K thought they were good, but my feeling was: I can think of better ways to eat bread crumbs and Parmesan.

And I did! Added an egg to the leftover cheesy grits from last night and coated them with what was left of the herb, bread crumb, garlic/herb mixture. Delicious! A crusty exterior with a smooth creamy inside. Yum.

PS I made a Tarot pouch this afternoon from the sleeve of an old jacket — big enough for the Voyager deck.

Green Goddess dressing

Homegrown summer herbs and a yogurt/mayonnaise base make for a yummy salad dressing!

Ingredients: mayonnaise, nonfat plain yogurt, a squirt of anchovy paste, garlic, lemon, rice vinegar, salt and

A mix of herbs (maybe NOT basil, though?) : parsley, chives, tarragon.

Instructions:

1. Put 1/2 c mayonnaise and 1/3 cup yogurt into cuisnart along with five cloves of garlic, juice of half a lemon, dash of rice or white vinegar, a squeeze of anchovy paste, a teaspoon of stevia, and two fistfuls of herbs.

2. Mix

3. Add additional veggie for greener color, such as chard or spinach.

4. Taste and adjust acid, salt, and sweetener until dressing sings.

This adventure was based on two recipes from the NYTimes recipe app (which I cannot recommend enough). Here and here. Mostly the latter.

Note: the first recipe uses basil, so that might be worth a try. It also adds the creamier Greek yogurt which I definitely want to try.

Since I generally rely on the tried and true oil and vinegar dressing (with Dijon and garlic), this made for a really nice change.

Locally grown pepper, lettuce, radish and pea sprouts were worthy carriers of this Green Goddess mix!

Kitchen notes:

1. If you chop fast, leave a generous stub on your carrots, celery, cukes, etc. Since you’re a home cook and not a professional, you can pop these tidbits into your mouth. Way better than chopping a flap of your thumb off. Trust me I know.

2. Keep anchovy paste in the fridge. Essential for Caesar salad. Never goes bad, as far as I can tell.

3. Stevia is, by volume, four times sweeter than sugar. Adjust your dashes accordingly.

4. If you hand mix, use a whisk and a bowl with steep sides. But I have to say, this recipe is one of many reasons to keep a mini-cuisinart to hand.

5. Even if you live where growing veggies is impossible (like here — too much shade), treat yourself to container-grown herbs. It really is nice to have fresh basil, chives, sage, and parsley on hand. Pesto has been one of the most pleasurable foods of the summer (worth the outrageous cost of pine nuts!)

6. Re: knives. Either marry someone who will sharpen your knives for you or learn how to do so yourself. Nothing ruins kitchen prep like dull knives. * * * Having said that, it’s more important to know the status of your knife’s edge than to have a sharp one when it comes to safety. That is, as they say, another story, one that involves blood, an onion, and a poor attempt to assist a professional home chef in Cambridge.