I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, February 2, 2019

The Winter Kitchen

Happy Weekend! Happy Groundhog Day!

 Hi, are we seeing a bit of  a warming trend?

I just walked Mo and it's 13 degrees. He seems to like the cold if the wind is still, but I'm pretty sure it's not too good for little ears and feet to be out too long.

One of my best ways to make the cottage at the beach cozy in the winter is to plan dishes that use the oven. I suppose it's not such an economy, but just as in the summer we crave cold crisp salads, in the winter we love something nourishing and HOT.

One of our favorites is roasted vegetables.

These are so versatile. I buy whatever I see in the market, whatever looks colorful, fresh and appealing. In this case, roasted ''baby'' [pretty big babies!] sweet potatoes, parsnips, tiny cipollini onions, and green cabbage.

 You do need to time these vegs as some cook  much faster than others. I plan 45-60 minutes for the sweet potatoes and parsnips, at 375*. Since the sweet potatoes were so big I cut them into sections similar to the size of the scrubbed parsnips [2'' x 3''?].

Coat very lightly or spray with olive oil. Parchment makes a good pan liner---I was out. Season to taste, with garlic, salt and pepper, caraway or fennel seeds. Or cinnamon and ginger instead? Hot paprika and curry?

After 2o minutes, open the oven, give the pan a shake. Add the onions and shake again to coat everything again w/ olive oil. Be sure to be stingy with the oil or the veggies will be greasy.]

In a separate pan, with a T of olive oil, add disks of washed and dried green cabbage. Flip them to coat with oil. Again season to your taste. Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning the disks over once.

This is a lovely side dish with chicken or beef; or as a component of a dinner salad, I esp like it with small roundels of warm goat cheese on baby greens. I also mix the veggies into various pilafs, farro is a current favorite. Also good on a baguette with honey mustard, or as a pizza topping...endlessly useful.

Any veg can be roasted, pretty much. Next week I hope to do tomatoes, whole garlic heads, eggplant rounds--and maybe fennel? Toss with whole wheat pasta, orchietta might be good, and fresh ground parm.

Fruit Crisps

Another day I made a mixed fruit crisp. using this mix I found in the pantry drawer of  my fridge.

I had my heart set on the smells of baking apples and cinnamon! But found only one apple in the crisper. I also found  cherries, cranberries and dried apricots, so I soaked them overnight to soften them, drained and added a dollop of liqueur.

I used the crust as on the box, but used up some leftover pecan bits, just added in.

This was fragrant and delightful, though if I make it again I'll quarter the apricots because as they reconstitute they get kind of big, and I'll add oats to the  crumble topping of the crisp.

Served hot with a a little honey sweetened Greek yogurt. mmmm.

Artisan Bread

Then today and yesterday I finally made the very simple no knead artisan bread. HERE  I kept putting the project off because it's baked in a big dutch oven and I often need my dutch oven to prepare meals.

The dough is made up to 24 hours ahead. 4 ingredients! The house is so cold that the yeast didn't proof [nor does the recipe say it has to, just a habit.] The flour makes a sticky dough, more like spaetzle dough than bread dough. I left the dough overnight on the counter of my cold, cold kitchen. I was very surprised to see it bubbling and risen this morning. I left it, covered,  in the sunshine to continue whatever it does, til afternoon.

Once turned out, it forms a soft fragrant light round ball of dough. [lost the photo, too bad...]

Bake in a covered dutch oven at 450* [I have never had my oven that hot!]. For thirty minutes, then uncovered for 10 more. [no clue why the pan got those weird squiggles. My guess is the high heat erupted oils that have soaked into the unglazed cast iron rim, and the oils dripped down?

It makes a beautiful golden loaf of bread, maybe a bit too crusty for my taste---I need a better bread knife! I like a chewier crust, so next week I'll see how that is accomplished. Water in the hot pan I think..

Next time I won't wander off to the sewing room either: maybe I did the final minutes too long.

Easy fun, successful. Wow. a plus.


Why was I wandering off to the sewing room? I wanted to finish prepping my January block, of "A Day in the Country": New Mittens---how perfect for January! --block one of set of almost vintage patterns, c 1993, by Sara Sporrer.

The patterns were a gift to me from my friend here, Penny. Hand carried all the way from South Africa! Her blocks are gorgeous,btw. I chose to reduce the size to 70% of the original. Aren't the woolly mittens adorable. I've always been a huge fan of Sarah Sporrer. This project dates from the time I was very influenced by my dad, who thought store-bought patterns were a crime. I'd see Sarah's designs at the quilt shop in Cape Cod, but he'd always pooh-pooh the very thought,lol. Well. Now it's my time to enjoy and have fun. I plan to make a largish throw, wool on cotton, with some cotton in the appliques and sashings too. I might even someday hang it up on my wall!?!
Thank you, Penny!

Have a great weekend and wonderful February [Already!?]

Mo doing a Puxatawny Phil impersonation.



gone to the beach......

"I can be a groundhog, mommy!"

"No shadow! Break out your flipflops!"

Seriously, on my way home yesterday afternoon, I saw a guy come out of the deli/ surf shop by the surfing beach---wearing shorts! Not a surfer guy either, a chubby hipster, hornrims, beard, pot belly.

PS This is an old photo I found, of a boat or ship ladder, beautifully greyed and worn. Driftwood. It was stuck frozen in the sand. I wanted to come back and bring it home for a quilt display piece. But when I returned the sand had shifted, and reclaimed its prize. 

My Pinterest board FOOD: HERE