Sleeping in is physically impossible for me. Often Anderson will wake up around 5:00 am. He’ll come into our room with the sweetest little pitter patter of feet that always wake me up and he’ll ask me, “Momma, can I get in the big bed?”
I have no business writing a blog post right now. I’m up to my eyeballs in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, Rachel Carson, and a solid debate on whether or not an abandoned orchard can be labeled as organic, thanks to the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. Top that off with house prep (do thoughts about house prep count?), a full-time job with a lousy commute, a social schedule chock full of birthdays and weddings, and trying to fit being a mom and a wife in there (one that makes dinner and showers). This sounds like a whinge, but it is not. These are all happy things (aside from the commute, which is temporary), but a bit crazy overwhelming.
Yes, I’m posting about hot chocolate in June. As I write this, it is 48 degrees outside and our heat is on. Yes, I’m clearly smitten with bourbon and it finds its way into so many things I’ve made lately. And no, I don’t only consume chocolate, heavy cream, and bourbon, though if I were the type of person with a raging metabolism, I probably would. As good as it is on the rocks with ginger ale and lime on a hot summer day, the sweet warmth of bourbon also serves as an excellent comfort drink for a wet, cold-to-the-bone kind of day.
My how weekend nights with friends have changed with parenthood. What used to be late nights of excessive imbibing, decadent food, perhaps some sort of objectionable board game, and raucous laughter has morphed into takeout, the sounds of running feet and something Disney in the background (or maybe The Gruffalo if we’re feeling particularly highbrow), and sippy cups sitting among the highball glasses (consumed very gently now, as young children and hangovers do not mix). I’m not complaining. It is priceless.
So, what’s new? Hmmm. 1. My son is potty trained. Yeah, just kidding. We’ve determined that he just isn’t quite ready yet. He can, however, sing the ABC’s with adorable perfection. This blows my freaking mind. That whole “it goes so fast” thing really is true. 2. I’m a city commuter now. My car sits in the driveway and I now hop on a bus, then a train, and then I walk the remaining mile and a half. I even get a ride home from Awesome Husband and we go pick Anderson up together. After years of a two hour commute home on the hellish Mass Pike, there are just no words. It is wonderful. 3. I ran my first 10K last weekend in picturesque Concord. All money raised went to support the Louisa May Alcott Orchard House.
Admittedly, I’m obsessed with pickling and canning things lately. My farmer’s market volunteer gig isn’t helping my cause. Red onions are in season right now and I keep coming home with them. They aren’t the worn out, been-stored-too-long versions of onions you see in the grocery store. The ones I can’t resist are the shiny, fresh, local ones that have such an amazing purple color that I can’t not purchase them. We eat a lot of onions in this house, but these weren’t meant to be cheapened in a sauté pan or diced up into run-of-the-mill potato salad. These were meant to be on display.
I have quite a collection of cookbooks, even after a recent purge. I am sortof a cookbook junkie. I try to make one new thing per week, but that is usually hard to do. Full time working mommas don’t often have hours to burn in the kitchen. Thank goodness for a husband who recently discovered he also likes to cook because he’s really taken the heavy the last few weeks, which have been nutty for me. This latest recipe is from my beloved Moosewood Cookbook, which is older than I am.
Maybe it was my lavender in bloom? Or maybe it was knowing that my foodie friend was coming over? The anticipation of a south end date that same night? (B&G Oysters by the way – delish!) Or the fact that I absolutely love cooking and tend to want to try new recipes on the weekend? I needed a snack to take to an outing at the beach with friends this past weekend and I didn’t want to just throw a bag of chips in the beach bag, so I made crêpes for the first time.
I made the best soup in the world a few weeks ago. Actually, the best soup in the universe. My cute husband came in from outside looking like a snow man during our last snow storm and I felt compelled to dig through our cupboards to create some sort of hot comfort food for him. Note: we hadn’t gone grocery shopping. I didn’t realize the leftover holiday remnants of my fridge and freezer would turn out to be likely my favorite soup ever. What could I possibly do with an unopened container of cream as well as a partially consumed bottle of champagne? Add some veggies of course to create Veggie Chowder! Ingredients 1 pint of heavy cream (yeah, I know – this is not low fat!) 1 cup of champagne or white wine 1 can of cream of mushroom soup 3 tablespoons of butter or margarine 3 tablespoons of flour 1 onion, chopped 1 tub of Knorr Homestyle Stock 1/2 10 oz package of frozen spinach 4 small potatoes 3 carrots, chopped 1 cup …
Cucumber season is coming to an end but I’m still getting one every few days. I used my last batch a few weeks ago to make jars of refrigerator pickles. Refrigerator pickles are regular pickles, only they aren’t processed in a water bath. The difference is that the shelf life is 3 months instead of 12 months. I really wanted to create pickles like my favorite brand – Woodstock. They are garlicky and zippy. My recipe isn’t exactly like Woodstock farms, but they had a nice bite to them! Refrigerator pickles 3 pint mason jars 6 minced garlic cloves 5-7 pickling cucumbers 2 1/2 tablespoons of pickling salt* 1/2 cup white vinegar 1 tsp peppercorns 6 dill heads 3 tsp dill seed 3 1/2 cups of filtered or bottled water **I couldn’t find “pickling salt” so I found really fine sea salt without anti-caking ingredients. Divide the minced garlic, sliced cucumbers, dill seed, and peppercorns up evenly and place in each clean mason jar. Boil the water, salt, and vinegar until all of the salt …