1. I am typing this post with a cup of coffee at my elbow. Not just any cup of coffee, though -- a madeleinian cup of coffee. We're out of milk and cream, so I popped open a can of evaporated milk. The taste and the mouthfeel take me right back to my grandmother's kitchen. I can hear her saying, "Would you like a little Pet milk for your coffee?" to my mother and my aunts in the tone of someone proffering a special treat. I am remembering the coziness of her kitchen and a feeling of satisfaction at being big enough to sit with the grownups.
Maybe by the bottom of the cup I will remember what color the curtains were.
2. It's Thursday as I'm typing this, and dinner is almost ready. In the oven there's a beet-green quiche, made with not quite enough eggs and a blend of sour cream and evaporated milk. I do not expect it to be a hit. It's time to go to the grocery store.
3. On the stove I have a pot of delicious soup which I will never make again. Once for Christmas my MIL gave me a book called Master Chefs and Their Crazypants Recipes, or something like that. Each recipe had at least 20 ingredients, to be combined in a dizzying sequence of steps. Any cookbook that has me making praline powder in step one and moving on to the complicated stuff from there is above my pay grade. But do you know, if I were to write up the recipe for this soup it might almost fit in. A slacker's crazypants recipe, or something.
4. The soup is only accidentally complicated, made of beets and carrots that I roasted on Christmas Eve and gussied up on Christmas Day. It wasn't hard to chop an onion coarsely and fry it up with some garlic and ginger. After that I just had to tip in the leftover veggies, add a splash of apple juice and enough stock to make it look like soup, and hit it with a plop of sour cream and an immersion blender. If I wrote it all down -- "first, prepare the Roasted Beets With Saffron Cream, followed by the Blanched Tamari-Roasted Carrots Accented With Butter and Orange" -- it would sound fancypants rather than seat-of-the-pants, which it actually was. It makes me wonder how many of those crazypants recipes came from people scavenging in the back of the fridge, thinking, "Better use this up before it goes bad." I bet it's easier to recreate an accidental success if you have a sous-chef to do the heavy lifting.
Maybe I need a sous-chef.
5. It's Friday now, feast of the Holy Family and my firstborn's 15th birthday. I've been waiting for this day, when my children would be 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15. Doesn't that sound orderly? He told me he'd be happy with any kind of cake I wanted to make, and so I am going to try my hand at a Swiss roll: devil's food cake, whipped cream filling. If the rolling is a disaster, I'll turn it into a trifle and pretend that was my plan all along.
6. The reason I had that pretentious-sounding Saffron Cream for my beets was actually a children's book -- Tomie de Paola's Jingle the Christmas Clown. Years ago the kids and I made the delicious cookies it describes, covered with sunny saffron icing. On Christmas Day the kids were happily rolling out cookies. (Does that sound very domestic of us? It was not. I had made the cookie dough on the 22nd or 23rd, but I just couldn't get it together to bake them until Christmas.) I let them eat the whole first tray, thinking they'd make a second batch that we could ice for the grandparents to enjoy after Christmas dinner. I let a pinch of saffron steep in a little dish of milk until they announced that they didn't want to make more cookies. I'm too cheap to throw out saffron, so into the beets it went. I think we might try iced cookies again this afternoon.
7. New Year's resolution? At the top of the list: more veggies, less sugar.
More quick takes at Conversion Diary.