Friday, January 06, 2006

Busy hands, though not in the kitchen...

I haven't been cooking or knitting as much as I'd like (I still read folks, or else I'd be locked up in the loony bin. Writing? Ha! You try writing when the cruel AA school district decides to put off starting classes until January 9th).

However, I have been keeping my hands occupied making this:
and helping Ian make this:
to hold this:
so that the tooth fairy will find this:
(We decided on red and silver glitter to attract the tooth fairy to the prize.)
and leave this newly gap-toothed boy some money.
If you too are in need of a Tooth Fairy Gazebo and Sign, or other wonderful, free printable, foldable boxes and toys, visit The Toymaker.

I am planning to do some non-subsistence cooking soon and thankfully the January 2006 issue of Gourmet rocks in the recipe department. Some of the recipes serve as reminders of things that I've made in the past and haven't thought of it a while (pork loin stuffed with prunes) and others are things I've never tried making (the fabulously named Eggplant Kuku for instance).

So here's what my upcoming recipe list looks like:
Watch this space to see if any, or all, are worth the effort.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Yet who would have thought the old "beet" to have had so much blood in him?

Yea, well, you'd be ripping off Lady Macbeth too if you had just grated 6 beets into your borscht and stained your palms a delightful shade of magenta.
"All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand" and ya know why? Just before serving, this recipe has you add some lemon juice and ten, count 'em, TEN squashed cloves of garlic. So not only are my hands purple, but they stink.

And the Borscht? Pretty good. I remember it tasting fantastic (rather than just good) when Halla made it for our book group to go with our discussion of Everything is Illuminated. But maybe it was the fact that someone else had made it and I didn't have purple stinky hands that pushed it up a notch from good to fantastic. Or maybe it was the effect of good company, good wine and a really good book that elevated the eating experience. But still, it was a pretty decent beefy, beety, dilly, garlicy bowl of heartiness which had the intended effect of helping me tolerate yet another sunless winter day.
And if you too are in need of a winter antidote, or if you just want the recipe, go here.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

And a lazy New Year

In year's past I have thrown dinner parties on New Year's Eve. Last year there were just 6 of us (plus the two and four legged critters wandering in and out) and the year before there were 15, which was maybe a few too many people to invite to a small house for a sit-down dinner...

This year I was feeling a little burned out after the Roast Beef fest that was Christmas dinner so I decided to be lazy. No dinner party. No plans until I received a phone call on New Year's Eve. No psycho trip to the store to stock up on appropriately festive foods.

And you know what? Being lazy turned out pretty great. Ami and John and Angela came by at about 9 pm. They brought champagne and a bag full of sweet goodies, many of which came from John's German relatives.
Mmmm. Love them Mozart marzipan chocolates.

And Ami taught us a Russian new year's ritual (courtesy of her friend Val) that I really like.

You take a little piece of paper, write down one wish (personal, global, whatever). Then you burn the paper, take a pinch of the ashes from your wish and sprinkle them on your champagne before drinking it. Keep your wish secret.
No, those aren't floating fruit flies, but the remains of my New Year's wish.

As Angela mentioned, it's kinda like drinking your cigarette with your champagne which sounds gross, but actually wasn't bad. And I like the tradition--burning stuff is fun (especially with the bonfire couple) and I like focusing attention on one wish/problem/project/desire. If I get started on New Year's resolutions, the list gets really long really fast and it all ends up a useless blur.

On New Year's day we (again) relied on the hospitality and advance planning of other people. Meg had us over for a Southern brunch with the traditional Hoppin' John accompanied by ham, greens, cheese grits and Meg's fabulous fresh hot little rolls. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera because it was a very photogenic spread of food and tasted divine too. I will try to pester Meg until she reveals her cheese grits and hot rolls recipes and then share them here.

Since I got off scott free in the effort department this New Years eve and day, I hereby vow to throw a "celebration of spring" dinner party this year. God knows with the way the winter is shaping up (a gray, gray, heavy mass) I'll need to celebrate when spring comes.