Saturday, November 14, 2009

Baking and cooking season is in full swing...

I'm still without a camera, and it's very vexing since I've been baking and cooking like no man's business.  If I could show you a picture of the sardines I just scaled and gutted!  To be honest, they're very poorly done since it was my first time prepping whole fish of any kind, but it was lots of fun.  The boys enjoyed seeing the gills but something was lost in translation for Finch who then wanted to know where his gills were and why his lungs couldn't 'breeb'  water as well as air.  Robin realized that water must have 'extra' oxygen since, if the fish breathed the oxygen that is bonded with hydrogen in water molecules, we'd have oceans full of hydrogen, which is a gas in it's natural state and so clearly there must be some other oxygen and I almost turned it into a teacherly moment but then the kittens got into the fish heads so we all sang the fish heads song instead which was probably just as well.

I've also been baking bread, cookies, and brownies.  We've made peanut brittle and divinity and plan further forays into confectionary for the future, including fudge, fondant, and caramel pinwheels.  Just like Brachs only tastier, fresher, and with better ingredients.  I have 4 quarts of roasted vegetable stock in the freezer as well as a modest amount of cookie dough already portioned and some extremely rich baked macaroni and cheese in individual portions. 

On deck for next week are apple cider doughnuts, sandwich bread, brownies, and either a pumpkin roll or an apple pie depending on how ambitious I'm feeling.  Also, next week's dinner menu:

Brown rice, spinach, and lentil soup (I know, it sounds terribly healthy, but it includes sausage and it's really very nice)

Roasted beets with their greens, barley pilaf (again with the healthy, but this one is quite nice also)

spaghetti with braised fennel and kale (wow, we're really cooking healthy and delicious food this week!)

braised lamb shanks with root vegetables and chickpeas (this will be my first time using lamb shanks and I have to admit I almost didn't want to own up because lamb shanks seem very sophisticated and chefly to me)
potato leek soup?  (or, use leeks for vegetable broth)

Potato-leek soup and warm spinach salad

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Comfort Food

Well, my camera died. My plan was to put this blog on hold until I got a new camera, but I miss blogging and, anyway, Wren has a camera. I think she'll be pleased to take some pictures (and receive a photo credit here on 3Birds!) so subsequent entries will have some visual interest. For tonight, I just felt like blogging even without a picture.  Tonight's supper isn't particularly photogenic anyway, but it's simple, nourishing, and delicious.

If someone asked me to list my favorite comfort foods, I'd begin with the meat and potatoes meals of my childhood: roast chicken, parsley potatoes, and green beans; meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas; pork roast, scalloped potatoes and broccoli. But I'd also have to add some meals that would have seemed yucky, odd or even exotic to me as a child. I didn't like eggs very much then and certainly wouldn't have eaten them any other way but scrambled, but these days I savor a soft boiled egg with buttered toast. Or, to be honest, two soft boiled eggs with lavishly buttered toast. I would have thought it odd as a child to look forward to any bean dish because beans were what we ate when the budget ran short,  Beans always meant sliced hot dogs served with canned 'Boston Baked Beans' doctored up with some brown sugar, ketchup, and mustard.  These days I enjoy all kinds of bean dishes, including an authentic Boston Baked Beans,  but a fairly austere dish of white beans boiled with a bay leave and then drizzled with sage frizzled in olive oil is my favorite.

When I need a quick supper but I'm also craving some edible comfort, I make coconut curried rice: