Once upon a time a small person who was having a rough time came to stay at our place — her self-designated Happy Place — to get a break from the hot mess difficult times at home. Early one morning, while the world was barely awake and nearly silent the girl gazed out over the small lake next to the house, sighed a sigh as big as her whole body, and solemnly said, "It's very beautiful out there."
We looked, seeing it through her eyes. We looked at the purple and rose fuschias leaning over the edge of the lake; the fractal-flock of birds swooping and dipping until it seemed their wingtips must be wet; the splashes of cloud poufs reflected in the still water.
Mostly, we looked at the wee one's quietly shining face and one of the first few smiles she had shown that visit.
She was right. It is very beautiful out there.
The house by the lake (sadly, a rental) is long gone and the small one is happily grown. My morning color is less dramatic here, being mostly hidden in mist that rises from the creeks that run amok on the valley floor but the sunsets...oh my, the sunsets.
They are very beautiful indeed.
Download a larger, slightly different, version of this picture scaled (1600x900) to use for your desktop image.
Just for you, my faithful readers, a special price of ~16 bucks on Picture Yourself Cooking With Your Kids — a 98% discount from...well, from whatever the heck that thousand dollar book is about.
Some people claim that it is spring where they are but here on the Washington-Oregon cusp it is anything but. This started yesterday and has continued at a slow but steady pace with the only real variation being in the quality of the flakes: dry icy pellets give way to floaty shreds larger than corn flakes which becomes small, driving sheets of snow, like the rain that marches up the valley. The rhodies and daffodils, just flowering, are not looking very happy, but the predicted 80 MPH winds, fortunately for us, went elsewhere.
How's your spring shaping up?
My oven has decided that now, with money impossibly tight and the holiday cooking season closing fast, is a good time to die. The picture above is not it. That picture is what I am taunting my increasingly erratic beast range with. "Work or I'll replace you with this sexy thing!" does not seem to be working.
I have, however, developed a new technique for roasted chicken that involves heating the oven up to 350, letting the temperature fall to 190-270, reheating the oven to 350 and repeating. (All temperatures are +/-75 degrees. Seriously.) It takes about three...or maybe it was four hours and the chicken was remarkably moist yet cooked through. How that happened I have no idea.
Guess that's where the magic comes is.
I am biting back everything I want to say about the range in honor of Wordless Wednesday (and be glad it's not Swearing Saturday because holy #!*@balls, Batman would I ever be going for it) and simply quietly dream of something like that pretty thing up there .
I am not sure which wise person told me this first, but this is the best tip I got with my Kitchen Aid mixer most of two decades ago
Drape a towel over your mixer before turning it on and you will not have a flour covered kitchen.
Simple but so incredibly helpful, to both me and the help.
Spotted flitting between the anise hyssop and this aptly named butterfly bush in the herb garden one August day, this beauty is a Red Admirable (or Red Admiral if you must be modern). They are common as the nettles upon which they nectar but I still love those marbled-looking underwings and bright blue spots.
One more bit of pretty after the jump...
I started with this recipe: English muffins and crumpets: an (almost) shared recipe and while it's closer to what I want, it's still not quite there.
Speaking of things that are not there...can we talk about me for a nanosecond? I have been ill lately, which is why I have been not here. (All I really want to say is that if anyone ever says to you, "quick choose a modifier for 'nausea and vomiting'..." you should NOT choose "intractable"...) This seems to be an ongoing thing (oh joy) so I have to figure out what the hell the food writer who doesn't eat much writes about (since we know I am not writing about myself). I am accepting input on this...
One of the very few things I can eat on my not so good days is English Muffins, hence the recipe tweaking. The next batch will be get a little more water and be cooked in rings. Photos soon. I hope.
Happy Valentine's Day! Hope you are either spending it with someone you love or finding a creative way to ignore it until the redPinkWhiteHeartsAndFlowers craziness is over. (This bread is a variant of Farmgirl's Oatmeal Toasting Bread, slightly corrupted, enriched with milk, eggs, brown sugar and spices.)