Saturday, March 5, 2011

More Cow, Stat!

I went out last night! To a bar! In real clothes! I had drinks of an alcoholic nature and got home past ten o'clock!

It was pretty exciting. Obviously.

Okay, so I went with the MiL to a going-away party for her brother, who is leaving with his wife for Belize in a couple of weeks for a stint with the Peace Corps. So not exactly club-hopping. But I DID go out, leaving A. behind on Cubby-duty. And as unusual as my going out at night may be, that's not what we're going to talk about. No, today we're going to talk about meat. Again.

The brother who is going into the Peace Corps is the same brother from whom we get our beef, you see. And he's leaving for over two years. PANIC. How will we survive without our family beef hookup? I do not know. Though we're starting by getting 3/4 of a cow before he leaves.

Luckily, A. is at this very moment picking up another chest freezer from a friend of the MiL's who doesn't want hers anymore, so we'll have plenty of space for the meat. Maybe we'll get a pig too. It's been a really long time since we've bought a pig for slaughter, and OH is that pork good.

Even with 3/4 of a cow and a whole pig in the freezer we still won't make it two years, though. We may have to--GASP--buy a cow from someone we're not related to. But we won't think about that yet. No, for now we'll just focus on the 750 pounds of meat that will shortly be in the deep freeze at Blackrock.

A heady thought, indeed.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Coming Soon to Network Television!

Okay, not really, but I could totally have shot the pilot for a new cooking show last night. We'll call it "Kristin's Kitchen," because I am original.

Shall we?

The show opens with me wrestling around on the floor with Cubby. As soon as A. descends from his office, I run for the kitchen, because it's already 5:20 and dinner had BETTER BE on the table by six or there is no chance for eating of said dinner before Cubby's bath and bedtime routine.

First up, brown ground lamb, keeping up a bright monologue--as television cooking show hosts do--about how this particular lamb was an uncastrated male that grew to, um, maturity a little faster than we expected, which meant the flavor of that meat is a little on the, ahem, strong side. Which is why I get rid of as much of the fat as possible and use really heavy spices when I cook with it. Which is why we're using curry powder tonight. But not yet!

First I must demonstrate draining the browned lamb (to get rid of the rank fat, you see), then putting it back in the pan with diced onion and garlic to cook away for awhile. Perhaps there will also be some discussion about being a little more careful when digging up said garlic so there aren't so many shovel gashes in so many of the heads.

Next up, I will merrily fling in some sweet (as opposed to burn-your-face-off hot, I guess) curry powder in the pan, along with some garam masala, blithely explaining that it's all to taste! And also, I never measure because I am too feckless, but that might not make it on camera. Then I will dump in some tomatoes, perhaps with a joking reference to The Tomato Crazy and how it sure does come in handy right about now! And then I will add some salt.

There will also be brief guest appearances by Cubby and his wrangler as Cubby wanders into the kitchen to play with the bottles on the liquor cabinet/stretch for the knobs on the stove/dump over the dogs' water dish while A. is making himself a drink.

Now, as the lamb simmers away, I will demonstrate how to make yogurt sauce. This involves crushing a clove of garlic into a ramekin, adding yogurt to fill, then a little lemon juice and salt. Stir. At this point, I might make some sparkling conversation about how easy it is to make your own yogurt and never settle for storebought again!

Unless I'm being sponsored by Dannon, in which case I will recommend Dannon products. Obviously.

And now for a special guest chef! Let's all welcome the MiL, who will demonstrate how to make chickpea crepes. They involve a batter of chickpea flour (what? don't YOU have chickpea flour sitting around?), grated shallots, ginger, garam masala, water, and I think some oil. There may be other stuff in there, but I didn't make them, so this segment is all the MiL.

Anyway, while she demonstrates the making of the crepes, I will be violently shaking a jar of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, which is my preferred method of making salad dressing and also a wonderful stress reliever.

Now comes the closing scene, in which we all sit around rolling up the ground lamb in our crepes, topping with the yogurt sauce, and eating with either our hands if we're primitive (A. and Cubby) or forks if we're civilized (the MiL and I). This scene will be necessarily cut short, as Cubby will take about six bites and then make his bid for freedom by launching himself violently backwards in his booster seat in an attempt to knock his chair down because EATING IS BORING, MOM.

And that, duckies, is how the cooking goes down in Kristin's Kitchen. I think we've got a hit show on our hands, don't you?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fashion Ruts

Remember when I said that I'm a rut kind of person? This applies to clothing, as well.

I wear the same clothes all the time. Okay, maybe not the EXACT SAME clothes ALL the time--that would start to get gross--but the same five or six items of clothing in a never ending rotation. The flannel-lined jeans are in this rotation, as are my long underwear in the winter, but topping the list of Items of Clothing I Wear All the Damn Time is my fleece.

It's a zip-up fleece my sister brought me from a trip to Australia. It says Perth on it, because she, uh, went to Perth. I wear it all the time because A) It is an easy way to add another layer over whatever top I have on that day and B) It zips, which is very convenient because I'm still sort of nursing Cubby and need, um, access occasionally. To the, uh, milk. You know.

I'm going to stop with this subject now, because I'm too prim to talk about this without blushing at my keyboard.


So I wear this fleece pretty much every day. On the days I have to reluctantly take it off to wash it, I wear a hoodie sweatshirt, which is just about as attractive as the fleece. That is, it's not. Nothing makes you feel hotter than a fleece and flannel-lined jeans, let me tell you.

I have other clothing, obviously, but wearing it would probably make me either cold or inconvenienced, so fleece and flannel-lined jeans it is. I'm not the type to suffer for fashion. Obviously.

How about you, poppets? Is there any item of clothing you wear so much it's ridiculous?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

You Can Call Me Flower, If You Want To

That post title is a quote from Bambi, a movie I'm pretty sure we should never let Cubby see lest he get all traumatized about the fact that Bambi or one of his relatives is hanging in our shed.


Speaking of Cubby and flowers, yesterday Cubby got to see his very first flowers growing right in the ground. Well, the first in his memory. We have many photos to prove that he saw lots of flowers last spring, of course, but his long-term memory isn't quite up to speed yet, so as far as he's concerned, those snowdrops I pointed out yesterday were the Very First Flowers Ever.

He smiled at them. And then he tried to pull them up and put them in his mouth. So I guess he liked them. Of course, he does the same thing with rocks. Of which there are millions in our rock driveway, which makes excursions outside a more or less constant stream of admonishments along the lines of, "We don't eat rocks, Cubby."

Such is the profound wisdom of a parent.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Celebrity Sightings

Have you ever had this conversation with a group of people, where everyone tells about the celebrities they sat next to on a plane or something? Always fun.

It will probably not surprise you to know that I don't have very many stories like this. In fact, the only celebrity sighting story I have goes like this:

When I was in college, my friend Amanda and I went to Chicago for spring break one year. Not exactly Cancun, I know, but it was fun and I don't really like the beach. Plus, my aunt and uncle live there, and what college student is going to pass up free lodging?


We were walking along the path that runs along the shore of Lake Michigan when we passed an older guy with a much younger, very blonde woman. He said hello, as friendly strangers do when passing going opposite directions on a path and there's no one else in sight. We both responded automatically in kind, being the friendly stranger sorts ourselves. Then, about two seconds later, we both did an absolutely classic double take and looked at each other.

We had just said hello to Jerry Springer.

Yes, THE Jerry Springer, of the trashy talk show that was pretty much mandatory viewing in dorm rooms at 3 p.m. We resisted the urge to chant, "JERRY! JERRY!" after him.

In fact, he seemed like a very pleasant person, just based on his willingness to smile and greet perfect strangers, even though doing so could indeed result in some moron chanting at him.

And that's it. That's all I got. My one celebrity sighting, and probably the last one I will ever have, given the fact that not a lot of celebrities show up at the village library and I, um, don't really go anywhere else.

And now, duckies, it's your turn! Tell us all about the time you stepped on Pat Sajak's foot in line at Starbucks or whatever. Because everyone likes to hear a good celebrity sighting story.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Aaaaand Exit Sun

It was nice while it lasted yesterday, but alas, the sun was but a brief visitor. It was cloudy again by mid-afternoon and this morning I woke up to pouring rain. I haven't actually been out in it, but it sounds as if the rain is occasionally morphing into the freezing variety of rain.


But! A. did collect about three gallons of sap yesterday when he emptied the buckets on the maple trees, and that wasn't even at the end of the day. I'm not sure how much we have total including earlier collections, but it's not yet enough to get the huge wood-fired evaporator going. I think that thing will hold 30 gallons at a time. From 30 gallons of sap, most people plan on getting maybe three-quarters of a gallon of maple syrup. Which sounds like a lot, until you know that it took us only about four months to go through a gallon of maple syrup that the MiL brought home from her last seed potato expedition. And that was with me rationing A. to some extent.

He really loves maple syrup.

Actually, we all love maple syrup. So fingers crossed that we continue to have good sugarin'* weather--that is, sunny days above freezing and nights below freezing--for at least a few weeks to come. We have a lot of sap to collect if we're going to satisfy our syrup addiction.

* Sugarin' is like huntin'. If you say the terminal "g," you cannot successfully engage in the activity.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Yes! Sun! And (relative) warmth! What does that mean in February? At least this year, it means there should be sap running into the buckets out there on the maple trees. Finally. Maybe sometime, we'll actually have enough collected to reduce it to syrup.

I'll keep you posted.