Archives for posts with tag: food

I am fortunate to have many very talented, caring and involved aunts. Jarak has almost as many. And then there’s my Easter family, so that’s another bunch of involved and awesome people. They are volunteering to make food, dye cloth, find silk, help with setup and cleanup and generally be awesome people who aren’t *in* the wedding party, but are very close to it. If we didn’t have aunts, I don’t think this wedding would be happening. We are very much powered by aunties. So thank you all so so SO much!

On the not-so-wonderful end of things. I’m starting to get planning fatigue. It seems like the decisions to be made are never-ending, and the money to be spent is never-ending as well. Things that I thought were settled in one way, Jarak assumed were settled another way. Our communication has been breaking down, which has been tough.

Added to that is the stress of not seeing a whole lot of each other, and the times that we do have together, we are doing wedding planning, talking about money, one of us is half asleep or otherwise not focusing on us as a couple. We barely see each other during the week. Jarak is doing a bunch of web design work, partly for wedding stuff, and so he’s focused on that during his free time.

Part of me wants the wedding to just hurry up and get here so that we can go on our honeymoon and spend a week together without any more decisions to be made than when we should get up and what we want to do that day. We’re planning on taking a couple of days in a week or so to just spend time together

I also want the wedding to just hurry up and get here so that I can go back to having a normal life. I feel like I turn down so many things with the excuse “I can’t, I have to save money for the wedding/plan for the wedding/do xyzq for the wedding.” Fortunately, I’m told that not being able to do anything except wedding is pretty normal. My friend Kels told me, after I was lamenting about not getting my cousin’s wedding present put together and in the mail, that there is no way to do a very do-it-yourself wedding and get anything else done in the meantime. That made me feel a bit better.

Advertisements

Tomorrow will be my last Thanksgiving as a “single” woman. Next year at this time I will have been married for almost 6 months. It boggles my mind a bit. Our save-the-dates came in, correctly done this time. Hooray! And I picked up my cousin’s bridesmaid’s dress for her brother’s (my cousin’s) wedding. The dress is in NY, she’s living back in PA, but we’re going to Thanksgiving at my grandfathers/father’s place in CT. So it’ll all work out. Remember the “3 weddings in 6 months, one of them mine” thing from a few weeks back. One of the weddings is my cousin’s in March.
I’m making apple and pumpkin pie to bring for tomorrow, and oatmeal-raisin-chocolate-chip cookies for Friday’s fest.  I made pie crust on Monday night, and did my annual search through all of the recipe books to find the one that doesn’t use shortening/lard. ( The only time I’d ever use shortening is pie crusts, but once a year. It’s not worth if to keep in the house.) I always look through at least two before remembering it’s in Moosewood. My pumpkin pie recipe is from Horn of the Moon, and the photocopy that I have has “The Best” written on it. When I was younger, my mother and I would look through cookbooks trying to remember what recipe we liked the best. We finally remembered to just write it on the recipe. I unfortunately slightly scorched the top, but it’ll be yummy anyway.

I accidentally bought too many apples. I’m used to needing at least 10, but the apples I got are GINORMOUS. I have no idea what the farm adds to its soil, but both their apples and their sweet potatoes are huge. I’m guessing it’s just floodplain.

I’ve been hanging out in my house alone this evening. No siblings, no fiance, and hardest of all: no Mom. After my parents split up, making pies with my mother for Thanksgiving stopped. (We did thanksgiving with my dad’s side of the family, and then immediate family only for Christmas. It’s a big family thing on my dad’s side, and it’s important to see them, so Jarak and I go to that, and then do Christmas with his family.) One of my favorite memories from growing up was having the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off from school and spending the day in the kitchen with my mother making pie. My share of responsibility has grown from simply peeling apples and mixing pumpkin pie filling to completing whole pies on my own, with minimal assistance from her, to now making them entirely on my own, including making my own pie crust. And it’s a social thing, hanging out in the kitchen working.  When my brothers were both on this coast, they’d come to my house on Wednesday and we’d make pies together.  So it just feels strange and wrong to be doing it all by myself today.

I appear to have taken the collective baked yumminess of my parents, and what they have traditionally brought to big family/community functions and adopted it. I bring pie on Thanksgiving now that my mother no longer comes to Thanksgiving, and I bring bread to Easter, now that my father no longer comes to Easter. It’s my mother’s pie, and my father’s bread, and in some ways doing it this way means that I maintain my family connections even when they’re not there.
Tomorrow we pack up the car and drive the 2.5 hours to just outside Hartford with pies, cookies, homebrew, local beer and local whiskey (Yay Coalyard!) This year the cousins seem to have scattered to the four corners of the earth. My two brothers in Colorado and LA, with girlfriend’s family and son, and girlfriend’s family respectively,  a cousin in Maryland with his fiance, and a cousin in Geneva Switzerland with her boyfriend. We will have one child from each family with the parents this year. Yup… we’re grownups.

Sundays are my “get things done” days. I am simultaneously making yogurt, making bread, cooking rice and lentils for dinner tonight and lunches during the week. Fortunately, most of these projects involve paying attention to things for short periods of time, and then walking away.

Friday Jarak and I headed to my dad’s house in Southern NH to pick up the remaining items that I had stored at that house. Unfortunately, my parents have had to sell their gorgeous 4 bedroom colonial that we built the summer before my freshman year of high school. It’s on 20 acres of former dairy farm, mostly fields, with a stream, pond and an orchard my parents started when we moved in. Closing is on Thursday, and everything needs to be out by then. The house has felt less and less like “my house” and more like somewhere I visit. I haven’t lived there since I was 22, and after my mother moved out, it felt even more foreign. When I arrive at that house, my dad says “welcome home” and it’s really not home anymore. The apartment I live in with Jarak is home now.

Even though I have complicated feelings about the house, the fact that I won’t be able to visit the property anymore hit me really hard Saturday morning. I had a good cry, and felt sad about it for a while, and then moved on to the hugely frustrating and exhausting task of moving my bedroom furniture down a flight of stairs and into the trailer. We also helped my father move some of the larger things that he couldn’t do by himself into the trailer that he’s using to move.

Packing up my childhood room was strange, and interesting. It’s remained relatively unchanged since the last time I lived in that house. Which means that there was a lot of high school still on the walls. Posters of panthers, artwork I did in middle and high school, the shelf that held the porcelain doll and other delicate girly things that were given to me, the collage of Airwalk ads I tore out of Wired magazine when I was in 8th grade. Very, very high school still. It was interesting making decisions about what things should be moved, and what could be trashed. I found myself saying “I won’t use this, but I’d like to put it in my little girl’s room some day.” Noticing the shift from nostalgia to dreaming about my future girl who I could share my girly things with was interesting. The bed I grew up sleeping in is a family heirloom, and even though there’s no space for it in our apartment, we had to take it, because our first child will sleep in that bed. This whole move was an exercise in planning for the future while acknowledging the current sadness and closing of a chapter.

Over at A Practical Wedding, there’s often a lot of talk about being a team, and doing the hard things together. This weekend I really understood why I’m getting married. Beyond the fact that I love him more than anything, Jarak and I are a great team. We help each other, even when it’s annoying and we don’t really want to do it. Having a partner means that the really hard things are doable, and not so painful and daunting. We each are made better by the other. I could not have done this weekend without him, which I’ve made sure to tell him and thank him for multiple times. Watching Jarak help my dad was really special, because they’re two of the most important people in my life, and seeing them work together really brought home the idea that he’s family now, even if we’re not officially married yet.

Jarak and I have gotten really good at moving recently. We’re also really tired of moving at this point. I woke up this morning and realized that my abs hurt. Our hands hurt yesterday. Jarak was a rockstar and did all of the driving, mostly because we borrowed his step-mom’s car, but also because driving with a trailer scares me, and I had a humiliating experience trying to back up a trailer when I was in college, and have been avoiding it ever since. I really hope that the next time we move, it’s into our first house. For the first time in 7 years, all of my belongings are in the same state. I have moved one particular dresser 3 separate times. (I replaced the dresser I’ve been using with one from my room in NH, so we had to put my old one in storage.)

We’re looking forward to a few weeks (months?) that don’t involve being on the road. In the past month, we’ve gone to a wedding in Burlington, VT, driven to Midcoast ME to visit my grandmother and aunt, and been to my dad’s in NH twice. It’s been a lot of driving, and a lot of not being home. My cat has not been happy with us.

On the up side, now that we have my other bookcase, we finally have space for all of our books. We’re at 5 book cases and counting. I emptied two banker’s boxes of books today.

Now to put lentils and rice away, clean up the kitchen, and wait for the dough to rise so that I can form loaves and bake it. Then either reading or netflix.

We’ve been buying cream from Battenkill Creamery for a while. They’re local, and we can get them at the Greenmarket. We’re there regularly enough that they know us and have our pint of half and half waiting when we walk up. I love being a regular. It’s also some of the best milk I’ve ever had.
I grew up hating milk and not liking to drink it plain. And then I had local milk and that changed. There’s a dairy about 3 miles from my dad’s house, and having fresh, local, glass bottled milk changed how I think about milk. I still won’t drink a glass of it, but it’s much nicer. Battenkill has some of the best milk around.
Anyway, I got annoyed with how expensive yogurt is, and realized that I talk myself out of buying it far too often. So I’ve started making it myself. We got a yogurt we liked from the coop, and then used a couple tablespoons to start the next batch of homemade yogurt.
The first shot came out more like Kefir, I had let the milk get too cool after scalding it. ( I used a meat thermometer by accident. Now I use Jarak’s brewing thermometer.) The second batch set up nicely and I used the last of it to start the batch that’s setting in the kitchen. I snagged my family’s yogurt maker one of the times I was home recently becuase my dad isn’t using it anymore, and I love yogurt.
Steps:
Scald a quart of milk
let it cool to about 100-110 F
Pour it into a clean glass jar
Stir in 2 Tablespoons of your favorite plain yogurt
Put into a yogurt maker, igloo cooler filled with hot water, or warm oven and let set for 6 hours. The longer it sits, the tangier it gets. Mine started around 6. so I’ll ask Jarak to put it in the fridge right before he goes to bed so it’s not still fermenting in the morning.

I may have mentioned once or twice that I like to cook. I’m trying to focus on mostly-local and organic ingredients. Sometimes it’s not possible, but we’ve been pretty successful recently. We’re very lucky to have an Indian and a pan-Asian grocery store within easy driving distance. This way I can get things like inexpensive fish, baby bok-choy, and 10lbs of brown rice for very reasonable prices. Sometimes local loses to inexpensive yummy things.
Dinners recently have been:
Mixed Shellfish stir-fry with brown rice, oyster mushrooms, mixed veggies and bean spouts
Beer glazed black beans with pan fried pollock, Israeli couscous and salad
Fish Chowder with fresh cod
Butternut squash and coconut curry over brown rice (that one got lots of comments when I had it at lunch the next day, everyone wanted the recipe)
Mixed Shellfish stir-fry with soba noodles, cabbage and other frozen veggies
Baked chicken seasoned with sage, with roasted parsnips, carrots and sweet potatoes. (the parsnips, carrots and sage are all local, the chicken was naturally raised, sweet potatoes are organic)

Yes, I made baked chicken for my boyfriend. It was yummy. We learned that a 4.4lb chicken needs about 10 min longer in the oven than the recipe called for. But under an hour for roast chicken was seriously awesome. We used Mark Bittman’s Minimalist Cooks Dinner “Simplest Roast Chicken” recipe. Now the remains of it are bubbling on the stove making stock. I’m feeling seriously domestic right now.

I’m in the middle of making a new batch of spent-grain bread. We brewed a brown ale a few weeks ago that we meant to bottle this weekend, but ran out of time. So I’m using the spent grain from that. We learned the hard way a few weeks ago that spent grain has a shelf-life of about 2 weeks in the fridge before it starts to get really funky and fermented. I’m experimenting with adding more and more spent grain to the bread as I go. I’d like to get to the point where it’s about 1/2 grain, and the rest flour. I should post pictures at some point.