"Things won are done,
Joy's Soul lies in the Doing."
- William Shakespeare

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Weathering the storm

Just when we thought we got off lightly on the whole winter thing...a nice doozy of a storm (or several, for that matter) roll in and show us who's boss.

The boss would be Mother Nature.  That's for certain.

So, while there has been a lot of work, shoveling, plowing, waiting...there has also been a lot of play, and appreciating how beautiful, and how much more interesting, the wild side of nature can be.  Because, for me, if Life becomes too routine and easy, it gets a little dry, a little dull.  It makes me yearn to be elsewhere, challenged.  And forgetting to live in the present, well, that's just no way to live.

It's true, some of us seem to go to rather silly, and extreme lengths to get the most from life.  Oh well, so it goes.

Along with the all the hard work, and colds, and stress about getting back down the mountain, to "normal" life, and worries of getting the driveway plowed, and copious amounts of snow to be shoveled...

There's been a whole lot of fun happening.  There's been a blessed week off school, a la Mid-Winter break.  An entire week at the cabin, with ski and snowboard lessons, and sledding.   Giant snow men built and snowy swingset play with the cousins.

There've been sleep overs.  Nights relaxing by the fire, with delicious glasses of Matt's homemade beer and cider.

And let us not forget, friends, the comforts of a savory, soul-satisfying meal.

It is in all these things that Life is truly lived.  Memories are being made every moment, even amidst the complaints and worries.  And I wouldn't change a thing.

And since a whole week off wouldn't be complete without delving, yet again, into Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table, I'm sharing another lovely recipe of hers, made ours, with you.  Lyonnaise garlic and herb cheese, or, as Dorie calls it Boursin's Mama.  How could a garlicky, cheesy, herb-flecked spread not be the thing to have with friends, family, and beer, around a fire?

I served Boursin's Mama atop my homemade bread, which I adapted slightly.  Follow the recipe, but substitute a 1/4 cup of buckwheat flour, for the whole wheat...giving you the flour measurements:  2 1/2 cup bread flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, and 1/4 cup buckwheat flour.  The rest of the recipe is unchanged.  But the flavor definitely benefits, the bread becomes just a little bit heartier with the added protein from the buckwheat flour, a little denser and darker, and so tasty!  Try it, you'll see.

I also had leftover red cabbage salad, from Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life, which was marvelous with the cheese and bread.  The day-old cabbage salad had developed an almost pickled taste and texture, and to bulk it up, I added a bit of celery and red wine vinegar.  Good stuff.

Lyonnaise Garlic and Herb Cheese (aka Boursin's mama) - adapted from Around My French Table

2 cups ricotta (I used Trader Joe's)
1/2 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbs snipped fresh chives (I was out, but subbed green onion)
1 Tbs minced fresh parsley
1 tsp minced fresh tarragon (again, I was out, but it didn't suffer)
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

If your ricotta is rather wet, drain it over a fine sieve for a few hours, in the fridge, then proceed.  Trader Joe's is quite dry, so this was unnecessary.

Mix everything together lightly with a rubber spatula.  Adjust seasonings as needed, cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.  Add more salt and pepper, herbs or vinegar, if desired.

Red Cabbage Salad with Lemon and Black Pepper - adapted from A Homemade Life

2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp minced garlic, or one small clove
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 lbs red cabbage
1/4 cup finely grated parmigiano reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt.  Set aside while preparing the cabbage.

Pull away and discard outer leaves of cabbage, and cut into quarters.  Slice the cabbage as thinly as possible, as for coleslaw, and throw out the white cores.

In a large serving bowl, toss the cabbage with the dressing and parmesan.  Season with lots of freshly ground pepper.

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