I'd much rather read than write so it's not much of a blog...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ending On A High Note



I searched online, found several helpful sites but still had to extrapolate time & temp without knowing exactly what cut I was dealing with, the age or condition of the animal or how it was handled in the field.

In the end it came down to luck and I was lucky indeed to have been given such a gorgeous piece of venison by The Mister's friend, Dallas.

My first venison roast and it was splendid.

It looked good when I opened the package and dried it off. It smelled wonderful as I browned it with a light rub of crushed juniper and fresh rosemary, salt and pepper, and then while it roasted in the oven. But it was when I took the first pass with the knife that I knew it was a beauty; it absolutely cut like butter.

It was tender beyond description, mild and slightly sweet, a perfect Christmas roast served with garlic smashed potatoes and pan roasted Brussels sprouts. Not such a low-keyed Christmas after all...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Low-Keyed Xmas


I looked at the mantle this morning and realized it represents the sum total interest we have in Christmas. Every year the holiday seems more hollow and only the presence of our nephew the past few years made it worth recognizing at all but this year he's spending Christmas with his new ladyfriend and her family.

While I don't miss much about Christmas I still wanted to bring out my mother's paper mache deer. A few greens, a bayberry candle and that's it. Oh and a figgy pudding...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Back In Business



Back in business and glad of it. Unfortunately the repairman, anticipating that he would be replacing the hinges, made matters worse with the door but I can make do. 

The latch on the microwave door has also broken so the stars align and this spring we will be putting in a new cabinet with new ovens. I just hope this will be the last time I will ever have to do this.

For the moment though the oven works. On Friday I set it to self-clean while I cleaned the racks and the screen and the bread dough rose. It seems the new element will require some adjustments in my baking but now there's homemade bread in the house again.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Little Light



I took Buster #3 down to Cindy yesterday. If I had thought to take a camera I might have gotten a good picture after Cindy transfered it to a larger cage. It put on quite a display, bouncing around, looking for a way out, giving my friend, Genie, her first look at a flying squirrel.

I'm not sure what The Mister will want to do now but I don't really want to move anymore flyers in the hope that there are still some around to take up residence in a box next year.

Meanwhile after a long night of gale force winds the temperature has dropped. This morning while it feels more like winter it doesn't feel like the solstice is only a week away.  

The only irrefutable sign of the season is the length of day. 

I've never minded the shorter days this time of year, at least not at the beginning of winter. I welcome the excuse to burn candles in the evening including some true bayberry tapers made by my neighbor, Tom Helsher and always, always, burned to the socket.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Buster #2



We've had more nighttime noise in the attic recently so I reset two traps. I didn't expect any success after finding the traps closed with no quarry on several previous tries and I certainly didn't expect another flyer but that's what we caught last night shortly after midnight.

In the spring when we repair the vents I'd like to put up a flying squirrel house. I found plans for one along with a lot of other information at FlyingSquirrels.com. Thank you Steve Patterson!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Museum Glass®



I have renewed appreciation for another framed piece that belonged to my parents, a watercolor of the Lake Erie shore (possibly near Rocky River) by an artist they knew, Shirley Akeroyd. My mother had it reframed years ago with non-glare glass which obscured the painting from the beginning and then discolored over time.

When the old glass was removed I was again delighted to see color and brushwork that I didn't remember having seen before. Since I wanted to keep the original frame I didn't hesitate to choose Museum Glass for the glazing. I think Museum Glass maybe one of the most exciting things I've come across in a long time.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mostarda di Mantova



Mustard seed is also one of those things, like coffee or chocolate, that makes me wonder about the people who first thought to make something edible from it. Accounts vary widely but I think mustard seed was probably used to flavor something like mostarda and then came to dominate the condiment.

The last of the quince got a bit dry so I used it in a batch of mostarda. I used Amy Sherman's recipe and replaced the apple with quince.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mustards



I love mustards, I suspect because, as my mother did, I love vinegar.

I used to have many varieties of mustard and vinegar in my pantry but I have cut way back on both. Even though I know it's still probably more than most people keep on hand, I take it as a small point of pride that I now limit myself to:

a Dijon, usually Grey Poupon
a classic yellow, French's, Plochman's or another
a course stoneground such as Pommery Moutarde de Meaux (if only I could figure out what to do with the crocks...)
Anton Kozlik's Triple Crunch and usually a couple of others from him
Ridley's Fuggle Mustard

And now perhaps my all-time, eat-it-with-a-spoon, favorite:

I first heard about this mustard in a newsletter from ChefShop.com and couldn't resist it at the mention of the Banyuls vinegar. I've ordered more from Honest Foods and this time it's coming in regular jars so I won't have to worry about anymore little crocks.

I am sorry this wonderful mustard comes all the way from California but at least one of the goodies I like to put in on comes from much closer to home:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Buying Time

There are no longer any replacements for the hinges but the repairman seems confident a new heating element will give me time to make a decision about the oven, the cabinet, the rest of my life in a kitchen.

The entire world seems to be about buying time right now but of course that can't go on forever. I just wonder if the center can hold until spring...