Tuesday, March 25, 2014

An ideal Saturday

I woke up late to a light-filled room.  This house has really great light, which I didn't notice until we moved in, but for which I am grateful nearly every day.  We went outside on the deck with Toby so he could bask in the sun before we hopped into the car and drove south for a hike.  The first trail we attempted seemed to fall off at a 90 degree angle straight down to the beach below.  A fellow "explorer" was intrepid enough to engage a man and his dogs in conversation, discovering along the way the much easier path across the highway.  The man with the dogs described it as a Disney land hike, which sounded just right by me.  We found it, took it and came out beside the beach, where we were greeted by a very wet dog named Duke and two little girls crawling about in the sand, one very talkative and the other quite shy.

After a long walk, we fell back into the car and headed home, enjoying the sunshine, stomachs growling.  A quick stop at the store got us beers (and butter--we were out, if you can imagine) and we headed home.  Me to the kitchen and J to work on my computer.

I had a rather aggressive list planned:  sour orange marmalade, oatmeal sandwich bread, smothered cabbage and rice soup and maybe even a cake for good measure (I was thinking rhubarb).  I sketched the timing out in my head as I grabbed a not quite cold German weissbier from the fridge.  First up was getting the braised cabbage going, then blooming the yeast for the bread.  I quickly dropped the cake idea, but ran full steam ahead with the remaining three, sure of my success with two (the bread and cabbage are old favorites).

Unfortunately, I put too much vinegar in the cabbage, which was only saved (and not completely) by swirling some ricotta into the finished soup and showering the whole mess with parm.  The bread came out right, and is still going strong on the countertop.  As for the marmalade, I'd probably slice the peel into thinner strips next time, and wouldn't let the sugar caramelize like I accidentally did while distracted by The Goonies on television.  But it was lovely with salted butter on toast, thick strips be damned.

Was my evening a great culinary success?  No, not by a long shot.  But I got an edible dinner on the table, made my first batch of marmalade, and set myself to the task of becoming proficient at making preserves.  This likely means I'll need to do some online investigation and maybe finally get Ms. Ferber's confiture book.  (I can find just about any justification for a new cookbook, I swear.)  Most importantly, I was able to do exactly what I wanted that evening, with good beer and good company to boot, an all too rare occurrence these days.