Tasty Victory

I did chana masala for the first time! There are a million recipes for it online, and I found one that uses cocoanut oil for “blooming” the spices, which I wanted to try.

The chickpeas were soaked overnight and simmered with lemon rind, olive oil, onion, and salt for a long while; about a half-hour before dinner, I began with more onions and spices in hot oil, then the crushed tomatoes. The resultant stuff went into the chickpea pot for the last simmer. I was nervous about the whole experiment–there were a lot of chickpeas to throw out if this went wrong–until the very end, when I dumped in the garam masala and stirred.

That was what it needed, and finishing with a little lemon juice just made it OMG WOW. My faith was utterly vindicated and restored at once, especially since the kids both pronounced this something they’d eat again. (They’d better, we have a lot of leftovers.)

So at least this week has contained one (very tasty) victory. Heaven knows I needed it, and I hope your week had at least one victory as well, no matter how small.

Onward to the weekend, then, once I get today’s work finished. (There’s always a catch…)

Older, Better

One of the joys of adulthood is finding out that yes, I am good at cooking and yes, I do have preferences that are okay and can be indulged. Case in point: I made a totally bombin’ cherry tart-type thing, square because I didn’t want it round (for reasons of crust ratio) and it was exactly to my taste.

The Prince ended up eating most of it, but that was okay. Just cooking it and having a single warm slice of something that was exactly how I liked it was amazing.

Lots of people say they’d like to go back to childhood or high school and do it all over again. To hell with that. The older I get, the better my life becomes. Hitting 40 was the best thing ever, because all of a sudden the field where I grew my fucks was barren and I had not a single one left in the warehouse.

I wish you a marvelous Friday full of things you like, my friends. It’s never too late to make a cherry tart the way you prefer it.

Over and out.

Never Completely

I’ve taken to sprinkling a little rooibos chai powder into my morning coffee. The spice helps me feel a little more awake; the only problem is there’s no added caffeine.

Ah well. Nothing is ever completely perfect.

We’re having lovely weather. Sometimes in spring we’ll get a spate of 70F days, with pollen drifting golden in the air, and it’s so beautiful one almost manages to overlook the fact that it’s treegasms floating everywhere. As a result, people are taking walks up and down the street all day, which sends Boxnoggin into a frenzy of “DON’T COME INTO MY YARD, HOW DARE YOU WALK ON MY STREET, HOW DARE” several times a day.

He’s very protective, this box-headed van der Sploot.

I haven’t fully recovered from last month’s bug, whatever it was. If it was the current plague, we’re likely immune, but there’s no way to know without tests and there are no tests to be had. So I guess I just… wait, and worry. And try to get rid of some of the mucus.

There are good things about quarantine, though. I’ve found some new writing music; today I’m trying out this recipe. It’s hard to work unless I shut off the wireless entirely; the temptation to look at what’s happening in the world and feel that sick thump of worry and pain in my midsection is overwhelming.

It’s not that I want to slow down and Lookie-Lou at the car wreck. It’s that I want to help, and my inability to immediately fix this for everyone I love–or indeed, anyone at all–is a torment. Everything I see on the news makes me long to do something, anything to help.

I know I help most by staying home, by being careful, by loving the people I’m close to and taking care of my neighbors. But still… I wish I could do more.

Anyway, there’s subscription fiction drops to get out the door today and the open thread over on Haggard Feathers to attend to. Plus I should brush the detritus of shipping off my new African violets. (They were on clearance; I’ve got to get my scrawny, overlooked plants somehow.) I gave them yesterday to settle in their new homes and get a drink, now we clean them up a bit so they can breathe more easily. Growing medium tends to shift a little during transit.

But first there’s the dogs to walk–without having to take care of them, I don’t think I’d be able to get up in the morning and face all this–and my rooibos-chai-laced coffee to finish swilling. I’ve managed two days’ worth of productivity, but I’m not feeling quite back in the saddle yet. I’m feeling, in fact, like I’m on the back of some raging beast who very much wants to shake me off, and is doing its level best.

I had more to say, but I suppose it’s probably a mercy every subject has fled my head.

It’s getting hard to hold on, over here, and a little more difficult to get out of bed each day. How are you managing it, dear Reader?

Delicate Skin

Nabokov has a passage in Lolita about the skin atop real hot chocolate, and every time the cream in my coffee cools in this particular fashion, I think of it. I also put off stirring for as long as possible, studying the thin wall as it ripples and responds to heat. It never fails to fascinate me.

Such a delicate thing, skin… and yet it’s the largest organ, our first line of defense.

I know hand washing is a big thing now (justifiably! it should always be!) so our own skin might be feeling a little dry and cracked. Lotion up to keep that barrier strong, my friends. Hydrate, and take as much care as you can.

We can’t afford to lose you. Yes, you, the person reading this, whoever you are. Treat your skin–and your self–as gently as you can, please.

Ferment or Roast

A lovely daikon, sliced and placed in brine, then left to think about things. It ends up looking very pink, because I didn’t want to bother with peeling.

And it tastes marvelous. It took me a long time to start fermenting things, but now I can’t stop. I look at all sorts of vegetables and think “hrm, can I pickle that bitch? Or… maybe I can roast it?”

Ferment or roast. Either I drown the vegetable and encourage beneficial rot, or I toss it with oil and engage in controlled burning. And let’s not even talk about what I have planned for summer fruits, since I have all these canning supplies.

Food is weird. And with that thought, my darlings, I leave you to embark upon your weekend. Hopefully you have something tasty to snack on while doing so.

No Snow, But Hope

I was told snow was in the offing, but it ended up being a nonevent. If any did fall, it was gone by the time I hauled myself wearing from my Monday morning bed.

At least I got some good rest over the weekend, for once. I tossed out my to-do list on Saturday, which meant I was liberated from most of my Sunday chores. (Not really, but I felt liberated.) I ended up doing them anyway because I let like it, but I also got one of the grapevines moved to its new home.

February means the garden needs attention again, so I’ll have dirt under my fingernails on a daily basis. I even have the energy this year to get a couple things in the ground, which is a welcome change. I think it comes from disengaging from a lot of social stuff. One can’t create in a vacuum, but one also can’t create with the world crashing in every five seconds to spray one with a firehose of raw sewage.

I did not get the proofing done that I wanted to, but I needed the time for my body and brain to cycle down a bit. The proofing system’s been changed to include new hardware, so I’m probably refraining until I have enough spare brain-cycles for a learning curve.

The house still smells like garlic, tomatoes, and fresh bread from yesterday’s red sauce. Our dinner guests bailed, so we have so much red sauce, but that’s fine. I froze some of it, the rest we’ll eat for about half the week. Thankfully, the kids like every single iteration of it I’ve been able to come up with–baked pasta, regular pasta tossed in the sauce, fresh bread and fried eggs with the sauce. Next time I should add capers and olives; the kids don’t like mushrooms.

I keep telling them “mushrooms are hobbit favorites” but the Little Prince fixed me with an arch look the other day and said, “Mum, I can’t be a hobbit, I’m taller than you now. Don’t worry,” he added hastily, “I know you brought me into the world, you can still take me out, and all that.”

That busted us both up pretty good. I couldn’t stop chuckling for about a half-hour after that. Still… well, the goal is to raise them to be reasonable adults, not to have them little and dependent forever. It’s just weird to look up one day and realize the tiny thing you carried for ten lunar months is now TALLER THAN YOU.

I’ve today’s Soundtrack Monday post to arrange, tomorrow’s free writing post to get together, dogs to walk, and all the business of a Monday to embark upon, but I think I’ll set a timer and just breathe for a few minutes before I begin. Kitchen timers aren’t just for wordcount, you know.

And who knows? There might be some pretty snow that doesn’t turn the roads into a slop-melting fiasco. It’s getting closer to spring, the snowdrops are out, the cherry down the road is still in its robe, laughing at the rest of us slow sleepyheads.

We may have survived winter after all.

Yeggs

For various reasons, I never used to like my eggs any other way than scrambled.

Fortunately, though, I’m now forty-mumblemumble years old and have cultivated the habit of trying things I never liked every once in a while just to be sure. And I’ve found out that fried eggs with salt and pepper, their yolks maybe not entirely hardened, are great on sourdough toast. And each time I eat them, I say a silent little fuck you to the abusive asshats who tried to rob me of simple joys.

It makes them taste even better.

It’s nice to try new things, it’s nice to try things you once disliked and find out you like them now, and it’s also nice to try things you never liked once in a while and think “Nope, still not for me.” All three are useful, especially to a writer.

Have a lovely weekend, chickadees!