The container of bones, a more or less permanent denizen of the fridge, was particularly full recently; I had grilled a couple of chickens on a lovely afternoon when some friends came over and there were also two beef bones from a decadent ribeye dinner a few evenings prior. There aren’t a lot of bones that make better stock than grilled chicken, and the addition of some deep beefiness to that flavor was too tempting to resist. I needed to make ramen.
While the garden is just beginning—tiny sprouts popping up over the last couple of days in the early beds—the lawn is nobly stepping up to shoulder the verdant burden of providing actual green things with which to adorn our dinner these days. The chervil deserves mention, since it always bounces back from winter faster than anything else, and provides great garnishes right out of the gate, but the wild garlic takes the prize for the most useful wild plant in both early spring and late fall (and winter, really, as long as there’s not so much snow that it can’t be seen).
Yesterday was glorious, and I made all sorts of spring cleaning-y progress in the garden, including spreading some leftover compost on a few beds and doing some early planting. This year is a late one—some beds still have frozen soil—but for the most part it’s all workable and good to go. Last year’s parsnips are as sweet as bananas, especially with some of the homemade maple syrup; the last batch went a bit long on the stove and became a surpassingly splendid burnt caramel with many possible applications. I’ll have a post or two elaborating on that combination at some point soon.
This bowl is the third in the new set; it’s an almost disaster that I salvaged into a candy dish sort of thing with a flat bottom. My limited skill on the wheel is greatly enhanced by my post-wheel surgical chops and willingness both to coax things back from the brink and celebrate their lopsided uniqueness. I suspect that after I throw a hundred more I will be a lot less precious about the process. In any case, this duck confit made a worthy passenger for the bowl’s maiden voyage.
When your kid loves yogurt, making it at home makes a lot of sense. When your kid loves Greek yogurt, straining it makes for a more or less inexhaustible supply of tangy whey; the yield is roughly 50/50 so our weekly gallon of yogurt makes a half of each. There’s always some stock around too, either in fridge or freezer, so between that and the whey I never want for rich liquids with or in which to cook dinner.
It’s been cold for so long that I forgot what an astonishing difference good weather can make to my level of inspiration. Tuesday was glorious: warm, sunny, smelling of spring—everything I needed to get my own sap flowing. Also, the happy arrival of some new vessels for eating and drinking helped thaw my previously frozen kitchen mojo; besides the box of my grandfather’s glasses that I finally unpacked, I brought a few pieces home from the pottery studio. I make ceramics to inspire me to cook better, and they do, and this batch worked perfectly.
I do so love my new camera. And, as if on cue, thanks to the Muslim tyranny of Obamalight Savings Time™, now it’s fully light out at cocktail time! I do hope Rand Paul succeeds in his quest to have all those huge government warehouses full of extra daylight opened up. Just think how much brighter we’ll all be then!
There has to be a special circle in Hell reserved for people like me who go to the trouble of marinating chicken in whey for 24 hours and then can’t be bothered to make proper fried chicken with it the following evening. I look forward to seeing what delights await me; I imagine it’s like that scene in Being John Malkovich where Malkovich himself goes through the door except that everybody is Paula Deen and they speak only in emoticons. Probably the frowny face ones with the tears, on account of it’s Hell and all.