Icy, Rainy, Tired Days - What I got at the library this week

IMG_48732.jpg

Yesterday was spent between couches and bed, with brief periods in the barn and in town. Our smallest hen, a tiny barbu d’anvers bantam, seemed a little croaky and may have had a small cold. I stressed all night and as soon as I got up, went to the store for some medicine.

Iced roads, hot gas station coffee and a stop at the French restaurant in the strip mall. I came home to the dogs panting clouds in the sleet and melting boots in the foyer.

We ventured out for pizza. We ventured out for a painting I’ve been eyeing from the antique store. We ventured out to donate some books to the library and to pick up a few books, too.

An hour on the phone with my mom. Three movies with my husband. A slice of pizza shared with the dogs. A Sunday for a Thursday was exactly what I needed before holidays and work and responsibilities get in the way.

And if you’re curious what books I got from the library this week, here you go!

milo morning-2.jpg

Morning on the Farm: The Chickens' Breakfast

My little pug in the morning

In bed by nine thirty - who have we become? Every day seems to be dragging once it hits 3 o’clock and Nolan and I just sit on the couch, staring at our phones…microwaving dinner…thinking of our upcoming vacation to Seattle, Chicago, and Austin.

But it’s the morning that’s come alive for me. N works more mornings now, so he’s up first. He brews the coffee while he has a cigarette and brings me a cup while I, stumbling for my glasses and alarm, let it cool on the table until my head is raised enough to avoid the coffee dribbling down my pajamas.

He goes to work; I read for an hour.

The dogs, snore and stretch and snuggle their heads into pillows and my thigh. Any way to avoid the sun.

And then I rouse them up. We do the chickens. This morning, I had to carry Murphy to the backdoor. He is stubborn and wouldn’t get up with the others.

In this cold weather, I give the chickens any attempt at warmth that I can. I keep an electric kettle down in the barn for them so I can easily heat water for them throughout the day. I also bought oatmeal, which I mix with any herbs that are still growing in our kitchen garden (this morning, it was basil) and a mix of dried herbs (usually red chili flakes, to help with worming and immunity). Mixed by hand, a reserve for my bantam, I throw the aluminum pan into their coop.

This is a near-daily act of love I use to say, “Thank you” to my flock.

Back in Action: Fall Soup - Pumpkin, Curry, Apples, and Almonds!

Pumpkin Curry Soup

Well! The wedding is over and this week has been a dragging-out of lazy afternoon, laundry, and slouching my way back into the daily routine.

I don’t want to say or write too much about the wedding until we have all of the photos. I want to put the best out first and I’m sure will be sharing many, many, many photos throughout the next few weeks (or months!).

But we’re slowly moving from crisp to cold, the mornings that were foggy two weeks ago now freeze as crystals on the too-shaggy grass that crunches to the barn. The nights are long, the dogs are tired. We went to bed at nine last night, our eyes not adjusted to so little daylight.

And so I want something hearty and warm. Fragrant, smooth, sweet and bitter. I want it all. I get greedy sometimes. So I adapted my old soup recipe for Table Magazine last year with some ingredients I had around the kitchen. Ate two bowls quickly for lunch, a third for dinner.

Shared below, I hope you’ll make it, too.

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Curry Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped

  • 1 apple, roughly chopped

  • 1/3 cup orange juice

  • 4 cups good quality chicken stock

  • 3 cups pumpkin puree

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon pepper

  • 3 cloves garlic, diced

  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoon yellow curry powder

Directions:

  1. In a Dutch oven, heat oil and sauté onions and apples until both are softened and browned.

  2. Deglaze with juice and allow alcohol to cook out, about 1 minute.

  3. Add stock, pumpkin, salt, pepper, garlic, and almonds.

  4. Bring soup to a boil, cover and let it continue boiling for 30 minutes.

  5. When 30 minutes have elapsed, remove from heat.

  6. Using a blender or food processor, pulse soup to desired thickness.

  7. Return to Dutch oven and stir in cream and curry.

  8. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.

Pumpkin Curry Soup

Giant Jammy Thumbprint Cookies

Giant Jammy Thumbprint Cookies

I’m laying in the bedroom, too excited to sleep but too tired to get up and let the chickens out. One small lamp illuminates the room, yellowing Elsa’s fur, ochre streaks on the dawn. It’s been a long month. Good, but long. So much to plan, so much to do. So much in the little details, where the Devil sometimes waits. A handful of days until the wedding. More on that later.

I’ve been trying my hand at rituals. I’ve been trying to remind myself to get off my ass and walk around the house, around the yard, around the pasture. I’ve been having a hard time with the concept of expansion. It’s much easier for someone like me, who grew up bookish and can’t handle perimeters of myself very well, to sit in one room all day. I’ve been trying my hand at rituals to make small allowances. To break into this part of myself.

So I cut back on coffee and find time to brew a cup of tea. Write some letters I’ve been holding off on. And since either don’t eat until 9 at night or snack throughout the day, I thought I’d ease back into baking with small desserts. Easy treats. Things to dunk and break and that leaves crumbs behind.

Enter these giant thumbprint cookies. Made with whatever jam I found in my fridge this week. I’ve made this recipe twice already.

Giant Thumbprint Cookies

Giant Jammy Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 TB lemon zest

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 1/4 cup AP flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup your favorite jam

Directions:

  1. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy

  2. Add egg, zest, and vanilla and mix together

  3. Sift together dry ingredients and gently stir into your butter mixture

  4. Turn out onto a floured work surface and pat into a disc. Wrap and chill for 1 hour

  5. Preheat oven to 400*F

  6. Roll dough into 2 TB balls, press with thumb or measuring spoon to create a well in center

  7. Par-bake for 5 minutes

  8. Meanwhile, heat jam in microwave for a few seconds to loosen it up a bit

  9. Take cookies out of oven after time has elapsed, fill each well with a bit of jam

  10. Bake for an additional 8 minutes or until slightly brown (I like mine to be a bit soft, but you can bake longer)

  11. Allow to cool and enjoy

Giant Jammy Thumbprint Cookies
Giant Jammy Thumbprint Cookies
Giant Jammy Thumbprint Cookies
Giant Jammy Thumbprint Cookies