This is what the lower garden looked like at 7:30 this morning. So many shades of gray! And so cold...brrrr... mid-teens this morning. Just as cold yesterday morning....when my cat, Katie, began to wander into the forest because she had discovered that the snow was so frozen she could walk on top of it without falling in! She is a crazy one, a real tree-climber. She has even climbed up the post from the downstairs porch to the upper one. So far, I've managed to keep her off the roof. I think.
So what does all this have to do with food. Well, I needed something warm and comforting, so I took out some of my friend, Helen's, eggs for some soft boiled eggs on toast, with bread that I made yesterday, and for just a bit more protein, fried up some of Armandino Batali's finocchiona salami. Hmmm...delicious. And just what I needed on this cold winter day.
Actually my kitchen has been a buzz of activity since yesterday. I made some No-Knead Bread because we were completely out and it's my husband's favorite. For myself, and my Monday lunch customers, I started on the two-day bread recipe in Nancy Silverton's Breads from the La Brea Bakery. I love her description and because of it, all the whys and hows and wherefores just came together for me. This is about the fourth time I've made the bread and I'm doing it consistently until it all becomes taken-for-granted. Then the whole process will be inside me and I can begin to innovate. I've been baking bread at least once a week for the past five years and I'm finally beginning to feel like I'm not a novice any more.
And there's more going on in my kitchen. I just love the suggestions for making a great veal stock from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook, and that's what is filling my house with a wonderful and pervasive aroma this morning, and, all day. The first time I made it, it came out perfect! Now it's the way I always make my brown veal stock, or even the "ersatz demi." Actually it's the demi I prefer. I then freeze it in ice cube trays, put the frozen cubes in a freezer zip lock, and store it in my large basement freezer. It's just the perfect "over-the-top" addition to so many great dishes.
I've learned how to cook so many great meals from Julia, and the boys.... and the girls too! I've never met any of these chefs but they have certainly been a part of my life for many years. I still have the book club edition of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, that I bought as a teenager! It was formidable at the time, although I remember trying to make some fish dish for my grandma that actually came out tasting pretty good, even though I over-cooked the fish a bit....
Well, it's almost time to throw together some chocolate chip cookie dough, as well as the dough for six pizzas. Those are for my vegetarian son. I make one a day and he loves them! Then it will be time to put my bread in the oven. Given that I also have some lesson plans to write up, I guess I'd better head back to the kitchen.
Ciao, and bon appetít!