Tag Archive | one precious day

The Right Tool for the Job

I’m grateful for having the right tool for the job for all the new and exciting foods I’m making, like this dedicated baguette baker from Emile Henry. I’ll have to bake a hell of a lot of baguettes to justify the expense, but the satisfaction of perfect baguettes the first time? Priceless.

In my Covid-related kitchen obsession, I’ve been investing in more kitchen tools than are strictly necessary. At first, I justified this as having the right tools for many kinds of food preparation as I was planning to open a small-scale retreat center and provide specialty meals. By the time it became apparent that Covid wasn’t going away soon and I wasn’t going to be comfortable opening my home to people for awhile, it was too late: kitchen shopping had become retail therapy. I’m not proud of this addiction. But I am proud of the culinary education I’ve been getting, and the gustatory delights I’ve been turning out.

I’m grateful that the Colonel taught me the value of having the right tool for the job. I’ve been wanting to bake baguettes for a long time, but never had the courage to try it, largely because I lacked the right pan. The Colonel inspired my early culinary efforts as I’ve mentioned before, as well as any handyman skills I possess. At one point he combined his two interests to fashion a sheetmetal baguette baker not too different in principle from the ceramic one I just bought. His only held two baguettes, and they were bigger than these. It looked kind of like this, but not perforated. I’ve had that in my head forever, but it never occurred to me I could just buy something like it til I stumbled upon this elegant baguette baker while shopping for a different kind of pan.

I’m grateful for the male blossoms the zucchini plants are offering up, and for the first ripe zuke, as well as for the second bean harvest. Stuffed squash blossoms seemed hard and scary two summers ago when I started experimenting with them, but today I just squished together a little feta and leftover sausage with some Penzeys Forward, stuffed the flowers, rolled them tight, and refrigerated til I could cook them tonight. I didn’t want to spend a whole egg on batter for just three blossoms, so I rolled them in heavy cream, then in cornmeal, and sautéed in olive oil, for a delicious amuse-bouche for an intimate Death Café dinner.

My friend brought sliders and coleslaw, and we sat outside in the 90℉ evening to share our meal, and work on some end-of-life planning. I got mine essentially done last winter, but she is just starting hers. It’s a daunting but necessary chore, and I’m grateful I could help her start to make some sense of it. Will, powers of attorney, advance directive, choices, provisions, designations… You look at those forms and your brain just goes numb–and not comfortably numb, either, but numb in an agitating buzzing kind of way. Grateful we could help each other navigate the necessary melancholy conversations, and motivate each other to take the next steps in this grueling process. Grateful, too, for the close time together which is rare and precious.

Speaking of rare and precious, I’m grateful every day for this little dog who always makes me laugh.

I saw something very strange in the night sky about an hour ago. I took Wren out for midnight whiz and stood there looking up as I always do. I was grateful there were stars, and then there was a short line of light that appeared and disappeared, like a few dozen stars strung close together; or like a section of a strand of patio lights. Then it appeared again, and moved across the eastern starlit sky from south to north. Like the side of a flat spaceship. I watched mesmerized for a couple of minutes as it remained lit up and moved steadily northward, diminishing with distance until it reached the vanishing point on the horizon. So weird. I’m grateful for unknown phenomena.

Chocolate Mousse

Probably I’ve expressed gratitude for chocolate before. Why wouldn’t I have? Today I’m grateful for chocolate mousse, in particular in these no-bake ‘bars.’ I made them last night for Boyz Lunch today, and they were quite well received. Some graham crackers, butter, sugar and a pinch of salt for the ‘crust,’ so to speak, and a essentially a bunch of whipping cream and chocolate chips for the mousse, with a splash of vanilla and some espresso powder. Heavenly. I’m grateful that chocolate is still readily available, that for the time being, this luxury bean is still able to be cultivated in warmer, wetter parts of the world, and transported far from its native climes. I don’t expect this will always be the case.

I was also grateful for a cool, cloudy day, or they’d have been even messier to eat than they were. We finished lunch just in time before the predicted deluge, which dumped about a fraction of a tenth of an inch of rain over a few minutes before moving on. We are all grateful for even a splash of rain at this point, and the humidity got up to a whopping 49% while the sun shone, for awhile. In a remarkable turn of events, at bedtime the temperature is two points away from the humidity, at 58º and 56% respectively. The remaining mousse bars are safely stored in the fridge and the freezer for later, and much later. I’m grateful for a fridge and freezer, and the solar electricity to power them.

I’m grateful to crawl into a cozy bed after a day of natural beauty and fellowship in this peaceful little pocket of the planet, on this one precious day that will never come again.