Friday, January 26, 2018

At The Moment

The vegetable garden is poised to romp. The least break in the weather brings fresh growth to the alliums and brassicas that are growing in nearly forty years' worth of kitchen compost. A couple of avocado seedlings came through the recent freeze unchecked. I'll let them grow, if they wish, just to get an idea of what the climate is coming to.

The last few years brought major development on the alley behind the house. The towering new facades of multi-family housing altered the micro-climate in the kitchen garden. It's warmer and surprisingly lighter from daylight reflected from the north and east -30- More after the jump.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Flip

It was a kind revelation to read Sylvia Porter's mid-Seventies comment about budgeting. She recommended setting a fixed amount for a given category-as a way of ensuring one spent enough rather than too much. Six months after reading Porter I was able to buy my first house.

I realized the other day that taking the same approach to time management is just as effective. Reserving hours on a calendar lets me ignore incoming -30-
More after the jump.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Skagit Wisdom

Local archaeology tells of a European-American settler who asked an Indian where he should build his house. They were standing near a river with a large tree at the edge. The Indian reached high over his head to point out a flood-water mark on the trunk of the tree, saying "See that? Build higher." -30-
More after the jump.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Superpot

On the spur of a moment, I picked up a new cooking pot from a specialist at the Market. Frankly, I bought it for its looks. The thing is a wide, shallow saute pan marketed for braising. The sides are coved just right for stirring, and the massive lid weighs more than the pan itself. I thought it would make as good a serving dish as piece of cookware.

I don't braise, me, not as the clerk suggested, but the sheer size of the frying surface on this pot is a miniature version of the cast-iron grill beloved of cafes. The weight of the lid makes it a low-tech pressure cooker.

The new pot is excellent for frying onions, because the acreage allows quick evaporation. It's a good vessel for quickly reducing a sauce. I can fry many a chop or chicken thigh without worrying about crowding the pan. I use it to produce complex one-pot dishes from a sequence that starts with boiling vegetables, then pasta, then sauteing a series of ingredients in a minor excess of olive oil, ending with the meat and/or a sauce that scavenges the last bit of flavor from the pan.

I've been cooking oregano with the onions and black pepper with the meat to good effect. Cooking the spices as well as the main ingredients adds powerful fragrance to the finished dish.

The pot is so massive that it takes a good few minutes to pre-heat. I set it on low over an induction burner before I start chopping vegetables, putting the lid in place to hold in the heat -30- More after the jump.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Thickets

January is prime time for editing inventory. The view of the year ahead is unimpeded. Freeing peripheral vision from subliminal distraction makes  it easier to navigate.

Advanced housekeeping calls for making discriminations based on intuition, a process that can seem foggy and brainless. I prefer to shop rather than discard things. When it's time to empty a crowded space or simplify a room, I physically evict everything and then pluck my favorites off the pile. Clearing the decks is my favorite way to lose unwanted pounds -30-
More after the jump.