30 Dec 2010

Post-holiday Mellow

Posted by annmcolford

As promised, I cooked over the holiday weekend—but I found a nice balance of both giving and receiving hospitality. After grabbing a quick snack here, my Christmas day began with a lovely walk across town—through the quiet canyons of downtown, past the falls, along the river and through the campus of Gonzaga University—to the home of friends Linda and Dan. Their daughter Emily joined us, along with Cate and Ann, and we shared a lovely Christmas brunch. Everyone else had French toast and grilled ham, but Linda made a batch of pancakes using buckwheat and a gluten-free baking mix, especially for me (although Cate decided that they were really tasty, and I had to elbow her out of the way to get the last bite). We visited, shared stories, added Bailey’s to our coffee, and generally had a wonderful time.

Wheat-free chocolate-ginger cookies... yum.

Back at home, I whipped up a batch of wheat-free chocolate-ginger cookies, adapting a recipe for soft sugar cookies that I adore. (That was after taking the traditional Christmas afternoon nap, of course.) Then I threw together a rice pilaf (sautéed shallot, red pepper and celery, combined with a blend of three different brown rices) and brought the pilaf, the cookies and half a bottle of wine over to Cate and Ann’s for dinner. Ann had prepared a pot roast, following her mother’s recipe, and that was one delicious pot roast. By the time dinner was done, we were all pooped (especially Cate, who tootled off to bed about 8 pm, after yawning and drooping for a half-hour at the table). So I came back home, tidied the kitchen, and spent some quiet time writing and reading in the company of kitties.

On Sunday, I tried out bread-making with emmer flour, following the recipe I used to make my spelt bread a couple of weeks ago. Emmer is another cousin to our modern wheat; actually, it’s an ancestor of Durum wheat varieties, as I understand. (You can read all about both emmer and spelt on the Lentz Farms website; I used Lentz’s emmer flour for my bread this week.) Much like the spelt bread, the emmer dough felt more delicate than a wheat dough and didn’t rise very high. Yet it still baked up tender on the inside and crusty brown on the outside.

Later in the day, I revisited the Mexican-influenced chicken soup recipe, using some of the leftover meat and broth from my Thanksgiving turkey. (It’s been in the freezer since last month.) I had no cilantro, and I had leftover cooked barley rather than rice; plus, the only peppers I had were a jalapeno and a sweet red Bell, rather than the Anaheim pepper from the first round. But I forged ahead, referring to my notes from the first batch, back in my post from December 14. Turkey tends to be heartier and heavier than chicken, and the turkey stock followed suit. Barley is more substantial than rice, as well, so this edition of the soup just felt denser and heavier—more like stew than soup.

Linda and Dan came over for soup (and fresh-baked emmer bread) on Sunday evening, then I served the rest on Tuesday to three other friends when we gathered for a haircut night (soup and wine and treats in exchange for haircutting services). The very last scoop of soup ended up as a variation for my morning egg yesterday—I cooked it down until the liquid was nearly evaporated, then dropped a single egg in the center for a quick poaching. Yum.

Now my leftovers are gone. I need to come up with inspiration for meals leading into the next holiday weekend. (I don’t generally get up to a lot of mischief over New Year’s; it’s a more meditative kind of holiday for me, kind of like the end of the solstice period.) I picked up some veggies yesterday, and I have a few meat choices in the freezer. It’s supposed to be frigidly cold over the next few days, so some kind of comfort food is in order, I think. For now, I am enjoying the sunshine, after yesterday’s snowfall, while finishing my morning coffee.

Leave a Reply


  • Pages

  • Archives