I have had my head down in winter preparation for so long that I was startled yesterday to look up and see what a glorious day it was. Stuck in a bunch of perennials, last of the season relics from a friend with a gardening business. Played and ran with the dogs in an attempt to run down Miss Cassie’s energy level. This every so daily activity needs to become part of our routine, just as I used to take Max and Toby to the park every day in Brooklyn. It was important to their physical finess and socialization, not to mention mine.
Most weekends at my house involve culinary adventure, and I attempted Belly-Timber’s homemade Thai red chili paste http://www.belly-timber.com/mt/archives/2005/10/curry_paste_for.html May I just comment that these people are insane? Although I do greatly admire the photo of Chairman Kitty-Kaga.
And I am grateful for two new techniques. I like the spice toasting method, just until you notice the aroma, starting with the toughest spices and adding one at a time: black pepper, coriander, cumin, fenugreek. The mortar and pestle work amazingly well. I was prepared to work hard to grind my toasted spices, but it was almost easier than using the blender, and much much more satisfying to the senses.
Somewhere in the midst of soaking my chiles, I realized that I was using the wrong type—Anaheims instead of the blistering hot little ones. And peel them? You have got to be kidding me! With lemongrass already bruised and minced, spices toasted and ground, I forged ahead anyway but without attempting the peeling. Just threw the whole thing into the food processor. The flavors are truly wonderful, but I am not sure I would try this again, certainly not with the dangerously incendiary chiles that I was supposed to be using.
More to the point, somewhere in the process, I remembered that I don’t actually like the classic Thai red curry heavy on coconut milk. Or at least my arteries don’t like it. I have a nice long log of Not-Quite-Thai Red Curry Paste in the freezer, and I think I will try for some alternate uses. Vermont fusion cooking?
I also determined that I really will require help from someone with a chainsaw to deal with the branch that fell off the crabapple tree in the October wetsnow storm. I’ve been single now more adult years than I was married, but still find it satisfying when I figure out how to take care of something myself, even if it is only recognizing that I need to make a few phone calls to line up capable assistance. I have owned various houses (three) with various maintenance requirements, and still I am pleased when I start to feel I know the house, that I understand what will happen from season to season and even what may break next.
My next challenge is to learn to build a wood fire in my combination wood/oil furnace. There is an economic driver this year, and my chimney specialist opines that the chimney is up to it as long as I am careful not to build too big a fire. My new carbon monoxide detector is installed, and come the first really cold snap, I am ready to try for another step in mastery of my little world.
That’s not today, however. Today looks like a glorious repeat of yesterday’s sunshine and warmth. Time to run the puppy.