30 August 2013

Seven Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 44

Linking up over at Conversion Diary; go check out some other Quick Takes!

You know the wonderful feeling when your husband goes into the kitchen to find a snack after getting home from work, and comes looking for you to rave about how the cookies on the counter are the best you've ever made, and you have to save the recipe? Nothing kills it quite like having to look ashamed and admit that you didn't follow the recipe, and you didn't exactly measure the substitutions...so...you don't know if you can replicate it. 

I followed the standard Toll House cookie recipe for the most part, but it called for 3/4 cup each of white and brown sugar and I only had the dregs of the container left of brown sugar. So I dumped in whatever I had, added three not-quite-full 1/2-cup scoops of white sugar, and poured in some molasses for good measure. Did I even look into the mixer bowl to get a general idea of how much molasses I added? Of course not. I guess some experimenting is in order, because Matt is right, the cookies are pretty amazing: thin, chewy, they don't lose their softness over time... Okay, I'm sure they would eventually, but usually my chocolate chip cookies are crisp less than an hour out of the oven, and these have stayed soft several days.

My mother is so generous with her time: more Fridays than not, she goes out of her way to pick Little Bear and me up on her way in to town so that we can go to noon Mass and spend some time with her and the kids. I feel kind of badly about bringing my exuberant child to Mass when everyone else there probably wants quiet, but their parish does have a cry room, and I've really missed daily Mass. Getting out and talking with another adult is so nice, too; even just riding along while she does errands is infinitely more enjoyable than sitting at home with Little Bear as I try to explain to the angry, preverbal toddler that we can't play outside because it is raining. 

It always helps to hear from people who aren't upset by the noisy little one: I saw a friend there last week who is preparing to spend a year of discernment with the Brothers of St John in Illinois. Little Bear had had a particularly spectacular day in the Mass-behavior department, and I felt obliged to apologize for the distraction we caused. "No, don't apologize," he said. "It was the right kind of distraction." Thank you! Words like those help me to keep bringing him, even when it would be so much easier not to.

As an anniversary present, my father gave us a cookbook that I'm very excited about: Cooking Alaskan. Maybe he's tired of me tying up the phone line getting recipes from my mom? Just kidding. But really, it looks like a fabulous resource; no other cookbook in the house tells me what to do with halibut, or is any help at all in figuring out what to put in a marinade for moose or caribou. Even better, it is organized "on the assumption that you already have this meat in the freezer and you have to find something to do with it": instead of the traditional sections like appetizers, main dishes, etc., salmon salad and smoked salmon dip and salmon chowder and salmon filets are all in the "salmon" section. I am looking forward to getting to know this book well!

Speaking of wild game meat, moose season opens on September 1, and Matt and my father are talking about heading down to the lake for the first couple days of the season. It would be so wonderful if they got a moose! We would be set with meat for the winter. I know that it's hard to imagine, but our winter is right around the corner: we have had several frosts, and it hasn't topped 60 degrees all week. We had to turn the heat on the other day! Frankly, I'm disgusted with this August; first it was ridiculously hot, now it's unseasonably cold. I suppose I should be grateful it isn't hailing. But yeah, moose: a moose in the freezer would definitely help with the coming winter.

So would a garage, a heated garage, attached to the house, with a chest freezer in it, if we're being all fancy in our wishfulness... We saw another house for sale Wednesday; the downstairs was remodeled within the past year and was gorgeous, with wood paneling, post-and-beam accents, stone tile countertops, etc., but the upstairs just needed too much work. It certainly wasn't uninhabitable, but it felt... grimy. We would have wanted to replace all of the carpet and repaint everything, and use Sheetrock to wall off some odd nooks in the kids rooms, and it was a very odd floorplan that seemed inconvenient. Oh, and there were four? five? outbuildings in poor repair, and we would have to look into having a well drilled or else burying the massive eyesore of a water tank sitting just outside the bathroom window. All of that could certainly be done, and for the right price it might even have been worth it, but they definitely weren't asking the right price given all of the work and money we would have to sink into it before even moving in. Oh well; the search continues.

Have a lovely weekend!

1 comment:

  1. II -- Just a wild guess, you probably ended up replicating Matt's mom's pan cookies recipe. Those are deliciously chewy because of the added brown sugar. You probably put in enough molasses to make it so it had added brown sugar. Anyway, my "secret" (because it's not really a secret) to soft, chewy cookies is to follow the Toll House recipe, BUT refrigerate overnight before baking. I get fabulous cookies that way.

    V -- That sounds like an awesome cookbook! I often have wished cookbooks were organized by meat instead of main/sides/desserts. I'd find it so much more helpful...

    VI -- So is there moose in your freezer now?? I told John he needs to go hunt a deer for us so I can cut it up and freeze it and feel all wildernessy. Except John doesn't know how to hunt and I'm even more clueless in how to process a deer. Except for the long, cold winters, I'd love to live in Alaska. When we retire and are rich, I'm going to summer in Alaska and winter in Florida. (or some other warm place)