Monday, December 29, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
The other location tab on my weather site today is Los Angeles, CA where my beautiful Green Eyes just landed on the first leg of her trip to Aussie land. In a few minutes she'll board another silver bird for the 15 hour flight to Melbourne (where it will be 93 degrees when she lands tomorrow afternoon) and then another four hour flight to Perth on the west coast. If she returns as planned, Green Eyes will be back in the fold here the second week of January... Just in time to pack up her belongings and move into a sweet apartment with two of her gal pals at the end of the month.
Rather than lament the planned and unplanned changes to our family traditions this year, with a little effort, I am focusing my attentions on favorite simple winter time pleasures instead of caving in to 'normal' pressures of the season. A little greenery and a few candles make a world of difference. A power outage Friday night came just as I started putting together a pot of french onion soup. I moved the whole operation to the wood stove and finished it, complete with gruyere topped toasty bread chunks. It was a perfect end to a cold miserable day of driving in nasty weather and a simple winter pleasure that I normally wouldn't have come up with on a typical Friday night. Slow time. Slow Food. Wood fire and candlelight.We savored every tasty bite.
4 large onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 fresh thyme sprigs
salt and pepper, lots of pepper
1 cup red wine
4 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 quarts good beef broth
1 baguette, sliced
1/2 pound grated Gruyere
Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about half an hour. Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low. Add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the Gruyere and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Ladle the soup in bowls and float several of the Gruyere croutons on top.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
The show is full of artisans with beautiful handmade gifts ...baskets brimming with hand spun and dyed wool, hand knit hats and scarves, earthen potteryware, hand-loomed rugs, hand-hammered silver jewelery, turned wood bowls, hand-dyed silk scarves, hand-dipped beeswax candles, handmade wooden knitting needles, wood block prints...etc, etc. Can you imagine all the hands coming together to create this wonderful annual event?
The library is the stage for the coffee, tea and dessert bar (a wonderful selection baked by many parents) The music for the entire weekend is performed by various students and faculty...singing, harp playing, piano duets...all by candlelight. The lunch is prepared by students and parents: always a delectable soup, green salad and homemade bread and homemade pizzas. It is this huge community effort that sets the stage for our first real taste of Christmas Spirit. Even in this difficult economy, the community of friends supports each other in their various works while sharing good food and fellowship. This year we shared a corner with a new vendor, artist Michael McNelly who created this beautiful chicken sketch. We giggled like school kids with him the entire weekend and of course, bartered for goods before sharing hugs and goodbyes until next year. We have joked that there is no recession when it came to soaps and creams this year because sales were so great. But it is the rich traditions of friendship and community and the common values of offering beautiful handmade items to a crowd of appreciative consumers that kept us warm and carried us home in the snow on Saturday night.