Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hello To This New Relief

Relearning Winter

Hello Winter, hello flanneled
blanket of clouds, clouds
fueled by more clouds, hello again.

Hello afternoons,
off to the west, that silver
of sunset, rust-colored
and gone too soon.

And night (I admit to a short memory)
you climb back in with chilly fingers
and clocks, and there is no refusal:
ice cracks the water main, the garden hose
stiffens, the bladed leaves of the rhododendron
shine in the fog of a huge moon.

And rain, street lacquer,
oily puddles and spinning rubber,
mist of angels on the head of a pin,

and snow, upside-down cake of clouds,
white, freon scent, you build
even as you empty the world of texture-
hello to this new relief,
this new solitude now upon us,
upon which we feed.

--Mark Svenvold
Winter is here now; I can finally accept it.  I seem to have a bit of denial at the change of every season, well, except for Spring--I greet that eagerly.  The blur of the holidays has passed and things are more peaceful. For me, winter has alit like the snow geese in the valley.  I'm doing my best to embrace the quiet clean of the season.  The stark white of the sky.  The purity of the rain.  The other side of it involves making lots of fires in the woodstove, cacophonous times with friends and neighbors, and making soup.  Here are a few pictures from the weekend:

Caroline and Bridget with Easy Bake Oven red velvet "cupcakes" 

The Treehouse Club ate the treats at their meeting.

A fun thing I've been doing lately that gets lots of positive feedback from the younger set is to put out some appetizers when I'm making dinner, les amuses-bouches, si vous voulez. 

carrots with vinaigrette, apple slices, toothpick fun: salami, artichoke and mozzarella

carrots and green peppers with parsley pesto and celery with peanut butter
The new recipe this weekend was chili.  Unbelievably, I had never in my whole life made chili.  I found a good-sounding recipe on the intermawebs and it turned out to be delicious.  Here's the recipe, followed by a picture of it on the stove and of the happy eaters enjoying their requested chili dogs. 
All-American Chili
  • 6 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage  and 1 lb ground sirloin (I used a pound and a half of ground turkey with Italian seasoning)
  • 2 cups chopped onion (I used one onion--just fine)
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 3/4 of a large pepper)
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground sirloin (see above)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (didn't have this--used about a TBS of chopped chili in adobo instead--yum!)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/4 cups Merlot or other fruity red wine--I used Syrah, I think
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped (I used chopped tomatoes--worked great)
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained (I used pinto beans, chili-spiced and regular)
  • sharp cheddar to top it off

  • Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage. Add sausage, onion, and the next 4 ingredients (onion through jalapeño) to pan; cook 8 minutes or until sausage and beef are browned, stirring to crumble. (I just browned the turkey with the onion, pepper, garlic and chili in adobo)
  • Add chili powder and the next 7 ingredients (chili powder through bay leaves), and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, tomatoes, and kidney beans; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Uncover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard the bay leaves. Sprinkle each serving with cheddar cheese.
  • Note: Like most chilis, this version tastes even better the next day.
    From Cooking Light Magazine

they loved it!

I hope you are finding celebration and new relief of Winter in your own dynamic ways!

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