Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Best Knife a Woman Can Own an Opinel. I have one myself (which, admittedly, I have not used to amputate a limb, but more to open packages and slice cheese) and have given them to many women I love.

Wiki (God bless Wiki) makes them sound even cooler.

A staple for any Vermont woman; I never hike without one, in case I should happen upon a wily cougar. It could happen.

Top This, Gaga - Snowy Pantaloons

Lady Gaga has nothing on Betsy Spaniel's Snowy Pantaloons.

Gin and the Last Days of Winter

Vermont winters are gray and drag on, though temperatures in the mid-thirties are beginning to nod toward the spring thaw. Whenever I feel cold and sorry for myself—and I’m pretty good at both— I think about Edna St. Vincent Millay at her homestead, Steepletop, in Austerlitz, NY—no power until the 1950’s. According to her letters, she spent a lot of time in bed waiting out the winter. (No wonder girlfriend hit the gin so hard.)

When completing my residency at the Millay Colony for the Arts, I regularly visited Millay’s mythical trash pile in the woods. It’s known as the “gin pile,” and for good reason. It's well picked over by Millay-niacs, and still substantial. And if you root around, allegedly there's still a morphine bottle or two.

My first taste of gin was like a mouthful of pine trees; I stole a few sips from my dad’s bottle in high school. If spring comes soon, I won’t turn to gin. I won’t take the sun for granted, and I promise, Weather Gods, that I’ll run more, and plant the garden on time.

My father and the Dogtor share a birthday – March 20th – the vernal equinox. I’m counting the days. In spring, the cats will spend nights outside again; the dogs will continue to track awesome amounts of mud into the kitchen. Frasier will turn one. I will stop hibernating.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Snow Estimates - Deeper Than a Corgi

We are drowning in snow. The Dogtor and I took a late night walk to the barn last night to let the horse out - dream stuff.

Why, Yes, I AM Crunchy....

Because I'm having a torrid love affair with Greek yogurt and granulated honey, I've been eating a lot of granola. My Yank family prefers all things homemade, so I wanted to master a recipe.

I adapted a recipe from Orangette, who adapted the recipe from David Lebovitz's book Perfect Scoop. I added walnuts, flax seed, and dried cherries, and bumped up the oil and honey.

Here goes:

3 cups rolled oats
½ cup walnuts, chopped (superfood!)
½ cup raw almonds, chopped
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
generous pinch of flax seeds
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
7 Tbsp. mild honey
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3/4 cup, or more, finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Toss oats, almonds, walnuts, cherries coconut, flax, sugar, and salt in bowl until blended.

Heat honey and oil in a saucepan over low heat; whisk for 1-2 minutes. Stir mixture into dry ingredients.

Spread granola onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes - Stir. Bake for another 10. Cool completely, add chocolate, mix, store. (I use an old plastic rice container, because we recycle passionately here.)

The Dogtor does not do chocolate for breakfast, so I will begin making a separate, more pious batch.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Winter Snowshoe

Last weekend, the Dogtor took Frasier and me to Landgrove, VT, where the woods are quiet and dogs live in restaurants. ( We snowshoed part of the Catamount trail, the Dogtor with baby-on-back.

We fed ourselves at The Garden Market in Londonderry (barbecue tempeh sandwich!), then went to Taylor's Farm to sample cheese and feed the chickens. There were pea hens roosting on the pick-ups there, and some young Nubian goats to greet us. I aspire to own chickens, but was intimidated by the alpha rooster's spurs - I think I could've taken him, though.

We came home with garlic gouda, spicy brown mustard, rustic bread, and arugula. Score. Overall, a good Vermont trip that chipped away at my cabin-craziness.