Hello! How are you? We’ve still got quite a lot of snow sticking around, but it’s been dry for a week and we’d love to have more moisture. We attended the annual meeting of our ditch company recently, and all of the stoic old-time farmers seemed quite thrilled at the snowpack thus far this year. It’s a big change for the better from last year, to be certain, and we hope the pattern continues.
The peach orchard across the road.
One of the most delicious items we received in our CSA was heirloom cornmeal, ground from Painted Mountain corn. We take corn so much for granted in this country – as Michael Pollan says, we’re “the United States of Corn” – and sometimes we forget how much of humanity has been nourished on this incredible grain. Growing heirloom corn for eating fresh and for grinding is just one way we can recapture some of the food sovereignty that we’ve lost. I made fabulous hot pepper cornbread and plan on making cheesy polenta this week.
My swap package went to a homesteader in Connecticut!
For two years I’ve participated in Food52’s Holiday Food Swap (thanks, Kristen!). People make a charitable donation in order to join, then put together a box of treats and small gifts to send to their randomly-chosen swap recipient somewhere else in the country. I’ve mentioned before how much I adore food swaps; this one is even more fun because you don’t know either your recipient or your giver. Assembling the package is such a pleasure; I included spices and salt, saved seeds, local heirloom beans, handmade cloth apple napkins in honor of our town’s orchard heritage, and a selection of sweet treats. I’m looking forward to receiving my swap package!
Hot, fresh, garlicky naan is one of life’s great pleasures.
Ever since we visited India last year, I’ve tried and failed to make good naan bread. Indian cuisine has a wealth of different breads, including chapati and paratha, but naan is our favorite and I couldn’t seem to master it. Thankfully, though, I came across this recipe. Commenters wrote that “naan should never use milk” or “naan with baking powder is blasphemy,” but the recipe worked perfectly for me, and it’s the one I’m using from here on out. And when you make naan, you should slather it generously in supertasty garlic butter made by some of the loveliest people in the whole world. (Side note: I cannot stand it when people arrogantly claim that a certain recipe should only be made one way. That sort of rigid, dogmatic thinking is what keeps people from experimenting in the kitchen. There are as many recipe variations in the world as there are cooks, and the hallmark of a good cook is making something your own. If a recipe works for you, it works. End. Of. Story.)
And for the biggest news of the week: we finished our hardwood floors in the living room and library. It was by far the most challenging project we’ve undertaken (yet), but such a joy to watch it all come together. We still need to finish the trim, but we’re very proud of our results; doing something like this ourselves provides such a sense of accomplishment. We look forward to tackling the flooring in the master bedroom next.
Hope you are all enjoying a quiet, peaceful winter. Have a lovely week!