Here I am again, falling back on the five things bandwagon
1. Tuesday was the first day that I had my get-up-and-go back after over a month struggling with bronchitis and disappearing energy levels and lack of sleep. And I got up and went. Tuesday ended up being a massive shopping day, which was quite necessary as I had managed with minimal stops and declining supplies for quite a while. Luckily I picked up a small rib eye and some lovely Japanese eggplant and mushrooms, all of which were destined for the grill. By the time I got everything stowed, took my evening walk with Tikka, and finished with dinner and its aftermath (luckily minimal), I was exhausted. I managed to catch up with Sunday's episode of The Good Wife and fall asleep halfway through the State of the Union Address. But ahh, the joys of recumbency; something else I had sorely missed.
2. I finally started my first batch of kimchi this week! Can you tell that I am excited? After 24 hours, the first taste seems promising. But now I have to be patient, and I want to peek and taste every single day. I am using David Chang's recipe from Momofuku for no particular reason other than it being the first book I pulled off the shelf. It may not have been the best choice as David Chang uses light soy sauce in his kimchi which may not be typical. Gluten free soy sauce is a form of tamari, which is, as I vaguely recall, darker and richer tasting than light soy sauce. But then again, it has been years, and all recipes are interpretations and adaptations to one degree or another. My next version might well be altogether different, without any soy sauce at all. The idea is to settle on something that is my house kimchi recipe and work from there. But then, I am getting ahead of myself.
3. Thursday morning Tikka and I took our first long walk in, once again, over a month. Not quite my former 2 to 2 1/2 miles, but an easy 1 1/2, up and down the big hill and a couple of smaller ones. The walk itself, from starting out telling myself we wouldn't go far, to rounding the final corner and heading home buoyed my spirits for the rest of the day, and I remained entranced with the simplest of things. But then perhaps I just needed a little euphoria to bring balance back to my life. After all, the previous Friday evening I had tried walking up a hill and barely made it. A fit of coughing ensued that kept me up for hours and I feared that I would never recover, never return to active life, and was about to fall into steady slow decline. There is nothing quite like a little 2 AM melodrama when one is under the weather, is there? And yet only a couple of days later there I was, walking up hills and engaged in the normal activities of daily life. My inner lark had been freed and was beginning to soar.
4. I finished reading Stoned by Aja Raden. It was a good, highly entertaining, light read. Ms. Raden is a good storyteller and she made the book a lot of fun, and I liked her approach, using jewelry and the desire for precious things as a focal point in history, which of course is all too true. Some sections were all too familiar, but charmingly told, especially those concerning Queen Elizabeth, Spain, and the New World. But that is the downside of being the daughter of a historian I suspect, the daughter of a historian who was also a good storyteller, and who loved to talk about history and the interesting little details that he found fascinating. I recommend the book, it is engaging and entertaining, and not at all remote and distant. In fact Ms. Raden brings the reader into the story in all-too-human ways that desire, envy and obsession have cut a wide swath across history, implicating us all in the process. For who has never obsessed over something? Who has never been stoned?
5. I was going to make soup for dinner last night, but I realized that the last canning jar in the freezer was not, indeed, stock, but pecans. Bummer. So I made chicken stock. My stock is not the detailed, fancy, proper French style stock I made when I was young. Now I tend to save up chicken bones and carcases, onion and carrot peels, and the like in a zip lock bag in the freezer. When I have a bag or two I make a batch of stock in the slow cooker, adding vegetables as needed by weight, to enrich the stock. I try to keep some meaty chicken backs, or even better parts of an old stewing hen or chicken feet, to enrich the stock. But otherwise it is pretty much a dump and go process. The resulting stock is rich and flavorful and good enough for my home uses.
Besides there is nothing quite like the joy of waking up to the aroma of chicken soup.