It's been a warm winter. Oh, those few days that made our teeth chatter and our hair a mess because we needed to wear hats were anomalies. We were reminded of the norm when the snow fell for the first time in 2012 somewhere between the late hours of January 19th and the 20th. It was just enough snow to send me straight to the Agway in Claverack to buy a pair of fake Mucks (insulated snow boots) which I actually like better than the originals - because they're black - and very chic.
I also felt the need for something seriously substantial for dinner. I wanted the food to warm up my insides and make me sleepy. In the meantime I just happened to be playing Scrabble on Facebook and having an online chat with my friend - which is a very nice way to communicate as you must compose and write down your thoughts - or not. Roy, a food expert and I, food-interested, talk about what's for dinner - all the time. He always has a good idea. The Friday of the first mini snowfall I was trying to figure out what to do with a pair of chicken legs and thighs. "Marinate them in yogurt and sumac, then roast them". Hmmm - good idea indeed. When I was going in the direction of the Claverack Agway I thought that I should go just a few miles further east to the Hawthorne Valley Farm Store and get some of their rich and tangy, biodynamic yogurt. Powdered sumac - used mosty in North African and Middle Eastern food preparations - is part of my spice collection. The tart spice adds citrus flavor to anything to which it's added (in fact, you can substitute lemon juice for any recipe asking for sumac). I'm sure that you've seen sumac plants growing in almost any environment where they're allowed to flourish and not pulled out with the rest of the weeds that surround them. They are easily recognized by their Christmas tree-shaped leaves and pine cone-shaped cluster of brick-colored berries. "What if I add some fresh thyme leaves as well?(just purchased from Lick the Market)". "Yum" said Roy. That was it. I marinated the legs and thighs in yogurt to cover, about a tablespoon of powdered sumac and a heaping tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves - for an hour or so. Then I roasted them at 375 degrees F., turning once, for 45 minutes. I finished them by putting them under the broiler for a few minutes, just enought time to burnish them. This preparation really wants to be grilled outdoors - at least I think.
A friend had just gifted me with a jar of Tunisian couscous ( purchased from Olde Hudson - they do mail order) . Talk about timing. The easy-to-make couscous was the perfect accompaniment for the chicken - and it looked so comfortable sitting on a bed of the pebbly pasta - cooked exactly according to directions and mositend with chicken pan drippings to serve .
Friends from down-the-road in Rhinbeck came for tea on the day after/during the succesive snowfall. We gathered around the fire, caught up on each other's news and happily drank tea - and coffee - and ate bites of some of my favorite snacks; roasted pears (see posting, December 9, 2010) with the fabulous Kunik cheese (which I talk about all the time), and my mother's ginger snaps ( recipe on 21 October 2011 posting).
Somehow that first snowfall has turned into slush from the fairly warm rainfall. Winter? I'm not sure I'm ready for you to go away so quickly - but, I rather not squash my hair into another hat. Oh, vanity, thy name is a woman who worries about her hair too much.
Just bloomed. Amaryllis - EXOTIC STAR - I planted the bulb about a week after Christmas - and here it is.