Sunday Sour Savor

It’s been a busy weekend, but now the chores are done, the groceries have been put away, and the car is refueled.  With a good book to enjoy — Echoes of Sherlock Holmes, a terrific collection of short stories inspired by the world’s first, and forever foremost, consulting detective — and only a few idle hours remaining before the work week begins again, it’s time to lean back and crack open a sour.  Today, it’s a Farmer’s Reserve Nectarine brewed by the Almanac Beer Company in Northern California.  Try it before California secedes from the Union and import duties make it crushingly expensive.  It’s light and tart and very fine, indeed.  (Thanks, Emily!)

Sunday afternoons are to be savored, even in a crazy world.

Hot Cereal On A Cold Morning

As I was on this morning’s walk, inwardly grumbling about the 10 degree temperature with face stiff from the brutal chill, I heard my mother’s voice.  “On a cold morning, nothing is better for you than hot cereal,” she said.

It’s true.  Mom was right up there with the Quaker Oats guy in advocating for hot cereal as a crucial part of the cold weather diet.  Every year, at some point around Halloween and responding to some innate motherly weather instinct that was beyond the ken of little kids, she would declare that the hot cereal season had begun.  In explaining why, she would use phrases like “fortified against the cold” and “stick to your ribs” — but in any case her declaration had the force of law.  From then on the Webner kids ate nothing but oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, Maypo, Malt o’ Meal, and Coco Wheats until, months later, the winter weather finally broke and Frosted Flakes would once again appear on the kitchen countertop.

They say a boy should always listen to his Mom, and I’d hate to be a disobedient son, so today I’m making some oatmeal with blueberries, brown sugar, and pecans for breakfast.  And because I’m now a grown up, a cup of steaming hot coffee and some orange juice sound good, too.

Gluten Free Goodies

My mother used to say that you learn something new every day.  She was right — as mothers always are.

This morning I learned that gluten-free food can actually be pretty tasty.  Because we’ve got a gluten-free guest coming for the holidays, I made these cookies with tahini — which is crushed sesame seeds ground into a kind of peanut butter consistency — the ever-unpronounceable quinoa, honey, brown sugar,, and rice flour.  They’re crunchy and really good.  I am also making some gluten-free spice cookies with cranberries and almonds and macadamia nuts.

Tasty, and gluten-free?  Who knew?

Clove Christmas

This morning I took one of the mandarin oranges Kish buys for the holidays and attacked it with a full arsenal of whole cloves.  You push the pointy ends of the cloves through the soft skin of the fruit, covering the entire outer surface.  The cloves and the citrus juices from the skewered orange then interact, producing a fine, delicate, spicy scent that leaves the kitchen smelling wonderful.

The clove orange is one of the things — liking baking cookies, listening to holiday music, or “surprising” Kish with the inevitable gift of a new word-a-day calendar — that says Christmas to me.  Thanks to Aunt Corinne, who first acquainted me with this holiday tradition.