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Pretty much everything I have to say in terms of me making cookies  this time of year was said last year, so go check out that post, which has recipes and pictures.  I like to crank up the Christmas CDs while cranking out the Brune Kager, and lead-off tune is alway Feliz Navidad  by the sublime Jose Feliciano.  Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGuCvFdrWPg&feature=related

 

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I’ve now passed my 4th blogiversary — Happy Blog Day!  This prompts a bit of looking back at what I was doing that first month of blogging.  In some ways, things are much the same.

I still love and wear my handspun alpaca mitts.

I still love and make the NYT No-Knead bread.  This post, by way, is my most-viewed post. Lotta bread lovers out there.

I’m still spinning and dyeing.  Spinning much better now, thanks to a couple of classes with the  justly-revered Judith MacKenzie.

The dyeing has turned into a business, with actual profits!  Not huge, not a living wage, but it’s a self-sustaining hobby that pays for cool equipment and classes, lets me meet great folks, and play with color as much as I want.  I’m currently winding off yarn for a commission for Syne Mitchell, who will make it available to her students when she teaches a rigid-heddle weaving class  at the John C. Campbell Folk School. (The blurry look of the winder and swift in motion in this photo is my attempt at an arty action shot.)

But, although we’ve had our share of wintery weather, there haven’t been any more visits from the river otters.

What’s different? Mostly the kids, who don’t show up here too much. My son Erik has graduated college and is navigating the chilly job market while also doing some free-lance writing.  Fingers crossed for two projects being printed and available to the public this year (I’ll keep you posted). He’s also part of the writing team on The Mongoliad, a cool on-line serial novel.  My daughter Alex continues her studies at Savannah College of Art and Design. She’s a Dramatic Writing major, which means scripts, although her writing teacher this quarter is fine with her working on a novel.  These kids, they think one make a living  writing! Fools . . .

A recent late breakfast/early lunch that had real staying power!

Thaw a black bean burger and pan-fry in a bit of oil till crispy. Set aside on a plate. Fry an egg in the same pan, and put some grated chedder cheese on top to melt. Put it on top of the burger. Heat a small tortilla in the same pan and slip under the burger. Heat some salsa in the same pan and pour over the top. Easy! Delicious! If I had a food cart in Portland, I bet I could sell a lot of these.

I spent yesterday making what is perhaps the world’s most complicated ramen recipe, from  the cookbook Momofuku by David Chang and Peter Meehan. The previous day, I bought pork shoulder and rubbed with salt and sugar, then put it  in the fridge to rest overnight.  I started slow-roasting it yesterday morning, basting it with accumulated fat every  hour for 6 hours. Meanwhile, I made tare seasoning by roasting stray chicken bits (leftover wing tips I has stashed in the freezer)  until deep brown then simmering them with soy sauce, mirin, etc. Also made dashi , not the full court broth called for in the recipe, but a very good fresh dashi from seaweed and bonito flakes. Also slow simmered eggs at 145 degrees. Also cooked greens with soy, vingar, and little brown sugar. Also cooked noodles.  I did not make the noodles, the crazy bus didn’t make it quite that far.

Came dinner time, and hot noodles were divided among the bowls, hot tare-seasoned broth ladled on, hot shredded pork shoulder, greens, and shelled egg put on top, sliced fish cake slipped in on the side, a sprinkle of green onions . . .

Why, dinner was ready in an instant!

We woke up this morning to find that the promised scattered snow flurries had actually been pretty steady through the night.

These pictures are from about 9am.  It’s been snowing off and on through the day, but the air is warm enough that  the snow is melting slowly, so this is a much of an accumulation as we ever had.
I’ve been enjoying the seasonal delight of aged Cougar Gold Cheese. Every year I buy a new can and slip it under the stack in the fridge, then take the oldest cheese off the top. The cheese keep indefinitely as long as it’s in a refrigerated sealed can.

I know some WSU students, so I get a fresh delivery hand-carried from Pullman each December.

I put another 2 years of age on the cheese, and this year I bought an extra cheese so stretch the aging schedule to 3 years.  I was talking with someone at a cheese shop, and she said she had a customer who has a 20 year rotation on their Cougar Gold. That’s dedication! As for me, I can say that Jennifer did good work back in 2007.