Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wait, it's February already?

Male cardinal, eating seed from our feeder
I can't believe it has been over a month since I last sat down to write here. I know I thought about it, but kept thinking it hadn't been that long since my last post, surely. Well, here are some of the things that have been keeping me busy since the beginning of this year. 

Open kibbeh, from Jerusalem by Yotem Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
 Cooking, of course. I have so many good cookbooks now that I am really making an effort to try new recipes. Weekends tend to be the best time for that around here - more people to help with complicated prep work, or just keep Malcolm out of my hair while I do it.  For the savory side of things, my current crush is Jerusalem by Yotem Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. There are some recipes I know I will never make, but all the ones I have made have been amazing. This open kibbeh was so very good - lamb, bulgher, and some tahini, essentially - there was hardly any left for the next day.

Sticky Toffee Pudding from Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food

Last summer, while watching The Colbert Report,  we saw Jamie Oliver bring out this sticky toffee pudding and my mother-in-law was drooling over it. I told her if she bought me the book, I would make it for her; she remembered and gave it to me for Christmas. So, I made sticky toffee pudding for a New Year's treat. Oh. My. Goodness. Rich and flavorful and oh so good. I probably won't make it again any time soon, just because we really don't need that much cake in the house, but I might break it out for the next potluck we go to.

Chocolate sables from Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan
 Another reason I probably won't get around to making another sticky toffee pudding soon is that I also got Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan for Christmas, and I am attempting to bake my way through it. It will take a long time, since there are so many recipes and alternate variations, and I can't quite justify baking dessert every single weekend, but I don't really mind. Everything I have make so far is delicious.

Who can resist that face?
And of course, in addition to cooking, Malcolm is keeping me on my toes. At two and a half, he is far too smart for his own good, too good at getting into things he shouldn't, and just adorable enough to stay (mostly) out of trouble.

We are out riding bikes without coats, in February!
 He got a balance bike for Christmas, and has almost completely mastered it. He rides down our street without touching, rides circles in our cul-de-sac, and is generally getting set for a life on two wheels. It isn't so bad when the weather is warm, like it has been this week, but he was insisting we go out when it was 35 and windy, and that was a bit much for this mama. (Not that I should complain, since I made him go out in the stroller for runs with me when it was equally cold and windy. The difference is that he was swaddled in blankets and sleeps through most of the runs, whereas I have to stand around and watch for cars while he is bike riding - no blankets or naps for me). It is exciting to see how fast he learns and figures things out.

Sharp-shinned hawk (I think), staking out our feeder
 Malcolm and I have been participating in this year's Feeder Watch program, conducted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Basically, we watch our bird feeders two consecutive days a week and try to identify and count the various birds we see, then we report that data and it helps the scientists get a picture of bird migration and numbers. Last week, this beauty showed up and scared all the little birds away. I didn't mind, because it stayed around long enough for me to get out my camera and take a few pictures.

So, there is my year so far, mostly. I am also training for a 10K in March, partially in order to be able to eat all the delicious things I bake, and tennis season is just about to pick up steam. I'll try not to let things go for another month this time!