I spent most of the day in the kitchen today... enjoying the simple tasks of cooking and chopping and slicing and stirring. Even though we got our new oven & fridge a few weeks back, today was my first day to really dive in. It was also my first chance to break open one of my new cookbooks, Veganomicon. I know I'm totally behind the times.
The first order of business was to tend to my ruthlessly fruitful apple tree. I gathered one entire grocery back of unsalvagable apples - rotten beyond the turning point. And then I gathered another entire bag of apples in need of immediate action (just a little bit buggy/wormy/rotten). So I got to work: washing, cut off the grody parts, peel the apples, and then cut up into quarters. My first order of business was homemade applesauce.
It was a nice thing to do, because it was my grandma who taught me about making homemade applesauce... so while I chopped and peeled I got to think of her. In the end I got 7 jars of **fantastic** applesauce. Honestly, I don't know what kind of apples we have, because it was the previous homeowner who planted that tree, but they are so delicious. They are great eaten fresh, great cooked up, and great in applesauce. What luck for us.
There was still a LOT more apples... so I also made up a batch of the Apple Peanut Butter Caramel Bars from Veganomicon. I just noticed that Diann also made these. I must say, I had absolutely no luck getting the caramel to "fall off the fork in ribbons" - that was simply NOT happening! Rather than "drizzling" the caramel on, it was more like dropping giant clumps. I made these for my book club meeting tomorrow... so I'll have to give you a review later. Hopefully they'll look a bit more... uh... appetizing when they're cut up into bars tomorrow. I've also just got a huge bowl of apple slices in the fridge to munch on for the next couple of days.
This morning I cooked up a big pot of beautiful Christmas Lima Beans (big red beans speckled with white dots), and also a big batch of veggie broth. For dinner I made us the "Mediterranean Baked Lima Beans" (or something like that) from Veganomicon. Very nice flavor. I only added a pinch of salt, but otherwise followed the recipe pretty closely. I served it with steamed green beans from the farmer's market & some fresh bread.
It was nice to be in the kitchen... somehow I found it very calming and peaceful to be busy with the food. Just going to the farmers market this morning, and then picking my apples, gave me a sense of time and season and nature. And all the busy work of peeling and cleaning 3 buckets of apples gave me something tangible and practical to do & accomplish. During a week of such intensity and mystery, it was quite a relief to work on something so straight-forward. :) And yummy.