Tuesday, February 17, 2004

We're getting back in the saddle here at Hot Water Bath. The girl and I are slowly reaching a compromise regarding hours appropriate for sleeping (My perspective: 4 to 6 a.m. presents an excellent opportunity to get some shut eye. My darling daughter disagrees and thinks this time to be a good one for chatting.) and now that the last of our company has departed we're at last having some time just to hang out together.

Our first big project together was to make more pink grapefruit marmalade. This time I didn't follow a standard recipe, but rather combined elements of lots of different recipes to create this one, which I ended up liking better than the first. Couldn't be simpler, really - peel four largish pink grapefruits and one lemon. Remove as much of the white stringy bits from the fruit as possible and chop them up (removing seeds as you go). Put all the fruit goo and juice into a big pot. Next, cut away the think white pith from the peels, leaving mostly just the colored rind and a little white "backing" then cut the trimmed peels into teeny tiny thin strips and put them into the pot. Add two cups of water to the pot and bring the whole mess to a boil - reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or so. Remove from heat and allow to stand at room temperature overnight. The next day add four cups of granulated sugar and bring back to a low boil. Keep at the boil for 45 minutes to an hour and you'll notice that not only is your chopped fruit starting to break down, but the whole mess is coming to a loose gel. At this point, I decided to add a tablespoon of lime juice to facilitate the gelling process. Once you're satisfied with the state of the gel (remember, though, that it's not supposed to be as tight as jelly), pack into prepared jars, seal and process for 10 minutes.

And now you have four or so half-pint jars of really pretty marmalade. I actually had a bit left over which is sitting in a bowl on my kitchen counter so I'm going to make another poundcake today. Once cool, I'll split the cake and spread it with the marmalade. If there's any left, I might melt it down with some water to make a glaze, but that might be guilding the lily just a bit. We'll have to see.

We had the inlaws in town this weekend and on Sunday had sandwiches for lunch. I splurged and bought corned beef, cheese, roasted turkey - all kinds of stuff that we don't usually have - as well as some really great rye bread. In addition to mustard and mayo, I also put out a jar of my marinated mushrooms. My father in law ate most of them himself, which made me hugely happy. He put a big pile on his sandwhich and then ate what was left in the jar with a spoon - made my day, I tell you. Is there anything better than when someone really, really appreciates something you've created with your own heart and hands? I swear, I'm still all aglow.

Finally, I am officially a soccer mom. Yes, the Boy Wonder has been enrolled in the Piedmont YMCA youth soccer program. Now, I am not a soccer fan for all the stereotypical reasons that Americans are said not to be: too low scoring, too boring, lots of running around in the heat for very little actual excitement, etc. I mean, Brandi Chastain in her bra is one thing, but how much of that do you really get? My kid needs to burn off some steam, though, and this is one of the few programs around in which 3 year olds are welcome. The thing is, it's a parent/child program which means that I will also be learning the finer points of the game. Who knows, maybe it'll help me get over my anti-soccer bias. Either that or reinforce it. In any case, I also volunteered to help with the end of the season banquet - an activity that is squarely up my alley. I wonder if they'll let me bring my own condiments?
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