Today is one of those inexplicable weather days. If you look out the window, it’s grey and blustery and demands a hot cup of tea, an afghan knitted by your grandmother, and a trashy novel. Then you step outside and it’s 70.
Ridiculous. Where’s my tea and afghan? I am going to turn on the A/C and set it on 60, so I can pretend it might be Winter.
In the interest of keeping up the pretense, rather than running all the Mail of a Delicate Nature through the paper shredder, I used the fireplace and burned everything, briefly enjoying the red-cheek inducing nature of a hot paper fire. That was plenty, and a cold drink of water later, all was restored to it’s default setting.
One of the loveliest parts of This Time of Year (beyond the rich foods “cold” weather demands), is getting all those seed and flower catalogs in the mail. O I do love me a good seed catalog. The current favorite is RH Shumway with all it’s Victorian airs and woodcutting illustrations and tabloid size. They carry lots of good stuff, too. Then there’s the David Austin rose catalog with photographs lovely enough to cut out and frame. Of course, Park Seed, Burpee, Jackson Perkins, those all come as well, and it’s fun to look through them, but RH Shumway carries bachelor buttons and Phoenix nasturtiums. Last year I subscribed to The Mother Earth News garden planner and it has gently held my hand and diplomatically told me when I was doing it all wrong, and even carries the Shumway seed catalog so the stuff I ordered from there can be plugged into the plan. There is no optimist quite like a gardener.
This evening, because it’s warm and humid and the end of December and the windows are open and the ceiling fans are on, instead of roasting the broccoli to go with the roasted chicken, and khoresan wheat and carrots cooked in homemade chicken broth, I made a salad from it. Because after all that rich and delicious Christmas food, salad is needed, doncha know. And the raw broccoli totally cancels out the bacon and cheese that the recipe calls for, doncha know. And the vinegar that thins the mayo cancels out the mayo…or something. And I left out the sunflower seeds because dadgum those things have a lot of fat in them!
Broccoli Salad, The Way We Like It
2 heads of broccoli, cut into small bits. You can shred the stems if you like. Sometimes I do.
Several slices of bacon, cut into bits and cooked until crispy
3 or 4 green onions or however many you like, sliced into little pieces
about 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
a handful of dried tomatoes, little strips or whatever
1/2 cup good mayonnaise (Here in The South, Duke’s is the brand recommended. You’ll also likely suffer silent condemnation and “bless her heart”s if you use some other kind)
about 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon-ish sugar
some black pepper, however much depends on your preference
In a bowl, toss together the broccoli, bacon, onions, cheese, and tomatoes. Ok, if you don’t have any dried tomatoes, it’s no huge crisis but really they help. Make the dressing by whisking together the mayo, vinegar, sugar, and pepper. Whisk until it’s nice and smooth. Give it a taste and adjust the seasoning as you prefer. Pour the dressing all over the stuff and toss it until it’s all nicely mixed together. Congratulate yourself on making such a tasty and (sorta) nutritious side dish that The Whole Family Will Love.
Also, because it’s too hot for fruitcake, we’re each having a slice of lovely lemon icebox pie, straight from the cooler of the grocery store. Corkey’s brand, because I don’t make dessert.
We’re still on vacation from school. Himself is back at work but not as intensely as usual. Everyone seems to be winding down, that last slide down the hill of 2014 and since we’re near the bottom, life seems to say “Ok, relax and take the last bit with your eyes closed” #4 has been spending so much time on the computer (it was taken away from him sometime in September due to some infraction that has been long forgotten, I only remembered that it was not to be returned until Christmas break and only if his grades improved….so the infraction must have been grade related. My powers of deduction amaze me.) that he has actually volunteered to do garden work. There isn’t a lot to be done, just a bit of filling in and such.
I think we are all looking forward to a return of a normal routine. I am trying, but with #4 constantly leaving his adorable dishes in the sink and Himself showing up early home (really, I like it! I do! But I am a rigid creature of schedule and when he shows up at 4 instead of 5:30 it throws off the dinner schedule because my brain is conditioned to have it on the table 30 minutes after he comes home and 4:30 is all wrong, because dinner has barely been started so I get all anxious and start insisting on going to El Sombrero or a burger place)
I know I am looking froward to a schedule. Also for all that fruitcakecookieschocolateeggnog to be done with and the seeds to show up. I’m also going to finally actually get the guest room decorated for real. With backplates on the light switch and outlets and everything! And get a bunch of other stuff done.