Monday, January 22, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 01/21/18: Thinking, Ham Stock, Sunday Family Dinner

1. I spent a lot of time alone today thinking. Mostly, I was trying to slow things down in my mind, things in my personal life and my thinking about the different things going on in the USA. It takes a lot of effort for me to resist the pressure to arrive at quick conclusions informed by rarely questioned principles -- what many people I read and listen to call beliefs. Today, within myself, I tried to be skeptical about what I think is true and I dedicated myself, as best I can, to give situations and events I really don't know much about time to unfold before arriving at what I think about them. I also resisted the loud voices in our country -- and that are in my head -- which say that thinking this way, questioning one's self, is waffling or compromising one's principles. For me, principles are always subject to revision and refinement. They don't apply equally or evenly to all situations, but, I think, do apply evenly and equally to others.  I didn't figure anything out today, but I gave my conscience a good workout.

2. Last week I made a ham hocks and navy bean soup. I didn't throw away the bones or the ham hock fat and this weekend I returned those bones and the fat to the crock pot along with onion, celery scraps, and some leftover parsley. I'm succeeding in drawing another pot of stock out of those ham hocks. Today, the Deke finished off the soup I made last week and I thinned it out, stretched her helping a bit, by adding a couple of cups of the new stock to the soup. It was really good. Now I'm thinking I'll boil potatoes in this new stock and make a pot of potato soup. The rice I cooked a week ago in chicken stock for both the chicken casserole and stir fry I made tasted so good that I'd like to see if boiling potatoes in stock and using the the liquid as the base for potato soup might also work.

3.  Christy and Everett hosted this week's Sunday family dinner in their newly remodeled backyard shed. The dinner went splendidly. After a Tom Collins cocktail, Christy served wedge salad topped with salad dressing. Now, this wasn't just any salad dressing. This was the blue cheese/roquefort dressing made from a recipe that has been in our family for about fifty years, one that Mom made from time to time and that we all loved. We think the recipe is similar to the roquefort dressing served in the Sig and Bunny Peterson days at the Sunshine Inn, but we aren't sure.

Salad was followed by a hearty beef stew, the beef enriched by having been marinated in red wine, and the vegetables prepared perfectly. It was a perfect Sunday dinner entree, especially on a chilly January evening. Christy baked a substantial loaf of Italian peasant bread and, because I love substantial breads, it was perfect for my taste. We finished dinner in Christy and Everett's house with pear mince meat pie and vanilla ice cream, another favorite of mine.

It was a delicious and most satisfying meal and a fun evening together. 

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