Saturday, March 3, 2012

Blogging from the Dentist's Office

Wow, two blogs so close together! I haven't done that in a while. Okay, so Annalee had an impacted wisdom tooth that had a pretty bad infection and the dentist wanted it out fast—like within 24 hours fast—before the infection hit her bloodstream. It was scheduled for 2:00 p.m., but the oral surgeon called at 9:00 a.m. asking how fast we could get there since they had a cancellation. Annalee and I had just finished breakfast, but we were still in our jammies. She jumped into the shower, and I ran around gathering things to do while sitting in the lobby waiting. I took crocheting, a book, my laptop, a magazine, a sudoku, and some income tax stuff to sort through. I was set. It was a 45-minute drive in the rain, which made it seem longer, but we made it there by 10:15. I spent the first ten or fifteen minutes looking through the gossip magazines, but decided to finally finish reading Chasing Chiles, Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail instead. Once I finished, I went on to the next thing on my list: calling my mom and Rick's mom to see how they were. I thought this was a good opportunity. I managed to talk with my mom for about 5 minutes, but she was on her way to church for a meeting. Next, I called Rick to let him know what was up, but he was riding the exercycle, so the call was short. I did confirm that we had pastina and farina for Annalee to eat, though. Then I called Rick's mom. No sooner had she answered when the receptionist yelled, "no cell phones allowed in here, can't you read?" Oops. I missed the tiny sign by the window, and since I am new to cell phones, I didn't realize it was an issue. After profuse apologizing, I opened my laptop. With no internet reception, I stared at it for a bit and then saw an e-mail, already opened so no internet connection was needed, from Rick about the printing of his banjo book and a reference to a cookbook. Well, okay, then—I'll write a blog!

In preparation for the banjo workshop he will be leading at the end of the month, Rick began compiling information to make a small handout for the workshop attendees. Since I'm so nice (ha, I had no clue what I was in for!), I volunteered to help design and lay the pamphlet out. Only problem is, it turned into a 40-page book, and more work than either of us anticipated. I think the final product is pretty awesome, though. Okay, I'm prejudiced because most of the time I think Rick is pretty darn awesome. Of course, now that it's done, Rick has thought of a zillion more things he could add. Hmmm, maybe some day he'll write a much longer, more in-depth, book on the banjo. Although I teasingly tell folks that I ought to teach him how to use InDesign first, it was actually kind of fun to work with him, and I think we managed to do a good job together. Check it out: Ragged but Right: the Ungentle Art of Clawhammer Banjo.

With the arrival of his proof, though, Rick mentioned that I should post something more on the cookbook I designed for the Quaker meeting, Conscience Bay Monthly Meeting, that we attend. Conscience Bay had its fiftieth anniversary last May, and held a celebration open to the wider community, with music (us—the Homegrown String Band), craft booths, food, labyrinth walks, and talks on Quakerism. And, of course, the cookbook, Recipes from the Quaker Garden. Included is a no-knead spicy bread recipe by Rick, a red bean and rice recipe by Annalee, a few recipes by me, and pumpkin soup by Erica, not to mention many other recipes from Friends (Quakers). At the Christmas potluck at the meetinghouse, the pumpkin soup was a huge hit. Luckily, Erica brought a huge crockpot of it, because people were going back for seconds and thirds. The spicy bread recipe and the pumpkin soup make a great cold weather dinner. (Annalee's red beans and rice is pretty darn tasty, too!) And I just happened to have all the info on my laptop as I sat and sat and sat and waited.

See those hot pepper flakes? Spicy!
Rick's Spicy Sandwich Bread
For more complete directions on how to make this no-knead bread, please visit my June 25, 2011 post. Rick made slight variations in the ingredient amounts, and added the red and black peppers, but the rest of the process is the same. Remember, you need to start this the night before you intend to eat it!

3¼ cups unbleached white flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1½ teaspoons sea salt
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1½ cups filtered (unchlorinated) water
(chlorine will inhibit fermentation)

Hard to photograph, but yummy!
Erica's Pumpkin Soup
30 oz. pumpkin puree
1 cup light cream
1 onion, minced
2 celery stalks, minced
½ carrot, minced
28 oz. chicken broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon cumin powder
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
½ lb. prosciutto, cut to ¼" dice
2 tablespoons butter
• Sauté onion, celery, carrot, and prosciutto in butter until soft.
• Add cumin, curry, and coriander. Stir for a minute a two, so vegetables absorb the flavor.
• Add pumpkin, chicken broth, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then lower & simmer for 15 minutes.
• Add cream. Simmer until warmed through.
Serves 4 

I hope you enjoy the bread and the pumpkin soup! As for Annalee . . . well, she came through the oral surgery like a trooper. She iced on and off every twenty minutes all day, took some Advil, and surprised everyone including herself. She was all set to be in pain and whimpering in bed, ringing a bell to summon us, and ready to write requests out. Instead, she's starving and bored and managing to chatter (or maybe mumble) up a storm.

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