My absolutely favorite time is early weekend morning, when I am the first one up. When my kitchen is still and quiet, just sunlight streaming through the windows and the dogs are still snoozing in the corners. I am all alone with my cup of coffee, free to ponder the day ahead and enjoy these few moments of silence…This is what I like… Now this is quiet picture is the absolute opposite of what my house is like lately. It closely resembles a circus inside an insane asylum. With the arrival of a new puppy, my morning begins way too early for any human, and by the time I get to that first cup of coffee, I have walked the puppy four times, fed her, cleaned up a few messes and screamed “No, Bad dog!” couple of hundred times. It is exhausting….
There is not much difference between taking care of a puppy and baby, except that the puppy stage is over by 6 months and theoretically at this point a dog should have achieved its full training potential. Now a full potential for a dog, in my mind, is learning a few basic household rules and most importantly learning how to control her drool when sleeping on my pillow… that’s the height of mastership. With the baby you are still “on” for at least another 18 years or longer…. This makes a puppy a much more attractive in my mind.
Of course now I cannot concentrate on anything other than her poop schedule and all those wonderful cooking projects I had in mind for the ultimate winter comfort foods will have to wait.
I wrote them down on my menu board so that I can have something to look forward to when things come down a bit and I get my sanity back. I can’t wait to make cannolies ( I finally bought the tubes), fried chicken and waffles ( long ago promised and never delivered), New England clam chowder and spicy Asian noodles and duck meatballs in broth ( also long overdue). I have wonderful plans for gnocchi and pasta but all those things will have to wait a little longer. But they are coming, I promise, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, I didn’t waste this week totally. I made 24 jars of Meyer Lemon and Blood Orange marmalade. I used three different techniques to make three different kinds of preserves. First I made a combo Blood Orange and Meyer Lemon marmalade using the pressed pulp and added the zest at the end. Then I made a pure clear Blood Orange marmalade, all pulp strained completely and again adding zest at the very end. The third technique was my favorite, and it is what I am posting today, a Meyer Lemon marmalade made with whole lemons, no peeling, no straining, just a bit of patience.
I also made an interesting apple spice cake, courtesy of Alton Borwn’s recipe. I have been itching to make it for a while as this cake uses a very interesting spice combination – ginger, allspice, star anise, rosemary, cardamom, seeds of paradise… Looked interesting enough to try, the cake looks beautiful, but I am writing this before I got a chance to taste it so we will see…
All in all, not a completely wasted week, jam, cake, and the puppy did gain two pounds ( not eating jam and cake)…I must be doing something right.
Meyor Lemon marmalade
This recipe can be used for any citrus fruit.
25 – 26 Meyor lemons very thinly sliced and seeds removed. Leave the zest on.
8 cups of water or enough to just cover the lemons
8 – 9 cups of granulated sugar.
Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 min. Turn off the heat, cover and let stand for 3 to 10 hrs. Uncover the pot, bring back to boil, turn the heat to simmer and walk away… seriously, go write a novel or something… it takes a long time…. 3 to 4 hours or more depending on your pot. The marmalade should reach a temperature of 230-245F on a candy thermometer or you can test a drop on a frozen plate. If the drop “jells” right away when it hits the plate and does not run…. Your preserves are done. The marmalade will keep for up to 3 weeks in the fridge or up to 6 months in the pantry if heat sealed into sterilized mason jars.
Spread it on a buttered baguette and you can instantly transport yourself to the English country side…. Anywhere away from here sounds very good just about now….