Sunday, February 18, 2007

Hen of the Wood, Again

We made it to Hen of the Wood last night, which I've referred to here and here before. We were not disappointed. The entrance way, the pathway of which was, of course, brimming with the piles of snow that we now have everywhere, had candles set into the snow. Candles make snow look even more cool, by the way. Nice touch.

We ordered some bottle of wine that was a complete unknown to us and I didn't write it down. I think Morton was the vineyard and it was a blend. I hate it when I don't write stuff down. I'm out of the habit since we go out so rarely like this now. Doug started with the crispy oysters and they were delightful. Thin crispy batter and tender oyster with a nice lemony sauce. I had the hen of the wood mushroom. I figured I had to. See, they had the pork belly again (which I talked about earlier). It was really hard to resist the pork belly. I am glad I did, though. The flavor and texture of the hen of the wood mushroom was incredible. Now, I am only very recently a consumer of the mushroom. Moving to Vermont has really helped me to appreciate the mushroom. For one thing, there is just so much more out there in mushroom-land beyond the white button. Here is such a case. Perhaps next time I would get the pork belly and the hen of the wood mushroom. The flavor and texture were both extremely satisfying. Rich, complex, herbal, and balanced. I love mushrooms now, but this may be the one time I wanted to lick my bowl. The mushroom is cultivated locally.

Doug and I both had the venison with chestnut spaetzle and red wine braised cabbage. Perfectly cooked, gratifying to eat, and so nice in the middle of February. I am a softie for spaetzle, though, I have to admit, and that is what made me decide. I was torn between this and the roasted pumpkin risotto.

For dessert we had coffee (With caffeine! How luxurious!) and Meyer lemon creme brulee with blood orange granita and a biscotti (Cherry and almond? Damn, I need to write things down!). We inhaled this, but I have to come out of the Meyer lemon closet here. I don't get it. I have bought Meyer lemons and have tried them in other restaurants but I don't really see the appeal. I understand they are supposed to be more floral and subtle than the "regular" lemon. I find them just slightly bitter and faintly lemony. I don't see the excitement. I proposed to Doug that maybe you have to be in California to really appreciate them. Perhaps they just don't travel well. Aside from the un-lemony, slightly bitter custard (which, again, not a hardship here in terms of eating it), the consistency of the custard, the thin bitter crackle of the brulee crust, the flavor and consistency of the bitter orange granita, the length of the biscotti (How I love a long biscotti! Sure, it's not all about length---it's really flavor that counts, but a long biscotti is a beautiful sight) were all spot on.

The girls enjoyed Sobo's company and the evening was a success. Hooray!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Snow Cave

The missing grill after a night of more snow and wind.

The Snow Cave, one view.

Snow Cave with inhabitant, second view. It's not done yet, actually. The side isn't finished and I need more food coloring and spray bottles. They love the homemade snow spray. It's sort of toddler/preschool graffiti, I admit, but oh so fun.

The doctor's office was closed because they had no heat (!), however, the practice has other pediatricians at the hospital. The nurse on the phone said we could come in any time, but after hearing her symptoms, just called in a prescription to the pharmacy down the street, who filled it as soon as they opened and got the message (at 9 AM). The nurse said she could go to school tomorrow (barring new symptoms) and even tonight she looks and feels much better. Hooray!

Oh For Frack's Sake

Now Fiona has pink eye. She'll probably miss not only Valentine's Day at school tomorrow, but the school's art show, which is also tomorrow (and the parents can even come into the school---gasp!). I am so bummed about this. Hopefully, she won't be. Those things are tomorrow, though, so if we can see the doctor this morning and score antibiotic drops right away...just maybe it will work out. I will play it safe, though. Pink eye is so contagious (and I hope we don't all get it now). Today's school was cancelled...I think just to keep people off the streets so they can finish plowing. It's also supposed to be hella cold today.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

It's Still Snowing

The compost bin is on the left (the lump of snow) and our trash bin is on the right. I can see them from my kitchen window and that served as a gauge for how much snow we got least on that side of the house. Below that is Sweety Tweety and Pippi! At long last!

Our side porch. Darn flash and snow. It was sort of dark, so I didn't turn off the flash. I was also getting really wet from the snow. Brrr.

Fiona's birdhouse.

Doug shoveling the snow off of our front porch. This is not going to sound very feminist of me, but hooray for husbands! We got more snow on that side of the house. It was amazingly deep--he said over two feet.

The view down our driveway from the garage.

The grill in the backyard.

When it Snows,

We're the really dark purple part. The 12 inches or more area.

The schools closed yesterday in anticipation of today.

If you go to, it seems that our heavy snow warning has turned into a blizzard warning. Snow accumulation of a foot or more. I guess you know it's bad when the grocery store actually has lines. This would be more exciting in a fun way if Doug didn't have to go to work today.

I guess we won't be going out for dinner tonight! Hopefully on Saturday. Sobo leaves next Tuesday and I have no idea what we're going to do without her. Hopefully, we won't be sending her back with a cold or flu!

Yesterday, Doug and I visited the public school, and you know what? It was really cute. It was very safe. It seems like a really creative, fun environment. We liked the principal. I don't know what I was expecting, but we were really happy with what we saw.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


So The Lord of the Dance song comes on via the ol' iPod (hooked up through an old boombox) and Fiona asks to dance with me (I'm cooking at the moment). I say sure. She starts flitting around the room very gracefully and I say, "you dance so well". To which she replies, "Yes, especially with long hair".

Tonight is pinto bean soup and lemon bars. The bars are from The Village Baker's Wife and I used to make them all the time at a previous job. They are divine.

Tomorrow we're playing hooky from school to go meet a friend at the Monshire Museum of Science. It will probably be necessary to go to King Arthur Flour as well. Ah, well. I do what I must.

Friday, February 09, 2007


No date tonight. Doug is sick as well as Fiona. So far Sobo and I are well. I hate winter.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

If You're Going to Spew, Spew Into This.

I have a deep sense of foreboading.

Sophia barfed Tuesday night and Wednesday night. She is fine now. She was sick last week with some cold---very congested, total hell for a 2 year old and her parents.

Fiona just spewed all over the bed. Poor thing is sleeping now. Incidentally, most of it went in the Barf Bowl--a yellow bowl which I and both my sisters spent our childhoods spewing into. Quaint, no?

I have a date tomorrow night with Doug at Hen of the Wood (which I've reviewed in an earlier post). I guess we will see. I am washing the hands like a crazed woman.

Unicorn Mother

It is common for me to be buckling Sophia in her carseat and then she will exclaim "Baby Unicorn!" She wants to take Baby Unicorn with her everywhere. Baby Unicorn has been wrapped up in a too-big purple fleece blanket until now. Sobo suggested the toy sling and Sophia has found it much easier to tote Baby Unicorn around. The previous blanket always had to be folded just right or Sophia would wail "Help! Help!" every 3.23 minutes. Hooray once again for the fabulous life-saving sling!

Baby Unicorn is a duplicate of one Fiona has. I bought it for her one Christmas--I think for her second one, actually. She was not impressed. It has lain in Toy Storage until her interest in unicorns came out with a view of The Last Unicorn (until very recently, sans the harpy scene and the Red Bull scenes). I brought it out when I found it again during a toy organizing binge and it is now a beloved toy. Since Sophia covets all of Fiona's "special things", Fiona bought a small one (they didn't have the bigger ones) for Sophia for Christmas. They are both purple--Fiona's favorite color at two was most definitely purple. We have many, many 2T size pieces of clothing in purple. Even Fiona's snow boots were purple. So not only do they have matching unicorn costumes (Fiona can barely put hers on now because she had a huge growth spurt---all of the sudden most of her pants are too short!), they also have matching unicorns.

Dandelion Hair

The trampoline (from Auntie Alex on Christmas)was a big hit. I love how it makes their hair round like mature dandelions. Note the unicorn. Sophia is very much a "mini-me" Fiona right now, down to the "HMPH!" while pouting and bending her arms while putting her hands on her hips. She is also quite clear in announcing, when she doesn't get her way, that, "It's not fair!". Having a 5 year old say this repeatedly is quite tiresome. Add a 2 year old saying it and one has to laugh (or scream into a pillow). Sophia is definitely a fast learner.

Fiona's Unicorn Birthday Party

This was the first present Fiona opened at the party. As soon as she opened it, she exclaimed, "I'm putting this on right now". She did. She tore off her clothes and put the costume on and resumed with the opening of the presents.

Where Do Unicorns Go?

Ideas for posts usually come to me in really inappropriate places: the bathroom, soothing a child at 2 a.m., driving to school. I say inappropriate because in these cases I can't exactly dash to the computer or even write something down (well, maybe in the bathroom case...).

Here is the unicorn cake. It was made from a cake mold I got at a party store (where I got unicorn plates, cups, balloons, party favors, etc). It was in a plastic pan, which I have never seen before. Apparently, as long as you don't go above 375F, it is fine. A friend reassured me that she had used one for her son's birthday. It worked. The pan was about 5 bucks. It says it isn't meant to last forever, but ours may as I doubt I will use it more than one more time, if that. It was fun to make, though! I usually make less colorful cakes. It held exactly one recipe for a two layer cake. There were two pieces left after the party, which Sophia and Fiona made quick work of, washed down with the punch I made (pineapple, limeade, pureed frozen raspberries, and seltzer water).

The mold actually had the unicorn wearing a harness. As you can see, I left that out. What unicorn would wear a harness? I gave her a star around her horn. I have to remember to always say "she" when refering to unicorns because Fiona will remind me--loudly--that all unicorns are girls. Apparently, there are no boy unicorns. I have asked why, but apparently, that is just the way things are. Baby unicorns just have two mommies.

Happy Birthday to the Cutest Groundhog

I apologize for the lack of posting around here, but hopefully, that is going to change. Let us blunder away through the rest of the winter! I have my eyes set on spring, months away (May). Well, maybe April. Spring is a real tease.

Fiona turned 5 on the second and we had a fabulous party on the Sunday after that. I have party pictures to load and hopefully receive from friends at the party. Fiona invited four friends and they all came. She had a wonderful time. I made a unicorn cake, made with copious amounts of colored buttercream and edible glitter. We had the trampoline up and balloons. Doug made a nice spread of food (cut up cheese, sandwich fixins, fruit) to which I added homemade foccacia and fruit punch (how I love punch).

Oh, I had a birthday the weekend before and now I am the grand age of 34. Hooray!

Mom (aka "Sobo") is here which is wonderful and such a big help--especially since Sophia has been sick for most of her visit so far (oh well). We found Sobo some snow boots and proper gloves even though it is late in the year for such things. It is so maddening and amusing to see summer shoes for sale when the high outside is 18 F. Fiona and I are trying to learn knitting from Sobo (or rather, "re-learn" in my case).

We've decided to not re-enroll Fiona into the Montessori school for next year. That's a post for another time. Hopefully, Doug and I will get to tour the public school tomorrow. If that is dismal, I am not sure what the next step is. I have heard good things about the Kindergarten teachers, though.