Monday, February 18, 2013

When a Storm Threatens...

...bake beans. Sure, you can stock up on bread and milk if that's your style of pre-storm panic (OK, I admit I bought bottle of vodka, but only because being snowed in for any length of time always makes me think, "Shit, this would be a good time to read the Gulag Archipelago", and who the hell wants to read that without vodka? ). Anyway, the storm isn't due until late Wednesday evening, so I have plenty of time to make a batch of baked beans, and steamed brown bread. The beans are soaking as I type.

The thing that kills me? We've had insanely beautiful weather since that single storm in December-60 degree days, plants coming up, bees for god's sake-now we get a blizzard when I have tickets to the opera. This crap better blow out of here by 2 PM Sunday afternoon, or I'm going to be really unpleasant to be around. These were not inexpensive tickets, but I wanted Danny's first opera experience to be memorable. I informed Mr. ETB that if it really looks like we might get a second storm at the weekend, I'm booking a hotel room downtown. He's in agreement. I might have put on my angry face to drive home the point.

Right, the beans. I don't really follow a recipe other than including the basics-molasses, brown sugar, mustard powder, smoked salt (because we don't do bacon or salt pork) sometimes a bit of paprika if I'm feeling adventurous. I've seen everything from marmalade to pineapple, to maple syrup and bourbon go into beans, but I suppose this is where I embrace a, "less is more" approach. Really, the only thing baked beans need is time-about 6-8 hours after the initial bean cooking. Cook them slow, and you'll be rewarded with something you can serve over toast, baked potatoes, or cold between slices of white bread (don't pretend you don't do that).

Also on the agenda-hamentaschen. I have fruit and poppyseeds soaking for the fillings, and the dough is already chilling in the fridge. I make the cookie type rather than the yeast raised, but only because they freeze better (we always have far too many). A hamentaschen is basically a kolache, but shaped in a triangle. Jews eat them at the Purim holiday because they resemble the ears on the villain of the story, Haman. Or his hat, depending on who tells the story. Either way, they are nearly identical to kolache, and the fillings-typically poppyseed, prune, or apricot are similar as well. I know a woman that makes rhubarb kolache, but I don't think my boys would put up with that in their hamentaschen. I still don't understand how the two people I love more than anyone else could be rhubarb haters. I mean, I still love them, but I do wonder what the hell is wrong with them.

So, I've got beans, vodka, hamentaschen and the Gulag Archipelago to get me through the next few days-and that snow better be done by 2 PM Sunday afternoon.

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