Saturday, November 6, 2010

It seems I've misplaced a few brain cells ...

I'm not sure I should even admit to such an unusual lapse of mental acuity as it would seem to be valid grounds for summoning the nice men in the white coats ( we're going on a little trip, here's a comfy jacketwe'll do up the straps for you, dear... ).
The incident I'm outlining here happened the other night ( and not for the first time ), while I was having my evening bath. First of all, though, I'll provide a bit of background as to my usual routine ... my husband is an avowed shower person, while I enjoy the luxury of long soaks in our wonderful old claw-foot tub. As luck would have it we each have a bathroom, so there's never any issue if I want to hibernate for a couple of hours in the evening with a book. Generally the only interruptions I can count on are the cats perpetually whining to be either let in or out. After I've had my recuperative soak I'll embark upon the actual cleaning phase of my bathtime, and having put aside my book, I find myself settling into a purely automatic sequence of established cleaning rituals that allow my mind to disengage from the matter at hand and wander off on it's own, replaying conversations, weighing the relative merits of this versus that, recapping what I need to accomplish tomorrow, etc., etc., etc.
Nothing terribly unusual I suppose, but I've been brought up short on a couple of occasions by the realization that I'm washing an arm or leg for the second time, or else realizing that I've been so absent that I actually have to feel my shin to know whether or not I've shaved that leg yet.
Scary. Early-onset Alzheimers? Just an isolated mental hiccup? Brain death?
Or perhaps I can safely blame it on the distractions of being constantly interrupted by needy felines ...
yes, I'm going to go with that theory, the other possibilities are too disturbing!  ;)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween...

If you're partying, remember to have a designated driver for your broomstick.
 ( This message brought to you by my familiar... )

Buried under an avalanche of apples ...

Well, it's that time of year again. We've harvested what apples the deer, coons and jays didn't abscond with, and I'm ( yet again ) pondering what to do with the bins of fruit staring accusingly at me whenever I step onto our porch. I've made multiple apple crisps and stored them in the freezer, I've made apple chutneys, apple bread, apple butter and tons of applesauce, I've dried more apple slices than I'm ever likely to use, and I still
have more to process. I feel a bit like the Sorcerer's Apprentice, desperately trying to keep up with magically multiplying chores.
Ah well. The upside to this is that I've allowed myself to get creative. With my most recent batch of applesauce I tried adding a couple of novel ingredients: crystalized ginger and dried cranberries, along with the usual cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Also, this time I left the peels on for added nutrient value and fiber ( photo above taken a few days ago during an applesauce marathon using peeled fruit ).
I put the apples, ginger and cranberries  through our VitaMix blender first, with enough water added to allow the mixture to blend smoothly, then simmered the resulting liquidy pulp for a few hours to reduce and thicken it, adding the sugar and spices when it had reached the desired consistency. Finally, everything was put through the blender a final time before being ladled into jars and processed in a boiling water bath.
The resulting sauce was thick, smooth and sweet, with a lovely little bite from the ginger. My husband ( who, admittedly, is biased ) claimed that it was the best applesauce that he'd ever tasted. I have to admit that I'm very pleased with it myself. Now I just have to try to remember how many handfuls of each ingredient I tossed in during my culinary daze, so that hopefully I can recreate the magic next time around.