Some do like it hot. Like my friend Kelcey over at Mama Bird Diaries, who shivers her way through the snow by dreaming of sweltering Augusts and painting her toenails, hailstorms be damned.
Not me. Maybe it’s my Minnesota roots, but I like it when a blast of brisk air demands I throw on an extra sweater. I even get kind of whiny when the summer heat hits sweltering. But lately frigid temperatures are making it hard to remember just what was so bad about those toasty warm days after all. With temps plummeting below zero parenting gems come pouring out of me. I’m saying things like “human-beings cannot function this far below freezing,” and “Danger! Your skin will crack away from your skull if you dare take that hat off again.” I do think the children are enjoying my take on this big chill.
Though I have been transformed into the abominable grinch, there remain two types able to smile despite the precipitous drops in mercury. Brave children that have been promised a hot cocoa in lieu of lunch,
…and my brother, the sherpa, whom said children conned into dragging them back up the sledding hill during the five minutes I relented and allowed exposure to the harsh elements.
Last winter I had it all going on. The garden put out enough squash to keep me in butternut squash soup through the first 10 snows, even though those 2007 snows arrived well before December. For cold to the bone, there is nothing better than this bright orange steaming soup, heaped high with cheese and apples so the focus is hearty, not healthy. (Ok, it does get a low-fat, healthy kiss if you just say no to the cheese.)
Without the squash around to keep me cozy, I give thanks for the gift I gave myself, the amazing cookbook Artisan Bread in Five. Confident now with cookbook in hand, I’m not letting a little thing like a magnificent failure in the bread baking department keep me away from a hot oven. The first few loaves were more lumpy than lovely, but tasty all the same. We made this one…
And this one too…
But these whole wheat loaves only call for a 350° oven, and I was looking for a little more heat in the kitchen, if you know what I mean, wink-wink. (Ok, no, I’m kidding. Not that kind of heat. This was a family-friendly baking project.)
So we cranked that puppy up to 450° and look!
Gorgeous baguettes hot from the oven. Crusty. And hot. And ooo-la-la, look at me! I’m sipping cafe au lait in gay Paris. I’m dipping my toes in the aqua waters of the French Riviera.
Or maybe I’m shmearing a warm piece of homemade bread with peanut butter and jelly. But my toes, oui, they are starting to defrost.