This morning it was 20 degrees when I got up. I heard the downstairs office radiators clanking. It has to get very cold for the heat to come on by itself. We keep the thermostat at 50 all winter. We are used to being wrapped up head to toe, wearing hats, scarves, layers of colorful vests, thick wool socks, blankets and robes, looking like we live in outer Mongolia.
I decided I was ready to make a pot of oatmeal in my baby cast iron pot. I boiled the salted water and added the oats with a handful of raisins - they plump up! The oats practically cook themselves in this sturdy iron pan. I added milk and a sprinkle of salt and ate it for breakfast. I noticed when scooping out the oats from the 50 pound bag that it's almost empty. It's been occupying major real estate in our chest freezer for 11 years. I spotted a frozen gallon-container labeled Lamb Stock Feb 3, 2011. So I defrosted it and am now simmering it with a pound of freshly chopped collard greens, a pound of cooked black beans, a pound of cooked garbanzo beans, and yesterday's (burnt) jasmine basmati brown rice. I baked a big double batch of yellow cornbread in my square cast iron skillet. Bill had it for breakfast with his tea.
I am fantasizing about buying one of the the small spiral-cut hams on sale at the supermarket today. Perhaps Bill and I will walk Lily over to the store and I will run in. They're only 12 dollars. I tell my friends, we use meat as a spice! A little bit of sliced ham sprinkled in my simmering soup would be just the right thing to spruce it up.
Today is our last chance to get apples this season from our favorite orchard, the Big Apple orchard in Wrentham. While we're on the road, we'll also stop by the New England Bonsai nursery before it closes for January.
A sweet Sunday.