[vermont] Holiday weekend

Was a nice, sunny three-day weekend. Did most everything I set out to and went snowshoeing Sunday through the back yard:


There are lots of nice trails through the back woods, leftover from when the loggers were here a few years ago. 

Nice day to snowshoe through the back yard.

Back at the house, I checked out the gourds hanging on the garden fence:

Birdhouse gourds have been hanging there all winter. They sound nice and hollow and dry with an outer layer peeling away. Will cut them down in the spring and make some bird houses.

They are nice and dry and sounded hollow when I knocked on them. In the spring, I will cut them down and make a bunch of nice birdhouses. Speaking of spring, mud season is right around the corner. I can't wait to start gardening again, enough though that is still months away :/

I did some goooooood cooking this weekend. A homemade Cubano:

Homemade  cubano for lunch. Couldn't resist after having one in DC.

Homemade pulled pork, swiss cheese, pickles, ham, dijon mustard, homemade bread. Got to take out my rarely-used panini press to heat up these sandwiches. I comes out so rarely, Dollar asked, "Is that new? When did we got that?" It's not new but I've only used it once or twice. It mostly stays hidden away in the pantry with a bunch of stuff piled on top of it.

Speaking of bread, I finally splurged on a dough bucket:

Dough bucket

I say splurged but it's only $15. For nearly a year, since I've started keeping a regular batch of no-knead dough in the fridge, I've been using a massive Amish bowl that my mom gave me. It's large, it's heavy, it takes up 25% of the available real estate in the fridge. Since I mix up a large amount of dough to keep for whenever we feel like bread or pizza, it felt like that gigantic bowl would be in there forever, taunting me to "hurry up and use this dough... don't you want all this fridge space back? do you like playing tetris with the bread and tupperware- and why did you buy the OJ with the weird-shaped bottle? you know it doesn't fit on the door."

Anyway, this dough bucket is better. Smaller by a long shot and it even has a fancy-pants cover, so I can rest stuff on top of it if I have to (which I wasn't able to do with the Amish bowl since it was always just covered with saran wrap).

While I was at King Arthur Flour to get the dough bucket, I received a free mix with my purchase. I whipped it up on Saturday:

Went into KAF last week and got a free mix. I love it when mine turn out just like the picture on the box. 💯😎

I think it's very good- although it had a distinct eggnog flavor for me. I asked Dollar what he thought but he couldn't answer around all the coffee cake he was eating. He LOOOOOVED this mix. 

Meh, sweets schmeets. Give me savory any day. Monday, I whipped up a brunch pizza for us with some of that no-knead dough:

Breakfast pizza: ham cheese egg scallion. Homemade no knead dough. 🍕

OMG this f'ing pizza. I pushed the dough out on some parchment paper, topped with ham (leftover from the cubanos) and mozz cheese, then baked on a pre-heated 500 degree pizza stone for 5 min, then added two eggs and baked another 6 min. Then topped thinly sliced scallions and a sprinkle of salt. This was heaven. 

For dinner, I recreated the Feb. 14 dinner I had in DC for my Valentine at home:

Recreating my Feb. 14 dinner in DC for my Valentine at home. Garlic-rosemary lamb chops, creamy polenta, snow peas, balsamic reduction.

Lamb chops, creamy polenta, snow peas, balsamic reduction. I seared a garlic-rosemary-balsamic marinated rack of lamb in a pan on the stove, then transferred to a 400 degree oven for 10 min. I let it rest then cut the chops. Made some coarse polenta on the stove and quickly sauteed snow peas. I plated everything and then drizzled a balsamic reduction. 

Back to the grind now and easy weekday meals (aka. ramen). I think my next challenge is going to be vegan King Cake to bring in to work before Mardis Gras next week. Which won't be too much of a challenge. I'll roll out some bread dough (flour, yeast, salt, water) and slather with a paste of vegan butter plus cinnamon. Then hide the baby, roll it up, make into a ring and bake. That's all vegan, right? Wait. What about the frosting and glitter. I guess I'll check the ingredients of the glitter tonight and I assume I can use some soymilk and powdered sugar for the glaze. If the glitter isn't vegan, the entire vegan plan is going to be scrapped and we're going full-on carnivore. You can't have King Cake without the purple, gold and green glitter.

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