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oven-warming

New oven:  electric, double oven (one with convection option - haven't tried that out yet).  Ever so much nicer than my old one.  Lots of burner options on the flat surface, and a nice light that stays on until the surface falls below 150 degrees.  There are times when gas would be preferable, but I'm used to electric.  If I want a gas burner for certain things, I can get a single portable one.

Sprang for a new refrigerator too.  Nothing fancy.  Small - big enough for my needs but nothing extra.  Freezer on bottom.  No water/ice; I dislike those - just another thing to maintain and keep clean.

To christen the new oven, I cooked fancy food over the weekend.  Based mostly on recipes from Taste of Persia.

  • Thanksgiving pumpkin rice:  a nice round squash stuffed with rice and fruit and walnuts, then baked.  I didn't have sour plums so I substituted gooseberries.  I also added some chickpeas, because I generally find a way to add beans to most of my meals.

  • Duck "fesenjan":  a stew of pomegranate molasses and ground walnuts.  I rendered the fat off a couple of duck breasts, then added the cut-up meat and some of the fat to the stew.  I put "fesanjan" in quotes because I don't want to imply I can do authentic Persian cooking.  I did stick fairly close to the recipe, but I should at least go to the Persian restaurant in Madison to see how mine compares.  Anyway, authentic or not, it tasted wonderful, and paired well with the squash rice.

  • Brussels sprouts fried in duck fat.  Not from the cookbook.  Added some garlic and pepper, and dressed with the meyer lemon juice.

  • Miscellaneous fruit cheesecake, using a bag of fruit I found during freezer cleanout (I think raspberry and mango).  I tried to make a glaze of ruby tango and meyer lemon, but didn't get the consistency quite right.  Still tasty, though.  Tequila whipped cream, using tasty Espolon tequila blanco.

Prior to the cooking, I splurged by going to all the "good" grocery stores.  Which explains the $7 finger of goat sausage in the fridge, and the many cheeses.  Metcalfe's has an "orphan cheeses" basket:  wrapped and labeled tiny bits of different cheeses.  Squares of 15-year cheddar smaller than a matchbook.  And Brennan's has all the fruits (that's where I found gooseberries).  Pricey, but free samples everywhere.  It was a very satisfying shopping spree.

In unrelated news, a few nights ago I dreamed I was beheaded.  Can't remember the details leading up to it, I just recall really tensing up and trying to keep my severed head perfectly in place on my body.  I recall noting in my dream that I wasn't nearly as creeped out by it all as I'd expected.

In other unrelated news, another teammate has given notice.  This week, about a third of the remaining team is on vacation and at least a third is down with various nasty viruses.

Tomato seedlings are all up; pepper seedlings are mostly up.  This week I will start okra, tomatillo, ground cherry, and a bunch of herbs and flowers.  I have rented a kick-style sod cutter and am taking my frustrations out on the yard, clearing the area for the new (ridiculously large) asparagus bed; after that I will clear more space for yet again still more garden rows. 
Friending welcome, but lurking is fine too.

Constructive criticism is also welcome - whatever it is, trust me, I've heard worse.

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