Feb 16, 2010

It's beginning to smell a lot like brisket...

And yes, the title may be hummed to the tune of "It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas" - which it is that, too. In fact, if it were December, the white stuff on the ground would be a welcome novelty. As it is, it's just another cold, wintry day. Three days of snowfall. What can it mean? We've never had this much snow since we moved here in 2000. At least it's a good excuse to continue making comfort foods.

And so the crockpot is burbling away with a nice lean brisket, approaching tender perfection. A bowl of bread starter was puffing and bubbling along all day, basking in the radiant heat from the crockpot.

My family's favorite brisket recipe is called "Mrs. Ringle's Brisket" and was part of the Once-a-Month Cooking menu, where it was described as an overnight recipe, cooled and frozen in the morning. (Confession: I have no idea who Mrs. Ringle is.) I rarely prepare it overnight, as I've found the smell of food cooking wreaks havoc with my sleeping pattern: I tend to wake up and smell it in the wee hours, and then I can't go back to sleep. (It's not hunger, it just somehow offends my sensibilities - and olfactory senses - to smell food cooking all night.)

I braved the frigid temps long enough to dart into the greenhouse and find my 20-row seed starting trays. I think I have about 18 varieties of tomatoes, and another 4 or 5 of peppers, plus some eggplants. If my math is correct, I can parlay these into 24 six-packs, nicely filling two flats with 72 cells each. A manageable grouping of plants to keep indoors during the next 6-8 weeks, depending on weather. (Really must get the greenhouse fixed soon.)

In April I'll plant out 1 or 2 of each variety and offer the rest to family and friends. Of course, that assumes the seedlings are up and growing enough to survive a week of neglect at spring break. That week away has been known to throw a real wrench in my seed starting in past years. And can the seed trays stay safe from the threat of the paranoid nocturnal wanderings of Luci(fer), the Mainecoon feline? Only time will tell. Tomorrow, a bag of seed starting mix and a new grow light are on my must-get list.