Friday, January 3, 2014

American hazelnut going nuts


Despite a poor night's sleep with a croupy child, I woke inspired to prepare American hazelnut custard, a recipe from the Joy of Cooking. American hazelnuts are far superior to the already shelled, wood-like European filberts (hazelnuts) at the market. We shelled the nuts the prior night using garlic presses. Beren ground the nuts in the blender stick attachment. I added a dollop of cream cheese and s splash of milk to make up for our short supply of sour cream. I reduced the sugar to a quarter cup.

As we sat to eat our simple breakfast, I noticed Jared's nerves were a bit frayed. Beren and I had been sick and have been sick, on and off, since mid-November. Dozens of cloves of garlic, nutritious foods, and adequate hydration have not forestalled a wave of antigens from storming through our household.   While Jared's nursing skills are excellent, better than mine, his tolerance for loafing around the house is nil. 

After breakfast, Jared checked the weather. "You thought the cabin fever was bad before. Four to eight inches of snow will be falling later today." 

To save Jared's mind from melting in a pile of Melissa & Doug blocks, he went out into the cold with an agenda. Fix the greenhouse yard fence. Bring over some firewood. Gather kindling. Sift soil for seed sowing. After an hour or two, we seemed refreshed.

In the afternoon, we decided to spend a gift certificate to the Flemington Department Store. Once off the mountain, we found the roads were packed. We stopped by the Basil Bandwagon health food store. The parking lot was full. 

It's going to snow. Probably a lot. The coming snow gives each of us purpose. Weather makes people move. Weather is always happening, but weather that causes everyone to take notice awakens the connection to planet Earth. The food supply could be cut off. Let's get busy.

Flemington Department Store was empty. Everyone already had their appliances and Carhartt's except for our family and a few people, including a couple we know from the conservation scene. The husband, a PhD botanist and professor, was there to do his yearly shopping. Jared was also fulfilling this need, down to just one pair of winter pants without holes. And though without holes, the thighs and knees of his 'good' jeans are faded with a ground in layer of nursery soil.

Beren remembers the stairs at this store well. To us, it is Corduroy the Bear's department store. We try out chairs and couches. He declares to Jared that the red leather one is his favorite. While Jared is shopping, we climb the stairs and take the elevator twice. 

Shopping is one of Jared's least favorite activities. I dislike it, too, finding it eerily sad. Even so, we emerge with a new outfit for Jared and a pair of truly warm gloves for me. Beren receives a fruit leather on his way into the carseat. We head home, ready for the weather to happen.

Hazelnut custard in stages. I forgot to photograph the double boiler stage. Final stage with a dash of cinnamon. Very filling, very rich.





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