Oh, who was I kidding…I really don’t do anything besides dress myself in well-worn knits and cook food all day. That trip to the Farmer’s Market that I posted last week? Aliens abducted me, bandaged my eyes with banana peels and forced me to walk, one foot after the next, until I reached the outskirts of my block. Which was terrifying and exciting all at the same time, but it’s nice to be back on the home front again.
Becauuuuse, it was Spring Break this week! Woohoo! And unlike my friends who surprised their children with trips to Disney, etc etc, I surprised my kids with this: “pack your bags kids, we’re heading up to the lake. Again.”
School weeks are tiring enough without having to race around town getting prescriptions refilled and purchasing mini toothpaste sets. Who’s with me? Why travel when you can have fun in this glorious snow?
Besides, we didn’t just have snow over Spring Break. We had days upon days of record-breaking lows. Which, mind you, when you’re situated right upon a lake, results in lows much lower than those horribly bad lows. These are the kind of lows that keep you trapped inside all day (win!) but that freeze your pipes (:(((() For the record, that was a quadruple frownie face, and until they replace my keyboard with emoji, we may have to put up with more of those.
This wasn’t a total destruction on par with last year’s freeze. Fortunately, just the kitchen pipes froze and eventually thawed. Which for 3 days meant no dishwasher, no running water (kitchen only), and a mounting pile of dirty dishes in the sink.
So let’s focus on what we could do last week. Because my glass is half full with the lemonade that I made out of those Spring Break lemons.
First up: Christmas.
Christmas for me, that is. The Friday before we left, Good Water Farms in Eastern Long Island delivered two trays of microgreens so that I could use to…well, garnish. A lot. Truthfully, I couldn’t have asked for a better surprise. And the kids were into them too. Sam, our notoriously picky eater exclaimed “they’re even better than CHIVES!”
My Chemex pour over game was strong last week. I won’t tell you which bathroom tap was the source for my coffee; what matters is that it happened. Every morning. As did this. Which contributed significantly to our dish pile up.
That, by the way, was oatmeal. I figured that while we were up here doing nothing, I might as well do something constructive. Which meant getting over my lifelong oatmeal phobia.
I seriously cannot stand the stuff and it wasn’t until I spotted a recipe in the Buvette cookbook that I changed my mind. You start by toasting the living daylights out of your oatmeal; add all sorts of chunky things that stay chunky– chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, etc; boil; add some fruit; bake…and then here’s the kicker. You top the whole thing with sugar and broil for 5 minutes until you have something that resembles crème brulee oatmeal.
That was me. Half the pan. You saw it here first.
The next day, I ate the other half in a montage that involved freshly-whipped vanilla-infused heavy cream, slowly drizzled maple syrup, a scattering of pomegranate seeds and some angsty love songs.
It was light breakfasts from thereon. Here we have Thursday’s breakfast of more whipped cream, whiskey and coffee….
…..which I happily gulped while I watched my kids prepare their eggs. Which of course added more dishes to our overflowing sink pile, but given that my only dish that morning was a mug, we were even.
Finally, our plumber arrived after 3 days, having serviced all of those people who’d actually lost heat. We rejoiced.
The problem, however, is that most baking recipes require that you soften the butter beforehand. But when you have a kitchen as cold as ours was last week, butter left on the counter overnight becomes as soft as a freshly-mined diamond. Fortunately I found a recipe for midnight crackles that called for melted butter. Thank you Dorie Greenspan; problem solved.
We made a total mess of the kitchen, knowing that my dishwasher would now be picking up the slack.
We drew, we played…
…we made one ridiculously creamy caramelized onion and thyme stovetop mac ‘n cheese…
…we even created a kids’ library.
Please note that the kids kindly included my current read: Elena Ferrante’s “My Brilliant Friend”. They also showcased Gene Simmons’ biography. Because other than Sam’s teen-sized Gene Simmons costume, this was his favorite Christmas present. Possibly ever.
So that, friends, was Spring Break in a nutshell. I hope that you enjoyed your trips down South, your rides with Mickey, your towel-bedecked chaise lounge chairs. That, for the record, will be me in April. Add a marg. Subtract the Mickey.