Saturday, December 02, 2006

Monday, Day one

It may be the company. It may be the challenge. It may be the weather...but there is a certain romance to this whole "thing".

(Insert beautiful pictures here...oh, that's not working today, okay)

We went for a walk to look at the aftermath. Some aftermath: trees were uprooted, branches were broken. We soon understood preciously why we have no power. We see Jean (the water guy) and learn that we won't get our water back unitl we have electricity. We see a neighbour and learn most of Mayne Island has power. Most of but not all - we are part of the not all. BC hydro is reportedly headed in our direction.

Ill equipped for this we are not. Over the years Hubby has collected an array of camping equipment. We also have tons of candles, board games, and a battery-run radio with tons of batteries. I will not have to live without my CBC radio afterall. Life is good. As a writer/knitwear designer I should be able to work anywhere, anytime. The storm proves this to be true.

One thing we are low on is currently ateable food. It seems that most of our food requires electricityto prepare. I did, however, make soup on Sunday (soup recipe to follow at the end of this post). Cold soup is not too appetizing. Hubby suggests I warm it. "No, duh, Dick Tracey but how? We can't use our microwave."
"use the wood stove."

The wood stove? I have never cooked on a wood stove. I have never cooked on an open fire. I'm not too crazy about cooking on an electric stove. Martha Stewart I am not.

I've never been too crazy about this man/woman's division of labour. So Hubby and I established a rule early in our relationship: whoever works from home is the domestic help. Unfortunately, this has meant I filled the position the majority of the time.

Mom was a cook. Mom enjoyed baking. In fact, Mom excelled in the kitchen. She was eager to pass on her secrets to her daughter. I, however, rebelled. My game-plan: meet a man who could cook. Well, I did. Unfortunately, as it turnsout, he was ever so willing to relinquish his position in our kitchen. He does remain an excellent food critique. In his defence, I do ask. I want my skills to improve. Frankly, I think I am harder on myself than he ever could be.

My strategy in the kitchen was to leanr a few dishes and make them mine. Only one problem, much has changed since I developed this strategy. The biggest change: I am now a vegetarian. So all the meat dishes were thrown out the window. The plus side, I will never be asked to make Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner for a large crowd. Let the vegetarian cook? No.

As a non-cook/non-baker you establish a list of I will never, or at least I did. Mine was: I will never make bread, muffins, or soup. As it turned out my list contained the verstile and easy. Obtain a basic bread, muffin, or soup recipe and you have a never-ending variety simply by changing some of the main ingredients. Experimentation is something I can get into. So I abandoned my list. Soup was the last to go. It sounds overwhelming. Try this phrase, "I make home-made soup." Or "I make my own soup." I can hear you. Not only are you shaking your head but you are also say, "Okay, Leanne, if it was so easy to make soup why would the super market's canned soup section be so big, uh?"

Yet, I assure you, all soup is boiling water. Followed by sauting. Saute it sounds like something only a French Chief could do. Not, so. Sauting is simply frying on a very low heat. I know, who knew?

Choosing ingredients for soup is like choosing ingredients for salad: It's helpful if you think in related groups. The soup I make is a root vegetable soup. I love potatoes - I know, I'm a rebel. So I toss in to boil potatoes, yams, celery, carrots and even brocolli stock after I have cut them into bite-size pieces. I also add instant bouillon. I use vegetable but they have meat as well. I turn the heat up to high unitl they start to boil. Then I turn them down to medium heat. I let them boil for twenty minutes. I prefer to boil vegetables over boiling pasta. Pasta is high needs. You have to be so careful to make sure pasta doesn't stikc to the pot or each other. This means you are captive in the kitchen: spoon-in-hand watching over them while they boil. Enough of that nonsense. I far prefer boiling vegetables. Simply ensure they are boiling nicely, set the timer for twenty minutes then you can go knit.

Once twenty minutes is up you drain the begetables. Stop! Don't throw that liquid away you're going to need it. Now in a skillet melt butter. Saute green onions (my recipe requires cooking onions but I use green onions), 6 Tablespoons of flour, salt, pepper, and I just recently started to add garlic. I heard somewhere that garlic is one of those verstile spices that makes everything taste better. It's true. Try it. Just not too much.

Now combine the vegetables with your saute mixture in a big pot then add about half of the liquid back. If you will be storing it add more liquid.

So on Monday I heated this on the woodstove. We made sure the stove was hot. The temperature in the house was twenty degrees. I then placed the soup in a pot. Placed the pot on the stove. It took longer to heat them in a microwave but then you can't use your microwave to heat your house? Now can you? No.

I recently heard of some people who were using their electric stove to heat their house. Not smart.
Really burning wood for heat is not that smart either. It's not environmentally friendly. It's a dirty form of heat. A typical Canadian winter would burn through a lot of trees. In our house, we use solar power and wood. We have not invested in fancy solar power equipment. Instead we rely on the sun pipping through our picture windows. Surprisingly this keeps our house's temperature at 15 degrees Celius (or higher). I do have electric heat in my studio and Hubby has it in his office.

Tomorrow: Tuesday, Day two (includes how to flush the toilet with no running water)
Sorry about the spelling mistakes but the spell check isn't working. An excuse.


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