Having a farmhouse at the end of a long, gravel road means that when you’re iced in, you stay in. This past weekend as I gazed out the kitchen window, the deck looked like a thinly-clad ice rink. Trees, stark and stick-like, protruded from the bleak panorama like figures painted onto a gray canvas.
By contrast, I was quite cozy. A blazing fireplace, a full pantry, and some lively banter gave promise of a warm weekend, at least indoors. If all else failed, we could binge watch my favorite Netflix of the season: Grace and Frankie. But, instead, we turned to the “PyeonChang Parade,” where we could view what was fashionable in Olympian sportswear. I was especially attracted to those colorful stocking caps, the perfect head gear to get my ears and sinuses through the remaining days of winter.
A Bowl of Chili to the Rescue
Since we eat more when we’re cold—they say to maintain body heat—I made a big pot of chili, perfect for family and intrepid friends coming for dinner despite the ice. To go with the hearty beef and bean combo, I added a chopped La Scala Salad and chili’s essential companion: cornbread. But this time I made buttermilk Fried Cornbread Cakes with the crispy-edges and soft-center.
Earlier in the week, when I lunched at the Capital Grille, a friend had a delicious serving of pears baked in honey and balsamic vinegar. I later found a recipe online and added it to the weekend side dishes.
Another guest made a one-layer cake with a French Chantilly Cream topping. It was a simple, one-layer cake, that called for vanilla paste. I’ve not used that before, so I had to do a little googling. I found that vanilla extract is made from the bean, but the paste comes from the more potent vanilla pod and has small specks remaining in the liquid. It’s great for intensifying the vanilla flavor.
On the Road Again
While being indoors was toasty and enjoyable, getting from the deck to the car and navigating the sideroads to the highway took a bit more time than usual. But I’m back in St. Louis and on the lookout for an Olympian-style cap to accessorize my winter attire.