the damp dark
This is my cast iron Dutch Oven. Today I wrote an ode to it; I feel that strongly about it. I've used it and its little trivet and the top to: cook whole meals in my fireplace, bake on top of a stove when my oven in Buffalo, NY was infested with mice (yup, gross, I know) and serve whole winter time stews and roast chickens inside of it. Now, I add the perfect bread to its talents...the recipe from the NY Times calls for a covered pot... I didn't buy this oven. In fact, it happened to us. The husband volunteered to help clean out a neighborhood basement in Durham, NC, when we lived there. (we had a friendly neighborhood, I now realize, I miss it.) Amidst the 20 year old chowchow and other scary canned delights that nearly killed him, he found this dutch oven. It was rusty and sad. The new owners gave it to him. I used vinegar and lemon and scrubbed and here it is, a trusty friend, back again. I'd buy more cast iron if I had space in my kitchen to store it. I'd also have a bigger fireplace so I could do fun cooking that way in the winter time, but for now, I'll stick with the fancy electric oven that the last owners left. It works just fine and there are no mice involved. That's good.
This is the whole wheat version of the no-knead bread recipe. What did I do differently? I used 1 and a half cups of all purpose organic flour, and one and a half cups of whole wheat organic flour this time. I coated with cornmeal instead of wheat bran. The results? Still incredibly good. I'm starting loaf number 3 tonight. We're thinking that if I keep doing this, maybe I'll save enough money (by skipping the not so good grocery store bread) to buy another cast iron dutch oven. Or not. In any case, the bread is danged good but I do miss kneading a bit, since this is no-knead bread.
I am taking advantage of the tons of rain and dark here to knit a little color into my designs. I'm working up swatches for a December deadline and I'm using this silk I bought from Ohio Valley Natural Fiber at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. It's bright and cheery! The rain has been so bad here that I had to take an abbreviated walk with the dogs. Then everyone got dried off, I had to change clothes, and it's been an effort to get them to go outside again. That's a lot of rain.
I think that when I'm not down about other things, I really like the dark time of year...lots of time to nest, make warm drinks, and cuddle up...plenty of knitting and spinning time. However, when I'm stressed, I sleep a lot, feel crummy, and generally can't cope, no matter the season. I've already accomplished more today than in the past two days. Perhaps the fog is lifting, metaphorically. Literally? It's dark, muddy, damp, and a great time to be inside, knitting. Gotta go start that bread rising.