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I hope everyone who celebrates Solstice had a lovely day yesterday. I always feel a sense of relief after winter Solstice when the dishes are washed and the candle blown out. The winter days ahead might be the coldest, but at least there will be more sun. Of course all of you in the southern hemisphere are launching out into summer and have just had your longest day of the year. This too is worth celebrating.

the makings of a meal

the makings of a meal

Since Bookman had to work yesterday he was concerned about leaving me to fend for myself in his kitchen. Trying to be of help, he left quite a few things out on the counter so I could find them. He also said to text him if I ran into any trouble and had a question. He was going to be busy but he’d get back to me as soon as he could. He’s such a sweetie.

Off to work he went. I put on some tunes, Beth Hart to be exact, and started in on the cake. It wasn’t long before I ran

chocolate orange bundt cake

chocolate orange bundt cake

into my first problem. We buy our baking soda and baking powder in bulk and Bookman puts them in nice jars in the pantry cupboard. The jars are unlabeled. Which is which? I texted him. I got tired of waiting. I shook the jars. If I were a box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda sitting in the fridge absorbing smells, what would I look like? Would I be sort of crystal-y sugary looking? Or would I be heavy and clumpy? I went for heavy and clumpy and crossed my fingers. The cake was already baked and cooling before Bookman called me back and I learned I had guessed right. The cake, chocolate bundt cake. I dropped dollops of orange marmalade into the batter and then made a sugar glaze that had a bit of orange extract in it. The cake was delicious!

carrot ginger soup

carrot ginger soup

Then it was time to start making the soup. I found the recipe for this very easy carrot ginger soup on the internet. I chopped up the carrots, cried over the onion, enjoyed the smell of fresh ginger on my hands (I put in more ginger than the recipe calls for), put it all in the pot and then realized I wasn’t supposed to put the coconut milk in until later. Oops. No matter, it still came out tasting so very very good. And it was easy to make. We ate it with a garlic sourdough bread I bought at the bakery of our food co-op. We will be making this again for sure.

I was tired out by this time so I figured I deserved a little sit down. I read for a bit and then at four I was up and back in the kitchen and not nearly as energetic as I was earlier in the day. I decided to make the chickpea quinoa pilaf. My food co-op had red quinoa and white quinoa so I used half of each for the pilaf. And then I had to chop another onion. The onion did me in. Since I don’t cook but once a year I do everything slower than Bookman does and chopping onions, I decided, is something I totally suck at. Not that they make me cry, I don’t care about that, but it takes me nearly half an hour to finely chop a small onion. By the time I was done chopping my back had begun to ache and I was getting hungry and grumpy. The pilaf was easy to make, onion chopping aside, and tastes so very good. This will also be something we make again.

While the pilaf was on the stove simmering, I started making the marinade for the pomegranate tofu. I came to shallots on the ingredients list. Crud, I didn’t see that when making the shopping list. Will have to do onion instead. But I couldn’t face the prospect of chopping another onion so I used dried onion. It made the texture of the marinade kind of lumpy, not what it was supposed to be, but it still tasted good. Really good. Bookman plans to make it again sometime but with shallots. It will probably be even better.

tasted better than it looks in photo

tasted better than it looks in photo

While I was struggling with my tofu marinade, Bookman called to say he was on his way home a half an hour early. Yay! I fear that when he arrived home I was in such a state of tired grumpiness that he immediately went into “I’ll save you!” mode which made me even grumpier because I didn’t need to be rescued. But we worked it out and it was nice to have Bookman home to help me make the sauteed green beans and mushrooms. By the time we got the table set and the candle lit, the sparkling apple cider poured and the hot soup on the table, we were feeling celebratory. Everything was delicious and Bookman declared it the best Solstice meal ever.

And now today begins two weeks of laziness as my well deserved reward.

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