||[Dec. 24th, 2017|08:31 pm]
Amazing, how much I forget anymore. Again today I forgot I was going to do some laundry. If I wait any longer I'll have to divide it into more loads. Already it's a job that will take much of a day, especially if I forget (and I probably will) to move stuff from the washer to the dryer. I should probably get started on it now, even though I'm apt to fall asleep before I'm done, and leave something sitting in the machines until tomorrow. I'm running low on clean clothes. But imagine Christmas morning and going out to find the dryer full of clean pants and shirts like a present to myself. That would be nice.|
But tonight just seems a bit odd. It's chilly outside, but not as chilly as I'd expected, and very quiet. An overcast is hiding the stars and the waxing crescent moon. The overcast is probably what's keeping the night a bit warmer than expected, too. But it is very, very dull and boring. The television is apt to be dull and boring, too, since the PBS stations are not showing any English murders, but only reruns of last year's series about young Queen Victoria.
As far as I know, Victoria never murdered anyone. Not directly, in any case. She just sent her army and navy out to slaughter foreigners, and even then she had plausible deniability because, you know, Parliament and Prime Ministers. If only she'd been able to have someone, maybe the Earl of Aberdeen, or perhaps William McGonagall, beheaded, the show would be more interesting.
Anyway, if I'm going to do laundry on a Sunday night this is the Sunday night to do it on. But I'm also going to make some onion soup. I think that might just make up for the paucity of decent television to watch. If not, then I'll just have to turn to drink.
by John Burnside
Stepping outside in the dark,
if only to fetch the coal, this December night,
I stop in a river of wind
on the cellar steps
and think of men, no different from me,
transforming themselves at will
– misshapen lives
suspended in the blood,
and loping away through the snow
or, coming in,
I turn to face the cold
with nothing in my veins
the thought of someone
not unlike myself
in borrowed senses
– marten, dog-fox, wolf –
coming to some new scent, some bitter truth,
and gulping it down in the dark
while the hunters
Such an interesting Sunday verse.
It's a fairly recent poem, first published in 2005, I think. Burnside is a
former recovering software engineer, born in 1955, who only became a full time freelance writer about twenty years ago.
We Victorias, you know. We pretend to be harmless. ;)
How did the soup turn out? I only tried making that once, and it was a total flop. Just recently I read an article to the effect that ALL cookbooks lie about how long it takes to cook down/caramelize onions. In short, it takes ages, but the books all conceal that fact. So. How was yours?
I cheated on the soup, of course (I always cheat in cooking.) Because Progresso's French onion soup tastes pretty much like the stuff I've had in restaurants, I started with that. I'd be using a canned broth in any case, since there's no way I'm making broth from scratch.
The problem with the Progresso is that it has nowhere near enough onion in it, so I started by chopping an onion and sweating it in a shallow pan with some olive oil until it got sweet, then raised the fire and let it partly caramelize (I didn't want it to get beyond al dente.) Then I added the liquid from the Progresso, put a lid on it and let it simmer on low heat for about fifteen minutes. It thickened up nicely. Then I tossed in the already cooked onion from the Progress can long enough for it to get hot.
Finally I put it all in the ramekin (somewhat surprised that it all fit perfectly) tossed on some croûtons and covered them with cheese and put it on the lowest shelf under the broiler (the oven is still broken) until the cheese melted. (I settled on some Havarti, which melts nicely, because my local Safeway didn't have any aged Gruyère- shocking, I know.)
On the whole I'd say it was a success. I probably wouldn't be able to serve it to anyone French, unless I wanted to see some eyebrow-raising action, but given how easy it was I found the results quite satisfactory for my somewhat debased American tastes.
On the subject of harmless-seeming Victorias, I've long suspected Victoria Jackson of secretly being a Mafia gun moll who has murdered many victims. Nobody looks that naive and innocent without having a terrible secret.
That sounds *good*! Incidentally, did you know I lived in Switzerland for about 8 months back in the Pleistocene? Cheese heaven, omg. I prefer Emmenthal to Gruyere, but either is good. My d-i-l flips for chevre. I leave all that for her. ;)
I don't claim Victoria Jackson as One of Us. She's a demented right wing conspiracy crackpot, among other things. It's a shame, because she was sort of cute at the time she was in Weird Al's UHF!
Yes, I've heard that Jackson-Wessel (any relation to Horst, I wonder?) is quite the loon.