Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Weatherman was Wrong

It was raining when Saul left for work this morning. Our routine is that on the four days a week that he has 8 o'clock classes, I get up with him and make him oatmeal and tea and we have breakfast together. Then, he goes off to work by 7 and I get to decide if I need to get on the computer right away, or do housework, or get back in bed for an hour or two. This is the real joy of running your own business from home. I have had the pleasure for 22 years, now.

In the interest of healthier breakfasts for whoever happens to be reading this, here is the formula for the best oatmeal ever (and it doesn't matter what brand so long as they are not the quick ones):
Buy a cheap collapsible stainless steel steamer basket that will fit inside one of your small pots that has a lid.
For one person, put enough water in the pot with the steamer insert to cover a 1/2 cup of oats. Bring the water to a boil and drop in the oats. Add a sprinkling of raisins, craisins, dried blueberries, or whatever else you like in your oatmeal. Boil, uncovered for 2 minutes. Turn off heat. Lift out steamer and rest oats in your cereal bowl until you empty all but a few tablespoonfuls of water from the pot. Put pot back on turned off burner, set steamer with oats back inside, and cover. Let stand for about 10 minutes while you finish getting dressed. Spoon oats into your cereal bowl and add milk, cream, sugar, honey, or whatever you like. This recipe was tested by Cook's Magazine and it makes fluffy, nutty oatmeal that even a person like me can eat. I was turned off of oatmeal forever by being forced as a child to stay at the table until I gagged down a bowl of slimy, lumpy oatmeal.

Because it was supposed to rain all day today and also tomorrow, I decided as it was beginning to let up a little to drag all the plants that are not frost hardy out of the garage so that they would be washed down and cleaned up before being left outside to play in the sunshine for the summer. There were 7 large pots. Ordinarily, Saul would perform this chore. Last year, after the stroke, Danny and Beth did it. This year, I figured I could slide them outside into the rain until everyone arrived for Mother's Day. As it turned out, the weatherman was wrong. As soon as I had them lined up on the driveway, the rain stopped and the sun came out. By the time Saul came home from school, the sun had been out for a few hours and together, we moved most of them onto the deck. There is a 25-year-old carob tree that we grew from seeds of carob pods that we ate at a Tu B'Shevat seder. Saul was usually chosen to act out the role of Honi HaMe’Agel in the story about the carob tree at the seder. The kaffir lime tree took me years to find in a catalogue so that I could use the leaves in Thai recipes. There is a bay leaf tree that I bought as a little stick in a pot many years ago for my father-in-law that has the most delicious tasting and smelling leaves ever. The tree came back to me when he died. There were two very large pots filled with pineapple sage that may not have survived this winter. If no green shoots appear on the stems in a week or two, I will have to start over. Besides being a delicious herb, pineapple sage gets these beautiful red flowers at the end of the summer. There was a large pot with a lemon verbena plant that is definitely alive and with which we love to make tea in the summer. I think that the strawberries in the strawberry jar might come back also. Because the weather turned out so nice, we also potted up a bunch of the new herbs in the planters that go around the gazebo. Things are really coming together just in time for spring. It usually takes us until the middle of June to get this far. We may actually have time to hang out in the hammock and enjoy the view at this rate.

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