>End-of-year kitchen rituals

>In the far distant past when there used to be a week of vacation between Christmas and New Year’s, part of my year-end ritual involved cleaning the kitchen cabinets. This year I’ve taken only two days off, and Christmas Day was filled with Christmas activities. So today I staged two short cleaning raids on two jam-packed areas: a shelf (with baking ingredients) and the freezer.

I tossed six or seven bags of flour and baking mixes that were years past their pull dates. Now I can actually find various types of sugar and the few remaining bags of fresh flour and corn meal.

The exploration of the freezer revealed some fascinating ingredients and frozen soups, along with way too many overripe bananas. I thawed a package of smoked salmon and some of it made a delicious omelette with the fresh eggs from Jim and Sharon’s farm.

I also found, and am thawing, a small container of venison bigos (Polish hunter’s stew) I made last year.

Yesterday I took took odds and ends of chicken and beef broth and used them to cook root vegetables with a bit of rosemary and cinnamon. The end result got pureed and then reheated with some half-and-half. (The recipe, more of a template, is from James Beard.)

The rest of the root vegetables are scheduled to become casseroles this week, garnished with things like proscuitto and fontina cheese.

Meanwhile, Hank went to the website McMaster-Carr and found a replacement for the tiny metal piece that had rusted out on my Waring Ice Cream Parlor. He also found a stop-gap replacement (for four cents) at Tacoma Screw. Between the two, the ice cream maker should last another 30 years. (A scary thought, if you know how old I am.)

Tom made fresh ginger and Meyer lemon sorbet for Christmas dinner, and it was outrageously delicious and healthy. I want to make more of that, and some mango ice cream as a thank you for Hank.

A cat is now sitting in front of the computer screen and staring at me. I think she, too, is interested in food. But not the kind I’m writing about.

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