Sunday, April 28, 2013

Making Choices

Thursday, I drove two hours north to pick up Buff from school.  He seemed a little surprised upon opening his bedroom door and seeing mother's smiling face.
"Why are you here so soon?"
"I've been up since five, finished with The Baby Violinists at six, stopped for gas, didn't stop for supper, drove ten over the limit and have to be up at five, again, tomorrow.  Do you want to go home?"
"No.  I mean, yes.  I mean, how did you get in here?  I didn't hear you come in."
"I knocked, poked my head in, shouted,  "Is Buff here?"  And a voice from the kitchen shouted back,  "He's upstairs."  That's how I got in.  Does no one think to lock the doors?  By the way, it stinks like wet huskies downstairs.  Is there a dog living here?  And the walls in this room need painting."
"I can live with purple walls."
"It's awful, Buff.  You will get depressed."
"I don't want to paint it, Mom.  Purple is okay and some of the huskies are moving out."

On the drive home, the pink moon, plump and full on the eastern horizon, back-lit a sweeping wash of river and cattails and then some low turquoise farm buildings  We stopped to take photos at the ordered tangle of  silver stainless steel pipes, tanks and sodium lights of a chemical plant; none of which will appear here, since Geek Guy was not with us to fix the inevitable technical difficulties.   Our conversation turned to Buff's latest decision revealed on the car ride back to school the previous weekend.  He is changing majors and schools after finishing his current program.   It is a choice with which, we are pleased.  He will live one more year in an unlocked, stinky, purple house, a choice with which, we are not so pleased, but he is on the right track.

(Photo: Buff, Saturday after an all-nighter in The Shop From Hell working on his beloved dirt-bike.) 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Read to Them

It is one of the few things they will take wherever they go.   Most of the toys will be left behind, but the stories, they will have forever.   

(Fun and Buff on a trail in Point Pelee National Park, Canada)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Music to My Ears

Winter is having a hard time letting go this spring.  This was on the morning drive through "Town" to Violinist and Roll Kuchen's house.  Rain and cold and wind, more the variety of late October kept Decadent Housewife inside all day with the baby Violinists.  Something I did not mind, as we got to read, build stuff, read, sculpt, dance and cuddle up to read some more.  The rain took a soporific effect upon the baby Violinists as they slept the entire afternoon,  while I did what rain always prompts in me, hum and write poetry.  

(Leamington, Ontario, Canada - "The Four Corners" -  looking south on Erie St.)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Whole Wheat Flour Tortilla Wraps

Freshly made wraps for tortillas, burritos and quesadillas - any recipe calling for flour tortillas - are easy, fast, economical and like any other homemade bread, delicious.  Seriously, you will never want to eat another store-bought wrap again.  Ever.

Once cooled, they keep well refrigerated several weeks.   If you already know how to make a decent pie crust, be happy, this is easier.  If you can't make a pie crust, never mind and try anyhow.  Several kinds of wraps show up regularly in Decadent Housewife's kitchen, depending on the variety of left-over vegetable currently slumped over in the refrigerator or whatever grain I decide to utilize.  This is the whole wheat version. 

Whole Wheat Tortilla Wraps
  •  3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, I like the no-name variety which has a rougher texture
  •  1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  •  3/4 tsp. finely crushed sea salt, or just use regular salt
  •  1/3 cup olive oil
  •  1 1/4 cup water
Measure and whisk together the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. 
Add the oil.
Cut in the oil with a pastry cutter until the mixture looks evenly crumbly.
 Go find a fork from the cutlery drawer and have it ready to mix with as soon as you add the water.
Add the water.
Quickly and lightly stir in the water.
Once it starts to clump together, get both hands into the bowl and begin gathering the mixture into a more coherent mass.  I couldn't show both hands on account of the camera.  Fold it over toward yourself forming a log. 
You can mostly form the log shape seen here, right in the bowl.  
Dump the log onto your work surface and shape it further into a log.
Knead it a few times to help shape but don't overwork it, or like pie dough, it will become tough. 
Mark off and cut eight pieces. 
 Place the cut pieces back into the mixing bowl and cover it.  I use a dinner plate.  Let this rest for 25 - 30 minutes as it rolls out easier once rested.   
 After resting, take a bit of flour and put it down on the work surface.  This is a little more than I needed.  Spread it out.  Take one of the cut pieces and keep the others covered.  Flatten the piece between your palms.  Start to roll out into a round circle turning it around to keep even.  Flip it over to keep the wrap from sticking to the work surface.  Use a bit more flour as you work to keep from sticking.
 Within a minute or two, you will have this.  It measures about 8 inches, or a bit more.  This wrap was the diameter of my itty bitty rolling pin - the sort Julia Child once referred to as a "toy."   Sigh.
Carefully lift the wrap up from the work surface.
Flop it into a non-stick frying pan heated to somewhere between high and medium.  While that wrap is in the pan, roll out the next wrap. 

When the wrap surface bubbles up, lift the frying pan off the burner and tilt it toward yourself.  Let the wrap slide over the pan side.  Grab onto the wrap's edge, pick it up and quickly flip it back into the frying pan to cook the second side.  This will take about a minute more to cook.  Look underneath to see if there are wee brown spots.  If so, the wrap can be slid out of the pan and onto the others already done.

Once the second side is ready, slide the wrap onto a large plate or platter which you first covered with a paper towel.  I don't show it here, but the wraps need to be covered when cooling down.  I use a large plastic bowl flipped upside down over-top the stack.  It is wide enough to completely cover the stack of wraps.  A towel or wide tent of aluminum foil would work if you haven't a big bowl.   Occasionally, I'll shift the bowl to allow some of the heat to escape and also wipe out condensation collected inside the bowl.  When they are all cooked and cooling down, flip the whole stack over once.  Let the wraps cool completely before storing them in the refrigerator.   However, they are best, slid hot off the pan, filled and eaten.