February Part III

Click here or on the cute 10 year above for more photos between 14 and 20 February 2021

There was still plenty of snow left on Valentine’s Day. The kids spent a little more time outside and made snowmen. KrisDi got everyone fancy cookies from her friend (mine, including some Scotch chocolates and Chilkoot’s). I had already given her flowers and didn’t really have anything else to give her, since I’m a deadbeat. Our big Valentine’s Day activity is still making lasagna from scratch: Noodles, sauce, sausage, ricotta, and mozzarella all homemade.

However, we had difficulty with the cheese this year. The ricotta did not seem to cooperate, not seeming to coagulate (I don’t know what the right word is), although in the end that turned out OK. The mozzarella requires rennet, and when we started the process we remember that last year we used some of the liquid rennet in the pantry and threw the rest out because it was past its expiration date. So we needed rennet that day, and it’s not an easy thing to find, and Seattle was still more or less snowbound.

We called 12-15 places, most of them not even carrying it, and a couple carrying it but not having it in stock. One local cheese specialty place had it, and when I said I’d be there in a few minutes to pick it up, the response was, “No you won’t! We’re closed, I can’t get to the store with the snow!” She also tried to lead us to a rennet-less mozzarella recipe, but we decided that was a last resort.

We eventually discovered that a market in West Seattle, an 18 mile drive, had it in tablet form (as well as a couple other hard-to-find items we wanted or needed), so I trekked out there through the snow and amongst the Seattle drivers in the SUV and picked it up. So, probably 2.5-3 hours after we tried to start making mozzarella, we got started.

And failed miserably. This cheese barely formed any curds at all, like less than a handful when we were expecting enough to make about two pounds of mozzarella. In desperation, we tried to redo the process with more rennet and got nowhere. So I went back out to the store and, in defeat, just bought some mozzarella.

Noodle-making went fine. We changed the process this year and used the stand mixer to mix the dough instead of doing it by hand. Sausage and sauce making is pretty simple, basically just seasoning ground beef and crushed tomatoes respectively.

We split it into two pans this year, one to cook the day of, and the other to freeze and cook later. It was delicious.

Fat Thursday is the Thursday before Ash Wednesday. It is a traditional day for making paczki (I pronounce it “paunch-key”) in Poland. They’re roughly equivalent to jelly donuts. KrisDi made paczki this year, though not on Fat Thursday, and she didn’t fill some because our weird children don’t like jelly. Chilkoot liked it. They were very good.

Chilkat’s birthday theme was “night at the movies.” KrisDi laboriously built a complicated six-layer chocolate espresso cake which was both beautiful and tasty, and was…nonplussed by the children’s disinterest in actually eating it.

KrisDi put up signs and theme-y stuff, teepees for the kids to sleep in (I think it just sounded cute), Chilkat groggily posed in front of this backdrop, backstage passes were delivered to the two guests.

KrisDi provided everything for the kids to make their own pizzas. The kids played and watched movies. I think they all had fun. They “slept” over (we let them stay up as long as they wanted, and I still heard giggling when I woke up around 2 AM).

Kettleworks auditions are coming up. Chilkat and Chilkoot are undergoing private coaching for the auditions. Chilkat is doing Olaf’s song from Frozen, “In Summer,” because she hopes to be Olaf. This is nice, since she’s interested in taking a more important part, but worrisome in that I’m not sure how she’ll handle the disappointment if she doesn’t get the part she wants. Chilkoot doing “Together Again (Again)” from Muppets Most Wanted


Posted by snaotheus

1 comment

Fat Thursday? Maybe a Polish thing? Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) serves that purpose in my (admittedly limited) knowledge of the liturgical calendar, followed the next day by Ash Wednesday. Seems a little strange to have a Fat Thursday a full week ahead of Ash Wednesday, but hey, the Poles do things different!

I was going to suggest tablet or powder rennet for next time; I’ve never had those problems using it. (I used to keep it in the freezer.) Sorry yours was such a mess. And happy that Chilkat’s party went well. I’d have eaten the chocolate espresso cake (that’s maybe a slightly too sophisticated taste for littles? Or maybe they were too full of “concessions”? Hah).

My #2 vaccine has once again been rescheduled, this time for Tuesday, so so-o-o-o-o-oooon I should be able to come down and collect on my birthday cake. (Or not. I don’t really care if I have one. I just want to hug you all ’til I crush your ribs; but not to the breaking point.)

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