Wednesday, November 27 2019

buckwheat, brine, dominos, and mr. bean

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! This is no slow morning around the breakfast table for us. Today we're looking to pack and hit the road by 10:30. We're dropping the dogs off at the kennel, then heading to Minnesota. We expect the weather to be less than ideal, so once we start on the longest leg of the trip, we're going to take it slow. I'll stock up on music, podcasts, paw patrol fruit snacks, and whatever else we need to get comfortable in long car rides.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. After breakfast, Rodney played in the living room while I caught up on chores and laundry. It was a busy day, since I was working ahead for the time we'd be away from the house - chores double duty. Which is absolutely worth it. Marissa and I discovered that coming home from a long trip is about 100 times better if you put a little extra work into cleaning the house before you left.

Around lunch time, we say around the table and ate the rest of the leftovers in our fridge. The leftover turkey meat from Sunday's practice run dwindled, but what is interesting is that you can especially taste the brine now that the meat has had some time to rest in the fridge. It kind of tastes like turkey meat you would buy at a deli.

After lunch, Marissa took Rodney to agility practice, leaving me and Ollie home alone. Ollie napped in the living room while I caught up on some computer work. Left home alone, we're a pretty mellow duo. Every thirty minutes or so I like to turn around and check in on Ollie and ask him what he's up to. His head will shoot up, alert, and the hair around his mouth will be flat from sleeping, like the dog version of bed-head. Marissa returned from agility practice with Rodney and Ziggy and put Rodney down for a nap. We hung out in the dining room, and I kept working on the computer.

When it came time to decide dinner, Marissa suggested Domino's. She smiled sheepishly as I deliberated. Since I'll find any excuse to cook, it's not often I succumb to imperfect fast food cravings. But I didn't want to add any leftovers to our fridge, and I had to clean the whole kitchen anyway. So I signed off on quick & easy Domino's dinner.

As Rodney napped, I took a trip to Hy-Vee. I felt like getting out of the house, and even though it was raining, it was rush hour traffic, and Hy-Vee was already teeming with panicked, last minute Thanksgiving shoppers, it felt great to leave the house and do something. I picked up some supplies for the brine, as well as some buckwheat flour. I thought I would have to get that from a specialty grocery store, but my research found that it's actually pretty common. The only caveat is that sometimes regular flour can contaminate buckwheat flour if they're prepared on the some equipment, so you have to find a bag that is certified gluten free. I'm going to use it in the gravy, and since I've tasted some really good buckwheat pancakes and buckwheat noodles, I'm anticipating buckwheat gravy will be pretty good as well.

After getting home, I started a double batch of the brine on our stove. The 20 cups of water barely fit in our largest pot, but it would work. I went on to add 8 cups of brown sugar and 8 cups of flour. It was fascinating to watch so much sugar and salt get swallowed up by the water. Each scoop made a perfect ploop sound before sliding into the water already darkened by peppercorns. I left the heat on low.

The pizza delivery guy rang the doorbell. After we opened the door, Rodney immediately launched into a conversation about Sky from the paw patrol, asking him about her helicopter. From the kitchen, I could hear his confused mumbling as he tried to figure out what Rodney was saying. I kind of enjoy it when Rodney puts people on the spot. He's eager to talk to people, and it always makes for some interesting encounters.

We ate pizza on the couch and watched Mr. Bean. I suppose the jury is still out as to whether or not Rodney enjoys that show, but it's one of the few shows that we can all watch together. Rodney stared blankly at the TV as we watched Mr. Bean paint his house with a paint bucket and a stick of dynamite. I thought that scene would get a laugh out of him, but after Bean lit the fuse and raced to find his doorknob, Rodney turned to me and said "TOO SCARY", which has kind of become his safe word with TV and movies. Fair enough - back to Dinosaur Train. We'll have to give him another year or two to appreciate Mr. Bean. To be fair, it's a weird show. It's never clear whether or not you're supposed to root for him. He flicks his tongue around. He's generally a jackass to people. But there are moments where you're supposed to feel sorry for him, like when he tried throwing a New Year's Eve party for his two buddies and they moved his clock forward to leave early. He's a complicated guy.

Well, it's getting to that time. It's past 9 now, and we're getting dangerously close to being late. We still have to pack our clothes, pack the car, and I think Marissa has some errands to run before we leave. Wherever you are, if you're traveling anywhere for Thanksgiving, go slowly. Make sure you are locked and loaded on podcasts, mixtapes, and paw patrol fruit snacks.

Hope you all have a great day, and a wonderful Thanksgiving.