There has been a cathartic liberation in not having to go to work.
I can think about food all the time, and I can actually concoct the fruits of my fevered dreams if I wish, since there are no tedious meetings to attend, no rude toll-booth attendants to grimace at, no strict limitations on my randomness.
I do have incursions on my freedom, though. There is that plum tree. It's burping produce, and not at an agreeable rate. You either deal with it all at once, or you... deal with it.
We are pruning the plums (not trimming — drying!), though we're happy to eat fresh ones too.
OK, that's too much prelude. What I really want to talk about is rice pudding.
But seriously, I had bought a new cookbook (OMG, me following recipes?) and I was smitten by a Turkish rice pudding fragrant with flavors of lemon rind (I used orange), cinnamon and rose water. I had a quart of goat milk I really wanted to use, and... yep.
Oh, this was beautiful. Ugly, only in that it looks like wet rice sludge. But stunning in aroma, texture and taste.
I had time to make this dish. You stand over the stove stirring the ingredients for a long time. Then you decide what you want to do with it. We ate some of it warm, but the rest went into the fridge to firm up.
Next day, we composed a platter with dried plums (are ya with me, California Dried Plum Board? — prunes is now a dirty, laxative word, I guess; my mom won't even eat 'em anymore for fear she'll be bathroom bound).
We accompanied the feast with grapes, almonds and fresh plums. Oh, and the rice pudding, of course.
It sounds sweet, but I cut the sugar in the rice pudding by half, and I have absolutely no objections to the sugar that Mother Nature chooses to grow in my backyard.
And we ate in a most leisurely fashion. Because I have time.