Tasting the Wind

Before I start, let me preface this by saying this past weekend I decided to eschew all things high-tech. No laptop. No email over my phone. No text messaging. Not sure what prompted that, but there you go.

Took off early and went on a ride. It was so nice out, the smell of the azaleas was so strong I swear I could taste them. As I was headed back towards town I got behind a red Celica with a very large Yellow Lab in the back seat. She was poking her head out of the window, sniffing the wind, obviously in a state of total bliss. I was behind, sniffing the wind, also in a state of total bliss. At the next traffic light I pulled up next to the car. Yellow Lab looked at me, I smiled back, she nodded in understanding. Light turned green, she went her way and I went mine. Both back into the wind. Only bikers can truly understand why dogs like to stick their head out the window.

We attended the opening night of West Side Story at 5th Ave Theatre. There is something magical about live theatre. In a world of plastic, steel and CGI, live theatre is like running your hands over an 18th century oak desk with leather insert. You can feel the history in your hands. The rough spots. The areas rubbed glass smooth by hundreds of hands. Using your imagination you can see it being used by some early statesman, quill pen in hand and wax seal at the ready. It’s a sensory pleasure that is not handed to you on a platter. You fill in the details, you make it yours, and it is a pleasure that is not to be rushed through. Live theatre is like that. It’s not flawless, and that’s what makes it so perfect.

Rain rain rain. A solid drizzle all day, and the perfect day to make Cinnamon Nut Brittle (recipe follows)  and curl up with a cheap dime store detective novel. The smell of the brittle permeated the apt, the cats were curled up on the couch, had a fire in the fireplace…let it rain. I was happy.

Started the day with blueberry stone ground whole wheat pancakes with apple wood bacon. Yum. Then Beth and I headed out for the mountains. We were going to go to Alaska. Cicely Alaska…or rather Roslyn, WA. The drive over was just beautiful. We left the low clouds behind, and as soon as we got over Snoqualmie pass the skies cleared to a stunning shade of blue. Sun roof goes open, and all is right with the world. I turned left once we got into Roslyn, and there it was The Brick. Down the street was the Roslyn sign. More cars, but all in all it looked like we would run into Ed or Joel at any moment. We spent a couple of hours chatting with some store keeps, listening to local chatter, and imagining. It was a good day.

I’m glad I left the electronics in their satchels. It was good. It was needed.

Cinnamon Nut Brittle
2 cups raw cane sugar
1 cup corn syrup
½ cup water
2 tbs butter
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Baking Soda
Any kind of roasted nuts. Your choice.
Begin heating the sugar, syrup and water in a heavy pot ( Note: Use the heaviest pot you have, you need it to retain heat, otherwise you will never get the candy out ). Bring to a slow boil and gently raise temp to about 325 degrees. At this point stir in the cinnamon. Allow the candy to get to 340 degrees, then all heck breaks loose. Add the butter, then add the baking soda and nuts, stirring fast. You need a heavy wooden spoon for this. The baking soda will make like an 6th grade science fair experiment and will start to foam, the nuts will lower the temp of the candy making it very stiff. Pour out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and spread out the mixture using the greased back of a heavy spoon. Let cool for 45 minutes or so, and then break up into smaller pieces. You can store in a Tupperware-like container for 2 weeks or so. Tips: Keep the cookie sheet in a warm oven while cooking the sugar. It will help keep the candy workable. Make sure you stir often while coming to a boil. Do NOT go over 340 degrees. A little under is okay, it just affects the texture, over and you are eating burnt sugar. Not good.

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