We have a smoke alarm here, in Vlad's House.
Wanna know how I know?
One of my jobs, here in the morning, is to keep the home fires burning.
I may have mentioned, that, with the onset of winter weather, we've started living in the kitchen.
Vlad's House doesn't have have, um, central heating; just two stoves. It takes too much wood to warm up the living room in the evening so we've just closed it off.
It's not Minnesota-cold, but the temperature has been ranging between 40 and 55F (7 – 15C) which is not bad outside but damn cold inside.
The stove in the kitchen is an old 'barge' stove, small but powerful. The 'box' is only about 10" by 12" so we burn little 5" split logs in it. It puts out a lot of heat, but has to be tended about every 20 minutes.
I got sidetracked this morning, working on the house photos, and let the fire go out… almost.
Before I go on – the house photos: Here is the back of the house from a hill about 2 miles away
and a closer view:
The house is on the right, 2 stories; the barn on the left. Click either for larger photos.
Back to the fire…..
It has been said, by he who shall remain nameless, that, of all the many and varied talents that I have, fire-tending is not one of them.
Determined to prove him wrong, and equally determined not to resort to using one of the smelly fire-starters, I set about to rescue the fire.
I stirred it up and put another log on… Thus smothering the fire and creating lots of smoke.
I closed the little door and went in search of kindling.
With kindling in hand, I opened the little door and clouds of smoke came billowing out.
I stirred the fire, again, and after, carefully adding the kindling, closed the door and waited.
I wasn't hearing any merry crackling of flames accepting my tribute.
I opened the door to look…. More smoke billowed out.
Is it any wonder that I walk around smelling like a ham????
I stirred, added kindling, blew on the coals, closed the door, waited; then did it all again.
All of a sudden, I heard a piercing siren; loud enough to make the girl-dogs jump up from morning nap!
Picture this: 2 large dogs and one frantic human (wearing a long, white, shawl – it's cold), running around the kitchen table in a smoke-filled room, frantically trying to both get away from, and find, the source of this ear-splitting whistle.
I threw the door open to let out the smoke so I could see, thus letting out all of the heat, as well.
I finally found it, tucked above one of the cross-beams under the ceiling. I grabbed it and took it outside with the intent of pitching it into the woods.
Lucky for it, the fresh air cleared it's nose and it shut up, er, I mean, off.
When we all got back inside the, now cold, kitchen, the fire was burning happily, all the smoke going up the flue just like it ought.
If mon mari doesn't come back for a few more hours no one will be the wiser.
Except we all smell like ham….
Speaking of which:
I have not been participating in any blog events or anything at all in the 'blogiverse' for many weeks. I decided it's time to get back in the game. I'll start with Presto Pasta Nights, founded by, Ruth, of Once Upon a Feast and hosted this week by Nilmandra of Soy and Pepper.
Hope they all remember who I am…..
Due to the cooking challenges hers in Vlad's House, I;m making lots of 'skillet' dinners.
Pasta with Ham and Peas
10 oz (300 gr) ham
1 red bell pepper
1 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup chicken stock
2.5 – 3 oz creamy goat cheese a bit less more than 1/2 container Chavrie or Chevraux
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp thyme
1oz (30gr) shredded cheese
1 cup dried pasta, – penne, rigatoni
Cook pasta according to package directions. Cook pasta a minute less than usual and let it finish in the sauce.
While pasta cooks: Roughly chop onion and pepper. Cut ham into bite-size pieces. Heat oil in large skillet. Add onion and pepper and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add ham, paprika and sauté 5 minutes longer. Add chicken stock, thyme, mustard and stir to combine. Add peas, cover and simmer until peas are tender, about 5 minutes. Add goat cheese and stir until melted and combined. Add pasta and stir to coat. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.
Note: I've been doing battle with my ADSL line since it was installed last week…. There is hope that the internet will become a daily luxury once again, soon….
Although still for only a few hours each day – much, much better than McD's…..
But the Tip Top Cafe was nice…..