This may be a bit early. It’s only just December, but I do make resolutions for the New Year. I make them throughout the New Year. I made a new resolution on November 23, 2014: I will clear my counters before beginning any cooking or baking project. My kitchen is tiny. The counters are a flat surface that collect all manner of ephemera: recipes to try, Netflix to return, receipts waiting for transport downstairs, flyers to remember, shopping lists to add to, the grain mill hopper waiting for empty, baking pans, to-be-filed recipes, and other miscellaneous waiting for their transport downstairs, reading glasses, car keys, Lego sculptures, groceries to be put away.
This all came to a halt when I, frazzled from a late return home, rushed to get dinner biscuits into the oven. I scooted a free 12-inch area on the counter, got flour everywhere before getting biscuits into the oven, when I stopped to take in what I was doing. What a disservice to myself and my well-being! I, who love to cook and bake, barring any joy or pleasure from my kitchen time, increasing my stress and unhappiness, all because I hadn’t been taking a few minutes to tidy before starting/ending my kitchen projects. I put any perishables away, and did a perfunctory clean-up after dinner, but the next morning I moved everything from counters to table. The table could have all day to be sorted and cleared, if need be.
I am by no means a hoarder, I just get distracted. I sit down at the computer and find I’ve started a blog post which always takes far longer than I imagine it should, then I rush upstairs to make breakfast and shower and rush out the door to Junior’s karate. I return home after the Post Dojo Friend Time, the dishes are in the sink, the dishwasher unemptied, the espresso area not tidied….
I am happy to report since 11/24/14 my counters have remained clear. After a project, after shopping or milling or washing, all put away-filed, pantryed, moved to the proper place. I purpose to take the few minutes needed. I keep my eye on my desktop clock!
Thanksgiving was at my sister’s, but I made bread, cake, mashed potatoes, and a roasted beet salad, cleaning counters after each before beginning the next. I cooked and baked, busy right up until Time To Go, but felt relaxed. I don’t have a photo, but here is the salad I made-it was delicious and held up well for leftovers. Cheers!
Roasted Beet Salad with Orange & Fennel
4 medium-large red beets
8 small golden beets
2 naval oranges
1 small bulb fennel
1/2 medium red onion
1 lemon, juiced
Fresh cilantro leaves, optional
Gray sea salt & fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 425F
Wrap the beets in foil, keeping different sizes separate, and roast until a knife easily penetrates to the center of them, about 1 hour. Remove from foil and let cool
Cut the ends from each orange and peel with a sharp knife, removing peel and white. Working over a bowl to collect juice, cut out each section of the orange from its surrounding membrane. When orange is sectioned, squeeze the remaning membranes over the bowl, collecting any additional juice.
Peel the satsumas in the same way, but slice the fruit into circles.
Cut the top from the fennel, then slice the bulb in half. Slice each half into very thin half-moons. You can use a mandoline.
Clean the onion, cut in half from stem to root, and slice as thinly as you can.
When beets are cool to handle, peel/slip off the skins. Cut the large beets in thin wedges and the small beets into rounds.
Juice the lemon and combine with the orange/satsuma juice, along with the fennel and onion slices. Stir to combine.
Arrange the beets on a platter. Distribute the fennel, onion, and juice evenly over the beets. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt/pepper. Garnish with cilantro leaves if using.