Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Freezing rain, dough, and flaming deer stands

Winter Weather Advisory

The National Weather Circus has us under an official “Winter Weather Advisory” today, calling for freezing rain, sleet, and snow. Again, we are at that time of year where we are on the cusp of near freezing temperatures, making for a veritable potpourri of weather possibilities.

So I drove home in freezing rain. The roads were still OK, so there was nothing treacherous. However, running was most interesting. For the most part, the footing was good, but there were some places on the wooden bridges and deck that were slippery with slushy accumulation. Ice pellets were absolutely stinging my face the whole time, so my face is still radiating a bit. Surprisingly, I encountered no other runners tonight. :) Just me and the chickadees along the trail, who I am convinced are the toughest birds on the planet.

When I am running on the trails in the park, I don't have worry about traffic. Or so I thought. I am running on the 8-foot wide bike trail and I see some lights approaching from behind. It was a police SUV! I had to move over to let the officers by, and they smiled and waved. I am guessing they were on patrol checking out the park. In the countless hours I have spent out here in the last year, I had never seen them before. Or perhaps they were just looking for a shortcut to circumvent the Interstate, which was at a standstill due to the weather? ;-)

Dough is weird

Sunday I made a batch of pizza dough to have on hand for the week. Normally I can make my dough recipe in my sleep with consistently good results, but something went horribly wrong and I don’t know why. The dough never really came together, and it almost refused to rise, turning out dense, heavy, and had the texture of Play-Doh. It just sucked.

In an attempt to redeem myself (and, to get something made for dinner), last night after work I made another batch. The difference was night and day. In fact, I think it was the finest batch of dough I have ever made! The dough was light, pliable, flexible, elastic, and just a joy to work with. The resulting pizza had a marvelously airy, yet crispy, crust. I love it when things go right in the kitchen!

I really can't pinpoint exactly what went awry with the first batch. Conversely, I am not entirely sure what made the second batch so outstanding, either. The recipe is the same, and how I can go from one of my worst cooking efforts in recent memory to one of my best ever is perplexing. Not sure if perhaps I got careless with some measurements, or maybe like Tiger Woods, I didn’t bring my “A” game on that day? Dough can be a very strange and temperamental thing.

Last night's pizza with Canadian bacon, green olives, and mushrooms

News from the deer camp

It is currently deer hunting season. People hunt deer everywhere, but it truly is a cultural thing here in Minnesota. Hunters look forward to this season much like Minnesota fisherman eagerly await the fishing opener.

Thankfully nobody was hurt in the following story, but something about it just struck me as being wonderfully Minnesotan, given the hard core nature of our local hunters. Knowing what a typical deer stand looks like (generally, little more than a platform built up in a tree), I have to think it is fairly uncommon for someone to have a heater in one. That being said, it is even more uncommon that you would hear about a deer stand catching on fire, necessitating a call to the fire department!

You can be sure that the guys involved will be telling this story over and over again at the next deer camp. And, like good wine, it will get better with age!

Until next time,

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