Dogs and poems and memories

A friend shared a lovely video on social media of Jimmy Stewart reading a poem about his dog, bringing back memories of our beloved Aussie Shepherd, Harley, who passed almost 4 years ago. At the bottom of this page, I have posted the link to Jimmy Stewart’s poem. Here is the piece I wrote while grieving for the dog we lost.

A Meditation on Cooking the Blues Away, February 2016

Ironic that grief brings on bouts of IBS and the best way for me to push through the sorrow is by cooking. David and I cooked together all afternoon on Saturday. The Blanquette de Veau was lovely. I made chocolate dipped strawberries on their stems, Christine’s mom’s recipe for Slavic butter cookies, and the NYTime’s recipe for Chocolate Bourbon Pecan bonbons. The neighbors brought champagne, and we toasted a tender farewell to Harley.

We have been talking about making Cassoulet this winter, what with ducks in the freezer and heirloom cranberry beans in the pantry. So when we were in Orlando Friday morning, we found some fresh pork belly and pork shoulder. David spent Sunday afternoon and evening making garlic sausage. It took four hands to fill the casings, the Kitchen Aid grinder and sausage stuffer requiring constant tending to avoid air pockets, and David slowly meting out the casings, so they were not too full and not too thin. An overnight in the fridge to air dry followed by David smoking them yesterday afternoon and poaching them after to cook through. Close to 6 feet of sausage!

Not willing to wait until the weekend Cassoulet effort (since the ducks are just thawed and making duck confit won’t happen ’til Thursday), I spent today making two kinds of filling for pierogi’s: mushroom and cabbage; potato-onion and cheese. I kneaded and rolled the satiny dough, easing it out into a large circle after many push-and-spring-backs with the rolling pin. The kinks in my heartstrings finally began relaxing as I cut 68 small rounds and filled them one by one, pinching the edges together, crimping with a flour-dusted fork. They chill in the fridge awaiting that pot of boiling water tomorrow night. Louise picked up more cabbage for me to steam and serve with the sausage and pierogi’s which we will sauté and mound with caramelized onions. Hope we have enough sour cream! And good strong mustard.

The lake is quiet after overnight storms. Light sparks the air. The Sand Hill Cranes stand silent. The kitty naps. I miss Harley’s snuffling snores, yawning stretches, and shuffling walk. The post came without her barking greeting.

I distract myself by stirring the glaze for the marinating pork belly. We had leftovers from sausage making, and I found asparagus in the fridge (Thank you, Lynn and Jan, the abundance of food you brought last weekend lives on and on!). We are going new-age Chinese tonight: miso-marinated pork belly, roasted slowly and glazed, pencil-thin asparagus stir-fried with black bean sauce and porcini mushrooms, jasmine rice, of course.

But there won’t be a sweet puppy underfoot when we get out the wok burner this evening. I have never made fortune cookies. My next project maybe? What good fortune we have had in our cherished pets, family, and friends. Pardon me while I cook my way to goodbye.
RIP Harley Goddard. You are missed.

Here is a link to the video:

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