02 September 2007

sea change

this past week autumn has arrived emphatically, with rain for a solid five days, the wind playing do-mi-so-do-so-mi-do warmup exercises for winter in my bathroom vent, yellow leaves already strewn on the black concrete sidewalk. Along with that comes the earnest recommencement of all the Real Activities. Projects at work are back in action, the choir's started up, and friendships renewed after weeks spent in foreign lands soaking up sun and idleness. It's a nice consolation prize in exchange for the summer being over, for the nights closing in.

This wet weather and the looming darkness means that I've already finished my 50-pack of tea lights, and the cooking has fired up again- spiced carrot soups with toasted pumpkin seeds and a dollop of skyr atop, the all-American Toll House chocolate chip cookies, which have gone over tremendously well with everyone. I'm not sure if they taste better here because I had to make them entirely by hand (beating brick-hard brown sugar with butter is no mean feat) or if it's the meltingly delicious Icelandic butter, but they have disappeared quickly, these brown saucers of American patriotism. I know these cookies are one of those things that American expats often moan about not being able to make properly in their foreign lands, but I am happy to say that Iceland comes out top in this category. Excellent chocolate, rich brown sugar, and some of the best butter in the world combines to make the American super-cookie up here. These will not last long.

Now that I've given into fall and stopped bemoaning the loss of endless summer light, I'm remembering the delights in store ahead. I'm already busy making autumn berry bouquets in the bowls at home, flaming red bits of fall sitting on my living room table. I'm pulling out the woolies, buying Sangiovese instead of Chablis, cozying up to the feather duvet in my windswept bedroom (it's best to just leave the window open, no matter what the season). It's time to unearth my fantastic collection of tall boots, shake out the coats, air out the scarves, and prepare the bathing suits in earnest. Cold weather's also the best time for enjoying the steam room, the hot tub, and the sensory thrill of swimming in warm water while the winter swirls above. Yes, the darkness and the frigid weather are coming but the wind carries hidden thrills, the treats in store for those of us who are willing to wait until after the sun sets on summer.


Anonymous said...

I need to get back to Iceland again soon... my heart aches when I read your posts. It's been 112 degrees F here for the past few days. I need an Iceland fix badly.

-Sarah :O)

Djaddi said...

Thanks for making me dread the winter a bit less :)

And now, muffins:

Banana og súkkulaðibitamúffur

200g hveiti
1 1/2 tsk lyftiduft
100g sykur
1 egg
125g smjör, bráðið
3 msk mjólk
1/2 tsk vanilluessens
3 bananar, vel þroskaðir
100g súkkulaðidropar (bitar)

Ofninn hitaður í 180 gráður. Hveiti, lyftiduf og sykur hrært saman í skál. Egg, smjör, mjólk og vanilluessens hrært saman í annarri skál og síðan blandað saman við en reynt að hræra sem minnst.
Bananarnir stappaðir með gaffli og hrært saman við ásamt súkkulaðidropunum. Skipt á 12 smurð eða pappírsklædd múffuform og bakað í 25-30 mínútur, eða þar til múffurnar eru gullinbrúnar of hafa lyft sér vel.

They're very good. The recipe originally calls for 150g of sugar but that was a bit much.

skiingweaver said...

You make winter in Iceland sound beautiful... I have *always* wanted to visit. Your post made me think of one of my best winter memories: soaking in an outdoor hot tub in Taos, New Mexico, after a hard day of skiing - and having it start to snow while we were there. Lovely!

ECS said...

sarah: it's a lot of rain but it's fun to become a cozy addict here. I love my scarves!

djaddi: It looks like you're on your way to enjoying it quite well since you're already out in the pool. As for the muffins, I'm not a fan of banana too much in general but with all that sugar and butter I don't think anyone could dislike them!

skiingweaver: reminds me of the dry sauna experience I had after a ski trip in Canada with a friend. We did the lying in the snow and then going back into the sauna until our bodies were noodles. We slept deliciously that night!

hexe said...

I agree with nafnlaus - my heart aches reading this, especially since living in Florida means I never need a scarf nor a roaring fire.

ECS said...

hexe: if it makes you feel any better, I don't have the roaring fire part of that vision, just the super-efficient geothermal steam heat in a radiator. With an Icelandic blanket wrapped around you though, it doesn't really matter that there's no fire!