Today is Groundhog Day, when a furry rodent meteorologist, Punxsutawney Phil, determines if an early spring or extended winter will ensue, depending on no matter if or not he sees his shadow. It brings to mind the film “Groundhog Day,” in which comic Monthly bill Murray performs a weatherman who, when masking the once-a-year emergence of the groundhog from its gap, will get caught in a blizzard that he didn’t forecast and finds himself trapped in a time warp, reliving the very same day over and more than all over again. It is a disturbingly apt description of February in northern New England through this pandemic, when operating from property, interrupted faculty schedules and enforced isolation make each individual working day appear to be the identical.

All the resolutions made for the new 12 months — to shed pounds, eat a much healthier eating plan, work out extra — have previously wobbled and fallen by the wayside for us, I reflected as I vacuumed the gentle movie of dust from the clanking exercise machine using up undeserved place in a spare room. There has been some desultory talk of investing in a Pelleton-variety bicycle, but by the time we make your mind up to do it, the weather conditions will possibly have warmed more than enough that we’ll get outdoors a lot more and ignore about it.

Also in a death spiral is our resolve to leave at the rear of desserts and snacks at the time the holidays were being more than. Who are we kidding right here? Who could get via a pandemic winter season without having the convenience of a cookie or two, or some chips and dips? Does everyone in the entire world care proper now if we get rid of 10 or 20 pounds? I suspect not.

But we have found, amidst the wreckage of our resolutions, a several new routines that have been less difficult to retain, specifically reducing back again on salt and trying to make even ease and comfort meals decreased in unwanted fat. Although it is correct that most processed foodstuff are loaded with salt, as well as preservatives — such as seemingly benign things like bagels or a loaf of bread, canned vegetable soups, so-identified as balanced vegetable juices and all fashion of sausages and luncheon meats — if you talk to any excellent cook dinner or chef, they’ll confess that salt and butter are the two substances that make any recipe greater, even residence-cooked kinds. We have long applied an herb/salt combination at the desk and for cooking and, to more cut back on salt, identified a mix of 24 herbs and spices with no sodium at all to enliven an omelet or salad dressing. Even my go-to favorite for seafood and hen, Previous Bay seasoning, receives its kick a lot more from spices and herbs than salt. I also mixed with each other a shaker of cumin and smoked paprika, and it is develop into another favourite to liven factors up. We’re still having comforting stews and chowders and favorites like mac-n-cheese, but we have lower down on salt in favor of herbs, upped the total of veggies, and in normal tried out to lighten them up. I’ve also utilised my favourite pie crust alternative for kale- and greens-loaded quiches. As a substitute of a pie crust, just butter a pie plate or tart pan closely and cover the base with about a cup of freshly grated breadcrumbs. Press them down firmly and then fill as usual. Have faith in me, you will never ever even recognize the absence of a conventional rolled pie crust.

You cannot reside in Maine and not make chowder, whether or not it be fish or vegetable. We’ve been making a combination of the two, adding corn and carrots to the standard fish, potatoes and onions, and working with a vegetable inventory base with just a cup of milk added in at the close, rather than the classic can of evaporated milk. For the reason that we normally have canned clams in the cabinet to make pasta with clam sauce, we toss a can into the chowder for excess flavor as well. With bread clean from the oven and a salad, it’s a fantastic winter’s working day supper.

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2 Tbsp. butter
1 massive onion, finely chopped
2 massive stalks celery, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. Aged Bay seasoning
2 massive carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups vegetable inventory
1 10 oz. can clams, drained, juice reserved
1 cup corn, frozen or canned and drained
1 lb. fresh new fish fillet like cod or pollock
2 cups milk
grind or two of black pepper
In a big pot, soften butter. Insert onions and celery, cooking until eventually vegetables are translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour and Old Bay about top rated and stir 1 to 2 minutes. Insert carrots, potatoes, vegetable inventory and reserved clam juice. Provide to a boil, then go over and prepare dinner on lower right up until potatoes and carrots are comfortable, about 10 minutes. Mash some of the potatoes so they thicken the soup or mix a bit with an immersion blender. Add clams and corn and prepare dinner yet another 5 minutes. Lay fish fillets atop the veggies, insert the milk, and simmer just until eventually fish is flaky. If you have the time, enable chowder sit for an hour or so, then reheat ahead of serving.