Rowan found a djini in the kitchen.
We uncovered a battered tin-topped table in the basement when we moved into our house. My mother and I "rescued" it from the trash pile to which it was bound and gave it a proper amateur refinish, leaving the character and charm of the dents and dings and intact. It now resides in our kitchen and functions as additional counter space when I bake.
As I washed the dishes the other day, Rowan discovered the stem end of our hand mixer beater fit perfectly in one of the unique holes in the wood. He persistently attempted to use the beater as a key to the accidental keyhole. Every so often he peered into the hole with one eye. All these machinations were punctuated by occasional demands spoken with authority and gusto (into the hole, of course). I can't tell you exactly what he was saying, for he was speaking in a tongue known only to children, djinis and other magical creatures. I did catch the word "out" a few times and asked him what he was doing. He, again, spoke a long string of works with conviction and wide-eyed seriousness, directed at me this time in answer to my query.
Apparently there was djini living in the table and he was trying to let him out. I can't say whether or not he succeeded. But, every so often, when I stroll through the kitchen, there is a beater sticking out of that hole in the table.
Maybe the djini was after the late-night oatmeal pecan cookies mama baked. I'm not sure what possessed me to begin not one, but two baking projects at 10:30pm last Thursday.
The warm rhubarb bars and aforementioned cookies were cooling on racks at 1:30am Friday and mama tumbled into bed at 1:35am. I'm sorry to say the rhubarb bars weren't worth the trouble. (All the beautiful rhubarb, ruined!) But the oatmeal cookies were. If you're ever feeling peckish late at night, or trying to lure a djini from under a tin table, these will do the trick...
Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies (adapted from the Joy of Cooking)
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 pound unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1-3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3-1/2 cups oatmeal
1 cup crushed pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Whisk first six ingredients in large bowl. In stand mixer, beat on medium until well blended the butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture just until combined. Gently stir in the crushed pecans and oatmeal. Drop heaping tablespoons of cookie dough onto lined sheets (about 3 incheds apart) and bake until golden brown and just set. The Joy of Cooking says 6-9 minutes, but mine always take 9-12 minutes. Remove when cookies look ready (and smell heavenly) and let cool on sheet for 5 minutes. Tranfer to wire racks or consume immediately. I can never seem to wait for that first taste, but these cookies are much better fully cooled and lined up beside a big mug of coffee.