Friday, March 26, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I went out last week, during that heady New England early spring heat wave, in search of green.
Today this is an important little reminder that, though snow might be here today, it will soon be replaced by blooming things and lots of leafy goodness.
I got to work from home today, which is especially nice because I can listen to Fresh Air and the other excellent VPR programming. Also, because I can keep a close eye on the tomato and basil plants I have started in the dining room window.
Though I grew up on a small farm with a large garden, and have planted my own little plot for the past few years, I am continually surprised and amazed that those little tiny seeds turn into real plants. One day there is dirt, the next day a miniature green sprout appears, and the next day there are 10 baby plants! Wow.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Yeah, I Bake Bread
No big deal. Its just about the most exciting thing I have ever accomplished in the kitchen! The satisfaction of a really tasty loaf of bread is just tops. And, without sounding too full of myself, I have been making some really tasty loaves of bread.
The inspiration and instruction came from the book "Artisan Breads in 5 Minutes a Day". And while I clearly have a lot of practicing to do - my breads tend to have strange protrusions where the pictures in the book show beautiful round loaves - I don't think anyone around here is complaining.
The most excellent aspects of this bread are the crusty crust; the airy, chewy crumb (look at me using the technical terms, oh my!); and the way the loaf crackles when its taken from the oven. The frustrating part is how very simple it all is: why did I take so long to understand this? A flour "coat", steam, a ceramic stone, and very high heat seem to be the secrets, in case you were also unaware.
So far, I have used only the basic recipe in the book, adding some kalamata olives per their instructions on occasion. I fully intend to try some more (bagels? nice soft sandwich bread? yum!) soon. I just love the first recipe so much!