Thursday, February 15, 2007

 
I needed to bake bread last night and adapted a recipe so I could use half unbleached white flour and half millet flour. I also always add a quarter cup of flax seeds for heart health, as well as chopped nuts (pecans in this case), seeds (sunflower) and, about half the time, a little chopped dried fruit (dates or Turkish apricots). I never take a recipe at face value. I adapt, substitute or otherwise personalize the ingredients until I get it where I want it.

As soon as a new loaf comes out of the machine I always slice off one of the heels, spread a little margarine on it and give it a taste. Just as there's something special about the smell of bread baking, the taste of newly baked bread is special and ephemeral--actually special BECAUSE it's ephemeral. The millet flour gave the bread a mealy texture and rich, earthy taste.

Just after New Year's, Fritz and I visited friends in Maine for a couple of days. As we were getting a tour of the town of Bridgton, they stopped at a specialty grocery store where I discovered they had many unconventional flours. I bought four: almond, quinoa, garbanzo bean, and millet. I've already baked with the almond flour and got a delightful, slightly sweet loaf. But if I hadn't known, I wouldn't have exclaimed "almond!" when I tasted it. I'll be trying the other two soon.

Boston is sheathed in ice. The storm began yesterday morning with a little snow that turned into sleet, clogging most of the storm drains. Temperatures rose in the afternoon just enough to bring ice cold rain that flooded streets, sidewalks and open spaces. I drove home through ponds, with reports on the news that temperatures were dropping rapidly and all the water would soon freeze.

When I got home, shoveling my sidewalks (I live on a corner so I get to shovel double what everybody else does) was a lost cause--theyu were frozen almost solid. J from next door was trying to hack his way through the stuff but it was hopeless. Since the surface was highly textured, it wasn't as treacherous to walk on as I'd thought. Since it's a brilliant, cloudless morning, the sun should help as soon as it gathers a little strength.

Yaniboy from Adelaide in Oz had this meme on Yaniblog, and I picked it up because I wasn't seeing it everywhere else. It's simple and fun, particularly when you find yourself going back to certain comments to get them stronger, even closer to what you really feel.

List ten things you want to say to 10 people you know, but never will for whatever reason. Don't say who they are. Use each person only once and only use one sentence.
1. You are so incredibly ANNOYING!
2. It wasn't so much what you did, although it was devastating at the time, but the gratuitous cruelty and enjoyment with which you did it.
3. If you hadn't been a student, I would have been all over you in a heartbeat.
4. I can’t tell you how your chest hair turns me on!
5. I never meant to hurt you of all people, but I was falling completely in love with Fritz and didn't know you were falling in love with me at the same time.
6. I worked for twenty five years on this project and when it came under your jurisdiction, you screwed it up royally, so I'll never see it happen.
7. Would you PLEASE stop talking about it and just DO something!
8. Stop hovering; I'm a big boy who can take care of himself and just not that fragile.
9. What I did really wasn't as difficult as people think but I'm delighted to take all the credit you're giving me.
10. I DID tell you that underneath it all I'm a total sleaze.

Just to avoid any misunderstanding, none of the above is addressed to my beloved. Anyone who wants to, have fun with this!

Comments:
I love to cook and bake. Have you looked at Nigella Lawson's How to Be a Domestic Goddess? She has several wonderful loaf cakes.
 
Chris is good at baking, but I only know that because that's what other people say. I really can't eat baked goods anymore because most people bake with regular, wheat flour. Since I have Celiac Disease, anything that contains gluten is out. (Wheat, Barley, Oats & Rye.) We did find some gluten free flour in the specialty section of the grocery store and he made a batch of his 'crack cookies' with that, but things baked with that stuff just doesn't turn out right. We're still experimenting. And yeah, we got ice here, too.
 
I have never heard of those flours before. I too bake bread from time to time. We also have ice and snow over everything... is winter over yet?
 
Steve--did you or Chris the Baker ever try potato flour? I've never used it but understand it works quite well. It's supposed to not be too difficult to find, but everything can, of course, be purchased on line these days.

j.p.--I don't know that book. I got my bread recipes from a friend who's very food oriented--he smokes his own meat and poultry. But I'm always open to new recipes, etc. I think I'm a pretty good candidate for Domestic Godhood.

Scott--no, at least not here--winter's just getting cranked up here. Best of luck with the job interviews and a belated Happy Valentine's Day to you and Jim.
 
I had some fun for a few months with a bread machine. But you're reminding me I want to actually try backing bread from scratch. Just to understand the process.

To be clear about the storm we had for those that aren't around here - this was one of the more bizzare snow/rain/ice-pellet combos I've ever seen. Walking everywhere today is treacherous. Gotta love the variety, though - It'll make Spring that much sweeter (we hope)!

If I'm on the list at all, I'm either 1 or 7.
 
it is soo good to read you again
your 'wheat' section (yet again) makes me amazed how much you know and do.
Please send the ice this way; I am really tired of sun and heat.
 
That bread sounds amazing, Will! I'm drooling here. I want to bake now.
 
I love baking bread, but I've had to cut way back on it, because I was eating so much of it that it was affecting my waistline. My favorite bread recipe is a foccaccia that contains tomato paste and sun dried tomatoes. I may have to get back to it a bit more so that I can have something suitable to go with my homemade cheese.

I enjoyed the meme, though before I read your statement to the contrary, I had assumed that #10 was directed at your partner.
 
Ooh, I like #2. Sounds like pure evil. Is that mine? ;)

Or am I #4?
 
Kevin--#2 WAS pure evil, so I wouldn't ascribe it to you. Serious misbehavior, gross mischief, delicious immorality, yes; pure evil, no.

As for #4, if the fur fits, wear it! :-)
 
It is so impossible to walk outside right now -- still. We are left with the choice of either risking death by traffic or death by cracking our heads open on the icy sidewalks.

I would like the context for #10.
 
I have serious doubts about #10 being true.
 
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