Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Knead Bread

2008 was the year of bread-baking for me. I had always wanted to try it, but it seemed like a huge time commitment and mucho planning. It took me until last spring to get there. It all started with the No-Knead Bread recipe from the NY Times. Mix up the ingredients and then just let it all sit. What could be easier? It came out so great and looked professional, I think it may have been the first food item I felt compelled to be document with a photo (though I wish I had taken a photo of the inside—next time):

With the move to Ann Arbor, I have had some time on my hands while job-searching, and have delved whole-heartedly into the bread-baking world. The boy really wanted to try making bagels (No, not some clever euphemism. Really, making bagels)—so we did. It was a trial of nerves as I am one to follow the recipe to a T on the first go round; he is not.

I had also been reading what we have come to call the Nazi bread book. I complete guide to whole wheat bread making that is uber-strict to say the least. You MUST do this, and heaven-forbid you do NOT do this… etc etc. I took it all a little too much to heart and was whipped into a perfectionist frenzy. That soon passed. What the heck do I care if the coloration of the bread isn't exactly even over the whole loaf — it tastes good? Great. That's enough for me. Regardless, the bagels turned out pretty rockin' in the end — I wish I had taken a few pix. Next time.

Then, on to baguettes. Yum. Much easier than I thought they would be (perhaps it was my overzealous book training) though I don't think my subsequent efforts have been quite as good as that very first one (you know what they say…).

I had been buying King Arthur flour and started noticing the recipes on the back of the bags. I tried their Oatmeal Bread and loved it so much that I've gone on to try a bunch of their recipes. This bread smells so good with the best ting of sweetness and perfect density for toast or a super-hearty sandwich. Yum!!

What shall I try next…

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Trial and error

I've been working on needlepoint bracelets. After much trial and error, I'm not sure if it's right. I can't seem to get the edges sewn so that they look clean/professional. Bits of the canvas show through. The last sample I made (the brown one below) has a better form to it thanks to a special insert, and I hand-stitched the edges, but still not sure… I am having fun with the colors and experimenting with different stitches. Maybe I'll post them soon…

Monday, January 12, 2009

Crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside!

Here's another recipe I had tried last spring and had been meaning to make again. They were part of a Food & Wine Easter menu. I had remembered them as being a ton of work, but I cut recipe in half and it took no time at all. Well worth the effort — even on a weeknight. Yummy crispy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside! The gourmet answer to tater tots. Try it!