Monday, July 6, 2009

I love noodling in the kitchen


Since school got out, I have baked at least two loaves of bread each week. There is nothing finer from the kitchen than fresh-baked bread with molten butter soaking in --- just barely staying ahead of your teeth. Now, confession time: though I absolutely enjoy rolling and kneading the dough, I have been using a bread machine for the last couple of months. There is a line between therapy and production. Right now, I am enjoying production. And I have recipes that I would never trust to a bread machine.

Now I do noodle around with the recipes, and I am working out a really delightful anadama recipe (don't you love the story of this recipe?). And braided loaves you just can't even consider doing mechanically.

Austin has moved to Arizona to be with his main squeeze. His mother wishes he would write more. Thus was it ever so . . . but at least we baked him some cookies to send up. Then, since we couldn't find safe packaging - well, you really don't want oatmeal cookies going stale - we ate them ourselves. Of course, we had to tell him that sad tale. Just to put a knot in his tail. But now we have found the packaging. So I'm working on a new batch of cookies - oatmeal again.

The microwave oven died three, four months ago. I can't say we've missed it. When Jenny comes over, she sighs at us and rolls her eyes because she can't heat up whatever she bought to munch on the way over. But now I really make grilled cheese sandwiches, not melted; and I appreciate a cold soup - or I take the time to heat it on the stove. And I brew a couple of quarts of tea, sweeten it all, and chill it in the refrigerator instead of firing up a cup in the microwave.

Convenience is a good thing, but how good is it, really?

Today, on a medium-sized roll, I put cornmeal bread in the bread machine (I know . . . that's not really baking), popped out a double batch of oatmeal cookies (eight score), brewed up two quarts of tea, made - and ate half - a pea salad, snarfed a tin of Portuguese sardines (skinless, boneless, in olive oil . . . heavens; they're tasty - even without crackers -!), and finished reading a chapter in my book before I trooped into the living room to complete my epic painting where a wiser man would have put crown molding.

I'm thinking of frying up some catfish later tonight. With hashbrowns and more hotsauce. Tomorrow is starting to feel like chicken livers with McIlhenny's sauce, black eyed peas, and more cold tea. Life is pretty good in the summertime.


ladyfi said...

I love baking bread! Don't have a machine as we don't get on well... I'm actually making foccacia right now... (well, OK! waiting for the dough to rise!)

And you're right about the microwave - things taste better if cooked more slowly.

Kelli Nørgaard said...

Can I just say that I think it is VERY COOL that I brought you and Lady Fi together?! :o) Every time I read her blog, I have always thought, Pat would love reading this... you two are kindred spirits!!

And I think eating the cookies was a good idea! Bake me a care package next and then when you realize it takes a week to ship something to DK, eat those too!! love you!

Moondog said...

I love waiting for the bread to rise. I love the smell of a yeast-filled kitchen. Nothing beats bread warm from the oven with butter melting into it.

I just finished the last of eight score oatmeal cookies ostensibly baked for my son in Arizona. The plan was to fill the mouse-shaped cookie jar (his nickname is "mouse" from his first Halloween costume - all the other kids were cats) and mail it to him. Didn't work.

I'll figure a way to get them to you . . .