Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My first (mostly successful) attempt at bread!

So.  Confession time: I love bread, but I hate yeast.  Well, that's not entirely true.  It would be more accurate to say "yeast does not like me and I am terrified of it".  Whenever I tried making bread in the past I'd end up with some weird, lumpy thing with the density of rubber.  It was bad.  So for years I resigned myself to just accepting that yeast and I were never meant to be, kind of like star crossed lovers.

I was sitting around last weekend, going through my spice cupboard (I would show you but it's embarrassing -  it's currently just a big pile of bulk Winco bags that I haven't sorted through yet!) and realized that somewhere along the line, I bought three packets of yeast.  Well, I rationalized, since I already have the yeast, wouldn't it be more of a waste to not use it?  Yes.  That was my logic.

So I made Kim's Garlic Breadsticks and Chinese Cocktail Buns, neither of which turned out atrociously!

The breadsticks:

Proofing the yeast:
I even got to use my handy little thermometer I bought  from Amazon for about $8.

 15 minutes later I had this... which (from its lack of bubbles) probably meant it wasn't fully alive.  But I plunged ahead anyway (partially from stubbornness and partially from ignorance... okay mostly it was the latter), and proceeded to mix up the dough.  Let it sit (I like this part about baking very very much) and then cut it into strips.

Resting in the sun... ignore that strangely deformed breadstick on the right.

After a few...um... hours... (sidebar: I realize you're not supposed to let them sit for like 3 hours, I just got busy).  I had fat, puffy little breadsticks:

Even the little dinky one!

Brushed with garlic and butter and baked for about 10 minutes.  These turned out... dense (but not necessarily in a bad way, unlike my previous attempts).  Maybe I over-kneaded it?  Either way, they were still really great with our pizza.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fun with food! And oh yeah, you too, writing

Hi!  I didn't forget about you, blogger!  I just suffer from ELS (Extreme Laziness Syndrome).  Symptoms include not doing much of anything for weeks at a time during the winter (hard to accomplish but somehow I manage) then randomly (usually coinciding with arrival of spring) deciding EVERYTHING MUST BE DONE AT ONCE.  The laundry, the vacuuming, the window washing, the weed pulling, the garden planting, the gutter cleaning, lawn mowing, and painting (it's not easy being me).
So!  I finished writing my book.  Which sounds crazy.  Does it sound crazy to you?  I feel pretty crazy, when I think of how I quit my job to do this thing.  It comes in at just over 100,000 words (spoiler alert: that's a lot).  I'm currently dredging through it, trying to clean it up a little.  The plan afterwards is to edit it for grammar and spelling and etc., then print it out and do a third edit for the storyline, then send it off to a professional editor.  I'm totally not ready for this.  After I wrote "THE END", I sat back in my chair and looked at the story then promptly decided the most responsible thing to do would be to go out and have ice cream, so I did (fun fact 103: calories don't count when they're celebration calories): 

Victory made this taste all the more delicious, though it probably would have been pretty darned good without the victory, too.
Spring is just around the corner, and I've been gazing lustfully at the raised garden DM installed for me two springs ago - the same raised garden bed that randomly decided it would grow tomatoes for us last year without our knowledge or consent.  This will be the first spring where I'll actually be around at the start of the season, so I've been listing out things I think we could potentially grow - tomatoes, of course, but also onions, garlic and strawberries.  We've also been toying with planting a fruit tree somewhere in the endless grass that is our backyard, but maybe that's too ambitious?  (Then again, no project feels too large when you've been cooped up for 4 months with only the Home Depot website to peruse sadly as it rains and rains and rains outside.)