Friday, March 14, 2014

Quotidian Notes: Friday Bread

Wednesday we had another storm - ice and snow, wind and rain. It was lovely the day of. Seth boiled us up a bath in the huge oil drum he'd brought home at Christmas. Cut in half, it makes a tub deep enough to be completely submerged, wide enough for two to sit side by side, and so long we could fill it with four comfortable, bathing couples - assuming we had any interest in baths-with-friends, which we really don't. 

We sat in the deep tub, filled neck-high with melted snow, sipping gin and watching the snow fall. The air hovered just above freezing, but we were steaming in our cozy little tub. It's these moments that remind me exactly why I love this hidden, homesteading life. Home-grown produce, new eggs, and soaking, naked under the snow in my own front yard.

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Thursday we learned that the heavy, ice-snow of Wednesday night was not at all easy to clear away. We waited through the day for our plow-guy to come and clear us out. He's been so reliable all winter, but we never saw him yesterday. Finally the chilly air hardened the wet snow and we took a chance and pushed our own way out. The last turn of the driveway needed shovels and a bit of struggle. We found exactly where the plow-guy stopped on Wednesday - a pile of heavy, thick snow right across the road. I guess he ran out of places to put it. 

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Today we baby-sat my in-law's dog, he's old and sick, and can't last a long day home along. He needs his pain medication and regular meals. I don't mind, I brought along my bread flour and Peter Rienhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice. I adore this book. The recipes are to die for, and he's fantastic about passing along the spirit of baking, I always feel so welcomed to play with his formulas..I made my go-to bread recipe: his Ciabatta, which is so straightforward, it's perfect to start with and ideal (outside Lent) fresh out of the oven and smeared with Amish butter and raw, local honey. Within Lent, the raw honey itself is delightful, or dipped in soup, or olive oil with roasted garlic smashed up into it, or...anything really. Today was a no-oil day, so we were a bit limited, but honey is ok anytime! 


I also tried out Peter's Focaccia for the first time! I haven't tasted it yet, because it's obviously not Friday appropriate, but tomorrow will be a blessed morning. I played with the formula a bit anyway, because I had a whole bag of dried figs I wanted desperately to use. The only changes I made were to add honey to the dough (along with some chopped figs) and top the dough (pre-final proof) with olive oil, sea salt, rosemary, and lots of figs. I want this tomorrow, sliced and served with smoked salmon, arugula, and drizzled honey.

Fresh from the oven

For dinner, I made pita bread from a pinterest recipe. Pita bread has always been sort of a mystery to me. I've never even tried to make it. But oh my goodness is it easy! At least according the this recipe! Thank you Aimee at Under the High Chair! It was perfect with our rice and bean soup tonight.

pita and stew

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Breakfast cookies...

I've been looking for something Fast-appropriate, but chewable, sustaining, and portable. And these are delightful! Again, I found the recipe on Pinterest and edited it according to what I had and what I like. The original looks pretty tasty, but I don't have bananas, or dried cranberries, or fresh strawberries..I had figs, and honey, and maple syrup, and walnuts, and almonds, and oats, and cinnamon though. As well as a small handful of flour to help it bind without the banana, and a bit of bran to hearty it up a bit. They're fantastic.

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I'm tired, I've been fighting a cold all day. It was gray and dripping outside, listening to Kate Wolf and loving the easy kindness my husband gives us. It's a quite, internal sort of day for my little family. The sort of day that makes me feel as though the whole earth is collecting her strength, readying to birth the Spring at last.

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