Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sourdough Starter Day 5

Whoops, missed a day. But nothing happened, at least nothing of my doing, although I did purchase several delicious bottles of stout that John and I consumed along with delicious Chinese food. But my yeasties aren't growing the way I want and need them to, perhaps because of the rather chilly temperature of our home. Hypothetically, the volume should be doubling itself, and this morning of day 5, it had grown .5 of an inch, if that.

So...change of plans. I will keep the yeasties as warm as can be with feverish and dedicated baking in the next 3 days, in hopes that I can make sourdough bread on Sunday, with soup. And then tonight, we'll try a new bread to garlic up. And tomorrow, another new bread for meatball sandwiches. One can never have too many meatballs, especially with my version of Mom's Swedish meatballs. This will be the third time in three weeks. Yes. And if I can find a damn store that will sell the right cut of lamb, I can use my happy meat grinder and make that recipe in the January Bon Appetit.

Amazing, yes?

And then for next week's meatballs, I want these: I already bought the ancho chili powder, and next week I'll buy happy poblanos, since the ones currently in the fridge may need to be salvaged for breakfast eggs, as they're growing wrinkly.

I dreamed of bread last night. Oat bread, dark rye, light rye, carroway, dill, millet, whole grain, whole meal, oatmeal, cornmeal, etc. I suppose that's not surprising, considering every new venture or job I have results in this. When I first started working at Bath & Body Works back at Wheaton, I dreamed about the various scents of lotions possible for weeks. At Starbucks in grad school, coffees. At the accounting firm here, putting together tax returns. This dream wasn't anything out of the ordinary except that it was delightful. There was no stress of putting together the wrong gift basket, screwing up the nonfat extra foam half-caff sugar-free vanilla extra-hot latte, or forgetting to put the Oklahoma return summary after the Federal return summary. There was only bread, delicious, round, warm, fragrant and fresh. I hated waking up, not because I was tired or had too much stout & msg the night before and my head & gut both ached, but because the breads were obliterated by the ringing of my alarm.

But the bonus to all that is that I bought semolina flour yesterday! Tonight, fresh homemade noodles. John thinks he's got the sauce all figured out (I think he thinks I put too much oregano & basil in the mix), so he's in charge of that, and we'll make a stellar lasagna (thanks to MO for the recipe, her dad's, I think!) to go with our champagne bubbly. (I have to clarify the 'bubbly,' since the Stocks girls say bubbly for bubbly water. And do I want to look up fun champagne bubbly cocktails, instead of champagne bubbly by itself? That could be memorable.) And there will be bread.

Kitty thinks this is all a great idea. He's already volunteered his help. He loves New Year's Eve. (John just snapped this pic and sent it to me. I've been lecturing Kitty lately to be social kitty, to go hang out downstairs with Daddy & Buddy instead of upstairs by himself all day.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sourdough Starter Day 3 part 2

Happy yeastie smell, happy yeastie bubbles. I took pictures. There's not the rising I'd hoped for, but perhaps that will come tomorrow? Here's hoping. John says it already smells like sourdough. And then he made me dinner, which was nice.

Sourdough Starter Day 3

Very ripe smell this morning, although fewer bubbles. But I had to breathe through my nose, and I consider that success. According to the blog where I've stumbled upon this fascinating process,, the gooey mess should begin doubling tomorrow? We'll see. We'll even see tonight, when I open the lid again. Tonight I'm taking pictures.

In the meantime, Kali invited John & I over for dinner on Saturday night, which means...cake! Can I tackle the peppermint meringue cake? Should I? No more tears over meringue, I've decided. 2 times this year is enough. Those damn meringue cookies. I WILL conquer you. I will destroy you! By eating you, or at least feeding you to John. Oh, and so if I get to make this peppermint chocolate-y deliciousness, then perhaps I can make him something lemon for our OKC anniversary. When I asked him last night, his first thoughts were lemon cream pie, but he does love meringue. Is it too much meringue for one weekend? When I've failed in all other meringue aspects? We shall see. Oh, and bread this weekend, too. Hopefully the sourdough.

Here's the cake. Mine won't look like this, I can guarantee. But it MAY be as tasty.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sourdough Starter Day 2

Bubbles! But not until tonight, after I had given it twelve extra hours (from this morning) and set it atop the fridge through the day in order to stay warm, since we keep the house fairly frigid. A nice ripe smell, too, which I was thrilled for. Per usual, I guessed when removing the 2/3rds out - hopefully it was close enough to the correct volume to not screw it up.

I want to make John both a regular loaf this upcoming weekend, and perhaps sourdough garlic bread (does that work?) this weekend for our one year together (not long distance) here in OKC. We'll see. I'm already afraid it won't rise.

At least he liked the Swiss chard tonight, although I overseasoned it a bit. And he loved the spaghetti squash. But who doesn't, when it's topped with asiago and butter?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sourdough Starter Day 1

The sourdough starter is ready, in a plastic container with the lid loose for gases to escape. I'm not certain it's going to work, since only 1 out of every 2 breads I make succeeds at all, although John might say it's 3 out of 4. But since I tend to throw things together, which works far better for cooking than baking, we'll see how it turns out. It sits for 12 more hours at least, possibly 24, before I do anything else.

But this baking bread thing is important for both my sanity and John' s - I can't keep baking cakes & cookies, since we both eat them. So I get my baking fix, and he gets bread.

Plus, we have all of Mom's cookies that I made for Christmas sitting in the tins I bought to give to Shannon and never did, because our flights were cancelled. Noodle cookies, of course (John thinks I should make them with peanut butter chips instead of butterscotch next year), French buttercreams (only red, this second batch), cream cheese mint cookies, a friend's recipe (which I dyed green and rolled in sprinkles - they look like ornaments, deliciously festive), and Russian tea cakes. No meringues, after 2 huge failures. Next year. And I'll make that damn peppermint meringue cake, too.

In the meantime, Buddy is laying against the chair with his bone, and Kitty's passed out on the suitcase, which I still need to unpack since obviously we never went to Houston. And it's time for breakfast.