Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekend Domestics, Lovely!

Ahhhh, what a lovely treat this long weekend was. . . Friday and Saturday were sunny, that glorious late-fall light slanting seductive shadows everywhere, outdoors and in. Yesterday the grey and the rain wrapped themselves around us, but still, I got out for a rollicking run with my neighbours, honouring a fellow islander who'd gone to New York City for the Marathon and come back, of course, without having run it. We raised funds for the Red Cross Sandy operations, while running a Half Marathon with her, accompanying her on as many loops as our personal fitness would allow. Oodles of fun, and I burned a few calories. . . .

which I quickly squandered on Paul's Braised Short Ribs and on a little Lemon Rosemary Cornmeal Cake I made, as pictured below.
I also stitched up a pullover I've let hibernate for far too long -- it's soaking right now, and I'll block it later this evening. I also caught up another two knitting projects, the mitts above, the cobweb lace scarf below. And I began a pair of socks, so chuffed that my daughter asked for a new pair for Christmas, telling me she wears the last pair I knit her all the time. Warm feet really are the gift that keeps on giving, aren't they?!

And after Paul left for Vancouver this afternoon, I got the crazy idea to bake bread -- probably the first time in, oh, maybe ten, maybe fifteen years. I used to make it almost weekly when the kids were small. Then life got really hectic as I juggled school, teaching, soccer games, band practices and the lot. And once I got a full-time position, especially since I was on my own during the week, no kids at home, Paul away working in Vancouver, there wasn't much point baking a batch of bread no one was likely to eat.

I'd just begun thinking, a couple of years ago, that I missed the process and would like to make a few loaves again, when Paul retired and decided to learn how to make artisan bread. He got some tips from a friend, picked up a book or two, and has turned out some very nice loaves, although he's often frustrated with the results. Meanwhile, I keep wondering what is wrong with just kneading the dough, as my grandmother used to do, and my mom, and his, and myself, all those years. But I didn't want to appear to be competing with him or trespassing on his newly discovered territory.

But today, the house empty, I just couldn't resist. Mine are basic, old-fashioned loaves of white bread. The recipe on the back of the Rogers Flour Bag makes up 4 loaves, and mine are rising in their pans as I type. The house is a bit cool, so they're taking their time, but I've moved them to just behind and above the wood stove, and it's probably almost time to pop them in the oven. No one will be around to count how many slices I cut to eat, still warm enough to melt the butter I won't resist slathering on. Perfect with the turkey soup I made Saturday morning.  The perfect end to a domestic weekend.

20 comments:

  1. I find it fascinating that you resisted baking bread because you didn't want to be competitive. Man, I'd be competing up a storm and then having people over and making them take taste tests! :-) Seriously though, I think more bread is better (current state notwithstanding). You have all of those children :-) Send loaves a plenty home with them. And enjoy your beautiful dinner.

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    1. You crack me up! Scary fun, aren't you, all the way?! I wish you may be back to enjoying all the bread you can, very very soon.

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  2. Ah, homemade bread!! I swoon. I used to bake bread weekly, when I lived abroad and there was none for sale, in a Coleman collapsible oven on the stovetop. Funnily, I always had company that day... I'm glad you've found this lovely little reprieve.

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    1. Really? bread on a Coleman collapsible?! So you were way ahead of Bittman and his Dutch oven?!

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  3. There is NOTHING like a slice of warm homemade bread and butter. I slice off the crust every time - it's my wage for making the bread.

    Isn't a domestic weekend fun once in awhile? You accomplished so much!

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    1. Yes, when domestics are by choice, they can be very enjoyable -- and I, too, reward myself with the crust slice.

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  4. What a crazy coincidence...I took a book out of the library on no knead artisan bread and read it cover to cover only to shrug and decide to go back to the method that my grandmother used...
    I have the bread bowl, the pans and just need to find a day to find the time.
    I am imagining how wonderful it must be to be in your home smelling that freshly baked bread!
    Green with envy...

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    1. And it's not as if my arms can't use the workout, right?! ;-)

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  5. I'm going through a baking phase at the moment too - it must be a primeval instinct as winter closes in! Any chance of the recipe for that cake? - it sounds (and looks) divine.
    Rosemary

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    1. I'll post the recipe soon - it's an easy and satisfying treat. And I agree, winter's arrival seems to demand baking.

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  6. What a lovely, evocative post. Especially since I face four days alone since my sweetie is on the road and my domestic desires are stirring. I love to bake, and have passed the love onto my daughter, but I can't resist eating my handiwork and that is counter-productive. I second that request for the recipe, if you please.

    MuttiStacy

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    1. I know what you mean. I'm pretty leery of baking when I'm on my own, because of the temptation. I quickly bundled 3 of the 4 loaves into freezer bags as soon as they were cooled down. That should at least slow me down . . .

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  7. What a wonderful and sustaining private time.

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  8. Hi Mater - your weekend sounds lovely. That lemon rosemary cornmeal cake looks delicous!

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    1. I'll get you the recipe and you can see for yourself. . .

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  9. Ahh, there is nothing like warm homemade bread and butter. And I love kneading the dough, it is really my favorite part of the process and can't imagine bread without that hands on interaction. No bread here alas, but I just polished off a piece of the second pumpkin spice cake I've made in the last week.

    It sounds like a lovely weekend and a lovely day at home.

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    1. As tedious as it can be, I also love kneading the dough, and while I love the look and taste of some of the artisan breads Paul's turned out, I would really miss the connection to my matriarchal heritage through their bread-making process.

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  10. Isn't fresh homemade bread one of the sweetest joys? Do you know the famous Mark Bittman no-knead bread recipe that;s baked in a casserole? It is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/08mini.html?_r=0

    I've made it, it's excellent.

    There is a whole world of wonderful breads; I would be unable to control myself eating Pater's projects.

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    1. I know OF it. And I'd probably love the ease of it and the taste is supposed to be fabulous. But I do love kneading, as mentioned above.
      The last few years, I try to stick to 2 slices daily of a sprouted-wheat, high-fibre bread only, and generally try to ignore Paul's bread-making. Not always successful, but if I didn't draw a firm line, I'd be wearing that bread permanently. . .

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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