Sunday, September 26, 2010

Even Though Man Cannot Live On Bread Alone...

Confession #1:  I love bread.  Seriously.  I could live off the the jail-food diet (you know, bread and water).  And so--coupled with my love of cooking and homemade-anything--it should not be surprising that I have tried to make it.

Confession #2:  All my attempts have been unsuccessful... so far.

You see, I really, really enjoy making things. Mostly because I like to keep my hands busy, and I like that I can make others happy with good food.  Which is why it is upsetting that I've had so much trouble developing my bread-making skills.

Confession #3:  I've been using a bread machine.  Which may explain why my attempts have been ugly block-masses of crumbly disaster.  But, I don't have the patience to do it all by hand (and to wash all of the dishes after I do it all by hand).  I don't know if it's the recipes I'm using... the yeast... the machine... the machine-operator...  But despite all of my research, I can't get it to work!

Confession #4:  I'm not giving up.  I'm a little funny when it comes to challenges--as in, sometimes I just refuse to give up (even with "loaf" after "loaf" of ... "bread").  And now I have some new ideas and a few new weapons in my arsenal ("Hello, vital wheat gluten!").  I'll keep you posted.

On the bright side, it's finally cold enough that I just may bake a loaf in the oven... maybe.  It's a new day for me and my bread-making skills.

The Latest Loaf (approx. 3" at its highest point) - 1.5 lbs. of Glory
For now, I'm making these French Breakfast Muffins.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dear Mom,

(**To Mom, and Anyone Else interested in my newest Kitchen Caper**)

Dear Mom,

We've been pretty busy here lately, but I found time to do a little cooking (surprise, surprise!) this weekend.  I used my new favorite nonessential kitchen appliance...

the pasta machine you gave me!

Nathan went and played golf for a while... so I made a mess.

The instructions said to mix the flour and eggs straight on your work surface if you're kneading by hand, which I was doing (I really enjoyed cracking eggs onto my counter).  I rolled little balls through the flattening attachment to make long sheets.

Then, I let them dry out a little bit before I cut them, so they didn't stick together.

I loved that the machine came with a C-clamp (to attach it to your counter-top).  I told Nathan that any appliance that comes with a C-clamp has to be awesome!

I used the Fettuccine setting, because I was going to make chicken noodle soup, and wanted thick, rectangular noodles.

After they were all cut, I laid them out to dry on a rack.  But, there were TWO settings on the machine.  And since I was experimenting...

I couldn't leave the Spaghetti setting unexplored.

When all was said and done, I got four thumbs up from two hungry boys.