Saturday, March 6, 2010

How to have artisan bread all week

Let me show you how you can have a very special home-made bread like this every day of the week. This is easy and quick, and tastes amazing. I am quite proud of this creation.
This has been adapted from the book "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day". You'll need the following:
  • 3 cups of lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • a large plastic tub with lid
The ingredients above are mixed until you have wet dough. Let it rise for 2 hours in the covered plastic tub. You will have enough dough for many loaves - you can keep it in your fridge for up to 14 days.
Once the dough is ready, take a grapefruit-sized chunk, and mold it into a nice ball - no kneading necessary. Pour some corn flour on a pizza sheet and place your dough ball on top of it. Let rise at room temperature for an additional 40 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
I decided to brush some butter, rosemary and sea salt on my loaf.
Make sure you cut a few lines into your loaf with a serrated knife.
Put in the oven and let bake for 30 minutes. And there you have it - a rosemary bread loaf that tastes like the one they serve at the Macaroni & Grill.

Busy, busy Saturday

Normally I reserve Saturdays for relaxation, but today, it was all about getting things done. Without going into too much detail, here is a brief recount of tasks accomplished...
I took my sisters to our parents' house this morning, where we were greeted by our cousin Budo, who often comes on the weekends to visit. We then talked via web conferencing to family back in Bosnia and Switzerland. Technology is sweet.
My hubby, meanwhile, went and got our new water heater. Our old one is dying, so we are reaping some tax incentives to upgrade our digs.
My mom asked me to turn her expensive, square table cloth into an oval shape, to better fit her kitchen table. I felt honored that she'd trust me to cut and sew into this pretty cloth, so I did my best. Hope you like it, Mom!
Here is a zoom in of my work. I think it looks good.
And then in the evening, I made a beautiful rosemary artisan bread, and finished reading two books: "The Piano Teacher" by Janice Y.K. Lee (meh - I am a bit weary of WWII stories) and "Bright Lights, Big Ass" by Jen Lancaster (hilarious).
Next, I am watching SNL and drinking wine. Yay for Saturdays!

More birthdays and time with the Tweedles

Friday was my friend's Desiree's 25th birthday. I don't think she was excited about joining me and Spomi in our late 20s. And she is not very keen on taking pictures, either, despite the fact she is so pretty.
We celebrated with a dinner at the Court Avenue Brewing Company, and then watched Alice in Wonderland at Fleur Cinema (my favorite movie theater in town). My sisters wanted to see the movie as well, so they joined us. I felt I hit two birds with one stone. I like social efficiency.
Court Ave has a delicious menu, and their house-brewed beers. Below is gorgeous sister #1, putting my faded beauty to shame.
And how could I forget gorgeous sister #2? I think I cleared all the bad genes for my younger sisters.
The long-awaited Tim Burton movie was not bad, but it was also a bit... underwhelming. Nonetheless, it was worth the money.
Tweedledee and Tweedledum (I could not resist a comparison to the charming twins in the movie) spent the night at my house following the movie. Wally is way too happy to have the company.
And I know my guests are sleeping on the couch, but honestly, that couch is even more comfortable than my bed. My sisters confirmed it. Anyone should be lucky to sleep on my couch. Desiree even recalls a time I slept on the couch - sitting up - the whole night through. But that's a story for a different post...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mason's 10th birthday party

Sunday (February 28th) was Mason's 10th birthday. He was born in the year 2000, which was a leap year. He nearly escaped being born on February 29th.

For those of you who don't know, Mason is Jeff's nephew. He is a typical 10-year old. Goofy and active. He likes Star Wars, Transformers, video games, etc. He picks on his little sister, Maggie, who can hold her own.
We celebrated the occassion at Grandma Roseann's house (my mother-in-law), and the quests included grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, cousins and dogs. She decorated the house into a Pirate's theme.
Supper was followed by cake and then opening of presents. The kids were also involved in some fun and messy activities. I found myself at one point surrounded by the little girls who demanded I tell them a scary story - twice.
Maggie, the trickster, blew out the candles before Mason had a chance to, making us all laugh. You see, Mason was always the one hogging Maggie's shining birthday moments, so I can't say it wasn't deserved.
In the above photo, you see my husband and his dad. I'd say they resemble each other. They are also always sitting in the corner sleepy at every one of these family occassions.
We gave Mason a copy of the Wimpy Kid book series - the one he already had. Luckily, I kept the gift receipt for him to exchange it.
He also received some Star Wars Lego kits from us, but he already had one of them. That's it - from now on, this kid is getting cash only. :)
The crowning moment of the night was when Izzy - my mother-in-law's rat terrier - started licking my father in-law's shiny dome.
While everyone else was rolling around in laughter, Jeff was completely unimpressed.