Sunday, May 27, 2012

On a Roll

Culinary To-Do List item 2 is finished.  And delicious.  I've been wanting to do this since I saw it on my friend's Pinterest (yes, I'm using that too now).  See, I love my Le Creuset pots.  They're so versatile.  And finding out that I can bake bread in them just blew my mind.  So, following the instructions here, I embarked on my latest culinary adventure.  You saw the pic at the end of my previous post with the just-mixed dough waiting on the kitchen counter.  Well I forgot to take a picture before turning it out of the bowl the next morning, but it had risen quite a bit and taken over the full bottom half of the bowl just about.  This is how it looked all shaped up and floured, looking kind of like a little Adipose baby (Doctor Who reference, for those who watch):
Except instead of fat, this is all flour.  And stuff.

While it baked, Mr. Pocket and I were practically drooling from the fabulous aroma of baking bread that completely filled the downstairs of our condo.  And when it came out, I kind of wanted to do a faceplant right into the pot.
Totally worth burning my face off to get a bite of that, right?

Unfortunately we couldn't taste it right away because we were going out.  But we had some with breakfast this morning and oh my.  Definitely going to be doing this again, and trying different variations.  It's a little sticky and chewy, whereas I usually like a somewhat drier bread (the better to soak up olive oil or butter, teehee), but it's awesome.  Mr. Pocket says it reminds him of the fresh bread his grandmother in Germany gets every day.  Works for me.  I enjoyed it again with olive oil for dipping, cheese, and strawberries for lunch. 
My kind of lunch!

If you have an enameled cast iron pot, you really should try this.  It's totally worth it.  And it's really easy.  I can even do this during the work week, now that I know how easy it is.  It takes seriously less than 10 minutes to put everything together (and that's if you're slow and dithery like me) and then you just leave it alone for almost an entire day.  And while the baking part seems time consuming, the only real effort you have to invest is in forming it into a ball, and then in not burning yourself on the hot pot.  Just be careful when you clean up your floured surface.  I tried to dump the excess flour off my pastry cloth into the sink, and it kinda went *pouf!* everywhere all over the counter.  *sigh*  And I had done such a good job of not making a mess with this one...

Friday, May 25, 2012

What Have I Been Up To?

Sadly, not a lot of art being made around here.  Mom and I did take a class that I enjoyed, doing a Tim Holtz project:
It's not really my own ideas and design, so I can't really claim much credit, but I like it, and the class was fun.

At home, I've been focused on other stuff, though, and it seems that my mind has room for only one creative pursuit at a time.  Currently, that creative pursuit is Middle Eastern dance.  I started taking lessons last year, and I'm really enjoying it.  And while I don't practice perhaps as often as I should, I'm starting to put things together on my own a bit.  And I'm designing costumes in my head, which I'll actually sew once I get myself to settle on some fabrics.  There's a sale on at JoAnn Fabrics this weekend, and while I don't usually shop Memorial Day sales (too crowded, and our vets didn't die for 50% off at Stuff-Mart), I might actually get that going.

I've also established a tiny little garden in pots on our balcony.  I wanted to grow tomatoes and herbs this year, along with my one pot of lavender.  And since the only one of our balconies that gets sun is the one off our master bedroom, our tiny little kitchen garden is upstairs instead of near the kitchen.  That's okay, once we get tomatoes on the plant, then if I wake up hungry I can roll out of bed and pick breakfast ;)  Mom and Dad came over and planted it with me last weekend, since I squandered my youth not helping them in the garden and therefore don't know my way around a potting shed.  Here are some glamor shots:

The newly planted tomatoes are in the red-covered Earth Box with some marigolds; lavender in the center and herbs in the pots to the sides.  Parsley, rosemary,thyme, chives, and mint.  Still have to get my basil.

My lavender, and marigolds on the downstairs balcony.  I've been playing with Instagram, too.

This weekend, work is closed Friday and Monday so I've got a forced long weekend.  I've got quite a long to-do list for myself, which includes cleaning up the Spare Oom so I can more comfortably get back to my art, finishing up a couple of art projects I started ages ago, and a few culinary adventures.  The first of those culinary adventures is done:  lavender lemonade!

First you pick your lavender lemons:

Just kidding.  That's a tiny lemon that didn't get used, I couldn't resist posing it in my lavender.  It nestled in so nicely!

Anyway, what you really do is make a simple syrup and steep dried lavender in it for about 10 minutes, then strain it.  Then you proceed to make your lemonade with equal parts syrup and fresh squeezed lemon juice (borrowed my mother-in-law's electric juicer - so much easier!), and dilute it with water til it tastes the way you want it.  It turns out looking something like this:

I'm sad I can't share some with you all.  It's delicious.  It's even Mr. Pocket Approved.  The herbal/floral flavor of the lavender is a really nice accent to the lemon.  I'll definitely be making it again.

I'll try to post more this weekend, with my continuing adventures in the pocket-sized kitchen.  And yes, our kitchen is pocket-sized.  Anyway, coming up next is bread, to be baked in my enameled cast iron dutch oven... here's a teaser...