Friday, May 30, 2003

Today when I woke up I noticed that my stomach muscles hurt like I'd been doing sit-ups. I tried to remember if I'd done any strenuous excercise yesterday, and came to the conclusion that my stomach muscles hurt from kneading bread yesterday! It was Soooo worth it, though. I've had a few pieces of my multigrain loaf already and it is just heaven-- crunchy on the outside, moist and creamy on the inside, with a nutty chewiness and the crust has a delicious crispness to it. This will be a recipe I make again and again.

I'm trying to cut down on sugar: only one sweet thing a day. I even bought some sugar-free jam yesterday--St. Dalfour's Triple Citrus. It's a bit bland, actually, but has a nice texture.

I'm having Randee, Elizabeth and Kelley over for dinner next Thursday for "Girls Night." I have to decide what to make. Right now I'm thinking some sort of asian dish, so that I can make this great Sesame Noodle recipe that I found in the Martha Stewart Cookbook. Maybe sesame-crusted tuna steaks? If only I had a grill.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

I'm making my third bread recipe right now, a multigrain loaf from The Bread Baker's Apprentice. It calls for a "pre-soak" of cornmeal, rolled oats and wheat germ that you make the night before. I doubled the recipe, since it only makes one loaf, and I messed up the liquid measures. I caught it as I was kneading and adjusted the recipe, so I hope it turns out. It's rising right now. I can see the plastic container from my desk and can see how much it's risen. That never ceases to amaze me. I'm using instant "fast-acting" yeast, which Reinhart is a big proponent of. It's nice because you can mix the yeast right into the flour and don't have to activate it in warm water.

I've also been giving some thought to what sort of cake to make for my brother's rehearsal dinner next month. I think I've settled on a yellow butter cake recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible (I'm a big fan of books that have the word "bible" in them). I want to make a strawberry/lemon curd for the filling and ice it with buttercream. Then I'll decorate it with marzipan strawberries and leaves.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

It's been two weeks since my externship ended, and I feel like I'm still recovering. I can't seem to get back into the swing of things, writing-wise, but it also could be that I don't know what to do with all this free time. I should get a head start on some of my writing; I leave for Santa Fe in a little more than 2 weeks, and I don't want to have a lot of work to do while I'm there.

Since I sort of miss the cooking-learning thing, I've decided to spend the summer learning how to bake bread. I bought two excellent books, the best of which is The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I also got The Bread Bible, which is not quite as scientific. My first two attempts, White Mountain Bread and Buttermilk Honey Bread were both from the latter book. The White Bread was excellent, and really fun to make. The Buttermilk Bread I let rise overnight in the refrigerator, then I took out and let sit for another three hours before baking. It didn't rise as much as I'd hoped, so the texture is a bit dense. I think I am going to attempt one of the recipes from the Bread Baker's Apprentice either this afternoon (if I can get motivated to go buy some flour) or tomorrow. I want to make either cinnamon bread or wheat bread.

As for work, my articles-in-progress include a piece on breakfast trends for Fancy Food (Someone sent me some jam samples, which were greatly enjoyed with my fresh-baked bread) and a miniskirt article for WWD. Also need to start doing research and phone calls for some assignments I have on sweeteners, blankets, decorative pillows and high-end storage options.