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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Blissfully lazy hours

Garlic emmer bread by you.

[risa] I had jokingly said, on Facebook, that I would either cut trees, work on the attic, or read and eat candy this weekend. So far, I've mostly read and eaten candy.

The day started well. I got up, built a fire to push back the cold the night's frozen fog had imposed on the house, and made potato-delicata-duck egg lattkes with some kale in them.

Went out.

It was cold out.

Came in.

Went so far as to bring in the ladder, and dress up for the fiberglass.

Daughter has given me a headlamp for this very job (it being not really an attic but a tiny crawl space, the headlamp was a brilliant gift. It's like spelunking up there).

Then went over to the couch and fell asleep.

Not that it had been a hard week -- but us fifty-nine-year-old ladies have gotta pace ourselves, y'know?

So when I came to, it was getting late and to redeem some of the day I went out and picked some beets, chard, more kale, leeks, and more elephant garlic, washed everything, and put it all away for the week. We prefer fresh, but the weather and darkness tend to put a damper on our foraging.

I went to wash up my grandmother's 1890-vintage pancake pitcher, and, looking in at what was left of the greenish batter, decided to run some water in it, swish it around, pour it into the blender, run the blender to get even more of the last ingredients, poured off the liquid into a bowl on the woodstove, and let it warm for a bit. Added some sugar and yeast, set it aside, minced up some elephant garlic, put this in the mixing bowl, added the warm, yeasty pot liquor, a dollop of olive oil, a short palmful of salt, and several small bowls full of emmer and whole wheat and rolled oats, got out the wooden stirring spatula, and stirred until I was kneading, and kneaded until I had a batch of dough, which I covered with a large pan lid and set it on the dining room table, nearest corner to the stove.

Then climbed into bed and read a mystery story --a good one -- and finished off the holiday fudge, just as I'd said I might, for several blissfully lazy hours.

Bread, in winter, in a wood-heated house, rises slowly sometimes, so the sun set, the poultry were shut away in the barn, the cat was let out, the cat was let in, Beloved came home from work, we chatted, and she rose and stretched and ultimately went to bed, and still the bread -- now in Pyrex pans -- slowly rose.

The pans got into the oven at eight, set at 350 degrees F, with a cookie sheet underneath the breadpans to keep the bottoms of the loaves from burning. Fifty-five minutes later they were out; I tipped out the loaves and thumped their bottoms to be sure they were done, took their portraits on the drying rack, and then cut a heel, steaming hot, and ate it on the spot.

Not bad.

Better than the fudge.

Maybe tomorrow I will work in the attic.


  1. Anonymous10:03 AM

    Your bread looks wonderful. Winter is supposed to be a time to rest so enjoy it.

  2. Ah, wood heat, I miss that, but I wish they would ban it here in town, because when you get a half dozen or so woodburners uphill on the next block, it is soooo foul.

    "us fifty-nine-year-old ladies have gotta pace ourselves..."

    Sounds like the beginning of slower and s.l.o.w.e.r trend, eh?

    Did you use mostly recycled wood in your house? I use all I can get on projects around here, but sometimes it seems like so much extra work that I wish I was less frugal and waste-adverse.

  3. I true bread lover will joust for the heel. A prize indeed!

  4. Hot heels butter best.

    With the price of lumber, we've found de-nailing of old fence boards a necessary skill. There's a tool, called an impact nail puller, that greatly eases the aggravation. In our day it cost a fourth of what they do now, but it's indestructible and can be a good investment.

    We are like a gramophone record as the spring runs down; just like our cat, Donut, who, at 13, has just discovered she can no longer leap up to our laps. Oh, well. This is nothing new under the sun.


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