29 February 2012

More Breads

Day Four: Pizza
(venison, pepper, and spinach--the picture
is before I baked it and without the cheese)

Day Five: Biscuits
(one high and one flat; my husband is teaching
me that I must fold the dough just before cutting
to get them to puff up nice and high)

Day Six: Yeast Bread
(my basic recipe with the addition of
oats and sunflower seeds)

Day Seven: Somali Egg Crepes
(this recipe is a dessert recipe from "Extending
The Table" which instructs you to eat them plain
with sweet tea. We added a little yogurt and syrup.

25 February 2012

Daily Breads Two and Three

When I started this discipline I didn't realize how immediately pertinent it would be. Less than an hour after I had published all the sentiments about being thankful and trusting God one day at a time, I was informed that we wouldn't be able to get DSL internet service at our new house. Now, this may not seem like a huge deal, but it came as a pretty big disappointment to me having organized several nifty ideas for communication, my husband working at home, and maybe a small internet business around that very service. Hmmm . . . still thankful for the house I live in?

I pondered that as I mixed up a yeast dough the next day.

Daily Bread: Day Two

I made some funny little buns on day two. I'm trying to make just enough bread of any type for the current day, not "storing my manna" for successive days. This recipe was scaled down to a 1/4 of the original and then divided into more pieces when I realized we were having company. Cute! And they tasted pretty good too. Yes, I am still thankful for the house we live in.

Daily Bread: Day Three

Corn meal cakes. Well, masa cakes since I hadn't packed the cornmeal from my old freezer. The masa made the batter pretty thick so they didn't turn out like my grandmother-in-law must have intended. I'll have to try them another time with the right ingredients. Still, they satisfied a breakfasting tummy.

Today I haven't made any bread yet, but I'm thankful for free wi-fi at a cafe only 1/2 hour from my house. And I'm thankful for a husband who loves our baby and keeps him occupied awhile so I can blog. I'm thankful for the ability to adapt to new places and new ways of living. I can definitely get along without internet service at my home.

A phone line would be nice, though.

22 February 2012

Daily Bread: Day One

Last year for the Lenten season I came up with and made myself stick to (okay, I settled for an 85% success rate) a time budget. I got up each morning by a certain time, had particular tasks to do before work, and tried to get to bed by a decent hour. It was a good discipline.

This year, I want to focus on the idea of daily bread, as in "give us this day our daily bread". I've just moved to a new town in a new state. I don't know very many people. I don't know if our family income-source will remain stable. I'm not sure how long we'll be living here. But I know I can trust God to provide what I need, and for the next few weeks until Easter I want to consciously meditate on that.

By baking bread. Every day. Daily bread. I like language of asking God for daily bread. It's fresh that way. In the desert, the Israelites weren't supposed to gather any more manna than they could eat in one day because they needed to trust that God would send more the following morning. Can I have a simple enough faith that trusts God one day at a time, for exactly what I need that day? Not worrying about what I'll need next week or next year. Just thankful for what I have today.

Today I'm thankful for the house we live in, a neighbor who looks after our needs (letting us put our trash in his bin if we don't get ours by this evening), internet access at my in-laws', a good grocery store nearby, and a healthy recovering-from-chicken-pox baby.

Today's bread: chapati from the "Extending the Table" cookbook.


I spent my last Saturday before moving out-of-state sorting five cases of 1/2-molded strawberries. And I spent a good deal of time the next few days looking up, modifying, and executing some killer strawberry recipes. One of them was this:

Ah, Pavlova! (I'm just going to keep capitalizing it since it's named after a person) I think my sister-in-law thought I was fibbing when I told her it's a New Zealand/Australian dessert named after a Russian ballerina. But it's true. The lovely mounded meringue base does sort-of resemble a tutu after all--a light, marshmallow-y, melt-in-your-mouth, caramel-y tutu. Mmmmm . . .

You start this amazing dessert with 4 egg whites. Beat and beat them until softly-peaked (I started having nightmares about angel food cake). Then add 1 cup of sugar one tablespoon at a time (I used half turbinado, half brown). Fold in one teaspoon each of vanilla and lemon juice along with two teaspoons of cornstarch.

Next comes the fun part. On a crinkled and cornstarch be-sprinkled parchment, spread out the glossy meringue into a circle, mounded a little at the edges. I marked my parchment with a 9-inch circle so the Pavlova would fit into a certain cake cover. The meringue ended up spreading waaaay past that line, so make it smaller than you want it.

Bake this shell at 300F for an hour, then turn off the heat, crack the oven door, and let it cool to room temperature (even overnight if you like!).

Next comes another fun part! Whipping cream! I whipped about 2/3 pint of cream with a little confectioners sugar and vanilla. Mound this up inside the meringue and top with sliced fruit. I read that strawberries and kiwis are the most popular to use. Strawberries I have. Had.