rikibeth: (Default)
 I'm not doing NaNoWriMo. Not really. Not by the rules. But I have a story I'm working on for the Speak Its Name Advent Calendar, and I have a number of other things I want to write (mostly for open calls, but also one short fanfic I got bunnied for last night) -- so I'm sort of wondering if I'll write 50,000 words this month. One of the open calls has a December 20 deadline, after all, and I think the story I have in mind for it might go long.

So what do I decide to do today?

Bake bread.

It's not JUST procrastinating. Or displacement. See, after I ate my lunch today, I was casting about for what to make for dinner, likeyado. And I was working under a couple of constraints: first, while the pantry isn't in dire shape, we did purposely eat down a lot of the perishables before the storm. So no frozen ravioli, no tofu with which to make stir-fry, and we're out of both sausage and buttermilk for pancakes. Second, it's a Thursday, which means the teenager is here, and the teenager doesn't like cottage pie or tacos, which are two things we DO have all the ingredients for.

So the answer looked to be Minestrone. Which is not a full meal to us unless there's bread.

Now, usually, I just get a loaf of Italian bread from the supermarket bakery. Which, in all honesty, is not very GOOD bread, but we like it. But I did not feel much like going out.

But I've been making pizza dough from scratch lately instead of ordering pizza. So, as it happened, we had plenty of flour and yeast. And I have a stand mixer.

Bake bread? Yup.

I did already get 738 words today. On a dedicated day, I can usually get double and often triple that. I wrote a 16K story in two weeks, when I wanted to meet an open call deadline. (Using UFYH 20/10s and liveblogging it on Tumblr the whole time.) And after dinner I might very well get more. The Advent calendar story is approaching done.


Baking bread.
rikibeth: (Default)
 snagged from [personal profile] cluegirl 

Bold the ones you have and use at least once a year, italicize the ones you have and don't use, strike through the ones you have had but got ridof:
I wonder how many pasta machines, breadmakers, juicers, blenders, deep fat fryers, egg boilers, melon ballers, sandwich makers, pastrybrushes, cheese knives, electric woks, miniature salad spinners, griddle pans, jam funnels, meat thermometers, filleting knives, eggpoachers, cake stands, garlic crushers, martini glasses, tea strainers, bamboo steamers, pizza stones, coffee grinders, milk frothers, piping bags, banana stands, fluted pastry wheels, tagine dishes, conical strainers, rice cookers, steam cookers, pressure cookers, slowcookers, spaetzle makers, cookie presses, gravy strainers, double boilers (bains marie), sukiyaki stoves, ice cream makers, and fonduesets languish dustily at the back of the nation's cupboards.
Annotations: pasta machine, took friend's cast-off, never used, Freecycled. Had a mechanical juicer, it broke. Which is a pity because I ONLY like fresh orange juice, even the snitziest not-from-concentrate tastes bad to me. I drink V8 in the mornings anyway. The melon baller is part of my culinary school garnishing kit. I need new pastry brushes! I'm going to get silicone so they don't shed bristles. Cheese knife came from some housemate's stash of gadgets, they left it behind, probably because it didn't work any better than a regular knife, and we don't do the cheese-board entertaining so we don't need the front serving times, so I Freecycled that too. Meat thermometer - we went vegetarian! I've still got an instant-read around. Don't use it much since I can caramelize sugar by sight now. Fluted pastry wheel -- again, student kit, and I just haven't made a lattice crust pie at home in roughly forever, in no small part because [personal profile] eternaleponine 's favorite pie is pumpkin and I like lemon icebox pie. If I'm baking a fruit thing, I make a crisp. Rice cooker -- too big for counter space, and I know how to make rice in a pot. The ice cream maker... I really should ditch it, but it was a wedding present from someone I like, and I do KNOW how to make ice cream. But the local supermarket stocks tons of Ben & Jerry's, and it's usually on sale, and so why bother? If I really decide to get serious about making my own. I'd rather have the one designed to work with my KitchenAid.

Oh, and as for the double boiler, two of the saucepans in my set were designed to work together as one, as well as individual pans, and I HAVE used them that way, but I really prefer to set a stainless steel mixing bowl on a saucepan, the way one does in most professional kitchens. The rounded bottom is better for stirring than a flat one! But I certainly do that more than once a year.
rikibeth: (Default)
Or, more accurately, summer food prep, as I tried to use the stove as little as possible. Because it's going to be beastly hot all week, and I don't want to cook at all, and I suspect I will barely want to eat. Having cold food around already prepared should counter that somewhat. I already had some homemade hummus in the fridge. But that wasn't going to carry me through. So, yesterday, after I went to the grocery store, I came home and made:

Lemon dill butter
Cucumber dill yogurt soup
Pasta salad
Deviled eggs.

The lemon dill butter was easy, but I might as well record the proportions for future reference, as it came out well, and I was going by the method of "this looks about right":

12 oz (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
About 1/2 bunch fresh dill, fronds only, lightly chopped
zest of 2 lemons
1 tsp kosher salt (approximate, I did that thing with the palm of my hand)
Beat together at low speed in stand mixer, put in 1 lb deli container & refrigerate.

Cucumber yogurt soup is one of those idiot easy things. I checked proportions on the web and tweaked it a little based on what I had; I used 3 cucumbers, peeled and seeded, the rest of the bunch of dill left over from the lemon dill butter (including all the stems), roughly 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt (I didn't measure, because I had about half a quart container left, and I said "close enough"), a clove of garlic, and 1 tsp salt. Directions: dump everything in the food processor and run it until it's soup.

Gazpacho: I used Ina Garten's recipe on the Food Network site, the only tweaks being that I added a small handful of flat-leaf parsley and substituted a green bell pepper for one of the red ones, because I only bought one red bell pepper (oops) and I had a whole bag of green ones. I let it chill in the fridge for five hours before I tried any, so it wouldn't be hotspacho, and here are my observations:
  • Totally not spicy. I should have expected this as it only had 1 tsp ground black pepper in the whole thing, and no hot peppers at all. Given that I add Tabasco to my morning V8 juice, this was not to my taste. Immediate fix: add Tabasco (another hot sauce might be better, but the only other one I had on hand was sriracha, which didn’t seem right). Future fix: add a jalapeno?
  • Very thick. Is gazpacho supposed to be only barely more liquid than salsa? Is this a “to taste” variation? Considering adding some ice cubes. May add one to my next bowl individually.
  • Low acidity. Again, this may be the intention, but I found it disappointing. Somewhat improved in first bowl by adding the vinegar-based Tabasco. Have added juice of one lime to the remains of the batch, letting it sit, will taste again at dinner time.
  • Must pester kiddo to try some today, because I really really want cilantro in it, and if kiddo doesn’t like the gazpacho, I can add it to the whole batch, instead of just adding bits to my own servings.
  • garnish with scallions? I have this whole bunch of scallions and then the recipe didn’t call for any, wtf.
Also, it has been so long since I made it. I wonder if the recipe I used to use at Michaele’s is still in my purple notebook. I wonder how different it is. This one seems to work on the principle of “make pico de gallo, add cucumbers, turn into soup with tomato juice.” Which is not a bad principle.

I wonder what the old-style one with stale bread is like? Maybe I should find a recipe and use some of the stale bread cubes I have in the freezer and find out.

Pasta salad: same as I always make, with penne, chick peas, black olives, cucumber, green pepper, and sharp cheddar, doused in store brand Italian dressing. This is [personal profile] eternaleponine's method. According to her, it is the only way to make pasta salad, and as it's the only one she'll eat, it's how I make it.

Deviled eggs: there is no recipe. Boil the eggs, peel them, halve them, mush up the yolks with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and a little salt, until it tastes right; pipe the yolks into the halves, and sprinkle with paprika. I boiled a whole dozen eggs this time. They were being super uncooperative about peeling, and I only remembered the bit about "start from the blunt end where the air pocket is" when I was about 2/3 done, so I have a lot of fairly mangled-looking eggs. But these are not for catering, so they don't have to be pretty.

If anyone expects me to cook for the rest of the week, they are SORELY mistaken.

rikibeth: (Bandanagirl - Vampire Red)
A catering company that I applied to through monster.com responded to my resume, just this afternoon.

I e-mailed them back, and will call on Monday if I don't hear back before then.

[livejournal.com profile] cluegirl, you spook me sometimes.


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