Sunday, December 12, 2010

faux fur and blizzard pictures and bread baking

 Here I am in my new faux beaver coat. I'm in the backyard during the blizzard. This is what I do during blizzards: nothing of much consequence. Some people might look at it as a chance to clean the basement but I look at it as a day with no obligations. It's like someone plucked it off the calendar and said here you go do whatever you feel like doing.

Here's the bookshelf behind the love seat in our dining room. It's really not the room where we dine because I moved that into the living room. The dining table is at one end of the room and the television, which we don't watch very often, is at the other end. It was part of my design to use the parts of the house for things we do frequently instead of having rooms we never used.  It made sense in my head when I first thought of it, and for the most part, it serves us well. Anyway, aren't the bookshelves of other people interesting?

This is our Christmas tree. Regis used the star filter to get that effect. Isn't it beautiful? It isn't real but we like it. The last time we had a real tree, the leaky tree stand left a hundred dollar spot on the rug. This is better.  Regis would like it if we had tinsel and shiny garland but I don't think you can even buy that stuff anymore. We were laughing the other day about that spray snow we used to put on the windows. I bet that was a mess to clean up, Mom!

I made a loaf of bread yesterday to have with the bean and ham soup I made from the Easter ham bone. The soup was delicious and so was the bread. The recipe is from this cookbook:

Heck, I found the recipe so here it is!
Chunks of roasted walnut mixed with white and whole-wheat flours, a poolish, water, salt and yeast; such simple ingredients. Such stunning results. A round free-form loaf, deep mahogany in color, with slashes around the edges and a rich chewy taste--it's heaven with butter and one of our favorites. We use organic flours and pure spring water for best results.
For Poolish:
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon bread machine yeast
1/2 cup bread flour
1/4 cup organic whole-wheat flour
For Dough:
2 cups walnut pieces
1-1/8 cups water
1/2 teaspoon bread machine yeast
1-3/4 cups bread flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup medium rye flour or meal
1 teaspoon salt
cornmeal for dusting the top
FOR POOLISH: In the bread machine on the dough setting by combining the water with the yeast and flours. Let the poolish sit in the machine from 2 to 10 hours before completing the bread.
FOR DOUGH: While the poolish is standing, toast the walnuts in the oven or a toaster oven. Arrange the walnut pieces on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degrees F oven until lightly toasted, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir a time or two and taste to see when they begin to taste toasted. Don't burn them. Transfer the nuts to a cool plate and refrigerate until baking time.
When you're ready to make the bread, add the nuts, water, yeast, flours, and salt to the bread machine pan with the poolish and process on the dough setting again.
Once the cycle is completed, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down the dough and form into a tight ball. Cover with the bread machine pan and let it rest for 30 minutes. Flatten the dough with the heel of your hand into an 8x10-inch rectangle. Form into a round loaf.
Place the loaf on a peel generously sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover the loaf with plastic wrap or a clean towel and set it aside to rise in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in bulk. Preheat the oven with a baking stone in place on the middle rack to 400°F for 30 minutes. Just before baking, slash 4 straight lines around the edges of the loaf, forming a box design. Give the peel a trial shake before opening the oven.
Bake on the stone in the preheated oven until the crust is a deep mahogany color and the bread is done through, about 40 minutes. Spritz the oven 6 or 7 times with plain water during the first ten minutes of baking. Cool on a rack. Store in a paper bag.

This is me fussing with the Christmas tree. I have on red and white striped tights and a pair of red felt reindeer antlers. Oh, and lots of Christmas jewelry and rhinestones. This is just to march around my house baking bread and making soup. Someone asked me once if I don't ever just wear sweat pants. The answer, I guess, would be no.

Ella helped decorate our tree this year. She loves to unwrap the ornaments and find a place to hang them. We brought out the kitchen stool and she climbed up and down to get ornaments in the right places.

We're hoping we can get to the Nutcracker this afternoon. It doesn't look like a snow plow has been down our street yet so that makes it dicey. Even if the main roads are open, you have to get to them. We have a floater ticket, purchased for Betty who changed her mind, transferred to Joanne who can't make it because of weather, and now we'll see.

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