Monday, January 10, 2011

Feast of Breads, part two

Snow, snow and more snow! I hate snow. I want sun, HOT sun, and if sand is included, even better.

The town where I live stops when it snows, and on any other given time I may love having a day off of work, but, I'm OVER it. I'm almost finishing reading a book that I don't even like but I want to finish (a murder mystery). I will soon. Today, I'm sure. So, what do you do when you are depressed and you don't want to do anything else? And plus, the garage is too cold to clear all of that out so I can actually park in there... Well, I don't know what you do, but I make more bread.

Day before yesterday I made the pizza. It was to die for, but I forgot to take pictures. It had caramelized onions and manchego cheese. Sounds sophisticated! It was. Delicious sophistication.
Today I began by taking yesterday's leftover artisan bread and making french toast. HUGE success, of course!

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Then I took the dough that was left from the pizza and made some focaccia. I can't even begin to describe to you how incredible this stuff is. Next time I have folks over, Italian is definitely on the menu!!!


Shape, cook onions in olive oil, place on dough, add salt, pepper, rosemary and more olive oil. Rest. Cook 25 min.


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Last time I made cinnamon rolls I didn't put any nuts in it. I love nuts so I told my boys that this time they would simply have to pick them out!


Sticky Pecan Caramel Rolls


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HELP!! Get me out of here!!! I need to go to the GYM!!!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Feast of Breads

My poor husband is clueless. Bless his heart. We have been married almost 20 years, and yes, he does have a fault. He is a terrible gift giver. I am seriously considering getting a standing gift registry at several different stores in the area. So, once again, for the Christmas season he comes to me in desperation wanting ideas for gifts. No matter how hard I try, he just can't do it. So, I usually end up getting myself several "gifts" and let him know what he has gotten me.
When he told me about a week before Christmas, yet again, that he was clueless about what to get me I said "you know I have some things in my Amazon cart that I would love to have". Before I could finish my sentence he begged me to get them, you know, from him.
I had gotten this book from the library a few week ago and decided that I just had to have one myself.

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Edie had introduced this book to me and her readers a while back but I had never taken the time to try it. Had I only known what I was missing out on!

I bought the book and the pizza peel that of course I could not live without, and why not get the container for the dough, because the huge bowl I was using was taking up way to much space in my fridge. Plus Amazon insists that you must have these products to compliment your book. Worth EVERY penny!

So with all of this free time I have had on my hands lately with snow days and Christmas break, I have gone nuts making bread.

I grew up eating bread as a staple in my diet. In Chile, where I grew up, they eat bread at EVERY meal. (kinda like in Mexico and other Central American countries they have tortillas at all times and at every meal)
"Pancito" (a diminutive for bread) for breakfast, a "pancito" with lunch, definitely a "pancito" for afternoon tea, this tea time is called "once" (which means eleven, so I have no idea why it is called that, "once" is usually at about 4:00 - 5:00 in the afternoon). And of course you would have some "pancito" with your evening meal. The bread in Chile is quite different to American bread. It is much like European bread, not so white, or soft. It is denser, chewy, and has a hard crust.
The bread is actually called "pan batido" (which literally means "beaten bread)or "marraqueta". This is what it looks like:


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Yumm, just looking at it makes me home sick.
Usually you just eat it alone or with real butter. For "once" it is wonderful with fresh cheese, smashed avocado (no, not guacamole, just avocado smashed with olive oil and salt), or jelly. The most popular, at least with me, were peach or quince jelly. This is what quince jelly looks like:

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This is what a quince actually looks like. It is very sour. The only way I would eat it is with salt like a granny smith apple, or am I the only weirdo that likes granny smiths with salt? A quince is even more bitter than that and it has a very weird consistancy, kind of like a pear(grainy), and an apple (hardish). They make this very interesting, grainy, yet yummy tasting jelly.

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Anyway, enough of that rabbit. I will have to feature some of my favorite chilean foods on here some other time.

Back to the bread.

So here is what I have made so far.

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It is TO DIE FOR!!!


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All of those were made with the same "basic" dough recipe. They have others for pizza crust and sweet breads. Pizza crust and focaccia are my next project. I tried one of the sweet ones. This is called "brioche"


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It's just a little sweet and buttery, kind of reminded me of Mexican sweet bread, only better and not so dry.

With that same dough I made these "beignets" (a french fritter or doughnut). They disapeared within 5 minutes!

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Want to come on over? Any time. I love experimenting with bread.
Not quite my "pan batido", but it will do. I believe I will have to go find and order me some "dulce de membrillo" (the quince jelly), smear it on my fresh artisan bread, fix me up a cup of "te con leche" (hot hea with milk), close my eyes, say something in spnish, laugh, and imagine if only for a moment to be at my friend Marcela's house, enjoying her sweet company and talking about boys!



*Note: "once" is pronounced on-say, sort of, you know, the gringo way.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

He has Called you by Name

This post is for my friend Edie. Two weeks ago today she lost her house and EVERYTHING in it to a fire.
Today is Edie's Birthday.



After the initial shock and disbelief of the news that you had lost your home the only thing I felt like I could do is pray. And although I prayed for comfort and healing, there was a part of me that just groaned. I groaned as I hung on to the promise that the Holy Spirit would intercede for me because there is something you need and I don't know what it is, I can't give it to you. But HE does, and he can, so there I have laid it at his feet.

As the days went by there seemed to be a constant theme running through my mind. I couldn't help but wonder. How was it that God had prepared you for this? I knew that somewhere, somehow you would be able to look back and see the gentile loving hand of God preparing your heart and soul for something to come. Along with this constant thought came a verse that I just couldn't get out of my mind. I had read it somewhere a long time ago and had no idea where it was.

18 “Forget the former things;
   do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
   Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
   and streams in the wasteland.
20 The wild animals honor me,
   the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
   and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
 21 the people I formed for myself
   that they may proclaim my praise.

When I read your post I couldn't help but rejoice. He was there, he was, I knew it! He always is.

I went to my handy dandy Bible gateway to find my verse (the bold part was all I could remember).
I decided of course to read a little more in context, to see what the whole chapter was about. I encourage you and anyone reading this post to go read:


My heart leped when I began to read the first verse:

But now, this is what the LORD says—
   he who created you, Jacob,
   he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
   I have summoned you by name; you are mine.


 
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Who knew when we made these necklaces and we searched for the right words to write on them, that yours, the one I would see around your neck for the following weeks, would be the blessing and an encouragement to me in this great time of your loss. He is always there! I hope it blesses you and encourages you as it has me.

I haven't had a chance to see you yet. But I have always wondered if you slept with all of those necklaces on. I have NEVER, ever seen you without them on. If your necklace is gone,  rest assured that it will be replaced!

The chapter reads on:

2 When you pass through the waters,
   I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
   they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
   you will not be burned;
   the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
   the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

 I give thanks today for the one who knit you in your mothers womb, and created you so fearfully and wonderfully. I thank the one who has chosen you and called you by name.

Thank you Edie for being a friend, for inspiring us all to seek and show God's beauty and creativity. Thank you for inspiring us to know him and love him better.
Thank you for smiling at me every time I walk in the door. Thank you for talking to me like I am the most important person to you at that moment. Thank you for sharing your precious daughters with me. Thank you for believing in me.

Happy Birthday!