Friday, March 26, 2010

Best laid plans

It has been one of those weeks, best summarized by Paperino yesterday morning when he asked me, "Mommy, is the Annual Giving Campaign over yet? I need clean socks!"

Yes, it is over. And yes, he has clean socks now.

But all my cooking plans were sorely forgotten (the only thing I made was the Turnip, Carrot, and Split Pea Soup), but the bread. Because it does take 5 minutes a day (and in this household the ranking seems to be: education, bread, clean laundry.)

So, the dough keeps raising in the refrigerator, see the little marks because I wrapped the bowl with a kitchen towel(it says, cover it but not air tight, more about that later):

Stored Dough

Since I was supposed to stored covered, but not airtight, the dough go really dry on the outside, and so the baguettes looked kind of weird:


But they were delicious anyway. To avoid the drying out problem I decided to store the dough in closed container, leaving a corner not completely sealed. Much better. Next, the batard:


And then what was supposed to be a ciabatta bit looks like a ceriola (the five minutes do not include reading and understanding the instruction time):


Tomorrow I am going to try a no-knead recipe from a friend of mine before going back to the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking for another week.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bread, cheese, and vegetables

Finding good bread here is like the search for the Holy Grail, most of what you can find has a dull crust and a gummy crumb, or the few times I could find something that resembles the bread I grew up with in Italy, it is ridiculously expensive. Baking bread is not that difficult (I am starting to suspect that the reason why I can't find decent bread around here is because people here do like soggy crust and gummy crumb), so I often make it. It is time consuming though, so I was very intrigued by Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking and I decided to borrow it from the local library.

Yesterday I made first boule following their recipe:


The real test will be when I use the stored dough later in the week, but this has crackling crust and a soft crumb. Of course, the true test for bread is with some good olive oil, so that is what I had for breakfast: it was delicious!


Of course it made me wish for tomatoes, but even if it 19C outside, it is still March, so no tomatoes. Cheese? I used to make cheese, why don't I do it anymore? I honestly do not know, because it is fun and easy, I still have the citric acid and the cheese salt (they last forever), all I have to do is to order the rennet (and while I was on, the kit to make mascarpone.)

And while we are on the subject of food, following Gudrun's recommendation,  I have subscribed to Two Small Farms CSA and Frog Hollow Farm CSA. Last night was my first Two Small Farm pick up and I have two plan for all those veggies (no plan needed for the fruit, we will just eat it.)

Sunday: Veal Scaloppine with caramelized turnip

Monday: Turnip, Carrot, and Split Pea Soup

Tuesday: Chicken cutlets with braised cabbage

Wednesday: Leek and patato soup

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: fish with Roasted Potatoes with Fennel and Onion

Saturday: Butternut Squash Ravioli.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Is it April yet?

Really. First major deadline, March 26th. Second even bigger, April 3rd. What am I going to do with myself in April?


WIP March 2010





Monday, March 15, 2010

A16 in San Francisco

Yes, the pizza is good, but:

- if the waitress says that they have "fungi" pizza, it translate into "pizza with mud": if you can't say mushrooms in Italian, just say mushrooms;

- ordering a pizza with mozzarella, grana, mushrooms, and black olives only can't be that difficult that the "chef" needs to be consulted: I give you the list of ingredients, you put them on, end of story.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Weekly Menu

I am being adventurous this week and trying several new dishes I have not made before:

Monday: Chicken Korma (I yet not sure about it, but it passed the family test)
Tuesday: linguine al pesto
Wednesday: Carne Asada Tacos
Thursday: gnocchi alla sorrentina (can I get more traditional than that?)
Friday: some fish with spinach and potatoes (even more traditional meal)
Saturday: pizza (I do not mean the delivery pizza, I am making it from scratch)
Sunday: not sure yet, it will depends on the level of leftovers from the week

Monday, March 01, 2010

Stitches West 2010

Saturday I spent all day at Stitches West 2010 at the Santa Clara convention Center. As the Examiner put it, "Stitches West is the knitter's version of Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory." Actually better, no calories involved, but yarn diets do go out the windows very fast because yarn fumes make any resolution dissolve into thin air.

I had a map with booths marked on my map and a plan, but of course, after few hours, plan? which plan?

Brooks Farm Fibers, from Texas, does not have storefront, if you want to touch and feel their yarn, you need to catch them at a show, so 2 skeins of Acero: 60% Super Wash Wool, 20% Silk, 20% Viscose (Rayon), Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi), on sale!


Maple Creek Farm, a new find (their first time at Stitches West.) Small farm in Telford, Pennsylvania (you will notice a trend here, I visit and buy from small operation booths.) Alexandria sock yarn in a  masculine color (I made the mistake of making socks for my father and my father-in-law and now I keep getting requests):

Maple Creek Farm Alexandria

Lisa Souza
, one of my favorites, I always buy something from them at Stitches. Both my father-in-law's and my father's latest socks were knit with some of her yarns, but this time I got something for me, Hardtwist Merino in Blackbewwie:

Lisa Souza Hardtwist

And then someone walked by me wearing this:

Urban Shrug

and I was in love. I never heard of this Wagtail Yarns before (they from Australia), but their colors are spectacular. And they did not flinch not even a little bit at me stroking their yarns allover my face to make sure their mohair would not make me itch.

Wagtail Yarns 100% Fine Kid Mohair 2ply Wagtail Yarns 100% Fine Kid Mohair 4ply

And I got a free sample too:

Wagtail Yarns 100% Kid 7 Ply

Almost done. From Unwind I bought 2 skeins of Unisono by Zitron:


I have been looking for some long repeats sock yarn to make Gaia, and this is perfect.
My last purchase of the day was not yarn but a shawl pin from

Little Purple Shawl

The shawl is the Little Purple Shawl I made in five days after I frogged the Purple Charlotte:

Little Purple Shawl
Yarn: Nature's Palette Fingering by Hand Jive Knits
Pattern: December Little Shawl by Lucia Tedesco from Maglia!
Ravelry project page here.