Home - is where I want to be / But I guess I'm already there /I come home -
she lifted up her wings /
Guess that this must be the place...
- Talking Heads, "Naive Melody"

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lunch Musings

Went to the MIT Coop to stare hopelessly at the SF shelves and wonder why I'm even trying to do this. Bought birthday cards for beloved people, and a ruler because I can never find the one I am certain that we own, and a book because, well, one does. Did not buy goldfish crackers, because when I am moody I crave salt and would eat the entire bag.

Headed back to office. Saw woman taking pictures of granddaughter on park bench. Wondered whether the sky actually is a different shade of blue every single day. Thought about aliens who have four hundred words for blue and the odds of being patted indulgently on the head by Christopher Priest someday (vanishingly low).

Back to work, eating a (relatively small) bag of pretzels to deal with the salt thing.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Goal Roundup: March

After last month's massive update, not much going on in March other than the creepy-early spring weather that ruled most of the time. T'ain't natural.
  • Things to Do: Not much. Saw some friends. Finished with the skating lessons. Keeping up with Tuesdays with Dorie.

  • Better Me: Still going to the gym, and in fact had my best run in years this week (and I went to yoga that same day). Reading has fallen off the list (again).


  • Writing: Momentum acquired, then lost, then tentatively getting back on stride. On average the FF revision has been going smoothly. I should have about a month left over before Taos to work on Go. Inner peace wobbly.

  • Job Stuff: Still nothing on Scrum training. :( No job openings to apply for.
  • Birthday Observance: March is a light month for my circle.

  • Household Stuff: Got a couple of new chairs. Got myself some new clothes.
 Pretty good, overall.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TWD: Irish Soda Bread

After the Great Rugelach Debacle earlier this month, I have to admit that I was relieved to have a simpler recipe on the schedule. Baking doesn't get any simpler than this: flour, baking soda, salt, buttermilk.

Mix, shape it a bit (but craggy-looking is good!).

Bake it.

Put butter on it (preferably Kerrygold Irish butter, which is amazing stuff). Eat it. That's it.

Which was good, because we were having company for dinner, and for some reason I decided to do it up proper. I made this ham from Food52, roasted butternut squash and tossed it with sauteed kale and toasted pine nuts, whipped up some mashed potatoes, and made a cinnamon-streusel pound cake from Tish Boyle's The Cake Book. On top of that, in the morning I made my usual cinnamon scones. (I had planned to make those on Friday, but inexplicably ran out of cinnamon chips, and my scone cravings do not permit denial.)

Everything was awesome except for the cake, which stuck to the pan (and still tasted awesome). This seems to happen whenever I try to make Bundt cakes with streusel in the middle, even with half a can of spray. I am going to swear off the darn things.

Our dinner guest, who has actual experience with the stuff, said that the bread was "almost" like the one his dad used to make. The "almost" was evidently because it was not dense as a brick, a distinction I am quite happy to live with. I thought it was wonderful, especially for something so dead easy, and will be happy to make it often.

Our hosts this week are My Culinary Mission and Chocolate Moosey. Go check them out!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

TWD: Rugelach

It only took three recipes for this TWD project to get me out of my comfort zone! I've never made rugelach.

I've never eaten rugelach. For most of my life, I thought I didn't like nuts, and I've always been suspicious of fruit-based desserts. But that's what this project is for. Making things I wouldn't ordinarily make, because you never know. I was a bit daunted by the ingredient list and the time estimates, but I soldiered forth, list in hand. I ended up with two containers of Aurora toasted mixed nuts, a bag of SunMaid mixed dried fruit, and a jar of prune butter from our store's tiny kosher section.

The dough looked easy enough, and on Sunday morning while Youngest toddled screechily around the kitchen and got out all of the measuring cups, I warmed up Godzilla and got this thing underway.

I have to admit, this is a pretty awesome way to start a project:

The finished dough was pretty sticky. Someone was curious about what Mom was up to.

While the dough chilled, I mixed sugar and cinnamon, and more sugar and cinnamon and nuts. It looks like beach sand--or maybe I'm just ready for summer?

I started thinking about what a crazy-indulgent, expensive dessert this must have been to make back in the day--butter! cinnamon! nuts! My mental bar for ingredient availability is stuck around the year 1500. Meanwhile, Youngest strewed Cheerios all over the floor.

Everyone else came back from church. Lunch was eaten.

Dishes were done (also, sweeping). A walk to the park was taken, in hopes of ensuring a nap for the baby and at least a half hour of recharge time for the boy--the first part worked better than the second, but he was engrossed enough by Dinosaur Train for me to get back to the kitchen.

Time to fill these puppies! The dough was very easy to work, and I had ample filling--possibly more than ample, I discovered when it came time to roll them. No beauty contest winners, these! In they went for chilling. It was already after 2:00. I recommend spreading this over two days if you can.

Time for tea and Toll House cookies and some editing work on Fury before diving into dinner prep. Dinner consisted of roasted chicken quarters, roasted potatoes, and steamed green beans--AKA things I can make in my actual sleep--because at the ripe old age of 38 I have finally learned that one big kitchen project per day is quite enough. After dinner, I started slicing and baking. I always bake one pan at a time because honestly, I would rather it take longer than be fussing around switching and rotating pans and shooing away children while my oven gets cold.

DO NOT TRY TO SKIP THE PARCHMENT PAPER. Nonstick or not, I would still be scrubbing these things if I hadn't lined them.

The best-looking of the final results:

Not the most photogenic thing I have ever made. A lot of filling leaked out; a lot of rolls loosened. About half of them were reasonable-looking enough that I took them to the office for tasting (since I've never had them, I didn't want to rely on my own judgement). The verdict was a unanimous YUM. I can't say I cared much for them myself, and I probably won't make them again, but it was an interesting project, and now I can casually say, Oh, I can make those if the subject should ever come up.
 This week's hosts are My Baking Heart and The Urban Hiker, so you can visit them for the recipe.
Looking forward to the Irish Soda Bread, which only has four ingredients. ;-)