This week’s photo challenge asks us to look at companionship. When I think of companionship, the first thought that comes to my mind is my wonderful husband, Sean. Irritatingly optimistic, he sees the good in everything and everyone. There’s always a bright side and things have a way of working themselves out. Ironically, a lesson I taught him years ago, but I’ve never been good at taking my own advice. He is my number one supporter and does everything in (and often tries beyond) his power to make me happy, no matter how out there my plans may be (“Picking bucket-loads of dandelions in the park and turning it into wine is a fantastic idea! You’ll see…”). And while on more than one occasion I’d rather sit there and wallow in self-pity, he’ll find a positive angle and somehow extract a smile.
Homemade Brown Bread with Local Ronnybrook Butter & Homemade Cherry Preserves
St. Patrick’s Day causes a frenzy of leprechauns, shamrocks, green beer and everything Irish people can get their hands on. I’ve lived in the same building for almost 7 years and while I don’t know everyone, I don’t think we have any Irish, yet I can the scent of corned beef and cabbage is already permeating the halls, and wafting its way into my apartment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no exception. I already have some brisket brining and the strong scent of cabbage will take over in a few hours.
Any holiday or reason to cook, I’m all over it. And St. Patrick’s Day is no different…with maybe one exception, the Soda Bread. People get so excited about Soda Bread, with its crunchy caraway seeds and plump raisins, it’s almost like a dessert. The first time I visited Ireland, I was astonished to see our version of soda bread is really nothing like theirs. It’s still yeast free, using baking soda instead as a levener, but it wasn’t sweet at all. No raisins, no caraway seeds, just a simple bread, toasted with plenty of butter. I’m not going to pretend I know why the recipe changed to more of a dessert like bread moving across the Atlantic pond, but it did. Soda bread in both forms is good, but it’s not the bread I fell in love with. There was something about a hearty, ridiculously dense slice of brown bread that just made me swoon.
Well if you know me at all, you probably know about my cupcake obsession, both cooking and eating. So obviously I would probably endorse nearly any cupcake place. But this is a little different. I’ve actually never tried Butter Lane made cupcakes, but did have a fantastic time making my OWN Butter Lane cupcakes at one of their recent classes that I HIGHLY recommend to any baker (or non baker) out there.
I swear I really did try to make a great loaf of bread. I wanted to make something incredibly tasty and pay homage to New York. I came across Smitten Kitchen’s New York Deli Rye. Perfect! I was willing to put in the 8 hours it would take, but sadly never got to that point. The bread involves one fermentation stage and two rises. There isn’t actually 8 hours of hands on work, really about 30 minutes, you just need to be home and around to keep checking on your bread. I set aside my Saturday and was ready.
Last Christmas I got the pasta roller and cutter attachments for my KitchenAid mixer. And the Ravioli attachment. And yes, it too me until now, until Unprocessed October, to actually get the stuff out of the box. First, I want to warn everyone. People think having a KitchenAid makes everything so easy. Well it does, for baking at least. Not so much with pasta. There’s a lot of steps and pieces to connect, and even though the KitchenAid “kneads” the dough for you, you still have to do it again…MANUALLY. Sure it might be easier than making pasta by hand, from scratch–I’ve never tried. But for some reason, I always thought my KitchenAid was magic. Like a microwave, I would pop some ingredients into its bowl and voila! I would have something fantastic. Boy was I wrong.