Monday, November 16, 2009

Beautiful Bread

This past weekend I took to kitchen experimenting. After seeing a blurb about Jim Lahey's book My Bread in Saveur, I literally drove straight to the bookstore in Topeka and bought it. I read the introduction about how he came to develop such a reverance for bread and wanted to produce loaves that are truly unique and extraordinary. He worked in many bakeries, traveled Europe (Italy mostly) and experimented with many different methods before he landed on his masterpiece method--the no-knead method. Seemed straight up my alley.

I combined the bread flour, yeast, water and salt and left it to sit for 18 hours. This morning I patted it with some flour and corn meal and turned it out onto a floured tea towel to rise for one more hour. Then I heated a cast iron pot at 475 degrees for 30 minutes and baked it covered for 30 minutes (remove the plastic knob on your lid first or else it will melt at that temperature; then plug hole with a little wad of foil). Took the cover off and baked for another 20 minutes. What I have now gracing my kitchen is the most gorgeous hunk of crackling gluten. As the snow falls here in Osage county for the first time this year, I'm planning a dinner around this bread ... chicken apple-spice sausage, baked butternut squash, a red-leaf lettuce salad with vinaigrette and this. My sweetie already emailed me to ask if next I was hand-churning butter. You know, it's not that hard to do...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The View From Here

I write today from my little corner of the farmhouse in Kansas. I should be out feeding the pigs, goats and donkeys, but I've missed you all and I've missed telling my story. I'll get to them in a minute.

The last few days, ahem, weeks, have been life changing, but I believe for the best. Change is always difficult, especially for anyone who is even the slightest bit uncertain or emotionally unprepared. For me, my mind is always in a bit of hyperactive turmoil (just like Jim Lahey put it), so a new man, a new home, a new town, new animals, a new job ... wait ... can be oh-so-challenging.

But, like the horizon I snapped last night while out walking the farm, the future is vast and full of possibilities. In every corner of the land I see potential. There is so much work to be done on this farm--mainly fixing up and cleaning up--but with all hands on deck it's totally doable.

I have so many projects germinating in my mind, it's hard to decide which to focus on. It's a wonderful, blessed place to be in life--too many ideas but not enough money--because it lets one put things into perspective. It's humbling and I feel myself growing closer to God every day.

More Notes from the Nook later ... now I think I hear those goats bleating.