Monday, May 10, 2010

And then some days are for baking ...

One of the most creative activities for me is baking bread and pies. There are some days where baking is the thing to do especially if it is rainy or too windy to be out in the garden.

Peaches frozen last summer were perfect for this pie. Yum!  It is Mark's favorite breakfast food...and snack...and dessert.  Also, made a plum tart and 4 loaves of sourdough bread - 2 very garlicky and 2 rosemary - fresh from the garden (see picture below - including one we had to "try" immediately to be sure it was good.  Tough job but somebody has to do it.)

I learned to make sourdough bread at the Pasadena LeCordon Bleu Culinary School that I attended on weekends while living and working in CA.  I've kept the sourdough starter alive now for four years. It is critical to feed the starter daily to keep it alive, it's like having a pet!  Sourdough starter is a method to capture "wild" yeast from the air to use in baking. You feed it with a mixture of flour and water which is simple but the results are wonderfully complex. The flavor, or degree of "sourness", depends on the yeast in the air of that geographical area. Apparently, San Francisco has the most sour yeast; certainly mine is much more mild.

After retirement when we first drove to NE to check out the possibility of living here, our dear friend Sasha, then age 8, took on the responsibility of feeding the starter for me for a month. She did an incredible job - I don't trust it with just anyone.  I brought it with me from CA, feeding it in the hotel room each evening and morning, during the move to NE.  I kept it alive while staying with friends as we were getting our house ready to move in. And when we went to North Carolina for Christmas, I again fed it every morning and evening in the hotel room - and made fresh bread regularly for the family while in NC. I got to share the starter with our two special nieces and also taught them how to make sourdough bread & pizza dough. That was a thrill for me. So my starter has made it cross country.  Sasha will be 10 this summer and she wants to learn to make bread while she is visiting us in July. I'm really looking forward to that.

You can't be a gardener without being a cook or at least a foodie.  As I care for all the veggies and fruits daily, I imagine what I will create with them when they are ripe. Such rich daydreams and promises of great eating is the motivation for me to keep up all the hard physical work in the garden.

Check out the rainbow behind the barn. Afternoon thunderstorms are so exciting and make the air so fresh. They are good for people as well as gardens. 

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