Bread is the best thing.

If I’m ever feeling in need being cheered up, I know what to do.  I’ll  make Sally Lunn bread or any kind of homemade bread, preferably the kind with yeast.  I don’t know why I used to think making bread would be difficult or take too much patience. Maybe my patience has increased over the years?  But seriously, so what if it takes an hour or two to rise? That’s the easy part when you get to catch up on dishes.  Today I managed to mix the ingredients together & then watch Buffy for 45 min, play some Phantasy Star IV and shower.  So much laziness & still I managed to produce a loaf of amazing smelling bread. That’s got to count for something, right?

So…a little bit of mixing ingredients +  a little patience (a.k.a time to go be lazy or maybe even do chores)  = an amazing smelling house, a loaf of light buttery goodness & a feeling of accomplishment.

I’m for it!

I’m all into domestic stuff lately. I dunno why.  I guess part of it is that I so admire the older generation.  They worked harder & had very tangible, practical skills.  I probably romanticize  the hard work a bit too much. the same time, I think the world would be a better place if we all had more practical skills and didn’t depend on technology or other people (usually poorer people) to do stuff for us.  If something in my house breaks, it’d be awesome if I could fix it.  As it stands now, I don’t even know how to hang things on the wall with anchor screws.  But…progress is being made.   I get immense satisfaction from mending holes in pants’ pockets, making my own laundry detergent and best of all, baking bread.  I think the next thing I want to learn is to be more creative with making a meal from ingredients I have available. I kind of have a bad habit of seeing a recipe online with weird ingredients and thinking, I have to go find that weird out of season, expensive ingredient NOW!”  The truth is, I need to simplify.  I can buy weird in-season stuff instead.  Just this past month or so, I discovered that I love radishes.  I would have never thought to try radishes before. A peppery tasting vegetable? Why would someone eat such a thing? But then I read about the tastiness of  french bread with unsalted butter, sliced radishes and a bit of crunchy salt.  My life has been transformed!  🙂

So..lots of good food & successes this week.

For example, my granny used to make these amazing, yet humble pear preserve cookies & kept the cookie jar stocked with them all the time.  They were chewy & just a little bit cakey and not too sweet.  When I was a kid, I would get all frustrated that she didn’t make chocolate chip cookies instead.  Now that I’m older, I would give almost anything to be able to make those cookies ..and to eat them.  I’ve tried countless times, using her recipe. I’ve tried using other people’s recipes. The results are dismal.  The cookies always turn out super cakey & soft and don’t even taste that good. My Granny made her own pear preserves though…so that’s probably why I can’t replicate her recipe.  All the pear preserves I buy are pretty soupy – hers were thick and tasted like candy 🙂

This weekend, however, I really got in the mood to try fresh figs. I couldn’t find any at the store at first but on a later trip I did find some.  I brought them home, all excited, only to find they weren’t that fresh & were quite mushy. Darnit.  So I made fig cookies.  Obviously, these cookies don’t have pears in them but they taste so  similar to my granny’s cookies. Maybe it has to do with the hint of clove and the brown sugar.  These aren’t chewy yet…maybe they will be if I leave them out a little while? But they are kind of soft & cakey (but not too cakey) and are quite good with some hot tea in the morning.  Putting them in the freezer made them a little firmer. Plus, I  kind of want to eat everything cold since it has been 110 degrees just about every day this week.

What recipes do you wish you could re-create?

Fresh Fig Cookies 
(adapted slightly from Pat Kersteter's recipe)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup chopped fresh figs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Cream sugar and butter and add beaten egg.
Sift dry ingredients and blend with creamed mixture. 
Fold in figs.
Drop by spoonfuls on greased sheet. 
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (closer to 15 really).

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