Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spring Zucchinis Make Nice Loaves

Spring has arrived in San Francisco!

Organic zucchini was on sale at my local market, so I absolutely had to buy 3 pounds. We had zucchini rounds (breaded with cornmeal, eggs, and herbs...meh)...even gluten-free zucchini "lasagna," but could do no more. Sometimes two times a zucchini is one time too many.

What did I do? Let them wilt in the crisper? Hell no!

A friend and non-profit colleague, with whom J and I volunteer, emailed last Friday and proposed taking us out for Thai food on Sunday night. Dinner? Really? Thank you!

Here's how I thanked him:

Rather than have whipped up one of my special "healthy" quick breads (bananas, apple sauce, honey, plain non-fat yogurt, egg sniff my whiff), I went with the Joy of Cooking's standard zucchini bread, and added ground cinnamon, organic raisins, and several dashes of "pumpkin pie" spice blend (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, mace, allspice...) from Trader Joe's. Didn't want to gross out the generous Baby Boomer gentleman, after all.

Why include this on the blog? Check out the cute card I made:

Those are little squash flowers and a wee zucchini doodled on a pink 3x5 note card and colored in with crayons. And that's leftover yarn from my Kitchen Sink scarf...which you can see on my friend John in NYC - alas, no photo - or as its original skein-self on Ravelry.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Mom's Oatmeal Molasses Bread

Mom didn't cook or bake often for us, so when she did it was extra special. I don't know whether my sister remembers this...

...But I bet she wants some now!

I found this recipe buried in a stained cookbook in my Mom's basement years ago and copied it into a Word document. Somehow it has survived countless data migrations and hardware upgrades. Now I've printed it on REAL paper, so even if the latest hard drive has a meltdown (please no, please no) it will survive for the next generation [of fruit flies].

Mom's Oatmeal Molasses Bread

- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 and 1/2 Tbsp butter
- 1 package dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 and 2/3 cups flour (mix whole wheat and all-purpose flour)

Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in quick oats and butter. Let stand for one hour. Soak yeast in lukewarm water for 5 minutes. Stir until dissolved and add molasses, salt, and oatmeal mixture. Stir thoroughly and add flour. Knead for 8 - 10 minutes. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk. Divide into 2 pieces and mold into 2 loaves of bread. Let rise in a warm place, covered with a towel, until doubled in size. Bake at 375 F for ~ 35 minutes.

Your bread should definitely rise more than mine. I'm pretty sure I used expired yeast, because normally it rises a lot more. Another 'flat' error can be from using too much whole wheat flour - only go so far as 50-50.

Do be sure to proof your yeast, then email me a picture of your beautiful golden loaves!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Art in Doodletime

This blog has so far touched on my ludique sense of cookery and baking. But I must confess: I get a tad anxious when thoughts turn to "What am I going to make so I can post?" and "IS this really blogable, because I just threw it together and don't have any exact measurements or cook time?"

There's also the waistline to consider, so it's time to back out of the kitchen and get ready for summer dresses. In honor of the new season, and my own desire to shake it up a little, here are some finished art projects piddling round the house:


This one above hangs in the bathroom - sealed with duct tape on the back to lock out moisture. I made it with salvaged wrapping paper, a clipping from a fashion magazine (the golden shoe), and scraps (Mies van der Rohe, the Seagram building, the yellow painting) cut out of ---- (I can't remember! Will update when I do), a hard-bound arts and culture magazine from the 60s that was rescued off the street from my old neighborhood. It's now out of print, but I know of at least one person who has used its contents to make wallets (by cutting out a pattern, laminating, and folding....who knows, they're probably on Etsy by now).

Here are some rings I made in the spring of my senior year of college - the seven of us would pile into a athletic-team van and drive to the DeCordova once a week. It was a great way to end college since it had nothing to do with my major and got me in touch with my high school desire to go to art school. Looks like there are a few options to continue this hobby in San Francisco (1, 2, 3) once I have a few more feathers (dollars) in my cap (checking account). (Yep, that's a cubic ZrO2 gas mask. I'm taking camouflage chique to a whole new level!)

Sewn bits (a Valentine heart I sewed for J):

All those tiny glass beads - a real labor of love.

...and an origami mobile made with J:

It's all about the process!

...stay tuned...more fun stuff (even a little cookery) to come.