February 23, 2004

Archaeologists digging in the Syrian desert today dug up the remains of the previously undiscovered city of TooMuchGarlicOpolis.

Jacob and I had a lovely weekend in Calistoga, although the wonderfulness of California wine country may have been slightly lost on me since I'm not a wine drinker (translation: wine generally makes me make horrible faces and run for a glass of water to wash the taste away) and the famous wine-tasting tours are unexciting to me unless we're talking about new and innovative forms of torture. We did spend a nice afternoon hiking in Stevenson State Park, though. The eerie rock formations and breathtaking misty views told us that having their picture taken was against their religion, so it was just as well that we forgot the camera in our hotel room. You know, the one with the double shower and four-poster canopy bed, in the lovely Victorian bed-and-breakfast with the amazing chef. I want to go back and live there.

Today I learned three valuable lessons about homemade hummus. One, tahini looks like peanut butter for a reason. That reason is that it also smells and tastes quite a bit like peanut butter, so if you want hummus and not peanut butter, go easy on the damn tahini. Two, sauteed garlic isn't very pungent. Raw garlic is, so if you put in three cloves of sauteed garlic and can't taste a thing, don't add three more cloves of raw garlic all at once, particularly if you're only making two cups of hummus. Three, we really don't have a good food processor in this house. What does a girl have to do around here to get a well-stocked kitchen? Get a job and buy appliances herself? So unreasonable.

Posted by dianna at 06:51 PM

February 07, 2004

Cottage industry: people making cottages.

I am, as Kristen has pointed out before, precisely one motherfucking baking machine.

There are the muffins, and cookies, and cakes, and gingerbread, and puddings, and more cookies. There are the casseroles and quiches. Now? Now there's bread. In the last week I've made two loaves of dark sweet wheat bread, one giant loaf of Pugliese (a round Italian country bread), and am currently working on a loaf of Polish rye bread. This brings my bread repertoire up to, well, some large quantity of breads. Split pan loaves, Grant loaves, naan, French bread, French wheat bread, crumpets, milk rolls, focaccia, onion bread, cheese and onion bread, and some random freestyle experiments that can be neither duplicated nor adequately explained. And as if that isn't enough, I fly in the face of American baking conventions and make it all vegan.

My roommate Katie has now turned me, as the title of this entry suggests, into a cottage industry. In the interest of frugality and deliciousness, she's contracted with me to fill her bread needs at $2 per loaf ($2.50 for loaves that require special ingredient purchases). I think I win the bad-at-business award for continually arguing for lower prices, but let's be honest, I don't have 30 years of baking experience and an every-loaf-perfect guarantee. I do, however, have a pretty good track record for the last week.

"Wouldn't you," Katie asked this afternoon while I kneaded rye dough, "like to do this for a living?" Just at this moment, I really can't imagine that a better idea has ever been vocalized since "let's see what happens if we evolve some legs around here".

Posted by dianna at 06:26 PM