Saturday, September 5, 2015

Baking season. And oh, yeah. Football

It's baking season. Somehow, as soon as the weather cools off I want to bake. And it really is more about the baking than the eating.

Case in point -- I made this luscious olive/rosemary bread yesterday, stuck it in the freezer and fridge, intending to have some with lunch today. That happened -- I had one small slice with my rotisserie chicken. The rest is awaiting me.

But the baking -- now, that's a different matter. This time, I particularly got into the act of kneading. Awkward at first, because it's been awhile, but before long I was punching and pushing that dough around like crazy. I almost went off into another world, working automatically. I  love to bake. The recipe calls for two large loaves, but I learned years ago that it works better for me to divvy it into 6 small loaves. This makes it easier to eat small amounts at one time. One loaf is perfect for two hungry people to devour with dinner. Or for one hungry person to enjoy for a few days, while it's still fresh.

I mixed this dough up yesterday, refrigerated and baked it off after lunch today. These are giant cookies -- about 4 inches diameter. Some months ago I was intrigued by a recipe for one chocolate chip cookie that I found in some of my browsing news sites. It's for people like me, who want a cookie, but don't want to bake a whole batch of them. I made the mistake of thinking that I'd need two of them, not realizing just how big they are. I'm nibbling away on one of them -- the other, like the bread, awaits another day. If you ever decide to try the recipe, trust it and make only one.

The cookie is good -- but not as good as Kitty's Best Damn Cookies. She says modestly. But then, it has fewer ingredients and I haven't perfected it for 25 some years. I'm guessing the issue is that the cookie contains only brown sugar, no white sugar. That adds a different flavor profile -- all that molasses that's used to make white sugar brown. I prefer a larger white/brown ratio, for flavor and also for crispness. Next time.  A few nuts wouldn't hurt, either.

So -- it's also football season, which was ostensibly the reason for wanting all this food today. I wanted to feast out, sort of my own tailgate, I suppose. But that idea seemed a lot better earlier in the week than it does today. I'm happy to have the food, will enjoy some of the bread with homemade hummus and beer once the game begins at 5pm. But I think what I really wanted was the making of the food, more than the eating. Baking always makes me feel better.

So -- four more hours to wait until the first game of the season. Looking forward to it. Stanford has already gone down -- one Pac 12 competitor knocked down the ladder a bit. I don't generally like to trash talk competitors before our game, because somehow I feel that karma will come back to bite me. I also tend to root for any Pac 12 member over any outside teams, but I'm happy to see Stanford go down, to anybody. Let's hope karma doesn't come back to bite me today.

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