I know this is the last day of July and I am a bit late sharing this calender, but it's raining and it's cute and I wanted to share it with you.
Time to turn the computer off for the night. Another fast week, where on earth does the time go? It truly seems like time is flying by even faster these days. I met up with a friend today for coffee and it is always great to get together and catch up. We shared photos, chatted about our kids, told each other what had been going on since the last time we had seen each other and there went the morning.
I was thinking that I haven't posted a recipe in a donkey's age, but with all this hot weather all meals have been fast and easy, and doesn't involve turning the oven on to heat up the house. We've been eating a lot of salads and tonight I fixed our favorite chicken salad recipe which I posted here a while back. Tonight I used my bread machine and made the basic white bread recipe. When Gregg gets home and smells the aroma of fresh baked bread in the air he comes into the kitchen with a big smile on his face and rubs his hands with glee, but this loaf I actually made yesterday as we were running out of bread.
I got up extra early - around 5.45 a.m. - and strange for me I had lots of energy, so I decided to make the loaf. It takes exactly 3 hours and 20 minutes to bake. I set the timer, did some housework and then started getting very sleepy. Before I knew it I had nodded off on the sofa and three hours later I woke up. It took me a while to realize that I had gone past the time when I should have taken the bread out of the machine by about an hour, maybe an hour-and-a-half. Fortunately the machine turns itself off but you're supposed to take it out right away, and I wasn't sure by this time if it would fall out or stick to the container like glue. Here's me breathing a sigh of relief when it came out easily and apart from looking a little browner than it usually does, it was okay I thought and I could use it for tonight's supper. Once it cooled I put it in a ziploc bag to use today.
Gregg usually calls home just before he leaves the office and it gives me a chance to start putting things together as he only works fifteen minutes away. I cut the loaf and noticed it looked a bit more denser than usual - uh-oh - and the crust was thicker too - double uh-oh! What the heck I get the chicken salad out of the fridge and fix us a sandwich without any further uh-oh's.
Gregg comes home and he pours us each a glass of Pelegrino with lime. Since we gave up drinking soda's in the house he came up with this idea of the carbonated water, and the lime juice gives it that extra zip. It's a very refreshing drink and I can honestly say I prefer it to a soda any day but I know it's not everybody's cup of tea, but I love it. Gregg bites into his sandwich and says, "This bread is the best you've ever made, it's really great!" I laughed and told him what I had done and I said that I would try and fall asleep again next time I make a loaf. The last but one time I made the bread I used regular flour instead of bread flour and while still in the container and while it was rising, it blew up like a balloon, hit the top of the lid and then sank like a rock, and when it baked for the regular time it came out looking like a cracker on the outside and REALLY heavy on the inside. I made the best of it as I truly hate to throw anything away, so toasted it. Gregg once again not knowing that I had made a complete 'bomb' said, "This bread is really great, you can make this again!" So basically if I mess up my bread recipe I am okay and "Can you please mess up again next time?"
I have had my run-in's with bread dough before. When we first got married and we were living in our little apartment in Alexandria, I tried to make Bread Doughnuts. Gregg's Mom used to make the best and every time we visited she knew we loved them so she would always fix them for us. Well, silly me, I got the bright idea that I would make them for our breakfast one morning.
I have this phobia about frying food with hot oil. Goes back to when my sister and I tried to make a batch of chips (french fries) when our parents were out and well, that's a story for another day. Suffice to say it still makes me uncomfortable to use deep oil for frying but here I was ready to give it a go.
Now I had watched my Mother-in-Law make them several times by now and I thought "No problem". So went to the store and bought 1 lb. bag of frozen bread dough, put it in a bowl, threw a damp cloth over the top and let it rise overnight. What you do next morning is you pinch off a piece, shape it just like a doughnut with the hole in it, place it gently into deep oil and fry it until golden brown, take it out, blot it on a piece of paper towel and sprinkle sugar all over. Easy right? Right!!!
As a young bride I didn't really know much about cooking, so I grabbed the bread dough, split it in two and made two doughnuts out of that one pound blob of bread dough, not realizing in my ignorance that they would blow up like a balloon and completely overtake the deep fry pan. All the old fears came back as I watched it getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and my eyes got wider and wider and wider, and it went from bad to worse. I managed to get those two gigantic bread doughnuts out of the oil, blot them on paper towel and sprinkled half a pound of sugar all over them, put one on Gregg's plate - it filled the dinner plate - smiled sweetly and I expected the poor dear to eat it anyhow. It was very crispy on the outside and on the inside, well it looked like an explosion of uncooked dough, kind of like when you cut into a warm brie and the cheese oozes out so yummily, except that this was very far from yummy.
Not to give up I tried refrying it. I was a stubborn, not to be done in, English lass! I placed it back on the plate which practically broke in two under the weight. Gregg tried to cut into it and did I see that knife bend? You betcha! That is when I realized the saint I had married. He tried to eat it, he really did but I couldn't be so cruel as to watch him try to consume this horrible mess. I ended up throwing chunks out for the birds and as we saw the sparrows come down from the trees in droves, we watched as each one tried to take off with those chunks, and the poor little beggers couldn't even get off the ground. I think I gave all of those little birdies a hernia that day and I do believe they avoided me after that.
To prove a point even the other critters wouldn't touch my delectible non-delight and we ended up picking up the pieces and throwing them away in the trash. And that day I swore I would never make them again. But guess what? Gregg said I ought to give them one more go as he really has a hankering for bread doughnuts? I think I hear the flapping of wings as the sparrows head south a little early this year.