spring.

I wish I had already taken a picture of one of these little chicks falling asleep in my hand but all I have is a picture of the seedlings I started a couple weeks ago.  Because, and I repeat because this is important, these chicks fall. asleep. in my hand.   All the baby chicks I’ve ever had have been pretty spastic, and you could pick one up but it’d never stop cheeping as though what you were really doing was trying to pull a leg off or a wing or thumping it cruelly on its little head while all you were really doing was cradling it and desperately hoping to communicate to it that you loved it and weren’t about to kill it.  Which the chick clearly imagined was going to happen any moment — imminent chick death.  So, I never got to convince my little chicks I loved them.  They wouldn’t believe it.  They’d peep with panic until I resigned myself to the fact that they weren’t going to calm down and realize I was their bastion of safety, and I put them back w/their little chick siblings.  Sigh. So now I have chickens that come to me for food, but that’s all they want.  No affection.  No time for it.   I’d always wanted to raise chickens that would leap joyfully into my lap as soon as I sat down.  Preferably all of them at once. 

So I’m excited because these chicks, these Americaunas and Rhode Island Reds, LET ME HOLD THEM!!!  So I’ve been enjoying the novelty for the past few days, picking them up and holding them one by one.  At first they kind of panic, but as soon as they warm up in my hands, they slowly close their eyes and kind of sink down into a little pile of feather fluff, asleep.  And if I move or jostle them, they wake up and peep, but as soon as they see that that movement wasn’t the precursor to their untimely chick-end, they wobble down to sleep again.  CUTE.  So I’ve been watching movies with them, reading books with them.  Or, I’m planning on doing those things.  I’m dreaming now that these are the chickens that will grow up and daily hurl themselves into my lap, looking in their weird, jerky chicken way for affection.  (What will actually happen is this:  they will grow out of their baby chick docility and turn into skiddish, ornery chicken that jump away from me every time I try to pet them and look at me, affronted, because they’ve forgotten all about the sweet time we had together when they were chicks and would endure me).  But here’s hoping against it. 

Recent event!

"We will not look at you.  Here are our baby chick bottoms."

New baby chicks!  13 Americaunas and 10 Rhode Island Reds :)

David and I just started selling our eggs at Good Dirt (with Rob Sutherland’s excited permission).  Yay!  I wonder if anyone will buy them…

This photo series.

http://www.behance.net/gallery/Rainbow-Gathering/1193675

Birthday dinner!

Yesterday, I turned thirty, and David and I cooked dinner together to celebrate.  It was lovely.

The start of a meat and potato dinner, which I secretly love.  David knows this.

One of the first pickings from our fall garden. 

David when he doesn’t know I’m taking his picture.

David when he does know.

Puppy.

What puppy wanted.

Wilted greens with apple cider vinegar, some balsamic, honey, and salt. And red wine.

NOM NOM NOM.  (Next time you make mashed potatoes, squeeze a lemon in there).

I want this.

http://www.tugboatprintshop.com/woodcut_garden.htm

Bread

I’ve been making bread lately from a recipe called “Everyday Bread” in Jennifer Reese’s completely awesome and hilarious cookbook/just book Make the Bread, Buy the Butter:  What You Should and Shouldn’t Cook from Scratch.  Ms. Reese is also the author of the blog The Tipsy Baker.  In the words of Katherine Ingui, this recipe makes the first loaf of bread that I want to sit here and devour.  I agree with her.  I haven’t made that much bread, but a lot of the recipes I have tried gives me pretty bread with not a ton of flavor.  This recipe gives me pretty bread that I want to sit down and inhale.  And IT ONLY CALLS FOR A TWO HOUR RISE AND TAKES ABOUT TWO MINUTES TO MIX UP.  It’s not the kind of bread recipe that you get all excited about, start reading, and realize that it’s asking you to mix up the dough, then let it rise for 18 hours (seriously?…that means it’ll be done in the middle of the night…) then knead til your arms hurt and flour is everywhere, then let it rise again, then bake it.  In a special pan you don’t have. 

So.

Here is the recipe.  Make it.  You need a big bowl and two bread pans. 

Vegetable oil, for greasing
1 teaspoon instant yeast
3 1/2 cups whey from making yogurt or water, at room temperature
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/3 cups flaxseeds (optional…and I’m sure you could trade this for sunflower seeds or another type of seed or nut…)
4 teaspoons kosher salt

1.  Oil the inside of two 9 by 5-inch metal loaf pans
2.  In a large bowl, mix the yeast, liquid, flours, seeds (if using), and salt.  Scrape the dough into the pans.  Drape with a clean, damp dish towel (I don’t use a damp one) and let rise for about 2 hours until level with the tops of the pans. (Mine is never level with the tops of the pans.  If yours is, awesome.  I think it’s too cold right now, but you might try turning your oven on for just a minute so the inside gets a little warm and try letting them rise in there.  I tried that, but it didn’t really do anything.  Whatever.  I also have let it rise all day once, and that seemed to go well but still wasn’t level with the top of the pan).
3.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F
4.  Bake loaves for 30 minutes.
5.  Remove the bread from the pans, return to the oven, and bake directly on the rack for 15 minutes more (I do about 10…mine started to get really brown).  The bread is done when it is richly colored and sounds hollow when tapped (or rapped).
Then she writes,
6.  Ordinarily, you should cool bread before slicing, but a hot, crispy heel of this bread is too delicious to forgo, especially with butter.  Store in a paper bag for up to a week.  For longer storage, wrap tightly and freeze. 

I’ve also been making cheese from her book, so I’ve actually had whey to use.  But you can use water. 

LOVE THIS BREAD.  Cut the heel off while it’s still hot and dip it in olive oil and eat it.  Then do the same thing with two more slices and realize you ate almost half the loaf.  Good thing the recipe makes two.