A first attempt at what Smitten Kitchen’s Deb posted a bit ago.

Even using a can of grated cheese instead of the parmigiano reggiano that I have sitting in the fridge, the flavor is very, very good. I didn’t get them rolled out quite thin enough and that made them a little puffier than I’d rather them be, but they are sure some excellent eats for a mid-night, I-just-got-up-with-the-baby-and-I’m-starving snack.

I didn’t have a food processor so I did these like I do pastry: I took it to task with my wire potato masher. Worked pretty well.

I’ll be trying this again soon. Probably tomorrow. I have some cream I really, really need to use up.

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Most people can make a decent loaf of bread if they try. It really isn’t hard to combine yeast, flour, water, and salt to get a dough worthy of being baked and called bread. What really takes it from just being bread to being amazing bread, astounding bread, and even possibly a bread that transcends the mundane, is time. Time to ferment, time to proof, time to bake. Time to learn.

One of my goals in this coming year is to start a journey into learning what we call artisan bread really is. I don’t think I know. I have some idea from reading what other people have to say, but I think that most of my education will be from actually making the breads and getting my fingers in the dough.

I don’t think that this type of bread baking is just about providing food for our families. I don’t think it’s just about the art of the finished loaf, either. The joy isn’t just in the finished product, but the process by which the loaf gets made. When a bread is made by someone who thoroughly enjoys the entire process it comes out in the finished loaf. It’s almost as though love for the craft is something you can taste.

I plan to share formulas, tips, and photos of breads that I’ve baked on this website. Both formulas that are successful and those that fail will be featured. I learn much more from my failures than my successes most of the time. May as well let others learn from them as well.

My first real rye.

December 27, 2009

I always like to make something for Christmas dinner. This was Eric’s Favorite Rye. I forgot the caraway seeds and the sugar, though, so I’m planning on making it again soon.

Sending this to Susan at Yeastspotting anyway. Can’t wait to do it again.

Let it snow, let it snow…

December 26, 2009

This is what I think of as comfort food; the type of thing you’d fix on a cold, snowy day in December and serve with fresh baguette and bowls of lettuce dressed simply with oil and lemon. It’s rich, hearty, and warming. Just don’t fix it while you’re on a diet and then come to me saying it threw you violently off the wagon.

Cream of Potato and Vegetable Soup
Serves 8 *very* generously

3/4 pound bacon, diced
5 tablespoons butter, divided
1 medium onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
3/4 pound baby carrots, sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1/2 pound broccoli, cut
2 pounds potatoes, cut in 1/2″ pieces
1/3 cup flour
2 cans vegetable broth, or 30 ounces homemade stock
1 pint half & half
1 cup cream
salt to taste
pepper to taste
good cheddar, for garnish

Cook bacon in a large soup pot until crisp. Remove bacon, saving bacon fat. Add 2 tablespoons butter to two tablespoons bacon fat and add onion, celery, carrot, and bell pepper, cooking until the carrots just start to tenderize. Add broccoli and potatoes and cook until potatoes start to tenderize. Add the rest of the butter and 1/2 the flour, cooking for about 5 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil, cooking until the vegetables are tender. Add enough half & half to the rest of the flour to make a paste and stir it into the soup with the half & half and the cream. Simmer until thickened. Serve with cheese and bacon bits sprinkled over top.

Life as a full-time mom can be a little crazy. I suppose I can file that little pearl of wisdom under the “No Shit, Sherlock” (from this moment on known as (NSS) heading in my mental cabinet. I expected it. I thought I was ready for it.

You’re never ready. That one goes in the NSS File as well.

I learned that NSS moments happen a lot when you’re a brand new mom, especially with your first child. It’s almost a given that you’ll have at least one moment a day for the first few weeks, and generally it will get better over time, but I’m noticing that going from one kid to two can really throw you off your game.

The thing that really threw me for a loop, though, was going from one sex to the other. Changing the diapers of a girl is pretty simple. If you don’t quite get the diaper on her in time there’s a good chance she’ll soak the changing pad. If you don’t get a diaper on a boy quick enough, there’s a good chance that he’ll soak you. NSS. When what the pee comes out of is pointed up, it would follow that you’re going to get sprayed. This took 3 or 4 times of getting me, the couch, the floor or the curtains by the changing table wet.

Can I at least use the excuse that I was sleep deprived?

What does this have to do with a food blog? This is the ‘mama’ part.

Baking is what I do when I’ve had a few too many NSS moments in a day and I have to unwind. I also tend to do it when I want my family to have good things to eat instead of supermarket crap. I cook, too, and this is where the New Year’s Resolution comes in.

One of the things that I want to do next year is cook. At least 5 out of the 7 days I want to be making the family meal. I’d like it to be more than that, but we’ll see how things turn out. Reasoning? We have no restaurants to speak of in this middle-of-nowhere town, the ones we do have seem to have gone pretty much downhill, and I’m actually quite skilled at making my own foods.

The real resolution here, though, is that I want to try different things. My husband and I seem stuck on the same boring food. I used to be quite adventurous in my cooking but have become somewhat less so since we started having kids. It actually seems, though, that my daughter is willing to try quite a few different things and, in my opinion, if she can try new things then so can my husband.

This blog will be a chronicle of my recipes, trying other people’s recipes, and the learning process of motherhood. I expect there to be a lot of NSS moments.