12/3/16

The Best Laid Plans

Yesterday's plan was always to take a short nap, then get up and make a dessert for last night and some Grown-Up Mac & Cheese for dinner. The mac and cheese is a bit of a production, but it makes dinner for two nights plus a bonus for Mike when I'm not home for dinner. And I can't say I'm a big fan of mac and cheese, but Ina Garten's version is practically the definition of comfort food. After a full summer of veggies and lots of kale, I figure we can eat the mac and cheese once per year. So, anyway...

My plan went awry when I fell asleep and slept soundly until Mike called to say he was on his way home. Holy sh*t! I'd slept the afternoon away. And what about dessert!?! (I do have my priorities.) I was itching for that Cranberry Crunch. It didn't photograph very well, but what it lacked in photogenicity, it made up for in deliciousness.


It's a lot like an apple crisp, but the topping is thicker and crunchier. The one bag of cranberries makes for a rather thin fruit layer. It's a little like a fruit bar, but serve it up in a bowl.


Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and you've got yourself a treat for the season. I've only made this once before. This year's version seemed to be a little more tart than the previous version. No doubt, the cranberries are different from season to season. I suggest tasting your filling before adding the topping and add a little bit of sugar if you think it needs it. Ours could have been a little sweeter this time around, but the ice cream picked up the slack.

This morning I continued on with my "seed culture". The seed culture is the first step in an effort to create the "mother starter" for the loaf of Artos that will follow. The mother starter is referred to as the "barm". The author points out that the full flavor of the barm will not develop until it has been refreshed 2-3 times over a two-week period. That is the time required for the organisms that exist naturally in my area to take charge of the mixture. While I can use the barm the day after it is created, the loaf I am making now will taste different from the variation I plan to make next time using the same barm. It's like a chemistry project taking place right in my own kitchen. Thankfully, this one is measured in amounts that make more sense to me than the ones we used to do our calculations in chemistry class...a subject matter for which I am wholly unsuited. Also, no slide rules required. (Yes, I was taking chemistry during the 14th Century, when slide rules were all the rage.)

So this morning I checked my seed culture again. I was told not to expect much, and I was not disappointed. It looks pretty much the same as yesterday, although gravity has flattened it out some and it's a little more solid. If I turn this cup on its side, it stays put.


While yesterday's mixture was made from pumpernickel flour and water, today's mixture will add in some bread flour. I'm still working on this bag of Gold Medal, but I should have it all used up by the time I finish with this loaf.


Today I'm adding a half cup of water to a cup of bread flour. I'm giving you the amounts in volume, but this is more accurately done by weight. A cup of bread flour weighs 4.5 ounces.


So I mixed that up


and then added it to yesterday's mixture and pressed it down.


Then I moved my tape so I could observe any rise that takes place.


The author says I might notice a 50% rise by tomorrow morning, but I should also notice the "strong, unpleasant aroma of the dough." He says I shouldn't be put off by that and that it will "eventually brighten as it nears the finish line." Okay...I can live with that if I end up with a nice loaf of bread. Two more additions to go with this before I create the barm. 

So the other thing I did this morning was a little more hand quilting on Mumm's the Word. I didn't get the cat finished, but I'm tired of working on this. I'll put it aside and work on my embroidery projects for a while.


Sadie seemed terribly disappointed that I didn't finish the cat.


You can see in the image below the areas where the quilting is finished. 


The image below shows where I left off last time. It doesn't look like a lot of progress. Only the southeast corner there. Like I said...this is very slow going.


I'm not sorry I started hand quilting this, but I doubt I'll do it again. Never say never though. I imagine when the sting wears off, I'll consider it for another quilt if it seems like the right thing to do.

For the rest of today I'm going to work on the barn quilt. Last night I was gazing at it and a vision started to formulate for where to go with the stitched details. 


This quilt was started when I was pretty much a beginner, and it has some structural problems. If I were to start it today, I would do some things differently. Nevertheless, I think it's going to work. It will be a quilt for the wall rather than a quilt for the wash, but that's okay. Onward we go.

7 comments from clever and witty friends:

Kate said...

You must have needed the rest if you slept all afternoon. Sounds like you got dessert done and that the most important part of the meal after all. That's quite a production for the bread, though My Guy has done something similar. He had to quit when work travel picked up. He hasn't gotten back to it, probably because now he plays chemist by making beer. (I play at being a chemist at work, I'd rather play with fabric at home).

Brown Family said...

I have fallen asleep on the couch and slept for hours. I never understand why I sleep better on the couch in daylight than I do at night in bed!

Dana Gaffney said...

Hand quilting always sounds so nice and relaxing until I do it.

Nita said...

Good morning! Looking at that cranberry crunch gave me the idea of throwing a bag of cranberries in with the apples for my apple betty that I like to make. Hummm...might have to give it a try,

FairviewFarm said...

Thank you for the link to the Grown Up Mac and Cheese. Something different from the typical all cheddar version.

When you have the barm created will you be able to preserve by freezing or dehydrating so you don't have to go through the extended procedure again?

Dar said...

I can't wait to see it it raises 50% by tomorrow a.m. I bought the ingredients needed for the Crusty cranberry walnut bread that you told us about earlier. Will try putting it together tonight. I wonder why it is so nice to sleep on the couch during the day too. Maybe because you don't have a snoring companion to keep you awake? lol

quiltzyx said...

Well I suppose it's a good thing they warned you about the unpleasant aroma. Good luck!
You must have needed that extra long nap...or were you subconsciously avoiding the Mac & cheese?