Late Nights and Baking
All I need is a little time
All in all there's something to give
It's the first time in months though, that I've managed to get out of bed when not having enough sleep and actually be cognizant at work.
I think perhaps that I was just burning the candle at both ends too much and for too long. That wore out my innate ability to be up all night and still functional the following morning.
A few weeks of less hectic living has reinstated that ability on a limited basis.
I watched a whole lot of FoodTv last night after the premiere of La Femme Nikita's new season. I love food. I can't get enough of watching these amazing chefs putting together amazing creations. The only problem is that seeing all that delicious food makes me very hungry at the oddest times and instigates these huuuuuge cravings.
One of those cravings was happily satisfied at lunch today. Sabs called me up and asked me if I'd like to go out with him today. He came and picked me up at 2pm and we headed on down the puddle-filled roads through bright sunlight to Copeland's. The food at Copeland's is by no means spectacular, but it's reasonably good New Orleans style cooking. They have a few things that they make really well -- like their biscuits which are crumbly and flaky and sweet without a trace of bitter soda taste. Otherwise it's just sort of, middle-of-the-road cuisine.
Emeril was making food on the fly this week, just grabbing random stuff from the kitchens instead of planning a menu and he made this absolutely divine-looking fettuccine with mushroom medley and cream sauce. All of my tastebuds have been crying out for pasta with cream sauce.
So I was more than happy to satisfy that craving with a nice plate of "Chicken Alfredeaux" at lunch. Next I'll be wanting the quesadillas that Bobby Flay was making last night, with caramelized onions and spicy chicken.
Did you know that it's nearly impossible to find a plain bread recipe that doesn't use yeast, other than Irish Soda Bread?
After looking through no less than six of the cookbooks at my disposal it became clear to me that I either needed to make rich dark brown bread, corn bread or soda bread. Since we don't have any molasses either and that's a requirement for the brown bread, I was back to corn bread or soda bread. I don't have any cornmeal, so it was pretty clear I was going to have to make soda bread.
Now soda bread recipes call for buttermilk, but I didn't have any of that either, so I used an old trick from my days of making spice cake and soured some milk with vinegar instead. The buttermilk isn't as important for the flavor of the bread as it is in the chemical reaction to make the bread puffy you see. So sour milk will do the trick as well.
At any rate, while Emeril was cooking pasta, I was kneading soda bread dough and peeling bananas for banana bread while the soda bread baked. Pretty soon the whole apartment was smelling like heaven and Sabs surfaced, sniffing like a blood hound. He wanted fresh bread and he wanted it now! I obliged him by giving him one of the heels off of the soda bread, with a little bit of butter. He pronounced it good, but quite cakey and gave me a huge blissful grin.
Later, when the banana bread came out, he was again full of praise and rapture and this morning he told me in no uncertain terms: "Gosh honey, you make the best banana bread." It's nice to be able to make people happy with such simple things as a few loaves of bread.
In fact I was amazed at how easy it is to make soda bread. It's so easy that I think I might just start making it more often. It only takes a few minutes to mix and about 35-45 minutes to bake. It tastes delicious, "like moist scones" as Sabs put it and if wrapped up tightly, it supposedly freezes quite well for long-term storage.
Furthermore, I love to bake. It relaxes me. So like painting, it's something I really ought to do more often.
Work is hectic right now -- we're up against deadline again and I'm very frustrated with R5. It just doesn't give me enough flexibility, not nearly as much as ColdFusion or even plain old HTML! I hate handing over control of the files to a code generator and the WYSIWYG environment. It gives me the heebie jeebies, even with the "pass-thru html" options. I'm such a control freak. Especially when it comes to web design. I've worked hard to become knowledgeable in the best ways to code pages and I just hate having to hand that all over to an automated system. I feel like I'm working with half my brain when I'm developing in R5. Guh. Gimme some PHP3 and Perl please. Much more brain-tickling.
So my latest musical obsession is the soundtrack from Felicity even though I've pretty much stopped watching the show. I'm very disappointed in the direction the show has taken this season and I'm so disenchanted with it that I keep forgetting to watch it. The music on the other hand, continues to haunt me and I've been spinning the CD almost non-stop for the past three days. Today's soundtrack is from the CD and puts me in a very funken-grooven mood.
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