25 March 2010


At least that's what they say on qwantz.com. And I've always wanted to be as cool as those dinosaurs.

Guess where I was headed, here?

The grocery store, five blocks away.

Since it hurts to lug things with my arms, I carry them on my back. And since the best bag I have for back-carrying is my internal frame pack from Arc'teryx, the one I bought in the Tetons and promptly carried 30 pounds in for 15 miles, 8 miles of that with a twisted ankle ... I used that. And of course I wore my only waterproof hooded coat. Which I also bought in the Tetons, on sale, in florescent yellow and puce. (No one has run me over yet, while wearing that coat.) And the hat because I get cold ...

The cashier at the grocery store asked me, with a smile, if I needed a bag, and if I was going hiking. I was suddenly self-conscious and told him my apartment was just hard to get to.

Anyway, moving on. There has been lots of editing over here, some two-day migraines, some more bread-baking that we ate before I took a picture (I am so not used to this "camera" device), some knitting, some more knitting, and yarn-dyeing plans. Solar ovens! Wholesale orders! Acid dyes manufactured without heavy metals! The possibility of finding locally produced wool, hand-spun by local people! Business license thoughts, colorway thoughts, viral marketing thoughts.

All this makes it difficult to actually edit. But edit I do, I do. I'm mellowing a bit in my old-editing-age. I'm more willing to accept that some people don't follow any citation style at all, that some people don't notice how many spaces appear between sentences, and some other people revise their own writing amazingly well. That is why I love repeat clients--improvement.

Meanwhile, we have decided to host a Passover seder. If you've been to one, you know the gluttony involved, and if you've been to one of ours, you know that we abscond with tradition and replace it with horseradish-eating contents. This year, we will be hosting a mix of Jews, Messianic Jews, Christians, and a few whose beliefs I'm not familiar with. The wine and the matzo smooth it all out. Four prescribed cups of wine, people. If you are invited to a seder, bring wine! You will drink a bottle of it!

And yet ... we have no dining table. Or chairs.

So we are building one, with the help of Noah's aunt and uncle, who run a woodworking business. And have a shipping container full of lumber that Noah's grandfather milled himself. Pretty great. Pictures on facebook.

And me? I am all right. I am ready to dye a lot of yarn and sell it. Almost.

I looked out the window of this office room, this back room with three windows, and realized our cherry tree finally bloomed. Wowza. Like one day nothing, then fully bloomed.

How are all of you?

16 March 2010

Whole Wheat and Sprouted Quinoa Bread with Raisins

RECIPE! This takes 2 days.

Day 1:
Soak 3/4 c. quinoa in 1-1/2 c. warm water in a lidded container, room temperature, overnight.

Make biga:
1-3/4 c. ww flour
1/4 t. instant yeast
3/4 c. warm water

Mix, knead until it all comes together. Put in covered bowl/container and stick in fridge overnight.

Day 2:
Remove biga from fridge; let warm up at room temp. for 2 hours.

Drain water off quinoa. Check out the sprouts! Place drained sprouted quinoa in food processor; grind to a mash if possible.

(I use a stand mixer for all my mixing and kneading, so my method goes like this.)

Put ground sprouted quinoa in mixing bowl.

Put biga on floured surface; chop into 12 mixes. Dust pieces with ww flour so they don't all stick together immediately.

Put chopped biga into same mixing bowl.

Add to bowl:
7 T. ww flour
1 t. salt
2-1/4 t. instant yeast
1/4 c. water, room temp./warm
3-1/2 t. honey
1 T. vegetable oil or unsalted butter, melted
2 T. vital wheat gluten (optional, but I used it and it helped, I think)

Begin mixing with dough hook at medium-low speed until it comes together, then low speed. At this point, I added several more handfuls of ww flour--not sure how many. Add flour until the dough comes together in a ball. It should be soft and slightly sticky. (You can also use the mixer to bring it together, add raisins, and then knead by hand for 5 min.)

Add a handful of raisins. Keep mixing with dough hook to assimilate.

Let dough rest 5 min.; then knead 1-2 min. more. Add any necessary water or flour for final adjustments.

Place in oiled bowl and let rise 45-60 min., until 1-1/2 times original size. (I always let my dough rise inside my oven, with no heat on--my house is really cold, but my pilot light keeps the oven warm.)

Shape dough on floured surface: either a sandwich loaf in a pan, or a freestanding ball or torpedo shape. For a batard/torpedo like mine: flatten dough into a rectangle shape. Fold top half down to middle of dough; seal seam with finger pressure. Fold bottom half up to middle of dough; seal seam. Then, fold the current top of the loaf to the current bottom of the loaf; seal seam. Rotate loaf so seamed edge is on bottom. Smush ends in a little, pinching closed if needed. Dust with flour. Place on proofing sheet (I use the back of a cookie sheet dusted liberally with flour).

Let loaf rise 45-60 min.

Prepare oven for baking. If sandwich loaf: just turn on to 425. If baking a freestanding loaf: Place baking stone in oven, with a steam pan below it. Turn on to 425. Let preheat at least 20 min.

Cut shallow slashes in top of loaf while the oven preheats--3 diagonal, 1 long slash, whatever.

For sandwich loaf: put in oven; turn oven down to 350. Bake 20 min., rotate loaf 180 degrees, and bake 20-30 min. more until loaf registers 200 degrees and sounds hollow when thumped.

For hearth loaf: slide/lift loaf onto baking stone (if it's going badly, try using a spatula to help get it off the sheet pan. If it's going really badly, leave it on the sheet pan, put the pan on top of the baking stone, and after 20 min., try lifting the loaf off the stone with oven mitts, then putting it on the stone and taking the pan out of the oven.) Add 1 c. hot water to steam pan; don't burn yourself! Wear oven mitts! Close door quickly. Turn down to 350. Bake 20 min., rotate loaf 180 degrees, and bake 20-30 min. more until loaf registers 200 degrees and sounds hollow when thumped.

Let cool one hour.


15 March 2010

Yarn dyeing pictures!

Oh dear ones. I've had a flood of editing come in, hooray hooray, and have been a bit focused on that and not on blogging. Moving on, a recap:

Yarn dyeing!

And more yarn dyeing and attempts to improve my photography skills.

Also, a fierce bread bake-off in which I determine which whole wheat bread is tastiest (Peter Reinhart is winning that one), I cook a lot of dry beans, we eat a lot of food, we decide to build ourselves a farmhouse table because we don't have one and I fell in love with them because of this video but, you know, don't have 1K to spend on a table. And we still don't have a table to eat at. We have our military boxes serving as a coffee table. And Passover is coming, and the promise of a wonderful seder ...

So, more editing is on the way for me. But I am also working out the details of buying a whole lot of yarn, undyed, then dyeing it after developing my own colorways, and making an etsy shop (I do think I'm going with Nomenclature Yarns, because creating is like naming, and naming colors is especially odd, and I am Swedish and so is Carl Linnaeus).

Urbana folks, I want to tell you, the other night, Noah and I bought some Bandit in a box. And I was full of nostalgia.

What are you all up to?