Well, now that my fortieth birthday is a distant memory, I plan to also turn all of the binge eating I did during the week into one too. I imbibed in all types of deliciousness from Bouchon to Lucques with champagne, wines, cupcakes and ice cream galore!
We spent Friday and Saturday at the Hotel del Coronado for my firm retreat, but, I just longed for home (for so many reasons, not the least of which is I hate the sand and sun. Give me my smoggy, congested LA any day.) To celebrate our return to civilization, Oliver and I opted for making bread this morning followed by a trip to the Natural History Museum (via metro, of course). If you haven't checked out the Museum's edible garden its a must see/smell/taste!
Oliver recently expressed interest in learning where his food comes from. His school has a garden (which is good because I hate to garden almost as much as I hate sand. It's a sensory thing). And, Justin and I have been trying to show him where other foods come from. Last weekend, for Father's day, we went fishing and caught a trout. We decided it would be a good lesson to cook it at eat it. I'm not suggesting that Troutdale is where I would want all of the fish our family consumes to be from, -- but I think the lesson was well learned and he ate the fish carefully around the bones -- and poked at the eye sockets. And, just so he was too terribly disappointed I ordered the Trout Almondine at Bouchon so he could see how good it could taste!!!!
We decided to continue that project today and baked bread. I have never "really" made my own bread, (I don't count pizza crusts and quick breads). I also don't have a bread maker so it was just up to me. So, I simply looked for the simplest recipe that sounded good in my Cooking Light Cook Book. (Note: this is not the exact recipe I used, but is very similar). The recipe was for a French bread with a crusty exterior. Oliver loves "long bread" -- so, even though I wasn't ready to attempt to roll it out, I thought he would enjoy a nice little round loaf of it.
We got out the yeast, and I showed Oliver how it bubbled when hot water was added, he helped me measure the bread flour and salt, and was in charge of the Cuisinart's power button. The recipe didn't require a lot of kneading, but he got his hands in there a bit, and after the bread had risen twice, he applied the egg wash.
As soon as it came steaming out of the oven he was ready to dig in! We cut off slices and slathered them in butter. So delicious. The bread itself had a crusty exterior but was far more dense than the light airy texture I had hoped for. But, by the end of the day, Oliver, Justin and I had eaten the whole thing.
So many lines have been spent discussing the breaking of bread, particularly about the Eucharist. But, Eucharist bread is unleavened. It has not had the addition of that foamy yeast or the rise and fall of the dough. For me, the breaking of bread with my family is full of love and laughs as we each spread another smear of butter. But, the baking of the bread, -- that's where the family is. It represents us, our ups and our downs, our pasts and our present. It is the chemistry of our lives.