Sunday, September 30, 2012

I've been getting ready for another week in Paris, coming up really soon now. These days I get a lot of enjoyment just out of the planning and packing. But I've about settled on everything I'm taking -- though this morning I've yet again pared a few pounds off the weight -- so now it's getting the house ready for my absence (really, I guess, for my return! Like, having a frozen pizza in the oven to eat when I get home that late night, and making the bed up with fresh linens the morning I leave town), making arrangements for having someone come visit the cats and having all their stuff set up and ready.

I have my black leather coat, that I love, that I wore to Paris the first time I visited, and until just a few minutes ago that was a Given, for wearing it over there. But then I downloaded the extended forecast for Paris, and I don't need it! The temps are supposed to be low 70s to mid-60s during the days, and the coldest at night will be 45 - and I won't be out & about at night. Those are my *perfect* temperatures for comfort. So I just jettisoned about 5 lbs of weight - and untold hassle of keeping track of it - right there. Yay! If there's some kind of drastic surprise and the weather does get cold, I've heard some places in Paris *might* have coats that one could buy. So, yay. Life just got a whole lot more comfortable and easier.


Just spent 45 minutes online, reading up on the various pickpocketing methods employed by the enterprising thieves of the world. *sigh*  Another reason not to have much luggage. I can keep my two bags in front of me all the time. Now if I can just avoid looking exhausted and confused (shouldn't be too confused; I know precisely where my apartment is from the airport).

Anticipation is one-quarter of the fun!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Baking bread

Tried an old rye bread recipe today, that I hadn't made since (according to the note in my loose leaf bread recipe notebook) April 11, 1971.  I refuse to do the math on that one.

I made an unholy mess creating the dough, but it's all washable so *meh*.  The first "resting" period is only 20 minutes, so that's a perfect amount of time to clean up after myself. Then, it's punch it down and shape the loaves, cover and let it rise for an hour. Once I got the two loaves shaped and ready to sit and rise, it was looking pret-ty darned good, so I took some pictures.

My dear, late husband Bob had decided to get into bread-baking not long before his last illness. Being a true cooking hobbyist, that meant he bought *everything*. I had made bread for decades with just a bowl, some measuring utensils, a spoon, and a board to knead on, not even a bread pan (though I had a couple I'd inherited). He needed all that plus parchment paper, a big oven stone, and a big pizza peel,

 not to mention every kind of flour and additive known to man: lecithin, gluten, and several other things I threw out a couple years ago when I realized I'd never be using them. Corn meal, arrowroot flour, sugar cane (?)...the list goes on. The pizza peel and oven stone are right handy items. So is the parchment paper - those risen loaves slid right onto the stone atop the parchment paper and didn't even *think* about deflating. 

An hour later I had fresh bread.

And now I have to stop eating it so I have bread for the rest of the week!

I've been making bread by hand for a month or so; my breadmaker paddle has welded itself to its post at the bottom of the pan, and it has to come out to get cleaned, so it's no longer sanitary to use it. I think I'll toss the pan & paddle into the trash, and give the breadmaker to Goodwill or something; they can order replacement pans and paddles but I never have particularly liked using the breadmaker and I'm trying to reduce the amount of Stuff, especially unnecessarily electrical Stuff, so it needs to go and leave me some more space on the counter.