I've missed being in the kitchen, missed the creativity of a wooden spoon and odd ingredients picked up because they're in season. It really beats eating out, though the atmosphere isn't always so entertaining.
We grabbed sandwiches at Jobi on Sunday night because neither of us felt like cooking or eating leftovers. Behind us was a table of cute co-eds (while eavesdropping, we discovered one of them was from Indiana and I almost, almost asked her if she had a sister who went to Taylor University. She looked SO familiar.) Now, my husband and I love being observant. It's not nosy, just a habit you pick up when spending much too much of your life waiting in airports. So we were thoroughly and totally amused for the duration of our dinner by the attention this table of ladies received. First off, two young guys, not particularly good looking but by no means shy types. Testing out their English as they flirted, they were also simultaneously texting their friends, who began to appear in droves. Why they wanted to worsen their odds is beyond me...but by the time dinner was over, we almost couldn't leave, due to the 11 chairs (and assorted hangers-on) nestled around the 4 seater table behind us! Oh Brazilian boys, you made those girls feel like movie stars!
A few recipes and comments for your culinary pleasure:
Hubby was craving dessert last night, so I took a stock of the cupboards, grabbed a wine glass, a spoon and the rolling pin. Two minutes later, we were sharing this parfait:
1 honey flavored yogurt
1 peanut butter granola bar (crushed with rolling pin)
1 banana, sliced
Dollop of peanut butter
I layered the first three ingredients and topped off with PB. Simple, tasty and trickily delicious.
2) French toast with cinnamon-orange syrup
With no maple syrup in the house (and I dislike the taste of the imitation maple flavoring), I opted for a recipe that popped into my mind the night before.
The French toast was made with leftover homemade bread (recipe below) and organic eggs. Of course. The syrup was a simple syrup recipe with lots of cinnamon and thin strips of orange rind; at the end I added a bit of butter to even out the flavors.
3) Basic Bread for People with no time or arthritic hands
Mom passed this recipe down to me, which was given to her by a sweet friend who is an amazing decorator and all-around wonder woman. The basic recipe is as follows:
6 cups warm water
3 T salt
3 T yeast
13 cups flour
Obviously, this is more dough than two people can handle! I broke it down and only used 1/3 of the recipe, which is enough for about 2 basic round loaves. You mix it all up in a bowl with a lid, then let it sit overnight, covered but not sealed (you want the pressure to escape but keep small animals out). In the morning, cut off the bit of dough you want to bake, form it into a round loaf, let rise a bit, then toss it into a hot oven until it's done. My basic test for doneness is to flip the loaf over and knock on the base. If it sounds hollow, it's ready to come out, cool and be eaten. The dough lasts in the fridge for some time. Just keep it lightly covered; I am using these great bowls my mother-in-law gave us, with plastic lids. I don't seal the lid all the way around and it works perfectly!
We'll be eating the second loaf tonight with our white chili which is currently simmering on the stove next to my most recent food experiment: a fig-mango-orange peel jam. I've been looking for a recipe ever since I picked up the most divine light-green, clove-infused fig jam at a store in a tiny mountain town on vacation last year. Mine isn't green (my figs were ripe) but the flavor is approximating that phenomenal concoction. Yum yum. Might have to buy some mussarela de bufala and parma ham for sandwiches tomorrow...