Archive for July, 2009

college days

July 3, 2009

Last night, David and I met up in Boston with our friends Johnna and Ross from Hampshire. Over dinner, and then drinks, there was a lot of reminiscing about our college days…. I really, really miss being in school.

trivia night

July 1, 2009

I know I’ve been posting a lot tonight, but I didn’t want to forget this! Last night David and I went with some of my co-workers to trivia night at a nearby bar. For awhile we went every week, but we hadn’t gone in quite some time.

Q: Which US capital gets its name from a bloody pole covered with fish and animal heads, erected by Native Americans to designate hunting grounds?

After going through all the capitals in different regions, we came up with the right answer…
A: Baton Rouge!

a road bike… finally!

July 1, 2009

I have excellent news. After close to three months of searching, I am finally the owner of a road bike! I ended up finding my beloved bicycle, a Cannondale synapse feminine 5, at Buchika’s in Salem, NH. Much gratitude to Mike who was knowledgeable and patient, and spent almost the entire afternoon talking with my mom while I went on many long rides. And, of course, thanks to my amazing mother who accompanied me to every bike store I went to over the last few months (and there were so, so many…).

This was a Christmas present from my parents. I’m so grateful that they helped me invest in a really great bicycle. Thank you mom and dad!!

eating from the school’s organic garden

July 1, 2009

On Monday, when I headed to school to copy files over onto my external hard drive and meet up with co-workers to go out to lunch, I was invited to pick veggies from the school’s organic garden, grown by biology honors students amongst others. I picked radishes, snap peas, mint, and a lot of lettuce.

The radishes were brilliantly red on a gloomy day. It was so striking, especially against the dark, wet soil.

Yesterday (Tuesday), David and I had my co-worker and his wife (who works at the middle school) over for brunch. Along with several other dishes, I made a salad using what I’d picked (and some other veggies).

I think it’s so amazing that our students learned how to grow food and saw all the hours they put in at lunch and after school result in something so concrete–with their hands they produced delicious, healthy food. It makes me want a plot of earth…

Tomato & rosemary focaccia

July 1, 2009

This is the bread I made on Monday, in addition to the flatbread with onion & rosemary. The recipes are fairly similar–I wanted to use up the rosemary I’d bought–but have pretty distinct tastes. If I had to choose between them, I’d say I prefer the flatbread with onion & rosemary.

This recipe also comes from “Making Fresh Bread,” published by Parragon Books, 2008. As I said in my last post, it’s a good book with beautiful pictures, but sometimes the recipe instructions lack important information, like how to shape the dough and how thick to make it before baking, and I had to guess based on the photos. I’ve tried to make my instructions more explicit.

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups white bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, plus extra sprigs to garnish
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water (*I actually used 1 1/2 cups of water)
  • 6 oven-dried or sun-blush tomato halves (I used 10 or so sundried tomatoes, which I cut into smaller pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Directions

1) Sift the flour into a bowl. Stir in the yeast and rosemary. Make a well in the center, pour in 4 tablespoons of the oil and quickly mix in with a spoon. Gradually stir in the water. Form the dough into a ball, which should be fairly wet–don’t add more flour.

2) Put flour on the counter, so the dough doesn’t stick. Knead the dough for 2 minutes.

3) Brush a bowl with oil. Form the dough into a ball and put it in the bowl with a damp dish towel on top. Allow the dough to rise for two hours, until doubled in volume.

4) Place the dough back on the floured counter and knead for 1 minute. Using a rolling pin, form the dough into a rectangle, approximately 1/2″ thick. Brush a cookie sheet with oil and place the dough on it, covering it with a damp dish towel. Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour.

5) In 1 hour, you will want the oven to be preheated to 475 degrees F. While waiting for the dough to rise, cut the tomatoes in half, or to the size you want them.

6) When the 1 hour is up, you may need to further roll out the dough–mine filled a 17″ cookie sheet.

7) Mix 1 tablespoon of oil with a few tablespoons of water. Dip two fingers into the oil/water mixture and press into the dough, making dimples all over the loaf. Sprinkle sea salt over the loaf, press the tomatoes into some of the dimples, then drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of oil over the loaf. Garnish the loaf with rosemary sprigs.

8) Reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees F and bake the focaccia for 20 minutes, until golden brown.

9) Put on a cooling wrack, serve warm!

Flatbread with onion & rosemary

July 1, 2009

On Monday, my first real day of summer vacation, I went out to lunch with co-workers, then came home and made bread.

This recipe comes from “Making Fresh Bread,” published by Parragon Books, 2008. It’s a good book with beautiful pictures, but sometimes the recipe instructions lack important information, like how to shape the dough and how thick to make it before baking, and I had to guess based on the photos. I’ve tried to make my instructions more explicit.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups white bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, plus small sprigs to garnish
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings (I only used 1/2 of a large onion)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

Directions

1) Sift the flour into a bowl, then stir the yeast and rosemary in.

2) Make a well in the center and pour in three tablespoons of the oil and all of the water. Stir until the dough begins to come together, then knead with your hands until it’s no longer on the side of the bowl. Lightly flour the counter so the dough doesn’t stick and kneed for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

3) Brush a bowl with oil. Shape the dough into a ball, and place it in the bowl with a damp dish towel on top. Leave it to rise for one hour. The dough should double in volume.

4) Take the dough out of the bowl and put it back on the floured counter. Kneed it for one minute.

5) Roll out the dough into a circle, about 12″ in diameter. Brush a cookie sheet with oil and place the dough on it. Cover the cookie sheet with a damp dish towel and let the dough rise for 20-30 minutes. By the time your dough is risen, in 20-30 minutes, you want your oven to be preheated to 400 degrees F.

6) Using the handle of a wooden spoon (or something similar), make indentations all over the surface of the dough. Place the red onion rings on the top, drizzle with oil (1-2 tablespoons), and sprinkle the sea salt all over.

7) Bake for 20 minutes.

8) Place the rosemary sprigs on the top of the loaf, then place it back in the oven and bake for five additional minutes. The loaf will be golden brown when it’s finished.

9) Place on a cooling rack. Eat warm!