Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Projects of all kinds

Everything is lovely in blogland.

I love to show the beautiful amaryllis on my desk, so intensely red and purely white. I love to show projects and share recipes.

But sometimes reality takes over.

Sometimes a pipe bursts inside the bathroom wall at 9:30 p.m. and you both have to try to devise a fix-it plan and suddenly realize you have to run to the big box store before closing and wildly buy parts -- both 3/4" and 1/2" because who knows what size is behind the wall -- and some kind of torch tank thing and some flux and solder. And you make it to the store 5 minutes before closing.

Sometimes you stay up til 1:15, holding the lamp-with-the-lampshade taken off because the flashlight battery has worn down, as your husband cuts a hole in the drywall and finds the split pipe and solders on a shut-off valve pipe thing.

And when you turn the water back on, the freshly soldered piece shoots off from the water pressure. And he does the soldering again. And this time the valve doesn't close all the way and the water is still leaking. And so you keep the water turned off all night and hope other pipes don't freeze.

And you can't get to sleep, from all this home-fix-it excitement, and finally you do sleep and then sleep in way too late. And by the time you get up, husband has already purchased the additional pieces needed and soldered the cap on once and for all.

And you are grateful for your Superhero Wall-Destroying Man husband. And that you still have some of the bathroom's wallpaper stashed in the closet.

And I'm happy to have a project to share. My sisters and I trade ATCs on occasion, each of us taking turns in choosing a theme word. Because I was so very late in doing the previous ATC (oh, was I almost a year late???), we were all delayed in making 'Autumn'.

But here are mine, ready to go out to L and C. I really got into making a mini-quilt kind of card, doing handsewing and playing with color and texture. And this time I am only 2 months later than they were in finishing the card. Progress.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The World Turns White . . .

The world turns white
snow erasing all color
we are left with cold, soft
shapes, lines.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Dutch Currant Bread

Dutch Currant Bread

My brother and sil serve the most wonderful currant bread at Christmas. It's a long, low loaf, so full of currants that there is only a little bread between each little black dot. I love it.

A box of currants in the pantry and a wintery day inspired me to find a recipe for Krentenbrood and try to make it myself. I used the recipe here.

The dough was easy to put together in the stand mixer and I hand-kneaded just a little bit before the first rise. I may have made a mistake on the yeast -- used two envelopes of yeast for the 2 tsp called for -- I think each envelope may have 1 tablespoon, but I compared the amount of flour in this recipe with another and two envelopes seemed right. The first rise was proper, and once the loaves were shaped, the second rise seemed right, too.

My only other changes were to proof the yeast in 1/4 cup + 1 T of the sugar before putting it in and to plump up the currants. The currants appeared withered up to me, so I soaked them in hot water for 10 minutes and then dried them on paper towels. In the loaf, the currants are nice and plump -- so good.

Results? Pretty yummy! The two envelopes of yeast still seems right, but I may do it with two tsp next time and also not use loaf pans to see if I can duplicate the long low loaves. And MORE CURRANTS are needed!

Currant bread is so good toasted and spread with a bit of butter.

Time for another slice.