Elbow Deep in Baking

Yea, almost Happy New Year!  Happy to move beyond the Christmas Baking frenzy although I do love what I’ve been baking.  That’s the problem, I do love it!

A new recipe this year was a Truffles one that I saw in the 100 Best of Saveur.  Of course it’s Alice Medrich – one of my favorite chocolate bakers.  She calls them House Truffles:

1 Lb. Covature pistoles (she uses semi sweet morsels)

1 stick + 2 Tbs. melted unsalted butter

1/8th. tsp. salt

2 egg yolks at room temperature

1/2 C. boiling water

cocoa powder for dusting

Line an 8×8 pan with foil.  Melt the chocolate, butter and salt in  the food processsor for 1-2 minutes, stir till smooth. Let cool a bit, transfer to food processor.  Whisk yolks in a bowl and slowly whisk in the hot water….add to the processor slowly while running.  Spread evenly in the pan, chill for a few hours.  Sift some cocoa on a paper sheet, invert chocolate onto it and dust with some more, cut in blocks.   That’s it.  Smooth, creamy and waaaaay better than those round things.

truffles

This year I made Christmas Stollens without the Jersey Girl fake green and red stuff (those dried christmas fruits in a container).  I love them, not the taste but the colors so it was tough not using them.  I cut up tons of dates, almonds, dried apricots, dried cherries, etc.

Many, many moons ago, back when our neighborhood actually spoke to each other…..we have been here 35 years and seen a 100% turnover many times and for some reason no one is very social anymore.  Very sad, very isolated group, unusual I think.  I’m thinking the computer is the socialization factor now.

Anyway…I always made these and then took them around to each of our neighbors late Christmas Eve afternoon so they would be able to have them as toast on Christmas morning or my favorite….french toast.  Alas, this year, I went to my new neighbor of 6 or so years across the street – a perfect reason to meet him and say Hi (can you imagine not even saying Hi or acknowledging someone that long – he won’t make eye contact)….true enough, no surprise here, he wouldn’t answer his door!  Oh well, his loss.  I delivered the rest randomly and then came home to eat a big, fat piece of ours with a nice hot cup of tea.  It was awesome.  I will always make these, every Christmas and probably always try and deliver them…..it’s not like I have cooties.

stollens

stollens2

Now that it is the end of the year I’m closing out my husbands books for the boat business.  It’s probably my least favorite thing to do…..lots of numbers, spread sheets, paperwork, files, icky stuff.  All those little pieces have to match….yiiikes.  And, I don’t do it on the computer as I have to constantly cross check information as I go and scrolling back and forth is a nightmare for me.  I can usually pick out the number I need from the masses much easier if it’s all in front of me.  I like math and I particulaily like getting it right.  Odd I know but it beats cleaning the house or any of those other mundane things we all do.

The math thing is probably why I like weaving so much.  It’s all about getting the numbers right or the end product will come out wonky if not aligned.  So, in between the paperwork I’ve been doing some weaving.

silk noil

This is a bamboo warp that I’ve had on for ages.  I’ve actually woven quite a few things off this warp already and decided to use some of this blue silk noil that has been on my shelf for years, like 25 at least.  It’s been sun bleached from living on various shelves in my studio both here in this house and in the barn apartment while we lived up there (for 22 years).  It’s kind of cool, variegated.  This photo does not show the actual color – it’s much deeper, closer to the blue in the warp.  It’s fun.  I’m not sure what this is going to be…..I’m tempted to just keep weaving until there is nothing left and then cut it up into whatever.  It’s very soothing to just throw the shuttle and not have to think about it.  This warp is on my computerized loom so the program is already in, all I do if using one color weft is tap the compressor and throw the shuttle.  It’s very high tech.  These looms are perfect for sampling warps for companies; if I only had a sampling contract I’d be set!  But, then I might not have the time to do all the other things I love to do.  It’s a problem.

Meanwhile.  Happy New Year!  Read something amazing…….I’m reading Catherine The Great by Robert K. Massie, can’t recommend it enough!  I’m also reading The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri – a detective novel taking place in Sicily, pretty cool book with lots more in the wings.  I just finished In the Shadows of the Morning by Philip Caputo; Essays on Wild Lands, Wild Waters and a Few Untamed People.  Very interesting; completely grabbed me, especially the story on Alaska.  Philip Caputo is perhaps best known for A Rumor of War, about Viet Nam.  He is one of my favorite writers.

So, it’s crappy out today…..reading on the agenda.  ciao

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