Monday, October 26, 2020
leaves underfootinstead of overheadgolden light a signthat it is time to dine
sounds like a grandchild's prayer
hearts laid barewe circled around the puppyskateboarded and walked, feeling luckyeating strawberry saladroots roasted, a balladpotatoes smashedsourdough stuffing stashedin a golden turkey, brinedsour cherry pie'dand cream cheesewith pumpkin roll, please
covers the triple word tile
scrabbleand the babbleof siblingsplaying with words
my poplar tree donedrawing water and summer sunfrom branches and roots
through the neighborhood flungbreathes - exhales into my lungs
drops leaves like sunshinefor ladybugs to findwe scatter them like driftscover the gardens with poplar's gifts
Saturday, October 3, 2020
from the trees
black eyes bright
like a question
alight on my finger
like a breath
I thought I was holding
rustling aspen along the ridge
|Beaver dam at Beaver Creek|
Friday, September 25, 2020
So I know that sour dough bread has been a thing in these pandemic months ... but my sister-in-law brought a jar of starter with her when she came to visit, and the thing entered my kitchen for the first time. During their visit she created amazing waffles, and cinnamon buns, and then left me with my own starter when they went back home.
Irene has always been a cooking influence in my life. We've spent time in her kitchen watching her study her recipes, following or adapting, meticulously chopping and pulling together such amazing feasts over the years. So I watched her, and she talked through things as she worked. And then she began to write her tips onto the backs of papers that held Evelyn and Rick's painting originals. "Adventures with sour dough, by Irene".
I had watched her tend that starter, carefully feeding and stirring (no metal, except a fork or whisk to stir), refrigerating or leaving on the counter depending on what she was making or when.
Lid on, or lid off and covered with a towel.
Jar on the counter, jar in the fridge, or jar in a bowl so it didn't overflow.
Opening the lid, looking at the bubbles, smelling the thing, deciding if it was "ripe".
You "discard" some, and feed the jar. then you feed the "discard" and cook with it. or discard the discard, and then take some out to bake, and feed the bubbly baking part.
If you know anything about me at all, you know that I am not all that nurturing of things inside my house. If you are in my house, and you are a plant or other non person (and my dear husband may have grounds to claim that this lack of nurture extended in his general direction as well ... you are good, right? Don't have to take care of you do I?).
I value plant and "thing" independence. Sour dough starter feels rather needy.
However. It comes from Irene. so... it bears some consideration.
I take the jar out of the fridge in the evening. Get the bubbles going over night.
I look at it in the morning. Sure is bubbling. Smells like something ripe. Kind of yeasty sour and sweet. By evening the bubbles have sunk and it smells more yeasty and sharp. Now I try to do the discard and feeding math and it is too late. My brain has deeply carved trails of baking with yeast. I understand my oatmeal brown bread. But this sourdough requires much more of me. Not sure I want to give that.
I give up for the day. I feed the thing again in the evening. And go to bed.
In the morning I discard some, and feed them all. add things to it. let it sit for 30 minutes. put it into a dutch oven and let it sit 30 more minutes (or a bit more. or a bit less. depends ...) then do the stretch and fold thing. No kneading this needy bread. Then leave it at room temperature till it doubles in size. anywhere from 3-12 hours. depends on the temperature of the room and the happiness of the sourdough.
At 5 pm I decide that ready or not, that dough is getting shaped into a ball. So. Pull the edge up, fold, and turn. Repeat. Flip over, and shape into a ball. It just keeps sagging though - texture feels as though I didn't add enough flour.
I did not buy a scale for the ingredients ... as true sourdough lore requires. A scale is more acurate. Oh well. let's see this experiment through to the end.
Back into the dutch oven (a cast iron pot we bought almost 30 years ago, and for all of those years have used only for camping ... now its coming into the kitchen for sour dough bread). Cast iron pot is liberally sprinkled with corn meal. (See? I can follow directions!) Rise another 30 minutes. or a bit more.
Heat oven to 450. Put loaf into 450 oven with lid, and turn down to 400. Bake for 20 minutes. Then remove lid and bake another 40 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on wire racks for at least 1 hour ... or the middle is gummy. Click here for a more precise recipe!
We all survived this first sour dough adventure, and the starter is back in the fridge where it only needs to be fed every 5-10 days. I'll cut the loaf open this evening with some beef and barley soup. I was not able to mathematically co-ordinate the ending of the sour dough baking last night with the beginning of supper.
It keeps a bit of Irene in my kitchen, and that is always a good thing.
Anyone want some starter?
|I DID slice the top of the loaf before baking... as instructed ... but obviously not deeply enough. |
Friday, September 11, 2020
in one place
the lady bugs
think I am a plant
and come crawling
looking for aphids
Saturday, August 15, 2020
Mornings are cooler on my deck. Raspberries are ripening more slowly, and wasps are eager to take the sugary sweetness of any I've left hanging too long. Spotted robins are getting better at navigating flight. Chickadees so cheerfully chatter around the yard. Morning glory strands climb all the cords we've hung in their way, seeking the best way up - waving their growing ends back and forth, twining around each other till I introduce them to my idea of a cord. Sometimes they wind around it right away, and sometimes I need to remind them. Tomatoes are on the verge of turning.
They are strange slow COVID summer days with a powerful undercurrent of energy.
And in this season of waiting, wondering, planning, taking stock, I find myself
less afraid of old age, old trees, an old earth; of wasps and pruning
more interested in flavors
toasted coconut, garlic scape pesto, yellow and red tomatoes
more convinced that trees clapping and celebrating is more than a figure of speech
increasingly captivated and intrigued by children
so grateful for a morning chat with my sisters and brother
just as thrilled by fresh raspberries and haskaps on my cereal in the morning
more curious about what the beavers are up to on the river banks
... and increasingly intrigued and captivated by a Creator
who speaks a universe
as well as a whisper
Sunday, April 26, 2020
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.