What a way to kick off spring break! My parents came to visit, which is always fun, and we had a great time. We ate all the good food, heard some live music, did some book shopping. Good times with family. They also brought me some goodies from my aunt down in Phoenix! My aunt has two citrus trees — a grapefruit and a tangelo? orange? delicious? — and grows a much bigger garden than you would think would be possible in Phoenix.
This week’s goodies? Two HUGE bags of tangelos, a bag of GIGANTIC grapefruit (they make the ones in stores look like lemons), a bag of greens (kale, chard, and turnips), and a big fat bag of tomatoes. The tangelos and tomatoes, though, were a bit sad. The tangelos were starting to turn a bit on the outside and the tomatoes were getting a bit soft. One or two had burst. But I am not one to waste good produce, especially when it’s not actually bad, just on its way out.
Solution? Juice and sauce!
For the sauce, I used Smitten Kitchen’s Fresh Tomato Sauce recipe, but Alton Brown has a good one as well. I did it right this time: I peeled and seeded the tomatoes, I made a mirepoix, I let it simmer for a long time, trying to increase that depth of flavor… I haven’t really gotten a chance to taste it yet but I’m excited. I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do with the juice, but lord knows it’s delicious enough to just drink straight. It’s really hard not to guzzle all four containers immediately.
That was all on Saturday. Today, Sunday, I have new projects. Project #1: bread. I need something to eat for breakfast this week, so I am making bread for eggs and toast. Eggs and toast are a weekend luxury, even though they’re so fast you wouldn’t think it would qualify them as a luxury. Usually, on weekdays, I take my breakfast with me to school, heat up my little frozen breakfast sandwich in the microwave, and eat while I check my email. Yes, yes, I know, it’s not the best habit to have, but oh well. It’s routine now.
Project #2: yogurt. …I’ll let you know.
Project #3: Reusable snack bags. This one I’m pretty excited about. I found the instructions here, and I liked this one best because all the others called for vinyl or laminate fabric, which I could not find at my local craft stores. Instead, this one calls for reusing old grocery bags (success!). It’s crazy! You put the grocery bags between sheets of parchment paper (do be careful — melted plastic on irons is no laughing matter) and iron it, fusing the bags together into a plastic fabric. I did NOT use the nylon setting. It was #2. I used #4. Nylon did nothing to my plastic bags. From there, it’s pretty straight-forward. Make sure you do the sewing of the fabric against the smooth side first, so that when you turn it inside out the inside is nice and smooth and won’t be prone to growing bacteria. I also used some easy-to-sew velcro to make sure my bags stay pretty shut.
They’re not super pretty (other than the fabulous color!), but they can fit a fair bit of snack in there, and it is certainly possible to make them prettier and of different sizes. I just don’t care that much. I left the printing on the bags (you could only use non-printed pieces) and I got two snack bags out of one sheet of plastic, from 6 bags. This next time I’m going to use 4 bags because 6 was quite stiff. It’ll be good so that stuff doesn’t get crushed, but at the same time it was at times tough to work with.
Basic White Bread by King Arthur Flour
- 3 cups unbleached AP flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast (1 envelope)
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 4 tbsp butter
- 9 oz lukewarm water
- Combine all the ingredients and mix and knead them together — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until you’ve made a soft, smooth dough. Adjust the dough’s consistency with extra flour as needed. Cover and let dough rise for 1 hour, until it’s puffy (not necessarily doubled in bulk).
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface and and shape it into an 8″ log. Then, transfer the log to a lightly greased loaf pan. Allow to rise, covered, for another hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, covering with foil if it gets too brown.
- Cool it out of the pan on a wire rack. Eat with jam and butter and honey and cold cuts and plain and oh god this bread is so goood.