Sorry Florida, I can’t call you home yet. Today marks 3 weeks being here in Delray Beach, FL and there is yet to be a sense of “homeness.” I do so love your beaches. Your blue blue sky and puffy white clouds bring me delight. My skin thanks you for the moisture in the air, and I appreciate the abundance of topical flora. But daily, I have to remind myself I live here now.
Last week however, a little home came to us. Via facebook I saw the news that friends of ours had experienced the loss of a loved one. One of the friends was in Boynton Beach taking care of things that needed family attention. Boynton Beach is our next door neighbor, and through the speed of instant technology, we were able to invite this friend to our fancy camping space for dinner. Ray’s visit brought us the comfort of home and familiarity, history and memories, knowing others and being known. Thank You Ray for your presence.
The green tomatoes turned red. Every one of them. I picked them off my plants in October following our look-see trip to Florida. Due to threat of freeze, they needed to come out of the cold. So I traveled with a large bowl of green tomatoes from CO to FL. This week those wonderfully red, tasty Niwot Colorado grown tomatoes became fresh salsa for dinner. Another comfort from home.
My friend Adie made pumpkin bars while we were skyping this week. She came in and out of the picture, but that didn’t disrupt our conversation which included a great discussion about bread baking. The only reason I KNEW I wasn’t at home sitting by her counter while she was making bars and talking bread, was that I couldn’t actually have some of the pumpkin cake she had made a few days earlier. Still, it felt like home – a normal conversation; recognizing pots and pans, countertops and cookbooks; being fully myself without wondering where I was supposed to go, or where I was, or who I was with. Thanks Adie for pumpkin and companionship.
I brought a bread recipe from home that I had intended to try for months. I made it here in Florida. I am going to share the recipe because it’s so delicious & simple – even those who have never made homemade bread can do it. Baking bread is a task that is familiar and comforting. Seems like making a new recipe from home, here in my home-to-be is a good part of the transition that is taking place.
Florida, don’t be discouraged. I’m sure you’ve got the stuff to make yourself feel like home. It’s just going to take more than 3 weeks…
a wee bit homesick Laura
BASIC NO KNEAD BREAD Start this bread the day before you want to bake it.
(I got it from someone who wrote that it’s slightly adapted from Jim Lahey’s My Bread – I’ve slightly adapted again – so Jim gets original credit!, but I added a healthy change and tried a non-stick pot)
6 cups bread or all purpose flour. I used 3 cups of white whole-wheat flour and 3 cups white.
1/2 tsp instant or active-dry yeast
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 2/3 cup cool water
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt. Add the water and stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated; the dough should be wet and sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest 12-18 hours on the counter at room temperature. When the surface of the risen dough has darkened slightly, smells yeasty, and is dotted with bubbles, it is ready.
2. Lightly flour your hands and a work surface. Place dough on work surface and sprinkle with more flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice and using floured fingers, tuck the dough underneath to form a rough ball.
Generously dust a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with enough flour, cornmeal or wheat bran to preven the dough from sticking to the towel as it rises. ( I USED CORNMEAL – yum!) Place dough seam side down on the towel and dust with more flour, cornmeal or wheat bra. Cover with the edges or a second cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours until it has doubled in size. ( I let it rise 4 hrs because I was gone…)
4. After about 1 1/2 hours, preheat oven to 425-450. Place a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot, such as a cast-iron Dutch oven, in the oven as it heats. When the dough has fully risen, carefully removed the pot from the oven. Remove top towel dfrom dough and slide your hand under the bottom towel; flip the dough over the pot, seam side up. ( I was clumsy and dropped it in seam side down…) Shake pan once or twice if dough looks unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
5. Cover and bake for 40-50 minutes. Uncover and continue baking about 5-10 minutes until a deep chestnut brown. The internal temp of the bread should be around 200 degrees. You can check this with a meat thermometer, if desired. ( I didn’t bake without lid for more than 2 min and also didn’t check internal temp)
6. Remove the bread from the pot and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. (Are you kidding? I took it out of the oven, put it on the table, said a prayer over the meal and sliced the warm bread and served it with brie). Do what you will…