Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bear With Me

Rule of thumb. Bear with me, I'll get to that.

I've got raw milk that's beginning to turn. The dog and cat will lap it up, but it turns my nose. I have a poverty consciousness that's out of control. I will not throw away two cups of milk. I look for a bread recipe using milk. One of my favorite cookbooks has a recipe for Old Fashioned Oatmeal Bread. Wow, a healthy alternative. I mix the 5 cups of flour, 2 cups of rolled oats and the milk, the yeast and so on, roll it into a dough ball, set it on a warm stove top and head off to the library. When I return, it's risen nicely. The recipe calls for dividing the dough into 3 pieces and putting them into bread pans. Let it rise for another hour, it says. I do and it doesn't. Bake it for 45 minutes at 400 degrees. After 20 minutes it's brown. I cut the heat back to 350 for another 20 minutes. I slice into a hot loaf and slather it with butter. Dawn says, "Very tasty." The next morning the plastic wrapped loaves could be used as weapons of war.

Still smarting from another bread failure, I open my credit card bill. Ouch. I wince and slide the bill under the return envelope flap with the due date face up. I need some positive reinforcement.

There's a can of re-fried beans in the frig. They're only 10 hours old, but I know what'll happen. Slowly they'll get pushed to the back of the refrigerator until, I discover the can of re-fried beans when surfing the icebox, all fuzzy gray/green covered with plastic wrap. I'll make tortillas. I nuke a bowl of oatmeal with dried cranberries and make myself an espresso mocha.

Rule OF Thumb: ( I told you I'd get to it).

Don't wear black sweats when baking. As long as I'm on the subject: Don't sit on a metal chair near the open back door of the Cashton Community Center in 10 degree weather. That's another story.

I cut my tortilla recipe back to one third. I toss the remaining amount of Rumford baking powder into the bowl and guess the warm water to about 5/8ths cup. This time I mix the water slowly into my dry ingredients and feel the dough. When I get the right consistency, not too moist so it's sticky, I toss the remaining amount of water. I shape the kneaded dough into small balls while my cast iron pan is heating up. After the first two tortillas are rolled out, I'm in the saddle riding the tortillas into nice taco sized, thin sheets of dough. While one is cooking, I'm rolling out another. As long as I don't get distracted, it works like a charm. Yahoo ( can you still say that?) My tortillas are fantastic.

Topping off my breakfast are three small tortillas on which I spread refried black beans, a half slice of crispy fried bacon, some no-name cheese I found in the meat keeper and Louisiana hot sauce. I put the glass plate in the microwave and head upstairs because it's TOO QUIET in the house.

The dog's on the futon looking at me. The cat's on the dresser looking at me. Both have that, "WHAT?" look on their faces. The microwave is beeping. I cooked the tortillas past the 30 second mark, but no harm is done.

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