I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and that 2015 will be a happy and healthy new year for all.
Don’t you love getting ‘real’ mail? Real mail being NOT bills, supermarket flyers, or 6 pre-approved credit card offers. You can imagine my delight when I received a chubby envelope from Celia in Australia. Many of you know Celia from her great blog and as the hostess of these monthly In My Kitchen features. If you haven’t stopped by yet to see her, this would be a good time to check out what’s happening in her kitchen this month at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Inside the envelope were the seeds for making my first ever sourdough starter…so, the first thing happening this year in my kitchen is sourdough:
Celia very helpfully included very detailed instructions on getting the started perked up and ready to go. She also suggested naming my starter, referencing where it came from, namely Priscilla. I’ve named my starter Mamie, sister of Priscilla, in honor of my mother who was a world class baker. I should warn you though, that at any time Mamie may decide to suddenly change her name as my mother did. Yes, I have to tell you the story of the time I was visiting my mother when I answered the phone for her. That conversation was a pretty typical conversation with my mother and went something like this:
Mamie: Who was that?
Me: I don’t know – wrong number, someone looking for Mary
Mamie: Oh! That’s for me, who was it?
Me: I have no idea but it was someone looking for MARY, Ma. (My mother was a little hard of hearing).
Mamie: No, that’s me.
Me: (Who’s on first?) What do you mean – are you Mary?
Mamie: Yes of course I’m Mary!
Me: When did this happen?
Mamie: I’ve always been Mary
Me: Then why did your parents call you Mamie? And why did Dad call you Mamie…and your brothers and sisters? Why is the mail addressed to Mamie?
Mamie: They got it wrong and it was wrong on my birth certificate. (End of discussion, next!)
So, just like that my mother decided her name was Mary and started using it on all of her documents so I guess it was legal. One day I may take out my Mamie starter only to find that it’s now Mary, twin of Mamie, sister of Priscilla.
As Celia promised, my starter came to life and I got my first batch of sourdough bread ready to go, leaving it on the counter overnight until the next morning when it was ready to bust out of the bowl. Alas, the dough was ready to go but I was upstairs with a rip roaring migraine. Glenda – do you remember suggesting that my husband take up bread making during his retirement? The idea of fresh bread was too overwhelming for him to not step up to the plate and finish off according to Celia’s great tutorial. There were a few minor adjustments due to poor math skills with conversions (mine – and they would have happened even if I didn’t have a migraine). End result – maybe not the prettiest but our opinion is that it tastes great!
Of course I got plenty of cool gadgets and gifts from my family and friends. Now that I’ve got the first batch of sourdough under my belt, it’s time to try this butter making kit from my daughter. It should be great on my next batch of sourdough:
Cute little guy isn’t he? He was a Christmas gift for Tim, our future son-in-law and I was a wreck worrying about making sure he survived until I could get him to Tim. Lucky for me, I turned around in time as Moe the Terrorist Cat was tap-tapping Sushi’s jar to see the how he handled gravity. Oh, he’s also been renamed Henry (I think).
Now here’s what looks like a very fun gadget from Tim’s mother:
I have to buy some more grapes or cherry tomatoes to give this little gizmo a try but what you do is load it up with round objects and slide the slicer to cut the round objects in half. I imagine I can come up with other round objects to stuff in there and the beauty of it is that the blade is safely inside so I shouldn’t slice off any fingers this year (at least not with this).
And how about this Fadenschneider? I think I like that name better than just “microplane”. It’s always useful to have a zester and bottle opener handy but I’ve never had anything to make those clever curly garnishes that all of you fancy bloggers are doing. I sort of mangled a lime so I guess I still need some practice with my Fadenschneider, but once I do, you are going to see curly things all over my food.
And finally, moved from my kitchen to the back yard is this fun birdseed wreath from our great friends and neighbors, Tom and Sue. It took the birds a while to figure out what that was hanging out there, but I think our recent sleet and snow storm convinced the birds to give it a try and we had dozens of birds out there yesterday fighting for treats.
Thank you all for sharing your stories with me this past year and especially for stopping by to read and comment on my posts. I love hearing from you all and feel that I am a lucky person to have so many wonderful friends around the world. Your stories brighten my days and I love learning about you through your love of good food and fun friendship. May you all continue to share your joy of cooking and have a healthy, love filled New Year!