Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Adventures in Bread Baking

If I'm going to finish my 30 by 30, I don't have time to dilly dally. So last weekend I rolled up my sleeves for some good old fashioned break baking. I've had plenty of time to think about it. I've had by eye on this recipe for over a year, since it became one of the most popular emailed articles ever on newyorktimes.com. Since that time, who knows how many fans this recipe has gathered. You can find devotes of the no-knead bread method all over the web. It's so simple--some yeast, flour, salt and water stirred together in a bowl and left for a day to rise. An hour in the oven after that, and presto--bread! I thought it would be the perfect way to launch my break-baking career.

Except, sadly, my version failed to do the only thing it really has to do--rise to great and lofty heights. When I peaked in on my dough at hour 12, I was greeted with only the most tentative progress. Additional encouragement had no effect. I was ready to throw the not-so-big glob away, but my dad convinced me to bake it up, and the result was...kind of bagelish in a yummy, chewy, 10 bagels smushed together in a loaf kind of way. Not what I'd call a full success, but definitely not a bust either.

Stay tuned for attempt number two!

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Last Friday evening was so lovely. L had gotten me tickets to the Washington Ballet for Christmas, and we bookended the performance with drinks and dinner in the city. Everything was a feast. The ballet was performed in the new Harman Center for the Arts, which is such an intimate theater, and our seats were so close we could see every movement and effort. The performance, aptly named Genius, included pieces by three composers--Mark Morris (such a fun piece, and you could really see the dancers playing with the music), Christopher Wheeldon (a deeply emotional piece set to French and German burlesque, Bertolt Brecht lyrics), and Twyla Tharp (just gorgeous--9 dances set to Frank Sinatra, with costuming by Oscar de la Renta--wow). The music for all by the Sinatra pieces was performed live on stage. I loved every minute of it! Afterwards, I introduced L to the Greek goodness that is Zaytinia. It was the kind of evening that reminds me how nice it is to live so near the city and work right in the middle of it. Thanks, L--it was a wonderful gift!

Monday, February 04, 2008

30 by 30

When my friend Megan turned 29, she made a big list of 30 things she wanted to do to celebrate turning 30. I had so much fun tagging along on some of her adventures, and I vowed to make my own list for my 30th year. So here it is, with a bit of an accelerated time line (my birthday's in July). I revamped the blog, and listed my 30 things to the right. As I make them happen, I'll write about them here. And if you want to join in on any of the fun, just say the word! The list is full of things big and small. It has a smattering of things I've wanted to do for a while (see the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Virginia, visit my grandparents in Florida and Virginia), and a few things I've just taken up an interest in (sewing on my new machine!). It includes big adventures (a trip to Egypt!), and small habits I've wanted to work on (drinking more water). Most importantly, the list doesn't treat 30 like a deadline--just a milestone I want to celebrate and document and reflect on a little. You should come along for the ride!