>We found this on the front door, right after going out for 4th of July sushi. It wasn’t there when we left, so in the time it took us to devour lots of fish (which wasn’t long, since all we’d been doing was juicing, see below…), this alien beauty had landed, decided to leave its skin here for us as a gift, and flew off again, newly rejuvenated.

The shell really was as big as it looks.

It made me think about Ravinia, and all the times Malia and I would drag our massive coolers and baskets full of wine and beer and Trader Joe’s nibbles and chairs and table down the pebbly path to Ravinia…and the year that the cicadas were three inches long, and flying through the air in a cloud. That was an experience.

There’s so much I want to blog about, but posting “Child of Fortune, Child of Labor” (previously known as Deadbells, and from now on, known as CoF, CoL) has resulted in a swamp of activity in my writing life. At least, I’m declaring that the catalyst. But I’ve got a handful of OWW crits to return, plus some that I was planning to do before they became return crits, and some really exciting author interviews for Lightspeed, which has given me an excuse to buy Scalzi books. More on that later.

Plus, I haven’t been baking or cooking because John and I have been juicing like crazy people. I’ve doubted all the juicing heresay 100% up until this last weekend, and now I am a convert. 3 days of a juice cleanse, with the only raw food being fruits and vegetables, has made me feel more physically, emotionally, mentally & spiritually balanced than I can remember having felt in a LONG time – and made me mistakenly think I could become a vegetarian. Then of course on the 4th day we went and had 4th-of-July/birthday sushi & ice cream, but we’re back on the bandwagon now.

Taking pictures of juice in a glass is far less interesting than a loaf of bread.

I only had a single bite, but it really was the best loaf of bread yet. And the reason why I’m especially proud of these loaves is because they’re the first I’ve made by dumping ingredients together and not following a recipe. I’m starting to get the hang of this.

I put 1 3/4 cup of warm water and 4 tbsp of whipping cream in a large bowl, 2 huge shakes of salt (it probably should be 2 tsp) and 4 cups of bread flour (I use King Arthur) in the blow to do all the gluten-making for me. Unless you want to knead for twenty minutes later. 15-30 minutes later or so, I put in the yeast, .6 oz fresh or 2 1/2 tsp dry, and let the KitchenAid go to work. And then I drizzled in olive oil, and added in 1 more cup of bread flour.

When it was smooth and elastic, I greased another bowl and let it rise for 2 hours or so, then punched it down, divided it into two loaf pans, sesame-seeded the top, and let it rise again. The loaves fell a little while the oven was heating – I need to figure out how to keep that from happening – there’s probably a semi-easy fix somewhere. I baked the bread at 400 for 10 minutes, then at 350 for 15. I think 12-15 minutes at 400 next time might get the tops more golden.

But the inside was absolutely perfect.

Advertisements