I could probably survive a zombie apocalypse

Last week, I started reminiscing about living in France and I realized that the thing I miss the most was the availability of freshly baked bread and organic meats and vegetables.  I loved going to the farmer’s market every Sunday to purchase fruit, veggies, eggs, bread and a roasted chicken. all organic and all locally produced.  Those days were the very best.  While reminiscing, I realized that I may no longer be in France, but there is no reason that I can’t have the same delicious foods.  I decided I should get back to baking and focus on making and eating more organic foods with less preservatives.

So, first up – bread!  I found this very simple recipe for no-knead artisan bread on Simply So Good and decided to give it a try.  I whipped up the dough on Friday evening around 6:30pm, and let it rise until Saturday around 5pm before popping it in the oven.  It was so easy and turned out so well!

bread(That loaf lasted until yesterday evening, and I actually baked another loaf this morning before work!)

I didn’t want to eat the same old processed butter on such a delicious loaf of bread, so I whipped up some homemade cultured butter to accompany it.  I used this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.  It required a little time (set up the cream and yogurt on Friday evening and actually turned it into butter on Monday morning) and a fair amount of effort (mixing the cream into butter/buttermilk mixture, squeezing out the buttermilk in cheesecloth and then washing the butter six times to get the rest of the buttermilk out before rolling it into a log), but it turned out so well!  I’m not sure that the cost and effort is really worth it to consume only homemade butter, but it’s definitely doable for a special treat.

butterAlso, the act of making butter made me really study the butters on the shelves at the nearby grocery stores, and I’ll probably be a lot more picky about which butters I buy in the future.

I also purchased a wonderful new cookbook, The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila (available from Amazon here), which has recipes for tons of basics, like granola, nut butters, ricotta, mozzarella, pop tarts, etc.  I can’t wait to give some of those recipes a try.  I think I’ll start with the granola first.  Guys, I’m on a roll with the healthy eating/organic cooking thing!

Mixed in with all the cooking (I also made a huge batch of red beans and rice yesterday!), we also took Gordy on his first foray into the ocean yesterday!  He’s still not entirely sure about water, but he loved the barnacles.

photo Between this weather and the Seahawks making it to the Super Bowl, this was a fantastic weekend in the Emerald City!

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Missing the Party

As I thought about Mardi Gras this weekend, I started fantasizing about moving back to Louisiana.  Then, I realized that we just bought a house, so that’s not too likely.  Also, I can’t have the same job there that I can have here.  It sort of put a damper on my fantasies.  So, I guess we’ll stay in the Emerald City a bit longer.  Maybe I can get the condo in the French Quarter that I’ve been dreaming of, and then take frequent trips back.  It won’t be quite the same as living there,  but it would be the next best thing.

To celebrate Mardi Gras (a day early), my mom and I had lunch at Marcella’s in Pioneer Square yesterday.  Crawfish boudin, pork boudin, and white beans and rice.  So delicious.  Unlimited access to that kind of food alone is almost worth giving up on my perfect little home and job for.  Almost.

Since finding a king cake is nearly impossible around here, I went ahead and made my own last night.

King Cake.

Next year, I’m either going to be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras or I’m going to throw a big Mardi Gras party at my new house.  Maybe both.  I need more Louisiana in my life.