Monthly Archives: May 2011

Speedy No-Knead Bread

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Published: The New York Times, October 3, 2008

3 cups bread flour

1 packet ( 1/4 ounce) instant yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Oil as needed.

1. Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest about 4 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Lightly oil a work surface and place dough on it; fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes more.

3. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6-to-8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under dough and put it into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.

4. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: 1 big loaf.

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a whole new world

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Ecclesiastes 2:12 Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom, and also madness and folly.

I was writing to a good friend on Facebook, and this just sort of spilled out of me.  It seemed like a good thing to repost here, because I need these sorts of revelatory experiences to remind me of where I’ve been, where I am and where I’m going.

***

I don’t recommend it for everyone, and I wouldn’t have recommended it for me five years ago, but I have settled into a nice little life without making The Group the center of it.

I have a well-rounded set of friends and acquaintances and we rarely lapse into tirades of personal drama. But I have stopped soliciting that, too, and so my communication with my peeps is more about what we’re doing and where we’re going.

My recovery from alcohol is not the neon sign over my head any more. It’s a fact of my life like my adoration of God and my love of good poetry and my obsession with art direction.

The best thing is I don’t feel like I have to compete with people just to be who I am.

I look back on all the angst I felt around the women at The Group, and especially the women in certain cliques, and it seems so strange to me now.

I feel like I have spent great chunks of my life trying to shoehorn myself into places where I wasn’t welcome or even that I didn’t care about, as if that would somehow complete me.

I see it in my romance, trying to get men to accept me who weren’t even worthy of me. I see it in my family, as if they could provide the solace I needed when they were so overwhelmed by their own pain that they forgot I existed.

I went to The Lake with David last week and, for the first time since I’ve been going there, it felt just right.

Something is different with me, and I chalk it up to God changing me when I wasn’t looking. That, and all that TRUE drama in my life has sort of brought me around to a clearer perspective.

It’s really a struggle for me to muster much sympathy for the strident shrew who screeches because she hasn’t accrued an appropriate level of sympathy for her latest self-styled crisis.

Friends are putting their furniture up on cinder blocks at Harbor Town. Hopefully they stacked the blocks five or six high, because the water is thigh-deep there now.

I am happy because I am strong enough to push the lawnmower up the hill.  Even though it takes me three days, cutting the front yard is great for my waistline, and I revel in the personal glee I experience when I think, this body belongs to a 57-year-old woman, and it still works.

My life doesn’t really look that different from the outside.  From behind my eyes, it’s a whole new world.

OMG

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Last night’s dinner conversation included a debate on the necessity and/or appeal of texting and instant messaging.

My date was mildly astonished that I’ve never met my boss or my coworkers.  As a matter of fact, I don’t even know what they look like or how they sound.

I’m a telecommuter.  I applied for work online.  I interviewed and tested via email and FTP. I get assignments via email, phone text and AIM.

I have fibromyalgia.  It’s an odd illness.  It prevents me from sitting or standing for long periods.  As long as I keep moving, I’m fine, but that has its limits as well.  Eventually my back and knees will complain, and after a while they demand bedrest and Advil.

So I ended up here. I do all my work on my bed.  While sitting in a chair becomes painful after a couple of hours, I can work long days sitting on a mattress, propped up with many pillows, and still be able to cook, exercise or hook up with friends at the end of my “shift”.

When I was a child, we had a rotary dial telephone, four television channels and a Kodak camera that shot 2-1/4 x 2-1/4 black and white film.  Dad was in the Air Force, and I grew up around tubes and solder and meters and stuff.  Mom was a public school librarian, and when the budget enabled the system to put computers in, she learned how to use one.  But they do not have a computer at home, and while she has a cell phone, she keeps it turned off most of the time.

It’s an interesting time we live in, and I seem to be squarely in the middle.  I’ve resisted using Twitter, because I already spend so much time on my Treo and Facebook and email and AIM.  But the Red Cross and the National Weather Service are finding that during an environmental crisis, satellite TV really bites, and when the power goes out there’s not even that. So status updates and tweets help folks find food, water and shelter — and loved ones.

I do have a Twitter account.  I check it online about once a quarter, if that often.  But methinks a more proactive path lies ahead.

Hopscotch (excerpt) ~ Julio Cortázar

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My hands want to hide in your hair, stroke the depth of your hair while we kiss with mouths full of flowers or fish, of living movements, of dark fragrance.

And if we bite each other, the pain is sweet, and if we drown in a short and terrible surge of breath, that instant death is beauty.

And there is a single saliva and a single flavor of ripe fruit, and I feel you shiver against me like a moon on the water.

~ Julio Cortázar