Thought I’d update you on a few things! First, I mentioned that Thom and I are both charter members of the Dr. Oparaocha fan club (the veterinarian who met Buddy at the airplane and hand-carried him to us). Here she is getting ready to give a vaccination to the puppy Coco:
Speaking of Coco, it’s hard to tell in the photo below but she’s now about twice the size of Buddy. She’s gaining an average of 4 lbs a week. While at the vet last week someone came in with two full-size Boerboels and they are the scariest looking dogs ever! Their heads are the size of beachballs. I kept asking Dr. Oparaocha and the owner of the Boerboels, will she grow up and look like that? Will she really grow up to be that? They said yes. Yikes! Hard to believe such a cute puppy will grow up to be so ugly.
Speaking of dogs, we got another update on Ozzie from my dad (if you remember, my brother saved the day by adopting Ozzie when they refused him entry on the airplane half an hour before take-off).
I’ve been watching the weather activity in the midwest with a little bit of envy — I love to settle in with a roaring fire while there’s howling snowstorm outside. But, I have to say we’re enjoying the monotonous weather here — high 70s daytime/low 60s nighttime. Last week we planted cucumbers, celery, spinach, more lettuce, carrots, sunflowers, zinnias and sweet peas. Our current crop of lettuce is still about a month away from harvest.
When we moved in we cut down several trees to give the fruit trees more light. We’ve recycled that cut wood into a pretty garden fence.
I love how it looks and now need to figure out how I want to build the gate — or, do I want to create an arbor instead?
Finally, the bread-making experiments are going well. The head baker/owner of Zingerman’s bakery in Ann Arbor was kind enough to share his recipe for their pecan-raisin bread. I couldn’t find any raisins here but found a close approximation in a package marked cake mix sweets. It looked like it just contained regular and golden raisins so I bought it. Here is the dough below:
This amount of dough made two loaves. The first loaf tasted pretty close to Zingerman’s but didn’t have the hard crispy crust I like. Also, there was some sort of weird fruitcake taste to the bread. I dug the “cake mix sweets” container out of the trash and read the ingredients — one of them was dried candied orange peel. Well, that explained the different flavor. The second loaf I baked for about 7 minutes longer, until it was dark brown, and aside from the candied orange peels in it (which I picked out of my slices) it tasted just like Zingerman’s!!! Thanks Frank!
In a continuation of my obsession with good bread, I then turned to making the perfect sourdough. Before I had left the states I came across this “no-knead” method using a clay pot or dutch oven to create “Old World” bread (like the kind we would get daily in Italy). (See http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/08mini.html or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13Ah9ES2yTU) I ordered the requisite clay pot (a la cloche) and baked my first loaf in it day before yesterday.
OMG!@! It was so good. Another reason for ya’ll to come out and visit. To taste my country sourdough bread.