Thursday, November 19, 2009

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Catch Up
OK, I got way off track with the blogging. I kept starting a catch up blog, but then I wouldn't get finished and thus I have a list of unpublished drafts. Obviously it didn't work since I haven't posted in ages. So I'll just pick up like I never left off.

We made it about a month with no impromptu dining out. I did much better with the cooking than the blogging. I've not stopped trying, but some weeks are better than others. Some weeks include one or more sick people in my home, and other weeks have been uber busy outside of the house. But, I am still cooking. Mostly. The Crock Pot has gotten lots of use. We have reinstated Sunday brunch at Pioneer. It's just a nice post-church service tradition.

I am battling the fifth day of an allergy attack while home alone with my 3 year old son. I'm craving soup. The Campbell's canned soup in the pantry isn't even remotely appealing, and so I was thinking of going to a restaurant to get something hot and yummy. But that required wearing something other than pajamas. That thought was just a little too much for me. I pulled out the Bob's Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix and vegetable broth from the pantry, diced up a little carrot, onion and celery, and made a soup. I had two bowls.

The smell of soup simmering made me hungry for homemade bread. Or at least the smell of it baking. Andrew and I flipped through the bread machine book, and he fixated on the picture of a bagel. As a further excuse not to have to get out of pajamas and go out of the house, we decided to make bagels.

I'd never made them before. It always seemed intimidating or complicated. Or at least just easier to go to the market, or, even better, Atlanta Bread and buy professionally made ones. But an endearing 3 year-old and a taste for fresh-baked bread can spur on great endeavors.

It wasn't difficult, just lots of steps. Mix the dough (I used the bread machine for this - it took 15 minutes and made very little mess), form the bagels, let rise, boil in water, drain, brush with egg wash, add topping (we made 2 each of cheddar, Parmesan, sesame seed, plain and cinnamon sugar), bake for about 1/2 an hour, and allow to cool. The last step was the hardest. Especially for Andrew.

A few of the bagels were a little extra dense. I'm not sure what was the cause. Could be the extra help I had forming the first few bagels, before he became distracted. Could be when I put the first few in to boil, the burner got turned down and they simmered more than boiled before I realized it. Not sure if the fact that of the 3 cups of all purpose flour the recipe called for I used 2 and subbed whole wheat flour for the third. (Did I mention I need to make a market run?)

The flavor was really good though. As I told a friend of mine, I may have to be on a mission to make good bagels now. Now that I've gotten that first attempt under my belt, it's not so intimidating, and I enjoyed the process. It was easy to clean up as I went because each step had a little down time. I had the kitchen completely cleaned before they came out of the oven.

Alas and alack, the aroma wasn't quite as strong as I was looking for. I may have to start a loaf of bread just for the smell. :)

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