Time for Jen’s Quick Takes to end the week, and this time it’s the first Friday of Lent. Welcome to you who have come from Conversion Diary! Please comment and let me know who you are–I’d love to know something about you!
It was on Sunday that I saw an eagle (not the first time I’ve ever seen one, but the first time from our new apartment), and today I saw two, circling above the park, drifting to the south for a while, and then disappearing off to the west. I’m very pleased and plan to keep watch more often. Where did the binoculars get packed? We’ve been here for almost a year now, and the binoculars haven’t surfaced yet!
A few months ago, I picked up a small package of chipotle chili powder on a whim at Famous Foods and stuck it in a drawer. It surfaced recently when I was turning over the contents searching for something else, and I remembered it when I made a pot of my usual chili this week. Great, I thought, why not substitute some of this for the regular chili powder? My recipe calls for two tablespoons of chili powder, so I used one of the ordinary and one of the chipotle. Great fragrance coming from the pot while cooking…mmm, I couldn’t wait to have a taste. And of course, when I did, it was very hot indeed. I think I’d better pick up some sour cream or yoghurt for when we have the leftovers!
I’ve been working at perfecting my making of sourdough bread in the bread machine, and I now have a couple of really good recipes that turn out well. My next challenge seems to be gluten-free bread! Sean’s mother has celiac disease, and since he would like to host a cheese fondue dinner when his parents are in town next weekend, I’m going to try to work out a good, crusty gluten-free loaf we can use for the fondue. Lots of research going on here!
So, after buying all the expensive ingredients for the gluten-free bread and combining them carefully in my bread machine, I consulted the manual to see which cycle to use and set everything up for my first loaf. I turned on the machine, the cycle and time allotment registered, and the minutes began to tick by. This particular machine does not have a delay before it begins working, but nothing happened except for the time ticking by on the control window. I stopped the cycle, tried another, stopped that, and went on and on with no result. Getting a little hysterical, I plunged my hand into the middle of the expensive rice flours, milk powder, xanthan gum, eggs, etc., and grasped the paddle in the bottom to see if it was stuck. Nope, it moved freely. Finally I just had to dump everything into the garbage (I couldn’t try doing it by hand, too much time had passed and the ingredients would have had to be handled differently), and accept that my bread machine had run its course. A messy disaster, and after I cleaned everything up I retreated to the bed for a few private tears.
After deciding that we’ve gotten too spoiled by having all our bread homemade to go back to store-bought, I plunged ahead and bought a new bread machine. After making two loaves in it, one sourdough and the other gluten-free, I find that the improvements made since I bought the old machine are significant. The new one has two paddles for mixing and kneading, which is good, and the non-stick treatment of the bread pan is really superior. There are additional cycles, and also room for making larger loaves, which will be just the thing for the bread I make for Sarah and Sean. Happiness all around. And S & S gave high praise to the gluten-free loaf I sent over!
Pope Benedict’s book, The Spirit of the Liturgy, arrived on Ash Wednesday, right on time for Lenten reading. I started out by reading the first chapter to Ricardo, and I think we’ll continue on in this way. Having to slow down by reading aloud helps comprehension with a book that is tightly packed with information and beautiful examples. We’re both looking forward to more.
Instead of just reciting the psalms for Morning and Evening Prayer, we have started chanting them. I really like the sound and feel of it. I think we will keep it up for Lent, and possibly permanently. I want to investigate further on this. More details later.