Saturday, February 27, 2016

Busy Baker: Dough/ Starter/Curd/Oiling Tomatoes

The other day, I showed you my newly contained flours — scads of them — all in nice clean new containers at eye level and I mentioned how satisfying it was to organize them. The same is true of baking these grape tomatoes. I just love clearing the counter on a sunny afternoon, as yesterday's was, and cutting them into halves and then filling the pan with them — all face up.

I sprinkle them with salt and pepper and then, my OCD piéce de resistance — see that teeny weeny plastic pipette in the bowl of olive oil? I use it to drop just a drop or two of oil onto each tomato half. This is the kind of time consuming precision work that I love to do most. Dicing things into micro sized portions is also a favourite pastime. A madeleine is anathema to me.

Friday afternoon was spent prepping the tomatoes and onions for socca tomorrow. And then I made lemon curd. Both dishes I'm serving at the brunch tomorrow, I've made before. I find that if I make them twice, quite close together, and add notes to the recipe pages in my cookbook, I have making the dish down.

This morning, Saturday, I was up early. I made dough so that I can bake baguettes and serve them fresh tomorrow. It will be the first time in my own oven. And it took all my starter to made the dough, so once I put the dough in the fridge to rise, I started making some starter from scratch.

It's remarkable how effective these classes are for me. As I have said here before, I delight in learning by demonstration followed by a hands-on practicum. I am really excited about having done all the prep this morning before going off to class to bake scones and muffins.

I have a list of questions, of course. As a student baker, I am an eager student just as I was in school. Some students, I'm sure, thought I was sucking up at school but I wasn't. I truly love learning from a person. Not always; Latin almost killed me. But not only is this a great school and teacher, it matches my passion so nicely.

I went to Whole Foods to get my live yeast and they keep it in the fridge in the bakery. I went to the kitchen and saw all these student bakers working and it looked awful — truly mind-nummingly boring as a job, to be a baker. It's an ideal hobby in that there are endless choices and possibilities, but as a job baking sucks. It's endless routine, even at the top. Sad, eh?

Saw Betroffenheit last night and holy Jesus it is amazing. Jonathan Young and Crystal Pite have created a masterpiece and the audience, understandably, went wild. But I was a wreck. During the show, I felt little but I was mesmerized and intellectually highly engaged. Plus I was enraptured by the choreography and the dancing. But at the end, at the curtain call, I was weeping. I did not see Jonathan, the auteur/performer, I saw Jonathan, this amazingly talented man, who lost his daughter in a fire and it just crushes me. I even cry writing this.

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