24 January 2008

Who Moved my Cheese?

Today, while shopping at the ever chaotic Fairway, I was looking for my latest coup de coeur of the cheese department: Pont L'Éveque. I know, I know, it's nothing new, nothing to write home about. But you know what? I think that all the time spent eating it before the beginning of this month, I was eating it wrong--it needs to be at room temperature! It's so much softer and tangier and pungent and delicious then. When it's cold, it's almost stingy. Tangy, yes, but not NEARLY to the extent of the room-temperature variety.

Back to business. I went over to one of the massive cheese coolers, to the place where it normally can be found, but it was not there. Gone! I nosed around, hoping that it had been misplaced, picked up a couple different varieties in the event they would appeal to my cheese sensibilities, but there was nothing doing. No cheese! I even asked the cheese monger, who told me they were out--WHAT? They're not allowed to do that, right? Right?

21 January 2008

A Second Attempt

I have a sourdough starter that doesn't generally get a lot of exercise. It lives in the fridge and recently (shamefully) had to be resuscitated from its nearly dead, liquid exuding, almost frozen state. Honestly, I didn't want to tend to it. But I did, and it returned to it's normal state of beige goo-like substance. Eww. (Ok, I think it's actually kind of interesting, but Jeff and his brother both made the same wrinkly-nose face and grossed-out noise. Just thought I'd share.) This is what it looks like after it's been fed:

The first time I made anything resembling sourdough (with my lovely starter), the results were less than stellar. It didn't taste like anything special; it tasted like bland bread that didn't really have anything interesting to say. It wasn't even golden. It was just kind of whitish and pasty and sad-looking. However, it did make an acceptable grilled cheese sandwich.

This time was different. This time, my starter didn't start with that funny smelling liquid, and it poured easily onto the waiting flour and olive oil in my large blue bowl. The dough was springy, and I managed to convince myself that the kneading time really should be more than two minutes long, and closer to it's actual time of 10-15. I know, I know, I'm bad. But seriously? If your arm isn't used to it, it just isn't used to it. So I kneaded. I added rosemary, kneaded some more, and let the slow series of risings begin.

Five hours and some newly acquired techniques later, we were ready to go.

As you can plainly see, this was much, much better.