Sunday, November 11, 2007

I... Am... Crazy...

sometimes i realize just what a dork i am. it doesn't take much for me to recognize my dorkyness. it's pretty on the surface in my day-to-day life. however, when i do see this aspect of my personality, i have to decide -- do i fall apart in my dork discovery or do i go with it and make it work for me?

i don't always make the right decision either way, but i certainly make a decision.

this time, i decided to go with it. this was the last weekend of football -- a weekend long tournament. both boys played HARD and deserved a pretty great dinner that night for all that work. they love homemade pizza, so i decided i would do that, and we had been talking about my making homemade cinnamon rolls for awhile. that was their extra special something for the night. and as i began putting everything together, i started laughing. because both of these little beauties of dishes requires rising, kneading, serious prep before cooking. ha... ha... oy...

and here, for the first time, i won't be leaving behind a recipe for you. and here's why --

there are a lot of things put together over the course of these three cookbooks:

THE ITALIAN COOKING ENCYCLOPEDIA: The definitive professional guide to Italian ingredients and cooking techniques, including 300 step-by-step recipes all compiled by CArla Capalbo, Kate Whiteman, Jeni Wright & Angela Boggiano;
TODAY'S COUNTRY COOKING from The Cooking Club of America and authored by John Schumacher; and, last,
BREAD BAKERY, the bread machine book of instructions and recipes

ITALIAN COOKING ENCYCLOPEDIA is a staple of my kitchen. it is a monolithic, 500 page tome of Italian food expertise and each and every recipe is enhanced with step-by-step photos that go along with the step-by-step directions. it... is... amazing and so incredibly cool. it was out of here that we made our pizza dough, which we make quite frequently, and out of which we have made a lot of stuff. and i mean a lot of stuff. this is a GREAT cookbook and if you were to never buy another Italian cookbook as long as you lived, having this would be fine.

TODAY'S COUNTRY COOKING is a new one for me. i used it for some of the elements of my cinnamon rolls and you can only get it, unfortunately, by being a member of the Cooking Club of America which, as you can tell, i am.

and then, really stupid, yes, i know, but surprisingly helpful and good, is BREAD BAKERY which only comes with, yep, my bread machine. the actual dough for the cinnamon rolls were in here.

this was a day of mixing and matching elements, truly using the recipes as bases. the pizza was light and wonderful -- i even ate a slice and i do not eat pizza... ever. and it's not because i made it. it's because the recipe for this dough is, i think, excellent and very simple. our base for the pizza was also simple -- excellent mozzarella, very basic tomato basil sauce liberally brushed on the dough, hand forming the dough, oive oil, herbs and baking until bubbly and golden. the chinnamon rolls were buttery, cinnamony and just the right kind of sweet. this was a simple, homey dish also glazed with a creamy vanilla glaze.

it was a huge late afternoon undertaking, because of the rising, second rising and proofing that goes into this stuff. we were all exhausted -- them more than i, for sure -- and then taking the time for this meant a lot to them, so it meant a lot to me.

hey, i like my boys. they drive me absolutely bonkers sometimes and irritate the hell out of each other more often than i'd like (or they'd like, i would imagine), but i enjoy them as people. they're unique, interesting and very loving. to be able to put my heart into this crazy couple of dishes meant a lot to them, brought them joy.

i made two time consuming dishes for my kids without ONCE thinking how ridiculously overworked i would be if i did this. i could have easily just made something else, ya know. gone to the store, bought a flat bread and used it as a base for pizza toppings, gotten some refrigerated dough and done a take on a cinnamon roll. as i realized the magnitude of what i was doing and how i was being a total dork of obliviousness again, it was that time i decided to just go with it and be ridiculously overworked for all the right reasons.
nicholas and brandon.
and, no, i'm no saint of a mother, trust me. it's just that doing these little things for them is worth any amount of time or effort it takes me beyond what i would normally do.
tonight may be a grilled cheese night.
actually, i'm sure of it.
but really good grilled cheese on some homemade bread.
that'll work.


Tina said...

I thought you'd be proud of me...I made a vegetable soup (and homemade honey wheat bread, which, dude, I'm trying to dig making bread, but...ugh. Sorta feeling like it's worth just buying.)...anyway, for the most part, I'm following the fairly basic recipe, when I think of you talking about spices and how they expire. And reading how you always seem to use 'em. So I went into the pantry, pulled out some Chipotle Ancho Chili powder, sprinkled some in, pulled out those fancy multicolored peppercorns, ground those up, and two hours later, I had a soup my veggie-hating husband proclaimed he "LOVED." All caps. This is something, he's picky like a mo fo.

Long story short, thanks for the inspiration. I love reading about your cooking adventures, and aspire to be right where you are someday.

PalateScriber said...

ah, this is so cool. if there's anything i aspire to in life with cooking, it's to have others go for it with the gusto they have for other things. and as far as the bread thing goes, i get incredibly frustrated with bread, but i must admit i get a HUGE rush out of making it. and when it comes out beautifully? i dance.

yes, i do little dances in the kitchen when things work out. told you i was a dork. :o)