Archive | 8:32 am

The Loafer’s Loaf

26 Jul

And, we’re back!

Big Wolf Sunset

What a nice little break. The Adirondacks were, as always, spectacular and relaxing, and if you can believe this, nearly bug free.

Snail

We didn’t have much time up there, only two days really, which is a short time when you factor in the 17 or so hours it takes to make the round trip, and the time was condensed by the need to climb a mountain and delve into the final Harry Potter.

Yes. I know. As my mother reminded me multiple times, it’s a children’s book. But you know what? I don’t care. I was simultaneously reading one of the modern world’s most gifted and controversial authors’ attempt at a children’s book, Salman Rushdie‘s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, and I can honestly say, in this one throwdown, Ms. Rowling soundly kicks Sir Rushdie’s ass.

Bark

But I digress. Where were we? As yes, we were on the topic of ass kickings, and mountains.

After our trip to Colorado even I began to scoff a bit at “our” mountains. For a few years now I’ve felt the need to defend the ‘dacks against the boy’s insistence that the Rockies are more spectacular. I would insist that it didn’t matter! Ours are older! Ours have moose! Yes, but they also have mosquitoes, he would retort, and most of them top out at an elevation lower than Denver, he would add. And after actually seeing the Rockies and being up in them, I began to believe him.

Mt. Ampersand Vista

But no more. We had originally wanted to climb Mt. Marcy but decided it was too far away from camp, so we settled on Mt. Ampersand. Settle might not be the proper word for this hike, actually, hike might not be the correct word for what we did either. I think, climbed, scrambled and flirted with grievous bodily harm might be some better phrases.

There is no settling when you chose to climb Ampersand after the trail has received many days of very hard rain. I’m no weathered mountain climber, or even a very accomplished hiker, but I feel secure in stating that if, like us, you didn’t bring hiking boots, don’t bother with this climb. You’re risking life and limb. Yes, the view is spectacular, but seriously, do yourself a favor and climb a different peak.

Mt. Ampersand Vista

When we got back to camp (after rewarding myself with a Stewart’s Sweet Black Cherry cone) I was too busted up to cook. All I was good for was lying on the couch and groaning. My knees hurt, my arms hurt, my back hurt. God, am I getting old or what?

I had planned on whipping up a spectacular Middle Eastern feast, complete with harrisa marinated chicken, couscous and yogurty cucumber salad, but I was saved by the fact that it was Sunday and after 6pm. No groceries were open so we’d have to make do with produce from my mother’s garden and leftover filet mignon. It’s a rough life, I know.

Sand Castle

And that was it. Just two short days of peace and quiet and nearly one whole day traveling back. It’s wonderful to be home, it always is, but I do wish we’d had more time to sit in the sun, swim and hang out with my mom. But alas, time marches on and I have to pay the bills somehow.

The Burbling Hudson

Since we’ve been back I finished The Deathly Hallows (if you’ve finished it too (and only if), head over to Slate and read their awesome, grownup discussion of all the twists and turns), cooked No. 21 on Bittman’s amazing and inspirational list (which I realised only after the fact) and contemplated making my new favorite cheaters “bread” at least once more.

Cheaters

Cheater’s “bread?” Oh yes. Before we left I was seduced by the siren call of fresh favas at the Greenmarket (and no, I had not woken up that morning with a tribe of Berbers in my apartment to help me shell them). I decided that since I knew what I was in for, this second time with favas couldn’t be nearly as bad as the first, and I was right. The boy and I shelled the favas while sitting on the stoop, and then I whipped up another variation of my new favorite dinner in the whole world using the favas, some fresh corn, peas and squash and adding a wee bit of tarragon to the pistou.

Scallops In Brown Butter, With Peas, Favas & Corn in a Mint & Tarragon Pistou

But I wanted bread, but I was too lazy to make bread, so I cheated. I trotted around the corner to the awesome grocery/bakery Cangiano’s, bought two balls of pizza dough (for a dollar no less), popped one into an oiled bowl, let it rise for a few hours, then rolled it out, folded it over once, inserted a layer of fresh herbs, folded it again to form a loaf, rolled it out once more, pushed my fingers into it to dock the dough, smooshed on some olive oil, sprinkled it with coarse sea salt and a few more fresh herbs, then baked it for 15 minutes at 450°.

Cheaters

The “bread” was delicious. Salty, herby, perfectly yeasty. I can’t recommend this method enough for quick, easy bread when you’re feeling too lazy or too time crunched to make your own loaf from scratch. Who says cheaters never win?