Thursday, January 18, 2007

Galloping Gourmet Ruts

Today's another school day, and while it's above freezing, it's rainy, so I'm really having second thoughts about all this committing to leave the house twice a week stuff. Plus, I have to go in early today to meet with the teacher and sing for her so she can figure out what to assign me. But it is good for me, and I do need this.

I actually stuck to my schedule yesterday, so I'm on track with all the stuff I have to get done. I may survive. And, wouldn't you know, offers for freelance work always seem to roll in when I'm swamped beyond belief. In a way, it feels good to be in a position to turn work down, but there's a part of me that worries because if I don't get another contract, I'm really going to need that work.

My former editor may have abandoned me to go to another publisher, but she's still the greatest. She apparently occasionally checks in here and saw all my gushing about Love Walked In, my favorite book of last year. It turns out that the book is published by the imprint where she works now, so she sent me a copy (I'd checked it out of the library and was going to buy a keeper). So, I just figured I'd plug it again as a way of saying thanks. :-) I'm looking forward to re-reading it when I next have spare time. I'm scheduling some for December.

Some of you may remember last fall's Galloping Gourmet phase, in which I became mildly addicted to the Food Network and started shopping at the farmer's market grocery store. Some of that has faded, but out of that phase I got a few new recipes. I'd been in a bit of a cooking rut, where I was eating pretty much the same things over and over again. With the new recipes, you'd think I'd have a little more variety, but instead it seems like I've created new ruts. I've had so much fun cooking the new things I've learned to make that I've started living on those foods. There's the vegetable soup I got from a Rachael Ray show. I seem to make that every couple of weeks (it makes enough to last a couple of weeks). That got me bold enough to try making other homemade soups, so I've improvised my own chicken noodle and beef with barley soups, so I haven't bought canned soup in ages. I also got a recipe for a corn chowder out of a newspaper article, and that's become my new favorite comfort food, even replacing macaroni and cheese. Then I learned to make risotto, which I love. I've also been playing with the rustic French bread recipe in Joy of Cooking. That one is a bit of a challenge. It takes more than a day to make bread that way, because you make the starter the night before, and then when you make the dough in the morning it has to rise for almost six hours, and then you make the loaves, and they have to rise for a couple of hours. There's some real technique to shaping free-form loaves that hold their shape, so I'm still practicing to get something that looks as good as it tastes. I also need to work on my technique for using a baker's peel to transfer a loaf to a baking stone in the oven. It didn't work very well the last time, so I may just do it the easy way and shape the loaf on a pan instead of using the stone. The bread is really good, though. It's like what you get in European bakeries, and it goes perfectly with all that soup I've been making.

Now I just need to learn to bring back some of my older favorites mixed in with the new favorites for more variety. I'm as bad as a toddler with food jags, where I can go for days perfectly content to keep eating the same thing over and over again.

Speaking of food, I have to go get some lunch before I head to class.

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