It is cold. We woke up to 19F. For Celsius folks, we’re at -7. It was even colder last night. The wind outside is making winter storm noises. It’s a kind of low growling as it whistles past the oaks.
Whenever these numbers come out, there is always a lovely Canadian person who is like it’s -40C where we are. Yes, but your electric grid and houses are built for cold. Our houses are built to maximize the AC benefits and compensate for 6 months of 95-105F degree weather. I have exactly one small area in the house where there is enough light to grow plants, because all other rooms are too shadowy. And last week, we were in shorts.
We built a big old fire in the fireplace. The dogs have positioned themselves in front of it and are refusing to budge. Yesterday, just as the temperatures really started to drop, Gordon and I made a couple of trips to the wood pile with our wagon and hauled the wood inside. As usual, Charlie and Nykie accompanied us, because that’s what dogs do, and Tuna also followed us. Tuna is a very dignified cat. She doesn’t hurry. She strides, surveying her domain.
The first trip went fine. On the second trip, just as we were finishing up, a gust of ice-cold wind hit. Tuna took that hit, spun around, and sprinted. She dashed back to the house, leaping over things, like a small orange tiger. And then, when we made it to the door, she gave us this indignant meow that clearly said, “Took you long enough.”
Predictably the cold caused a run on the grocery stores. We have 2 whole days of freezing temperatures. The apocalypse is nigh. Kid 2 went to pick up a couple of things at H-E-B on Friday.
I call this the “No Meat” picture. Thankfully all of us have stocked up in advance. I made a big roast, which we can slice for sandwiches and right now I’m making bread.
The bread machine Gordon bought for me has become one of my MVP appliances. I’ve made all sorts of bread now, but the recipe I make most often is Pain Ordinaire Au Beurre, which I found in The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook by Beth Hensperger.
This bread has a long name, which translates to plain bread with butter, but a very short and easy recipe, and best of all, unlike the other breads I make, this one can be baked by the machine. It comes out great on French bread cycle. Set it and forget it.
1 1/2 Pound Loaf
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons gluten
- 1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
Throw everything into the machine in the order your machine likes it. For me, it’s water, butter, flour, gluten, salt along the perimeter, make a little hole in the center of the flour, and pour the yeast in. Select French or European bread cycle. Walk away.
This bread is great, low sugar content, soft but firm enough for sandwiches, however, it is best when eaten on the same day. The book has a recipe for 2 lb. loaf as well. The cookbook is excellent, by the way. I have the paperback version, but it is right now available on Kindle Unlimited.
Edit Mod R: Ilona’s bread machine is the Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus Breadmaker, 2 lb. loaf of bread, Stainless Steel/Black.
You can see more about it in this post.