Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Should Have Followed My Instincts

I woke up ready for an easy day.  No motivation to do anything, just wanting to work on my knitting, maybe make some granola.  Becca's friends at school are going nuts (no pun intended) over the granola, so I sent the rest of yesterday's batch with her ... she's going to see if she can sell it.  (If I had a coffee cart, the kids would fall over themselves to get goat's milk mochas with cajeta.)

I kept checking the yogurt and it was still thin.  It's so thin that it can't even be strained into "Greek yogurt" because all of the yogurt passes through even doubled cheesecloth.  It could be a good smoothie type drink.  If I want to eat yogurt with a spoon, I'm going to have to investigate this further.  It smells and tastes good, though!

Before I could start on any cooking projects, the technician from Dish Network appeared.  I love it when I'm at the beginning of a utility window.  The projected time was 8am to noon.  Super nice guy.  While he was running the tests on the system (it quit working twice yesterday, then of course was working fine this morning), we chatted and discovered that both our kids are in Ag science classes at SRHS, and his kid is raising chicks, too.  We had a good conversation while he did his work about schools, ArtQuest, beer brewing (he is), cheese making (I am and his wife wants to), the best places to get the stuff, goats, chickens, Sonoma County.  What a fun way to start the morning. 

Granola was on the kitchen menu, but I skipped hash browns, pancakes, and waffles, which were the next recipes I'd bookmarked in Make the Bread, Buy the Butter.  I've made them from scratch before, and if I want to in the future, I might try Jennifer's recipes.

English muffins, though, now that's a new one.  I decided to put the ingredients in the bread machine to make the dough and try this one out.  I planned that while the dough was rising and the granola baking, I could work on the knitted shawl I'm making.  I'm excited about getting near the end, as this has been a project I've worked on for weeks, a huge lace shawl made from Angora and silk yarn.  I hope it turns out good!  It's hard to tell, because I'm knitting it on circular needles at this part of the pattern.  Becca says it looks like a yarn diaper on the needles.  She's got a point.  So much of a point that I'm not going to post a picture of the work in progress.

I started the English muffin dough and granola, and then I got distracted by the leaves all over the back patio.  So I got the leaf blower out instead of picking up the knitting needles.  That didn't take a whole lot of time, so I got knitting when I came back in.  It looked like it was going to rain soon anyway.

I think I should have listened to my intuition and not gone into the kitchen for anything other than the granola and my morning coffee.  The dough for the muffins turned out light and beautiful.  It was easy to roll.  Then everything went wrong.  I think the skillet was too hot.  The first batch into it burned almost immediately.  I cleaned and cooled the pan a little, but they still cooked too quickly.  Smoke filled the kitchen and living area.  It stunk of burnt cornmeal.  The recipe says to heat a cast-iron skillet very hot and then decrease the temperature to medium after adding the muffins.  I don't know what kind of cast-iron skillet Jennifer was using, but mine holds heat for a long time.  I looked at two other recipes online and both say to cook the muffins over medium or medium-low heat without super-pre-heating.  I had four muffins left, so I cooled the skillet down more and tried again.  I opened every window in the house, the reek of burnt cornmeal filling the air and overpowering the lovely cinnamon-maple-sugar scent from the granola.

I thought, "I'm going to smell wonderful when I pick the kids up from school, aren't I?"

I then thought, "I have a headache."

I proceeded to burn the last four muffins, and was absolutely, positively done.  I hadn't bought cornmeal yet, so I had improvised (dumb move!) and sifted the purple cornmeal out of the mix I had from Bridgeton Mill.  It was probably too coarse, and contributed to the burn. 

I shelved this recipe for when I have regular cornmeal, then hit the shower, and went back to my knitting, which I should have done in the first place. 

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