Monday, October 03, 2005

Yet Another Post Without a Recipe

It will probably be a couple of days before I get a chance to cook anything, and that is just as well since I just returned from the dentist where the hygienist talked me into something like $400 worth of something called "scaling," which is meant to get rid of something called "gum disease." I am grateful that I am not a dental hygienist. These people have to be cheerful enough so that you don't kill them for the physical pain without being so cheerful that you kill them for the bad jokes and what certainly appears to be enjoyment of the patient's discomfort.

The hygienist claims that I should be able to eat normally as soon as the topical anesthetic wears off, but I am thinking that the next twenty-four hours might be a good time to reacquaint myself with Jell-O.

I will, however, report that this weekend, I simultaneously cleared space in the refrigerator and made L. happy by making the remaining chocolate truffle dough into truffles. I didn't have time to temper more chocolate, and I wanted L. to be able to help with making them, so I just got out a half-sheet pan and sprinkled a liberal amount of cocoa in it and told her to dust her hands. Then I took out my ice cream scoop and scooped golfball-sized blobs of dough and gave them to L., who rolled them into balls and then rolled them in more cocoa. Those are some big truffles, I tell you what, but I cleared up space in the refrigerator and kept my hands clean all while giving her the chance to work with the ultimate edible Play-Do.

I would very much like to find one of these at a yard sale. V. would probably not be amused, but I reckon I could keep it in the garage and only bring it inside when I needed it. The mechanism of the bread bucket is really no different from the mechanism inside a bread machine. If you keep stirring bread ingredients with something of the right shape, they'll work themselves into a dough. I am not philosophically opposed to bread machines, but I very rarely use mine because I generally don't want to make one loaf of bread. I enjoy kneading dough for a limited amount of time, but getting it to the stage where it can be kneaded is a bit tricky. My KitchenAid will hold no more than enough dough for two loaves. I like to think (and I am no doubt deluding myself) that if I could mix up five or six loaves at a time, I would bake bread on a weekly basis. I probably wouldn't, but I would still like to own a bread bucket. As an alternative, I have thought about running the bread machine just long enough to mix the dough and then repeating that process several times to give me four or five balls of dough, but I have not gotten around to it. I believe that would take at least an hour, though if I do half of the kneading for dough ball 1 while dough ball 2 is in the machine, perhaps I could cut it down a bit. I could also maybe overload the machine since I'm not planning to use it to actually bake the bread. I realize that I'm rambling here, but it keeps my mind off my gums.

I am already behind my ideal schedule for Christmas baking. My ideal schedule is never anywhere close to being realized, though, so I'm probably okay. I may be able to put everything off for one more week. By then, the final tax deadline will have passed, and V. will be on his way to Ethiopia for nearly three weeks. He has retained one of the neighborhood kids to stop by on a daily basis, nominally to make sure the dog is fed and watered since I am often out late at work or at choir practice. I suspect that the boy is, in fact, a mole placed to alert V. if I start to overrun the pantry or the refrigerator with equipment purchases or food preparations. I also suspect, however, that he can be bought off with chocolate. I will dip into the emergency Callebaut stash if need be, but my instincts tell me that a pound of m&ms will do the job nicely.

My notional Christmas food preparation list is quite extensive, but I am happy enough to jettison items when I run short of time. The probability that I will make marzipan, for example, is probably no better than half. Other items, in ascending order of likelihood, include (but are in no way limited to) fudge, springerle, a gingerbread house, rum balls, pfeffernusse, white fruit cake, black cake, and lebkuchen, with the last four items on the list being certainties. When Christmas finally rolls around, I will generally have made ten or so kinds of cookies, but only a few of them remain constant from year to year. I cannot get through the season without making mulled cider, mulled wine and eggnog, but the recipes vary significantly from year to year.

I would like to take Lindy's suggestion and have a Boxing Day party this year. It seems like a day when many of my friends should be available for a party. I have never been to a Boxing Day party, but I presume that one sets out various foods and beverages and then puts a DVD of the Thriller in Manila on the TV. How easy is that?


Blogger Sangroncito said...

I remember scaling...not fun! It taught me to floss twice a day!

9:37 AM  

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