Sunday, April 8, 2012

Why are the L's in tortilla silent?

As I sat in my study writing about donkeys, palm branches, and the coronation of the king of the universe, I heard the tell-tale signs of activity in the kitchen.  This meant that Jen was getting ready to cook lunch.  That day we had huevos rancheros.  You can't have huevos without tortillas, and after making tortillas from scratch two weeks ago, there's no way that we're buying them again.

The recipe we used can be found here.  So far we've used shortening, but we're transitioning to lard soon.  We found that we can buy non-hydrogenated lard in our grocery store, and that's awesome.  Lard is pig fat... real food.  But when it's hydrogenated it transforms from porky goodness into a second cousin of plastic.

What seems to be our normal procedure with the tortillas is that Jen does everything but the cooking and I handle the cast-iron work.  My cast-iron cookware was a birthday present from her.  I need more of it.

There's really no comparing fresh hot tortillas to anything you buy in a store.  Last time we made them I was starving and the first tortilla went straight from the cast iron skillet into my mouth.  Elizabeth loves them too.

For the huevos, we went simple.  Scrambled eggs mixed with Great Value Salsa then scooped onto the fresh hot tortillas.  A dollop of sour cream on top of that.

Some of you may know that Great Value is the Wal-Mart generic brand.  Some Great Value products actually are great values.  Short ingredient lists, all pronouncable, and no preservatives.  Their salsa and pizza sauce can often be found in our cupboards.

Also, in the rural area where we live Wal-Mart is the only game in town.  The other options are extremely overpriced or far away.  Recently we've taken to doing Wal-Mart every other week and alternating it with the good, high quality grocery store that's about a half hour away.

We also shop for certain staples and spices at two local Mennonite groceries.  As I typed this I was getting ready to run errands with Elizabeth.  One thing we did was stop at the Springs Store in Springs, PA to get about a third of a pound of cinnamon for $1.  That makes me happy.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Take your artisan bread and shove it

On Tuesday I ordered this book.  Friends have been recommending it to me for years.  We had some rewards points from our bank and a credit card, so I ordered it.

I've been looking forward to the book's arrival since then.  It came today.  I am very disappointed.  I'm downright angry.  This book is pretty much worthless to me until we own an additional (or at least a different) refrigerator.  The whole premise of this book is that you should store large containers of dough in your refrigerator for later use.

While I am willing to admit that part of my disappointment is due to the fact that I had such high expectations, I think my anger over this book is quite justified.  The reason why the bread is only supposed to take five minutes of work is that you do most of the prep work once and only once.  Then you shape the loaves and bake.  Voila.

Great plan if you have a commercial sized refrigerator.  Great plan if you have two refrigerators.  Great plan if you have any freedom to decide what sort of refrigerator you have (which a pastor living in a parsonage does not have).  Great plan if you don't live 30 miles from the grocery store and make one shopping trip per week (which completely fills your refrigerator) so that you can save on gas money.

Great if you aren't me.

The irony is also rather extreme.  Remember this post?  The one where I talk about buying flour in bulk and getting containers to store it in?  Those containers are just what this book recommends you use to store dough in.  One of them fills about half of our chest freezer downstairs.  And I'm supposed to find the space in my little cramped refrigerator for one of those?  PLEASE!

So, yeah...  I'm ticked.  The only way I can use this book is if I store dough in one of the refrigerators at church, and I'm not so sure the congregation would be cool with me having half of one of their refrigerators filled with dough all the time.