I spent my day rolling out and refrigerating croissant dough, and I am bad at it. But I am going to practice, practice, practice until I bake things both tender and flaky and have biceps like a linebacker.
Stubborn snow is stubborn about leaving.
For the time being, our chickens will be the only ones in the neighborhood on the outside of pastry.
Hey, Sailor. Come here often?
Breadbaking is my new love, and we’re still in the honeymoon phase.
Suddenly, I need a sandwich.
Our backyard squirrels are smug. Yesterday, I went out to feed the chickens and found the squirrels, fat and insolent, smoking cigarettes and dancing like Jets and Sharks. I clapped my hands and told them Officer Krupke was on his way over. They were skeptical, but moved on.
Now’s a great time to lay out your seeds, check dates and plan your garden. You are gardening, aren’t you?
Seed packets have sell by dates. You can plant seeds three years after the sell by date, but after that, you might as well toss them into the bushes and let the birds nibble. Although, if you have chickens, those are birds, and you’re not afraid of feeding them. So. Be brave and plan a garden. If you live in a tiny apartment, mesclun greens can be grown as houseplants. Your squirrels will not be smug.
Listen, I am not a genius, but more than a dozen years ago, I started trying to make myself a decent loaf of bread. At the time, my ideas about what a decent loaf of bread was and how I would make that were – I admit this – extremely silly, but I persevered, making many a whole wheat brick, which I ate or fed to particularly desperate wildlife – I assume.
The small loaf doesn’t fall far from the large. There’s a joke in there someplace.
Last year, my neighbor Andie, organic farmer girl roughly the same age as my daughter Miss Sasha, gave me a sourdough starter I came to regard as a mildly surly pet. It is less surly than I am. Of course. Anyway, in the course of trying to make a decent loaf of bread as I now see one, it turned out the secret to great texture and complex sourdough flavor is giving the dough all the time it needs and almost more time than I can handle, because I am one of those people who stands in front of a microwave and growls, “COME ON.”
For the first time in my illustrious career, Central New Jersey has had daytime temps in the sixties in February. This is not normal. Also not normal: garlic shoots.
Garlics, making cameo appearances.
Maybe this is what our winters will be like now. I can’t say, but the chance to spend an afternoon in my garden at a time when I expect to be cooped up in the house was a peculiar delight. The chickens were pleased to have company. They told me so themselves!