I’m not sure what it says about me that I seem to need to plan what I’ll be eating next while enjoying a meal, but there is nothing I like better than browsing through cookbooks while dining. It is simply the best reading material for the moment.
A few years ago I picked up a copy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. We haven’t bought a loaf of bread since. The smell of baking bread and warm tender slices fresh from the oven—well, nothing beats it. Most of the time I just make some sort of organic white, wheat, or combination thereof, but I occasionally get fancy. Last weekend I woke with a hankering for a buttery slab of cinnamon raisin bread, so I caved and added an extra 5 minutes to my bread routine. Rolling out my usual dough into a thick rectangle, I smothered it with butter, honey from a local farm, plump raisins, nutmeg, and a generous dusting of cinnamon. The whole darn thing got rolled up and dropped in the pan and baked as normal. Yum. Now I’m on a bread inclusion tear. Earlier this week I pulled out the second to last garden pesto from the freezer (yes, I’m counting) and made pesto and sun-dried tomato bread. And I’m remembering other favorites: chocolate cherry, olive parm, honey pecan. I’m also dreaming up new combinations like honey walnut gorganzola, speck and asparagus, and strawberry marmalade with brie. Ah, yes. I definitely enjoy the kitchen arts, too.
I confess. I’m something of a snob in the kitchen, and am usually pretty disdainful of any ingredient list that includes a can of cream of something soup. Those types of things do not actually qualify as recipes for me. However, as I’ve been entertaining myself by reading vintage cookbooks lately, I came across something I might need to make an exception for. For that matter, I might even try making it. It sounds like such a train wreck that I am inexplicably intrigued.
The above recipe comes from those old time community cookbooks that everyone’s contributed recipe is written out by hand—in penmanship so beautiful that it would quiver at the concept of texting. Still, in the quaintness of it all, I’m not sure I can give this recipe a go. What would you serve with it? And then, what’s for dessert? A dump cake, I guess…
When in doubt, count on chocolate. My homemade chocolates needed some packaging, and my dreams of repurposed ecofriendly gift treats were realized.