It's a cool, rainy week in Wisconsin.
I'm coming off a month of life transitions...grieving the loss of my kind, gentle mother-in-law to cancer, and celebrating the marriage of my one and only kind and funny brother to his bride, a generous, beautiful woman I'm thrilled to call sister.
It's been a month to remember.
I'm taking refuge in reading novels and cooking. I finished the airy darkness of Nora Roberts' latest Shadow Spell, and am now savoring Anna Quindlan's Still Life With Bread Crumbs.
And I made bread.
I craved the fragrance of yeast warmth, and also wanted to bake a simple white loaf that would live up to our expectations. G and I have different tastes in bread--he leans soft and malleable, while I prefer crusty and substantial. Yet both of us love a flavorful white bread, with a thin crackly crust, the scent of butter, and a soft interior. I used the recipe for white loaves from Baking With Julia, the companion cookbook to the PBS show that aired years ago (but reruns on some PBS and create channels). This simple bread meets all of our criteria and was, unlike other breads, simple to make.
In keeping with my summer bucket list and my quest to make G's recent birthday special, I made mini crustless quiches for a portable breakfast (served with buttered toast made from the homemade bread). One of our favorite quiche combinations is caramelized onion, spinach, and feta. I added fresh basil and a not-hearty enough squirt of Sriracha to the egg mixture. What a simple, delicious make-ahead breakfast! And the add-ins are endless...broccoli, peppers, mixed herbs, Gruyere or other interesting cheeses, squashes, and even breakfast meats for my non-vegetarian husband.
For a lunch treat, I made tuna pasta salad, a favorite of Gregg's. Single serving tuna pouches are the greatest gift for tuna haters (me). Open, squeeze out the tuna into whatever dish you're making, and be done with it. I used small shell pasta to nestle all of the veggies and tuna chunks. Tiny diced red and yellow peppers, a good chunk of a zippy jalapeno, diced with seeds and membrane, for my spice-loving husband. Vidalia onion, Famous Dave's spicy sweet pickles, salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. I doused the salad with white balsamic vinegar, a drizzle of olive oil, and a big scoop of plain Greek yogurt. I hoped the salad was as delicious as it was pretty, since I didn't taste it. G loved the spicy kick, the pickles, and the combination of veggies.
New recipes and cooking workday breakfast and lunch for G: check these two items off of my bucket list. Thus inspired, I will continue to play and experiment!