I've still been feeling sort of "written out" this week. Beautiful drive home from work yesterday. We've had a cold spell, and actually had snow on the valley floor yesterday morning. Through the day we moved from snow showers to sleet, hail, and finally sunshine. All in the same hour! On the way home I could see the bright white snow on the higher hills, bright blue clear patches, patches of showers (hail showers) where the misty white went all the way to the ground, and clouds ranging from brilliant white through dirty grey and blue black to high white wisps. Very spectacular for a twenty mile drive.
Pink flowering plums or other flowering trees looked unusual with their snowy overcoats and I hope the early spring flower fairies haven't forgotten their overcoats. There's a pot of mini bright red tulips on the front steps. They looked very cold when I passed them on my way to work yesterday. "Where's the rewind button?"
Hauled out my baking stone this morning and knocked out a small batch of french style bread. A four cup or so of flour recipe will make two small loaves of very crusty bread. It only takes about twenty minutes or so from start to finish and the dough can take most of the rest of day to meditate. The baking stone is great for free form loaves and gives a very crusty loaf. You just have to be sure and start the oven early enough that the stone is good and hot. The other secret of a good crusty loaf is to spray a healthy dose of water onto the bottom of the oven so that it fills with steam. This batch got a helping of rosemary and is excellent even without butter. Another good addition is Mrs. Dash's garlic, tomato, basil combination. A couple of teaspoons of that makes a surprisingily tasty loaf.
Doing a batch of bread is a great way to slow down. There was a good little documentary on the tube several years ago. The film profiled a family owned bakery in New York City. I think it was on Manhattan. They used the old wood fired ovens and baked french style bread for dozens of local restaurants. What I really remember is the family patriach describing how you work the dough "until it is full of grace." What a wonderful description.