The staff of life (that’s “staff,” not “stuff”)

OK, I trimmed my nails, so the typos should be fewer and farther between.

I’m sneaking a few minutes away from important stuff I should be doing just because I enjoy sitting in my warm kitchen (fire’s been going for hours) smelling yeast bread dough rising for baking later tonight.

We’ve been eating mostly homemade bread lately. I adapted a recipe from several “no-knead” ones that appeared a year or so ago. It makes two good-sized loaves, takes five minutes or less to prepare, 2-5 hours to rise (I find that 3 hours is generally plenty), and comes out of the oven with a crust that snaps and throws crumbs everywhere when you cut into it. Ben loves it. I have to make two loaves because the first one is generally gone about an hour after it comes out of the oven. It toasts up on our little camp toaster to a crunchy golden color. The toast crackles when you bite into it. Hungry yet?

I’ve been thinking a lot about food lately. There’s so much being written about how many of our health ills are tied to processed food. One of the best things about being retired is having the time to mess around with strictly fresh stuff. And in addition to the health benefits, you get to smell real smells and taste real tastes without the chemical enhancers.

From time to time I’ve purchased convenience items. I’m thinking now of the pre-cut hearts of romaine chopped up into little pieces, that sort of thing. Then I read that all these processed greens are washed in chlorine bleach since the bacteria scares of a couple of years ago. It doesn’t seem to interfere too much with the flavor, but it effectively removes most of the food value. So now I buy heads of greens and wash and tear them up myself. Afriend showed me how to keep them fresh for what seems like an inordinately long amount of time, so it’s not as onerous as it sounds. And it keeps its fiber and vitamin values.

It’s almost time to shape my loaves of bread, so I’ll sign off for the moment.

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4 Responses to “The staff of life (that’s “staff,” not “stuff”)”

  1. akentuckycreation Says:

    Do you share your recipe for the no knead bread???? You know I use White Lilly Flour. I am retired now also, as my hubby just retired last month. I have a bread machine, but usually just do the dough and then shape the loaves myself. I would love not having to use the machine. Let me know if you share.


  2. Marianne Says:

    Lee, of course I’ll share, but it probably deserves its own post, or even two. I don’t do bread machines. I love the feel of soft dough in my hands, and even in the “no-knead” variety, you get that.


  3. cranhandler Says:

    Will you share how you keep your greens for ‘an inordinately long amount of time’? I’m always saddened by how quickly mine fade.

  4. Marianne Says:

    Dear cranhandler, there are a couple of things to know about. I’ve had pretty good luck with Debbie’s Little Green Bags. There does seem to be something in them that deters the normal degeneration.

    But the tip my friend shared with me requires nothing special. I usually buy romaine. When I get it home, I separate and wash it all and drain it as best I can. Then I put it back in the original package (or one of Debbie’s bags), but I put a paper towel or two spread out in the bag first to catch excess moisture. It seems that the water (which crisps the greens up) is what turns most lettuce to a brown soup fairly quickly.

    At any rate, it works for me.

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