Thursday, January 3, 2008

Guest Post From Rachel, The CHG Gourmet: A Baker’s Dirty Dozen, Part II

When we left off, I was in the middle of baking ridiculousness, and while the mechanics of this disaster were arduous, the flavor…

Oh, man. The flavor!

Yes, the brioche was buttery and rich, and the cakey-crumb was beautifully enhanced by a mix of finely- and coarsely-ground cornmeal.

Yes, the orange cinnamon loaves oozed a caramel goodness that filled the house with the smell of amber perfection. You just knew that, when that mamma-jamma was slathered with peanut butter, it would be as monumental as a meeting of a bakery-based Watson and Crick.

Yes, the amaretto roulade glistened with the toasted hue that only an egg wash can provide, and smelled like a combination of almond, marshmallow and the giggles of cherubim.

And yes, the baked rosemary and sage that sat atop the focaccia would make your eternally dour Italian nonna look up from her marinara and exclaim a hearty “Fa bene!”

Yes, they were all delicious. Actually, I’m kind of shocked that they went over as well as they did, and mildly embarrassed that the accolades are still coming in.

The twenty-block trek where Jeff and I each carried about forty pounds of bread-related baggage through Midtown traffic was remarkably worth it in the end--even the part where Jeff swore that I walked through the steel frame of a cab with the force of my pedestrian hatred. Plus, with the exception of the hard, tiring parts, it was really fulfilling to work with Jeff on such a huge venture, one where I created all of the delicious treats, and where he (with his graphic design sensibilities) wrapped them in such a way to make them aesthetically beautiful. (Also, I’m not sure that I can even start to calculate the cost, but I know we used at least three, 5-pound bags of flour, a 12-oz. jar of oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, and the better part of a $20 bottle of amaretto. Let’s just assume it cost less than individually-purchased gifts and more than hugs.)

I guess the moral here is that the holidays make us all a little crazy with well-intentioned plans that somehow go awry, and that’s okay. It’s just important to keep it all in perspective. My note-to-self for next year is this:
You can totally do something nice for your friends and co-workers without ever having to say the words “Does this make me insane?” to a loved one. Or watch Linda Fiorentino. There’s a fate I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

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Jen said...

I should not have read this post before breakfast, the first part made me really hungry!

Chief Family Officer said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, so thanks for sharing! All that bread sounds delicious - did you do all the kneading by hand or with a machine?

Kris said...

Jen - I hear you! It was definitely a stomach-growling day when we were wrapping all the breads.

Chief Family Officer - Aw, thanks--and good question! Luckily, I had my trusty KitchenAid stand mixer on hand. Without it, I might resemble Popeye at this point.

(Rachel, posting as Kris)