Thursday, June 2, 2016

Close Call

I almost had to bake all the bread for the upcoming tea.  Passover was so late, I only just finished the matzoh.  And that's with giving away 3 of the 5 boxes.  I'm serious about not buying a loaf of sliced bread until the matzoh is gone.  If there's an option, I'll never eat it.

But I did start prep-and-freeze.  I made two mini-loaves of buckwheat bread and two batches of cookie dough.  I do the latter sometimes even when there isn't a party.  Just write what it is and basic baking directions.  Defrost and bake as needed.  Way cheaper than store-bought frozen dough, and you probably have all the ingredients on hand.  Five minutes to measure and mix for a couple of dozen later.

Somewhere in all the stuff I had to do last month, I forgot to maintain the lettuces.  They bolted again, even worse than last time.  One of them started blooming purple flowers, something I hadn't foreseen.  So I don't have to buy flowers for the party.  I'll trim them down before the guests arrive.

As long as this is turning into a gardening post, I'm getting my first eggplant!  The cantaloupe is flowering, but the plant is small and weak.  I'm not sure I'm going to get anything out of it.  The cucumbers are very happy and growing very strong leaves.  I have some beets to pull and nothing lined up to do with them.  One can go on tonight's salad.  The best surprise was that Artie is growing back!  I get at least one more year of him.

And then a notice went out of a recall of the flour I often buy.  We threw out the flour at work, even though we don't buy that brand.  I found that silly, but the whole company was instructed to toss all the flour in the store if it was out of the wrapper and unable to provide proof of the source.  Bakeries do not keep flour in the bags.  It gets poured into an NSF-certified container to keep it from getting damp or infested.  My stash at home, which I've been using for weeks, is the same brand but one day different than the recall.  Plus, the recall was on unbleached flour and I use bleached.  Yes, it's a chemical, but I sometimes make something that will look odd in natural wheat color.  The aforementioned sugar cookies come to mind.  I'm not really concerned, since the recall was for potential E. coli contamination, which is killed at 165º.  Wheat starch doesn't gelatinize (cook) until considerably higher than that, and I'm not in the habit of eating raw flour.  The greater danger is if traces of flour contaminate surfaces that are then used to prepare food that will not receive further cooking.  I generally wash the countertops and bread board after every baking session to eliminate yeast or egg traces.  That will take care of E. coli as well.  I'm going to finish off that bag tomorrow, and the next one I got from the same place I bought the flour for work.

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