Thursday, July 8, 2010

Baguettes and Knives

No, this is not another version of the classic economics exercise with guns and butter; this is my life.

Forgive me for being so completely out of the blogging loop. I haven't been able to keep up with the blogs I follow, and I definitely have not kept up with my own writing and cooking. I've been feeling down and in a deep deep rut ... my toddler is dragging me through this rut, actually. I have no time for anything. I don't know how I ever thought that I was busy when I didn't have kids. Hell, I don't even work and I have no time!

The knife collection is back. The star player, i.e. the chef's knife, was missing for a couple of weeks. I had a Henckels and liked it very much, but the wood handle was pulling away from the tang and reached a point of no return. I asked my knife guy what to do and he said that They should give me a new knife for free because it's a manufacturing defect he sees all the time. Free? New? So I call and customer service tells me to send it in and if they "determine it to be a manufacturing defect," I will get a new knife or be "offered" one at wholesale. No, no, my knife guy said. You tell them a new one and nothing else. Hmmmm. I don't know how to wrangle and bargain. I do not think I was ever a Turk in a past life. Completely foreign; it makes me totally uncomfortable. I am convinced there is a world of secret passwords and just the right amount of complaining at a perfect E flat in order to get what you want.

So I sent my knife in with a note detailing the damage and that I like their knives and I deserve a new one! Then I read the Henckels fine print about "manufacturing defects" and got all worked up thinking that there was no way I would get a new knife. I just knew those bastards were going to screw me! Uh, the humanity!

Happily, I was wrong. I received a lovely, brand new knife in the mail. Yeah! So sharp and delightful.
I made some new bread. I told you I intended to try a baguette, so here it is. I know; I know. It's funny-shaped. When I slid it from the peel onto the stone - I need a new, bigger stone, by the way - part of it slipped over the side, so I tucked it back on, at great peril to my fingers and forearms.
It was good. The texture was nice. BUT I wasn't too fond of the crust. AND the other loaves I made from the dough came out weird. Well, one of the loaves, anyway. I made a batard for my neighbor and one for me. I really hope hers was okay because part of mine wasn't cooked. I think it had to do with a sort of hard, goopy part that was stuck to the container from the last dough that was in there. The authors of my new-fangled bread book said to go ahead and keep adding dough to the same container because you can build a nice particular sourdough, but I don't intend to do that again. Or it might have been my rolling technique. Anyway, how do I get that crunchy crunchy crust? Gah! I'm just going to have to try a real baguette, with its crazy manifold steps and rituals. Do I have to sacrifice something to Escoffier?
It made excellent pizza dough, however. The topping was totally random but so good that I will definitely try to repeat it. Try. Does this happen to you: I tend to throw a bunch of stuff on a pizza and it comes out awesome! Oh! Josh and I oooh and ahhhh about it being the best ever... never to be replicated because it was so organically spur-of-the-moment. Hm. On this one: zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant - all sauteed in olive oil. The sauce: garlic-thyme olive oil made by heating those in oil. Cheese ... and maybe sausage, too.

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