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I've been away.....

a-view-from-the-terrace.jpg

.....and as much as I wish I had spent the past week in Assisi, where this photo was taken, I wasn't; instead, I was in snowy, cold, rural Alberta visiting my family!

We were celebrating my Mom's 83rd birthday. She was thrilled to have most of the family together and I was happy to be there as well. I dislike traveling at Christmas, so I prefer to fly out West a bit off season; say, November or February.

I felt bad about failing in our Slow Travel February blogging challenge. I had intended to keep up my blog while I was away, but a few days before I left, I discovered I wouldn't have Internet access after all. So I missed the final 8 days of the challenge.

But congratulations to all of my fellow bloggers who kept up throughout the month! I now have so much reading to catch up on, and I can't wait!

Although nothing terribly exciting happened during my trip, it felt really busy. Besides my mother's birthday brunch (followed by a birthday dinner at my sister's home) I got together with several friends; watched some old movies with my brothers; visited my Mom's seniors' home several times (where they stuffed me with cookies) and even took my mother bra shopping. That was an event.

I did some cooking for my family as well. I made Letizia's lasagne and panna cotta from our cooking classes near Assisi (the photo above is the view from Letizia's agriturismo, Alla Madonna della Piatto.) That went very well.

I also tried some bread-making, using the famous no-knead bread recipe from the New York Times. That was a disaster, despite the NYT promise it was fail-safe! I think I have to double check and see if the Times issued any corrections on this recipe!

Instead of a lovely round loaf, my bread was terribly flat, like a cheese cake. I'll never live that one down.

The recipe is fairly simple, relying on a long (20-hour) period for the bread to rise, rather than kneading to stimulate its growth (as my mother says, bread really is a living organism -- at least, until you bake it.) But I think the recipe's call for one-quarter teaspoon of yeast must have been a typo. I've never seen bread use so little yeast, and while I thought that perhaps this was a quirk of the long rising period, I'm now thinking that the recipe was incorrect.

But it gave my family endless hours of amusement, which is what really matters.


Comments (12)

Hi Sandra, welcome home - we missed you! Sounds like your mom had a wonderful 83rd birthday. Funny about the bread failure but I bet the lasagne and pannacotta more than made up for the flat loaf.

We've got a freaky March snow storm in the forecast tonight - very unusual for NC to have snow this late but I'm hoping for a snow day tomorrow!

I had forgotten you were going away, I was almost getting worried!! Sounds like a good time - except for the bread...

OK

Welcome back!

Bra shopping? I won' touch that one! LOL

Sorry to hear about your baking disaster.
I use a different recip[e (but also from the NY Tomes). The ingredients are:
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough

I'll blog about it one day.

Glad to have you back in Ontario - I've missed you!

Welcome back Sandra. How great you got to spend some family time especially for your mother's 83rd birthday. Belated happy birthday to her.
And you did not fail at all, I enjoyed reading your posts, and looking forward to reading more.
And re-bread without kneading, I have never heard of it, but let me know if you ever figure out what went wrong with it and if actually works.

sandrac:

Yikes, Annie! That freak snowstorm does not sound like great news -- I hope it's not anything serious. But the idea of a snow day sounds wonderful!

Thanks Chiocciola, it was a good trip -- I hadn't gotten back in almost a year, so it was nice to see everyone.

Jerry, thanks -- it's good to be back. Interestingly enough, no one in my family much wanted to talk about politics. I think they're disappointed in Stephen Harper (to say nothing of the mismanaging Alberta Tory government!)

I think your bread recipe looks much better than mine! I double checked the Times and the recipe I used really does call for only trace amounts of yeast!! Bizarre -- but I'm now wondering if Alberta's very high elevation has an impact. When I lived in Alberta, I recall recipes (even cake mixes) always called for extra flour (I think it was flour) to help counter the effects of the elevation.

Hi Candi! I'm going to test the Times recipe again, I think, here in Ottawa, just to see what happens. It will give me something to blog about!

Barb Cabot:

Welcome Back! I was worried. Anyway good to know all is well and that you were gone for good things. Happy belated bday to your mom. Sounds like it was a nice reunion. Welcome back. You were missed.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Sandra, nice to hear from you! We have definitely missed you. I'm happy that you had a nice time spending time with your family and especially with your mom for her 83rd Birthday celebration. Glad to hear about your successful Lasagna, but sorry about your flat bread. At least it gave your family hours of amusement.

Have a nice evening.

nancyhol:

Welcome back, Sandra!

You will have fun catching up on all of the blogs. A lot of good subjects, and I think everyone enjoyed doing them.

sandrac:

Thanks, Barb -- I appreciate your concern. It was great to see my family again and gather a few ideas for new blog posts.

Kathy, the bread debacle has only made me determined to keep trying until I get it right!

Hi Nancy, I'm sure that I have some fun reading ahead of me!

Hi Sandra, welcome home! Sorry to hear about your bread mishap. I think you should write to the Times and let them know that their recipe does not work (send a photo too!),especially since they promise that the recipe is fail-safe! I wondered about altitude but wasn't sure about the elevation where your mom lives.

Anne:

Aw, I wanted to see a photo of this unintentional flatbread. I'm curious to hear how it turns out in Ottawa. Welcome back, Sandra!

sandrac:

Thanks, Girasoli. And Alberta is at a very high elevation -- I think I'll have to try the bread recipe again here in Ottawa (which is roughly the same altitude as New York.) Friends here on Ottawa do rave about the recipe, so it must have been something I did. Maybe the kitchen wasn't warm enough!

Anne, I should have taken a photo of the flatbread. If I screw it up again, I'll definitely post photos, and a cry for help!

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