Thursday, October 27, 2011

all aboard (with bread that’s way better than hardtack)

I had a Captain Jack Sparrow experience last Saturday!

No, I didn’t get really really drunk on rum. I went SAILING! 

Woke up at a wee hour in a foul mood, which seemed unfortunate, but that gave me time to hit up the farmer’s market before heading to my aunt’s. And the farmer’s market can cause any bad mood I have to evaporate (I think it was just bad dreams- I had one about a twelve hour bus trip. Eesh.)

So I headed to my auntie’s, and we headed up to the marina, where her husband Tim had spent the night sleeping on the boat!

We enjoyed some short-lived sunshine as we prepared to set ourselves afloat.

View of the stern of the boat (because this boat is in AMERICA!) The name of this boat is Terrier II. There is a photograph of Roger, my aunt’s Scottie, gracing the inside of the boat like a mascot.


The insides of boats are SO FUN. My aunt compared it to a dollhouse, and it really is similar. Everything is fun and miniaturized! However, unlike a dollhouse, everything is also fully functional!

Surprisingly comfy beds:


I really want to spend the night on the boat sometime; Jeanie says it’s the coziest thing ever tucked in, rocked by the waves, reading under the gas lamp. She says she even craves different kinds of books when she’s on the boat; like poetry!


The kitchen/living area.


Lots of little clever shelves and cupboards and things to stow everything. Hidden little nooks; things pulling out; shelves to keep things from rattling around when there are big waves. It’s funny; my aunt has a clearly demarcated system (“This is the pots and pans department!” “This is the cutlery department!”) but then Tim throws WD-40 cans and stuff in the wrong departments. Very big trouble.


Totally functional stove where we brewed tea.


Sweets and coffee cupboard! Have people had those lemon ginger cookies? They will be the death of me.


An extremely efficient icebox. That sheet ice and those bags had been in there for eight days. Still cold for your brewskis :D


Even a bathroom! You close in little collapsing drawers around yourself. And there’s this complicated thing with pumps and pipes. The boys, as you would imagine, just go off the side of the boat. (And, I think relish that. Do not get Steve started on indoor plumbing. He thinks it would not exist were it not for women. And that men would quit having jobs and wars and just play sports all day hahahahaha)


And we were off! Gentle waves rocked us back and forth. We headed towards Annapolis, admiring birdies and scenery on our way.


Tim had a very nifty autopilot; I got to steer for awhile! Very fun. Also very weird- Tim had me steer right straight in the direction of a white buoy. I was SURE we were going to hit it and then he took control literally a second before we did and we had a huge gap to spare. Everything moves much more slowly than you think it does. Kind of a cool optical illusion happening there!


Autumnal splendor.


But, I must confess, it wasn’t the warmest day. So the fact that they had a wonderful wonderful kerosene heater meant that it was sort of easy , once that had warmed up (like so)


… to then just vegetate below deck with my auntie :D

And other quality companions (hey—Captain Jack made an appearance after all!)


Jeanie and I discussed many important things, like Somali pirates on drugs, our crazy family members, the How to Cook Everything Vegetarian cookbook that I’m currently so obsessed with (she has an iPad, which she had on the boat, which does all the navigating!!! So cool right?!!! So anyway she was so sold on my raving about the cookbook that she downloaded the HTCEV app right then and there!).

I enjoyed many snackin’s, many of which do not appear here, so picture me and my auntie companionably splitting an apple, picture lots and lots of Irish cheddar cheese, a taste of sausage roll (which, unrefrigerated, I’m now wondering whether could’ve contributed to my later stomach woes), more than one of the Diet Cokes you see above, refills on the rooibos tea you see below…


My BODY WEIGHT in the fascinatingly addictive specimens seen below. These are dried OKRA, which Jeanie and Tim picked up visiting his family in Alabama.


And best of all, my homemade nut butter (!!! Which will be a blog post but must be included in my foodie pen pal post!!!!), and my homemade PUMPKIN YEAST BREAD!

So. Amazing.


So here’s how this amazing bread happened: I had tons and tons and tons and tons of pumpkin in my fridge. I wanted to make a bread, but I was feeling kind of sugar’d out and was intrigued by a pumpkin yeast bread. Poking around on the Internet led me to this recipe for pumpkin pumpernickel bread, which I adapted by replacing the rye flour with a mix of spelt and white whole wheat and also other things, due to it being a slightly confusing recipe.

I was wayyyyyyyy apprehensive about it turning out. But, it rose, though slowly, quite beautifully.


And then, though its loaves turned out kind of wonky looking, it was great!


(in all honesty, that is the same loaf at different angles. The other loaf was so wonky it was embarassed to be in the blog. So I cut it up to get the interior texture shot below).

Beautifully chewy crust, blissful crumb within. GREAT toast bread, GREAT, sandwich bread, GREAT nut butter bread :D


I have included the recipe because this bread is too good not to share, but please do proceed with caution; I am not a bread making expert and this is a rather loose adaptation!

Pumpkin Spelt bread
Adapted from this recipe

1 cup cold water
1 package yeast
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 cup boiling water
1 1/3 cups pumpkin puree, heated in the microwave til lukewarm
1 Tbs salt
2 cups spelt flour
4 cups white whole wheat flour, plus more as needed
1 TBS plus 1 tsp. sugar
Pumpkin seeds for topping (press these in- I didn’t and mine fell off!)

Stir cold water into cornmeal. Add boiling water and stir together. Add salt and sugar. Let stand until lukewarm.
Meanwhile, sprinkle the yeast over the lukewarm water. When the yeast has puffed up and gotten all globby, stir pumpkin and yeast into cornmeal dough. Add spelt and whole wheat flour and turn onto a floured cutting board. At this point, the dough is kind of a sticky mess. Mine stayed sticky— because this dough was so high in whole wheat already, I didn’t want to add too much flour and make it totally, totally dry. So, I sort of kneaded for 10-15 minutes until it basically held together. Then, put dough in a large cooking sprayed bowl and turn it over so the greased surface is facing up. Let rise until doubled (this took me about an hour and a half). Gently fold the dough into itself and form into two round loaves. Grease the tops of the loaves, and let rise, covered with a damp kitchen towel, until doubled. Slash loaves in an x pattern with a sharp knife or razor blade and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven about 1 hour.

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