October 27, 2009

High Brow Low Brow

Thanks to my darling husband whisking my children off for an hour of moonbounce at the gym last night I was able to accomplish the impossible and finish BOTH costumes in one sitting. Whew, am I glad that's done! Cant wait to see Evie in her Minnie Mouse get-up. I had her try it on for a quick fitting last night but have had it hidden again since the fitting resulted in a long desperate plea to "pleeeeze let me where my red tutu. I waaaaannnnt to be a mouseeeee!!!!" Thank goodness I put it off till the week of Halloween, I think she might have burst a blood vessel if she had longer to wait.

So onto other things. Today I'm experimenting with a bread making book that my grandmother recommended to me, which my cousin recommended to her. The idea is that you make one big batch of bread dough, let it rise and then cut out hunks to make a loaf of bread when you need it. The original called for enough to make four-one pound loaves but since my refrigerator is small I cut the recipe in half and have one ready to cook for tonight and the rest in a yogurt tub in the fridge for tomorrow.

I'm interested to see how it works out. My cousins loaves have been beautiful so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that mine will too. Bread has always been a conundrum for me. I'm not a good kneader. I get too bored. Last week I made a loaf of basic white bread and kneaded it half way then put it in my KitchenAid to finish it off and it BROKE MY BREAD HOOK! So obviously I'm not meant to be a big kneaded bread girl, which is why I love no knead and soda bread so darn much. This book also eschews kneading, good thing too. I'm still pissed about my bread hook. I don't think I could have brought myself to knead something entirely by hand after that episode.

That's the highbrow part of the post. Fancy bread. Not that that is super high brow, but you get the idea. Now for the lowbrow.

TO accompany what I hope will be a fabulous loaf of artisan bread I am preparing the first meal Will ever cooked for me. Well, other than Pasta-Roni. According to him it's called Chicken Gustav. I've done a few Internet searches and haven't' found any kind of official recipe that resembles it but it's what we call it in our house. Back when we were poor poor poor and it was a real splurge to buy anything other than Ramen, Pasta-Roni or Mac and Cheese, Will would cook this dish when he wanted to be fancy and romantic. We haven't made it in eons. Probably not since we had kids and real jobs and places to live that did not share walls with questionable neighbors. So for kicks I've made it tonight.

It reminds me of the old Kraft Cookbooks my grandmother used to have, the Make-a-whole-meal-out-of-boxes-and-cans type of things. I'll be honest, I'm not sure if it's any good when your a grownup, but if you want, give it a try.

Will's Chicken Gustav

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 pound sliced Swiss cheese
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup milk
1 cup of Stovetop stuffing (without the seasoning mixed in)
2 T butter-melted

mix the milk and soup in a bowl and set aside. layer chicken and Swiss until you have used it all up, pour over soup mix. Mix the stuffing with the butter and sprinkle over the top of the chicken-cheese-soup mix. Bake at 350 for an hour.

That's Will's version. For tonight I modified it a little, using about a pound and a half of chicken tenders and 1/2 pound of Swiss which I sliced myself. And for stuffing I toasted and cubed three slices of wheat bread and mixed it with finely chopped sage, salt and pepper before adding the butter (which was probably about 4 T rather than 2) I layered chicken, cheese, chicken cheese, soup, cheese then stuffing last. Leetle fancier. But not much.

More to come on the bread....