Sorry for the absence, SPC. I've been traveling...to Vancouver, WA (America's Vancouver they kept telling me), to Minneapolis, MN, to New Orleans, LA. It's been a busy four weeks--without much in the way of "skill" to show for it, unless you count my expert traveller status that allows me to use the black diamond lane at security (it's a pretty great system, actually, except that people get to self-identify their traveller status...and some people apparently don't get that having nine bags, three cameras, two laptops, a purse dog, and lace-up shoes doesn't equate with "expert" traveller).
I'm back to show off that skill of mine that might make me the happiest...baking. I have long loved the sweet smell of flour and sugar and cinnamon blooming in my oven (okay, the smell was good, but the taste was the real object at hand), long loved presenting expertly crafted (and a few tasty but aesthetically challenged concoctions) to those I love. Because baking calms me, warms my kitchen, and feeds my belly AND soul, I have recently been exploring new worlds of baking, stepping out of my comfy little quick bread and tart land into the realm of yeast breads and pies and puff pastry (read: I never used to bake ANYTHING that required a rolling pin). I am now embracing the rolling pin. [In fact, I might need to make myself a tshirt that reads: Embrace your inner rolling pin.]
I owe a debt of gratitude to my sister, who taught me not to fear working with yeast. There's really nothing better than kneading bread dough. It's one of the only times in my life where I'm actually just doing one thing...a calmness takes over because it has too; you're elbow deep in dough and flour for ten minutes.
Anyway, here I am making my favorite yeast bread to date, Swedish vetebrod, which has loads of freshly ground cardamom in it, plus a buttery, sugary, cinamonny center. YUM.
Find the recipe here.
See other skillz here.