Saturday, September 9, 2006
I'm getting so close to my goal that my daughter Elizabeth, who has always thought my recent obsession with bread was a little odd, decided that she wanted to fly home for the weekend to help me make a few loaves of bread. I told her I was planning to bake two this week and that she could choose them, so she picked breadsticks and cranberry-walnut bread.
Although Liz said she wanted to nice relaxing weekend, her idea of relaxing is different from that of normal people (that is to say, me). So we picked her up at the airport, went out for lunch, went to the Mall of America to buy shoes and a dress, get manicures, and go to a Minnesota Twins-Detroit Tigers game (Go Twins!), so we didn't have time to start on the bread until 11:00 Friday night. Fortunately, the breadstick dough was quite easy to mix up, so I did that and put it in the refrigerator.
Saturday morning, we started working on the bread sticks. These are grissini, very thin, crisp Italian breadsticks. I told her that Rose's instructions were to shape them in a pasta maker, but I balked at buying a new pasta maker just for this occasion. She said, "Mom, we have a pasta maker--don't you remember? You gave me a Hearthsong cooking club membership when I was about 12, and one month I got pasta stuff." I said, "I don't remember, and I'm sure we don't still have it." She said, "I'm sure we do since you people never throw anything out."
Damn! She went through a drawer and found the pasta maker.
I said, "Oh, I think I'll just shape them by hand. I think that will be quicker." She said, "The directions say to use the pasta maker, and that's what I'm going to do." Damn! Hers were perfect--beautiful, long, and thin, and mine were short and stubby. I turned to the pasta maker after it became clear that this method worked much better.
We baked them all, and then turned the oven off, and put them back in the oven for about an hour to let them get super-crisp. This worked beautifully, and in the end we had fabulous, flavorful grissini--with pepper, parmesan, fresh herbs and Tabasco.