Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Baking-Busy Christmas

Mark wanted to use the days off for baking this Christmas - so we stayed home and baked, and it ended up being a lot of fun, and, well, very yummy!
First, we wanted to make bolobies, which is the name we gave to the khatchapuries, a traditional Georgian (as in former USSR Georgia, not on-my-mind Georgia) cheese-filled bread. It is one of my favorite foods ever. I recently found out that one of my friends in Israel also likes this dish very much, as she gets to eat it at the parents of her sister-in-laws', who came to Israel from Georgia. Small world, isn't it? We found this delightful bread in the book "The World Encyclopedia of Bread and Bread Making" by Christine Ingram and Jenni Shapter.
So Mark made them, of course, and, as usual - they turned out deliciously great!
This is what they look like from the outside:

And inside there's a rich mixture of cheeses:

I'm glad we have 2 more leftover - we're going to have them tonight!

Then Christmas came, and with it some unexpected gifts. Mark wouldn't let me open the gifts till Christmas Day. Where would you put the unopened gifts if you don't have a Christmas tree? On the Christmas chair, of course!
So I decorated the Christmas Chair and this is how it turned out:

Note the little star made out of a wrap of Crembo, a favorite Israeli snack.
Of course, a chair is not a bread, so you may ask - what is it doing in a bread blog?
Luckily, I used the word "mostly" in the title, which entitles me to add non-bread items occasionally. ha ha.

To go with the festive chair, we decided to build a gingerbread house. We had no idea how challenging this might be! We followed the very simple instructions in this website:
and this is what we got:

Pretty traditional, don't you think? I like the pond in the back and the rosemary trees.
Unfortunately, I got the wrong kind of cereal: topped with vanilla creme icing, instead of just regular icing. Hence the dirty-colored snow on the roof...

We also added some untraditional items to the house, though:

Like a gigantic bluebird and an outhouse.
The back side of the house, however, is a complete craziness:

After the house was done Mark went on with the baking and made a veggie pizza for Christmas Eve dinner. He took care to use Christmas colors, with red and green peppers, red onion (although in reality it is purple), green olives and red tomatoes.
It was as scrumptious as it looks, if not more so: the crust was crispy and just as sweet as I like it, and the toppings added juiciness to nicely compliment the crispiness.

Mark also made an apple pie and 3-garlic pasta, but this entry is getting too long already.
All in all - it was a very busy and breadful extended weekend!

Friday, December 21, 2007

An Important Note

One should credit others when they deserve it, and so should I. The salt 'n pepper shakers, featured in the yammy bread picture, were made by my very talented cousin, Orna. This is her website We use them as salt 'n salt shakers because we like our pepper freshly ground, and this way we don't have to fight over the salt.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Scents from Sicily

Mark used the Sicilian half of his genome and made a very fragrant Sicilian pizza last night. The aromas of thyme, oregano and tomato filled the house, and it's unfortunate they cannot be posted on this blog.

The crust is sweet and crusty, although I like it with a bit more honey. Last time he made this pizza it was just PERFECT and now my standards are way too high.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Belated Thanksgiving

Although we did celebrate thanksgiving this year - multiple times - we somehow ended up re-celebrating it this past weekend - with sweet potato bread and cranberry scones.
Mark tried this bread before, and although it was yummy the first time, it failed to cook all the way. This time it came out yummy-licious! Cooked all the way, but still moist and soft and melts in your mouth.
That's why I decided to call it Yammy Bread.

Sure, yams and sweet potatoes are not the same thing, but I really don't know which one we actually used - the store said that these are sweet potatoes, but they often use the terms interchangeably. Do you have any way of telling which is which?
I don't really think it matters. I like "yammy" for describing delicious orange tuber/root foods.

The cranberries for the scones were indeed Thanksgiving leftovers. I have to say - at first I was suspicious of baking with cranberries, but that was before I made my first cranberry sauce!
The scones are the same kind as our favorites: with walnuts and orange. But here Mark substituted the figs with cranberries. That's why it came out familiar, yet different: the sweetness of the sprinkled sugar on top and the meltiness of the butter remained (though it must be noted - they have much less butter than your normal scones), but the figs' chewiness and sweetness was replaced with the tangy-sour juiciness of the cranberries.