this is so terrible.
it's been a week, and i'm basically reading the same stuff as i was last time i posted. but it's not my fault! i was too busy reading comic books, i was out of town two days last week, i spent sunday making Challah, and hubby and I attempted making a chicken pot pie thingy. it was weird, but it tasted good. so more on my sad book reading, and cool comic books a little later.
what's Challah? it's an egg bread Jews make for the Sabbath, which for us runs friday night through saturday night. and since i never have time on Friday for bread to rise, i make Challah whenever i feel like it, usually sunday. i know, i know, it's really Purim, but i haven't yet perfected my Hamentashen recipe, so you can enjoy this easier to make Challah recipe instead. it's really very easy. and it tastes SO good.
this recipe makes 2 loaves of bread, which typically end up being slightly smaller than a regular loaf of bread. you can make free-form loaves, or you can put them in a loaf pan.
1/2 a packet dry active yeast (i usually pour the packet onto a plate, and separate it that way)
1 and 1/8 cup warm water
2 eggs plus 1 egg later
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tbsp salt
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine, or shortening
4-5 cups flour. flour is funny, it depends on the batch, how dry your house is. . .make sure you've got some extra.
a little bit of olive oil
first of all, turn your oven on to it's lowest setting. as low as possible.
dissolve the yeast in the warm water. mix well, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
meanwhile, beat the egs in a very large bowl. add the honey, and beat it again. add the sugar, salt, and butter (or whatever) and beat well. add the yeast mixture, and beat again.
now add the flour, one cup at a time, till a dough forms. blend the last cup in with your hands. knead the dough for 15 minutes, adding more flour if it's too sticky. pour a little olive oil in the bowl, and roll the dough around in it, so it's lightly covered in oil.
turn the oven off.
cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise in the over for about 3 hours. it should double in size. after 3 hours, take it out, punch it down, knead it some more, and form it into loaves.
the traditional Sabbath Challah is in a braided shape. if you don't know how to braid, ask your sister or your mom. whatever shape you decide to do, put it in a greased loaf pan, or on a greased cookie sheet, and put it back in the over for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, with the oven turned off.
see why this takes so long?
remember that egg we haven't used yet? beat it in a bowl. take the loaves out of the oven, and brush them with the raw egg. preheat the oven to 350, and put the loaves back in. they are done in about 35 minutes. using those glass loaf pans is great, because you can see how brown the bottom is.
this bread is SO good, and the yeast does all the work for you.
ok, on to books. i'm about half way through The Endless Knot, and i'm having trouble with it. i don't know if Lawhead was getting bored, or what. the foreshadowing is heavy, the plot feels contrived, it better have one of those hits-you-like-a-brick-wall endings, or i'm going to be really disappointed. i'm still annoyed from book II, where people from our world fell into Albion, and then it was really never touched on again. Mr Lawhead! this needs to be touched on more. like now! like, how about whoever kidnapped so and so (i don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it) is someone from our world, or something.
i'm a chapter or so from the end of China Meiville's King Rat. if you know a teenager who hates Harry Potter because it's all namby pamby, have them read this. blood, gore, violence, swear words, it's pretty cool. some of the characterization is better than others. you can tell which characters Mieville liked, and which ones he really didn't care for. I've heard his new book, Un LunDun is supposed to be closer to King Rat than anything else he's written, but i kinda hope not.
ah yes, comic books. or, as us smarty pants call them, graphic novels. oh come on, it's manga, or american manga wannabes. i wasted a good hour reading Rikdo Koshi's Excel Saga, and you know what? it was so rediculously silly and stupid, i think i'll read the 2nd one. it's a genre of manga that spoofs a lot of the super serious melodramatic plot lines. also in the comic pile was my buddy Paul Sizer's Little White Mouse. i say "my buddy". yeah right. I took his graphic design class at WMU in 1998. but i still see him around town! and he lets me buy him drinks! Little White Mouse is quite cool, as is his Moped Army comic. much better than it looks. He needs to put out the 2nd volume, like right now.
you! go make bread, and while it's rising, read cool stuff!!