Sometimes I think there may be no better way to spend a Sunday than sleeping in followed by hours in the kitchen. That’s what today was like for me. Drin arrived home from the night shift sometime around 7:30 am and climbed into bed with me and the dogs. We slept until 11:00 am, at which time Tuckerman decided he’d had enough. And so, we were up and heading down the stairs toward a rare open-scheduled Sunday.
The weather was gorgeous, by New England standards, mostly sunny and 56 to 57 degrees. It actually felt like Spring and Drin was going to make use of it. He immediately called the fire department for permission to burn in the yard, while I puttered around the house. While carrying an armload of misplaced items past the breakfast room and trying to decide what I’d do with the day, besides a single errand I had to run, and wondering what my friend Ellen and her dog Charley may be up to, the phone rang.
At first I wasn’t sure I recognized the number that displayed; it was Ellen. She had just been to Stodder’s neck, a dog-friendly park on the Hingham-Weymouth line, about 20 minutes from the house. She was heading in our direction, and offered to stop by for a visit. She arrived in short time, and Charley instantly searched the house for Tuck and Layla. They had already begun a fun-filled morning in the yard with Drin, and Charley fell right into rank upon joining them. So, Drin was content, the dogs were content, there was water already boiled for tea, and an organized kitchen-a perfect opportunity for Ellen and I to make something!
We decided on Challah. Ellen is a culturalistic jew, it is passover, and I’m a sucker for carbs, so it seemed like the perfect choice. I measured out the ingredients, set the mixer to medium, and viola, in no time we had a ball of dough that required raising for an hour….Now what?
Well, Ellen got started on Apple Crunch Muffins, while I, still feeling inspired by the Spring day, decided on Lemon Curd Squares. Before long, the kitchen was full of dirty bowls, measuring cups, wooden spoons, and the flour was flying. Two hours, two beers, and two hotdogs later, our creations were cooling on the countertops. The Challah was punched down, braided (Thank you Ellen), and commencing its second round of raising, which was to last another two hours. Two hours. Oh yes! My errand! That’s how we decided to pass the time.
My errand was one of joy for me. Layla, my boxer girl, who is the color of fried chicken, will be turning two this coming Friday, the 10th. For her birthday, weeks earlier, I’d ordered her a pearl necklace, and received word that it had come in. We were going to pick her necklace up, and stop at the butcher shop on the way home to get a few beef shins for the dogs to enjoy. We decided to make it an all girl trip, taking Layla along with us, leaving Tuck and Charley at home with Drin. Layla didn’t complain.
When we arrived back home after a successful trip, gifts and goodies in hand, we offered the beef shins to our pooches. They devoured silently for nearly an hour. Ellen realized she’d been gone for hours longer than she’d anticipated and decided it was time to head home. Charley seemed to have the same realization about 20 minutes before Ellen and began walking around aimlessly, whining and pouting. Just like that, they were out the door and simaltaneously, Drin was finishing up in the yard.
This was when I remembered the raising Challah, and placed it in the oven for its final step. Twenty-five minutes later, a beautiful, golden, soft, sweet bread filled the air and our nostrils with its yeasty, buttery aroma. I sliced into the lovely loaf before it had a chance to cool, and even before I snapped my first photo, remembering I meant to blog about it later. The hours that bread required from step one, yeast proofing, to the final step, rubbing the hot surface with butter, proved worth the wait with a single bite. Delicious.
Though Tuckerman, my sous chef ordinarliy, didn’t participate in the creation this time, he did enjoy a small sampling of the finished product. A perfect ending for two people and two dogs to a Springtime Sunday afternoon