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Bun in the Oven

Caught your attention, didn’t I? You were thinking Aurora Rose is prego, but alas that is not the case.

What do you absolutely drool for when you think of a sweet treat or your favorite food? Are you willing to try new dishes or a baked good you’ve never tried before? Last summer, I began my foray into the adventure of baking and cooking authentic food. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a good cook in my own right and love making cookies but some other foods tried my patience and my skills.

Several years ago, I made cinnamon buns but they didn’t turn out too good. You could have gone to Canada to play hockey with those hard buns! I tried baking bread too but that worked out as well as the cinnamon buns. Why doesn’t bread rise, I asked myself after seeing my latest, and most dismal attempt.

So back to last summer. I decided I wanted to learn to make chile rellenos, a Mexican dish of poblano peppers stuffed with Monterey Jack cheese. Oh, might as well make some Mexican rice to go along with it. I found a recipe, heated up the frying oil to a toasty hot temp and off I went. They didn’t turn out too bad. They were edible, but the next time I made them, I made the batter thicker and eh voila! Chile rellenos became a popular dish at my house. (My spell checker is weirding out with all the Mexican words. Excuse me, while I give it a short talking too.) The rice turned out really well too, with thin-sliced onion, a can of tomato juice and saffron and cumin along with other spices.

I learned how to make Baklava, a very sweet treat made with phyllo dough, walnuts and honey. One baking dish worth will go a long way and satisfies the sweet tooth’s craving.

I taught myself to make Rocky Road Fudge, Key Lime Pie, Lemon Meringue Pie with home-made crust and Tamales, some filled with pork and others with chicken, and apple fritters. I learned to make pickled ginger to go along with sushi. Then I got very adventurous and decided to see if hoagie rolls were hard to make. I mean I didn’t want them hard as hockey pucks again. My husband, who makes delicious bread when he’s in the mood, taught me how to measure the water before I add in the yeast. So, presto! I learned one of the most basic skills for making bread - how to heat your water and proof the yeast. Those hoagie rolls turned out super - crunchy on the outside and light on the inside. Perfect!

Cinnamon buns, being the challenge they were, had been put on a back burner until I saw a recipe for a quick version, complete with brown sugar, margarine, cinnamon and raisins. I tried that version and it became an all around favorite. Then I thought, I’ve made bread a couple of times (remember heating the water to the right temperature is important), why not try yeast-raised cinnamon buns? They weren’t the nightmare they’d once been. The dough turned out easy to work with and what was best, was that my husband loved them! But I have one more baked good to conquer. Sourdough bread since I see some person from this household always making special trips to the local grocery to buy some. How hard can that be?

Oh, maybe very hard. I need sourdough starter. No problem. That’s the wonderful thing about the internet. There are recipes everywhere you care to surf. So I made sourdough starter. In case you’re wondering, it’s like yeast but it’s more like a batter that you have to treat like a pet (you have to feed it once a week) except that it lives in your fridge. Some folks, I learned, has sourdough starter back from the 1840s!

Okay, I’ve got the starter, now for the bread. It took three days to make. I am not kidding! It had to rise the first time for twelve hours until doubled in bulk. Then the second time, it rose overnight in the fridge. When I baked the loaf of bread, it was smallish but it tasted good. Now I’ve gotten smarter and more time efficient. I use yeast along with the starter and make bread in about four hours.

The joy of being able to bake and cook anything I want is liberating. The whole process, from thinking about what would taste good for dinner and the creation relaxes me in a way few other things can. Now don’t think I spend all day in the kitchen. No, I spend part of my day there and the rest, well, I spend in the dining room eating and enjoying life and planning/writing my next novel.

What is your favorite food?

My birthday is coming up early next month so as a birthday treat, and which has nothing to do with food, I’m giving away a free critique of the first 30 pages of a fantasy or romance (any genre) novel (normally a $100 USD value). The tenth (10th) person to email me from my website will receive a personalized reading and in-depth critique. Happy writing!

Aurora Rose Lynn's Website


Catherine Chernow said...

LOL. Love the title of this post!

I enjoy cooking for a crowd. I think it's relaxing and creative. What I don't like doing is cooking everyday. When I get home from work, I'd rather go out for a meal.

Too funny about the cinnamon buns!

When I was firs married, I invited friends over for pasta and homemade sauce. Only problem was, I put an entire bud of garlic into the sauce, not just a clove of garlic. I had no idea that a bud of garlic and clove of garlic were two different things..............

We all laugh to this day about it. We ate the sauce that night, followed by lots and lots of mints.

: )

Catherine Chernow

Ashley Ladd said...

Wow! I'm coming to your place for dinner. I have to admit I've not done much baking or heavy cooking lately - between the day job and writing, and the daughter having softball 7 days a week this season, I'm too beat. But it's something I'd like to get back into.

LynTaylor said...

Oh wow! I love reading all the different foods you cook. I used to love cooking, that was until I got married and had kids, LOL.

My husband and kids have the blandest taste buds, honestly!! I love all sorts of foods and will try everything. I'm one of those people who like olives and anchovies, mustards and parmeasan cheese, antipasto or Thai. Anything tasty, bring it on! So sadly I miss out on this with the family, as it's not efficient to cook what I like. *sigh* I'm afraid I've gotten to the point where I've forgotten how to cook the way I used to. Now it's just the same old garbage, day in and day out :(

Lisabet Sarai said...

Baklava! I'm very impressed. Speaking of filo, have you ever tried making spanokopita - Greek spinach and feta casserole layered in filo? It's scrumptious, though a bit challenging. My husband and I make it together, from a recipe in the Moosewood Cookbook. I spread the butter while he delicately separates and arranges the filo... Exquisitely sensual!

Anonymous said...

I love this blog! Cooking is one of my joys now, although I used to be terrible! I usually have a house full of hungry teenagers - it's loud, rowdy and a bit pricey with the groceries - but hey, groceries are cheaper than bail!