Monday, April 11, 2011

Gnome Patrol

We had a little taste of summer out here at our little house on the edge of the prairie, yesterday's temp got up to around 84F and today hit 89F. The old ratty cargo shorts came out again and I got into the garden for some minor work. I emptied out the contents of our compost tumbler into a section that will probably used for cucumbers and pole beans and then covered it up with the soil and straw. There was also enough time to plant some leaf lettuce. There will soon, I hope, be romaine and some multicolored varieties emerging to fill us with the good vitamins and that stuff. It can't be worse than the lettuce coming in from California and Arizona. I have lots of left over seed packets of snow peas that seem to do well in the neighborhood of lettuce so the peas will be put in tomorrow, about 9 inches away from the loose leaf lettuce. The lettuce should emerge in about seven days and the peas in ten days.
We also had the chance to stop in at a couple of nurseries in Lawrence yesterday. The plants aren't really that big and they're not ready to plant either. I couldn't resist buying a few though. next to our grow light are a chile de arbol-bright heat and lots of flavor, a Goliath jalapeno, a Big Jim New Mexico chile, and a Park's Whopper tomato. I want to add an Italian sweet pepper, two Super San Marzano tomatoes, and possibly another tomato of a vintage not yet determined.
Just as a follow up to my post from 7 April 2011, I've figured out that my flour conundrum was most likely caused by the Hudson Cream AP flour. I baked another loaf using the AP on Saturday and shaping the dough before baking was a pain. The flour is lower in protein and most likely gluten than the Dakota Maid that I've favored lately. the dough was extremely slack and really didn't want to shape into a pan loaf. I just shaped it into a very "rustic" batard, proofed overnight in the fridge, and baked on Saturday because I had nothing to lose. All I have to do is adjust my hydration when using that flour. I've been smitten with the results from 70-72% lately but that's using the DM flours. I have to bake a couple of loaves for a bake sale at Cushing Hospital for delivery on Thursday morning so I'll take my chances with a maple wholewheat formula using the HC AP and some authentic Vermont maple syrup.
Next up are the aforementioned gnomes. They haven't been given names and probably won't ever get one. I don't know of any gnome names. They're small, sitting on plastic mushrooms, and have small solar cells that charge a lithium AA battery. The mushrooms glow at night. They're definitely tacky and still dreadfully appalling. Only $10 at Costco, such a bargain. I intend to move them around the yard every now and then when the fits of eccentricity strike me.

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