Cooking From Scratch: Weeks 6-9

Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you.

Take, for instance, the entire month of February this year. A mere two weeks after getting all four wisdom teeth pulled (and being bedridden for days), The Boyfriend got down on one knee and proposed. It was one of the greatest moments in my life, and we celebrated with different friends and family for almost a week straight. So, let’s just say February was not spent in the kitchen.

This past week, however, things have calmed down. I began to experiment again with baking, and I continued to work on my decorating skills. They aren’t perfect, but I’m getting better every time.

It was fun to make a cake that was entirely from scratch, and which managed to be delicious and beautiful. All the different layers and notes of chocolate, some rich and sweet and some strong and bitter, melded together to create one of the most perfect bites of dessert I’ve ever had.

I’ve also been experimenting with making my own sourdough starter, and it turned out to be stupid easy. You just have to keep the timing right and it all just sort of falls into place. I have kept my starter alive and made two batches of warm, fragrant sourdough bread. It’s going to be hard going back to the instant yeast anytime soon. I may just be a sourdough girl for life.

What I Made These Past Three Weeks

Sourdough. I used this tutorial to get everything started, and now I’ve had sourdough starter for about two full weeks. It’s so nice knowing that the bread I’m making is healthier, plus it’s more of a finicky process so I get much more satisfaction when it turns out well. I have a long ways to go when it comes to learning about bread and why it does what it does, but I feel like I’m well on my way.

Chocolate Cake With Buttercream Frosting. After a difficult week, I decided to wind things down by baking a soft, rich, sponge-y chocolate cake with homemade frosting. The frosting was much easier to make than I had anticipated and it felt nice to make something so beautiful. I never really bake as much as I cook because I don’t live with enough people to justify making an entire pan of brownies or an entire cake all the time, so this gave me the chance to have some fun with it and practice some more baking skills.

Chicken Cacciatore. Even though it’s a pretty classic dish, for some reason this gem never made it’s way into my repertoire. That changed this week. I was craving simple dishes that would pack a lot of flavor, and this covered all those bases. It didn’t take long at all but once I bit into the tender chicken and breathed in the rosemary aroma, it tasted like I had spent hours on it. That’s my kind of dinner.

Overall, the last few weeks have been a whirlwind of events, but it’s been nice to feel grounded again and be back to cooking. I remember speaking to a friend once about spiritual moments in our daily lives and connectedness. She said that the only spiritual experience she’d ever had was when she stood on her yoga mat, her toes gripping it, her eyes closed before she started her practice. I feel that same way about standing over a new dish and watching it transform into something beautiful.

I hope that things are well, wherever you may be.

Until next time, stay grounded.


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