There has been a lot of entertaining going on around here lately. Three weeks in a row, my husband has had someone from his company in town, and we've had a dinner party for them.
Typical of my house, there is a Twister game on the floor to greet the guests. There is usually a toy or pile of toys of some kind around.
Luckily, it has been peony season, they have been in bloom for me to pick for all three little parties.
Peonies can be a lot of work to de-ant, but worth the trouble. I rinse, soak, whack, rinse each flower. If I accidently break one off while getting the little ants off of them, those big, fluffy, flower heads look every bit as pretty floating in a tea cup.
I think I got all of the ants off. None of the guests spoke up to say one was crawling around on the table. I wasn't too worried. Those flowers are so sweet, that if I did miss an ant, it would be soooo in love with the flower it was on, that it wouldn't want to leave it and bother us.
The dinners have been a great excuse for me to over indulge on rolls. I've been baking for each party. These are rosemary garlic.
Here is how I make them, please note that my measurements are guestimates, I don't actually use measuring cups or spoons, I eyeball the amounts.
Dump together in greased bread machine pan:
1-1/2 cups warm water
1-1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl Guar Gum (helps in rising)
3 Tbl sugar
4 Tbl dried rosemary
1 Tbl minced garlic
3 cups bread flour
And last, 2-1/2 tsp of yeast on top.
Turn on the bread maker till all is mixed, then remove. Pinch off pieces, roll them into balls (with greased fingers) and line up in a greased cake pan. Oil the tops. I don't cover them because I let them raise in the closed microwave.
I set mine to rise for an hour or so. I've found that the perfect "Hot Box" for me to use for bread dough is the microwave. I boil a cup of water in it, turn on the light, and that light along with the hot water is enough to keep the temperature evenly warm for the dough to rise. Usually it takes 30-45 minutes to rise.
Bake at 350 til golden.
That is about how I make all of my bread, except not pinched into balls, divided up into bread pans to rise instead.
I use the same basic recipe so much that I never have to think about it. I just throw in different things for variety. Every loaf is the same amount of water, sugar, salt, guar gum, oil, flour, yeast.
Variations can be chia or sunflower seeds, or ground flax. I try to use chia and flax in almost all the loaves, but find that with the rosemary, it is better without those. I've also thrown in about 3/4 cup of whole multi-grain cereal and cut back on the flour a little. I'm surprised at just how simple and easy it is to bake bread. We rarely buy a loaf any more, and we have developed a bad habit of eating way too much bread.
I'd love to bake enough for Birdsong, but I'd have to make it ahead of time, and while that is good, it is not the same as standing by the oven with a stick of butter in your hand, waiting impatiently for it to finish baking.
Unless this hot weather turns the lettuce bitter before my Peeps arrive, I do plan on serving fresh greens from the food forest.
All this entertaining has me in good practice, I'm excited about all of my friends arriving soon for Birdsong!