Sunday, October 07, 2007

A Lazy Sunday with Friends


Even though the weather in the greater NYC area has been sultry to say the least, I have just wrapped up a busy but fun filled week of baking, cooking and hanging out with friends in NYC while I attended the Audio Engineering Society 123rd annual convention.

Since I feel like my amplifier has been turned up to 11 since Monday (bonus points to anyone who "gets" that reference), I decided to spend the entire morning lazing around the apartment, reading the Sunday NY Times in bed with a large pot of cinnamon hazelnut coffee, homemade peach scones one of my neighbors brought over yesterday and left on my doorstep, and LB, who spent the entire morning curled up at my side with his head jammed against his afghan and his butt jammed against the pile of newspapers.

Of course, lazy day or not, no Sunday would be complete for me without making at least one loaf of bread. I picked a bread that is fairly lazy and no fuss so it is just doing its thing in the kitchen right now by proofing through its second rise. This is the loaf of bread I'll be posting about for Zorra's 2nd Annual Bread Day on October 16th; a super event that last year saw over 100 bread bakers and bloggers world wide participating. I won't tell you what I'm baking but it is a recipe from a cookbook a very dear friend, Helen of Tartlette, recently sent me as a housewarming gift. I've baked several breads from it so far and the recipes are so fantastic that even six little eggs could bake a loaf of bread from it with super results! There is still time for you to pull out your stand mixer and flour and participate. Your bread doesn't have to be a yeast bread so, if you get the willies from working with the little yeast beasties, you can still show us your loaves!

Speaking of housewarming gifts and super dear friends, look what I got this week!!

Lisa, the stupendously funny and incredibly sweet genius behind La Mia Cucina and one of the founding members of that whacky online group called Daring Bakers, sent me a surprise this week in the form of salt rising bread yeast and baker's couche. A baker's couche is a piece of canvas used to shape baguettes and other forms of crusty bread during the last rise and then transfer them to the baking sheet or in my case, my quarry tiles. These two items were on a King Arthur Bakers Catalogue wish list that was set up for a super top secret and special baking weekend coming up with two friends. I can't wait to make the Salt Rising Bread in a couple weeks and serve it with some homemade beef stew and I'm packing the couche to go with me on that trip because you never know what is going to get baked that weekend...but I can guarantee there will be lots of giggling and a bit flour strewn around (not to mention a few empty wine bottles).

Last but hardly least, I heard from a friend last night in the form of an award! I received a "Nice Matters Award" from Karen at Bake My Day!

Karen has become a good blogging friend over the past few months as we have baked together in the Daring Bakers and traded a few tips back and forth. I was touched by the sweet things she had to say about me and The Sour Dough. In almost four years of blogging, I can absolutely say the best thing that has come from writing The Sour Dough has been meeting wonderful people like Karen who have become friends.

So, now it is time for me to pass on to seven fellow blogger who embody the spirit of the Nice Matters Award.

Sara of I Like To Cook: Sara is my oldest blog friend and even though we haven't found a way to meet in person yet, she and I send flurries of emails and packages back and forth and offer each other support in both our cooking and other lives. She never has a bad thing to say about anybody and is always one of the first people to encourage others to try difficult things.

Veronica at Veronica's Test Kitchen: Veronica is one of the most support people I have ever had the extreme pleasure of working with in the world of blogging. We are Daring Baker sisters and she always every month posts on our secret decoder ring required blog tips and help for those of us struggling through the challenge recipe.

Andrea at A Small Group of Thoughtful, Committed Citizens: Andrea is out there putting her whole heart and soul into making this world a better place for everybody, no matter their colour, creed or situation in life and she's doing it one person and one post at a time. Now that Andrea has made a temporary move to the east coast, I'm going to have to figure out a way to meet up with her (and maybe drag Jill from Writing or Typing along for the ride) but until then, I'll just have to admire her handy work from afar.

Arcadia at Coloringbooksblue: This is a rather personal one for me. Arcadia is my cousin (who is almost 15 years younger than I am) and just about the sweetest person I know but she is also one of the people I admire the most in the whole world because she has pulled herself up by her bootstraps more times than I can count and still hasn't lost that special something that makes her want to help people find a way to be better people themselves. If there was Nobel Prize for tenacity, she would surely be nominated. I'm proud to know Arcadia and even prouder to be her cousin.

Mimi at French Kitchen in America: Mimi is one of the most inclusive bloggers I have ever read and I am proud to call her a blogging friend (not to mention fellow Yooper gal). The nature of blogging tends to make one someone self-centric but I can not think of any other blogger who elicits so much feedback from her readers and genuinely is interested in the response. For anyone who blogs, personally answering each and every comment can be time consuming and most of us try but fall short even when we have the best of intents. Mimi always finds time to personally respond to each and every one of her readers, even with her super busy and hectic schedule.

Ruth at Once Upon a Feast: Not unlike Mimi of French Kitchen in America, Ruth is one of the nicest people I know in regards to garnering feedback from her readers. Not only that but she hosts what I think is one of the friendliest blogging events, Presto Pasta Night every week as well as posts on her exploits her Halifax kitchen.

My last award goes to someone who is world class in every way, as a baker, a cookbook author and a blogger, and that is Dorie Greenspan. Too often in the world of blogging, especially the bloggers who are pros at what they do, the blog is either "ghost written" or is one long commercial. For anyone who has ever met Dorie, heard Dorie speak or seen Dorie at a cooking event, all you have to do is read her blog to know it is written by her. Not only does her bubbly enthusiasm spill over in the blog but she finds time to answer everyone's comments and questions on her blog. In the world of snarky and increasingly untouchable food celebrities including a few well known food bloggers, Dorie stands on a pinnacle of meringue all her own not only for her reachability but her honesty and niceness to all us who love to bake with her.