Sunday, February 15, 2015

Brioche: A Recipe for Patience

Have I ever told you how much I love to make brioche? All that smooth, sexy butter and rich eggs, not to mention the slow, sensual swelling of the dough as it reaches its maximum flavor, rising overnight, so sure of itself.

I have a thing for brioche.

It's messy. I don't have one of those fancy schmancy KitchenAid mixers, so I do it all by hand. Just like they used to on the prairie.

 The dough is stiff at first and it takes a while to get the butter incorporated. You have to mash it and squish it and if you take photos while you're doing this, you end up with a bunch of butter on your Canon.
And just when you think the dough will never come together, it does. It always does.
The next day, all you need to do is knead your dough and shape it into the most glorious loaf, bake it, and you're left with a silky, tender bundle of goodness. 
If that isn't enough, use some of the dough to make some pains au chocolat. Holy sh#t, the deliciousness.
This luxury of homemade bread smothered in butter is a crucial salve during the winter months when  the frozen landscape and paralyzing chill leaves me numb and empty of that nebulous something that causes joy. The light is dim for too long and the promise feels broken.

Maybe it's worse this year. Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's Maybeline.

I am bursting with anticipation for the first sign of green grass, the first sign of the most courageous crocus finding its way through the stubborn snow for a forgotten taste of sunshine.

We recently bought a little house in town with a few acres and I'm dying to discover the land. I want to grow asparagus and broccoli and garlic. I don't care that garlic is a penny a pound. I want to dig it out of our soil. I'm in the mood to grow, to harvest, to reap. I want fields of lavender and native plants. Rows of sugar snap peas, spinach, and heirloom tomatoes.

I want.

Right now, it's a little house of horrors. But you can't judge a house by its horrors. It has the bones and land we've been looking for.  Laura has a vision for the landscape. I have a vision for the quiche I'll be making in our remodeled kitchen, and the fire we will burn in our stone fireplace.  And the chickens we will raise, alongside our children.

The outbuildings are greenhouses in the making.

And it has the most adorable front door.

But it's still winter, we still have another house to sell. We're frozen in limbo until something gives.

At the very least we have hope and brioche to sustain us until the thaw.

Just when you think it'll never come together, it does. It always does. It's messy and difficult, but it's delicious in the end.


Speaking of delicious, I'd like to give a shout out to Old Crown for the scrumptious valentine's day dinner. The pan-seared walleye topped with grilled shrimp and accompanied by asparagus and roasted garlic red cabbage was impeccably prepared.

Cookies by the amazing Jeannie Porter
Peace and love.