Wednesday, December 9: news flash – Montreal receives 28 centimeters of snow!
After a long mild spell, the cold has finally settled in…with a vengeance. Later that day, the traffic was bumper-to-bumper. I looked out the window and thanked my lucky stars that I no longer have to commute to work. Freelancing has its rewards and being able to work from home is a blessing.
My street was pristine and all-white. At 5:00 pm, it didn’t look like the snow was going to stop any time soon. Drivers were on their cell phones and I wondered if they were asking their significant other if there was any hot soup at home.
Many years ago, I used to work in Old Montreal where parking cost $10.00 a day forcing me to take public transportation. I remember waiting in bus stops, my fingers and toes frozen. I’d come home weary, teary and hungry.
Back in those days, I would have given anything to have something like this waiting for me at home.
That’s Betty Crocker’s southwest cheese soup on the left and on the right, George Greenstein’s milk bread which I worked into a “dunno what you call it” shape. I was feeling inspired in spite of the frenetic snow outside and my fingers were itching to create – now that they no longer get frozen.
Betty Crocker’s soup has all the yummy goodness you’d expect from a southern kitchen in America. It has black beans, tomatoes, corn, cheese and milk. It’s easy and quick – the kind of soup that you can whip up for someone who’s coming home after a long commute home. You can have this soup with your favorite crackers, but I think it would go better with George Greenstein’s milk bread.
You can get the Betty Crocker recipe here: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes.aspx/southwest-cheese-soup/44825ada-da64-469c-9b32-c2c2f309a3a5?WT.dcsvid=NDM4MTM3ODMwMAS2&rvrin=10AAA17B-6A3D-455F-BF3E-F0D863C7D1A6&WT.mc_id=Newsletter_DME_10_25_2009.
As Betty C says, “All you need are five ingredients and 20 minutes!”
George Greenstein’s milk bread is on page 37 of his book Secrets of a Jewish Baker. He uses the sponge method and the usual loaf pan for this. But like I said, I felt like experimenting so I did not use a loaf pan and opted for a free standing loaf. I also took a section off the dough to do the patches and twists. My sister had given me some cookie cutters with serrated sides last summer and this was a good time to take them out of their box. I cut out three pieces and put them on top of the loaf, and then did two twists to line each side of the bread. Fancy schmancy, you’re saying.
If you want the recipe for Greenstein’s milk bread, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll find plenty of milk bread recipes on the net, but I have absolute and unwavering trust on this famous Jewish baker!
Instead of the egg wash, Greenstein said to brush this bread with water and bake it with steam (meaning put a pan of water inside the oven). I chose not to do it this way. There’s something about water inside the oven that unsettles me, have no idea why.
For the holidays, I’m thinking of coloring my breads to make them look more festive. Food coloring – once in awhile – does not worry me. I know some people deliberately snub food coloring for health reasons. I’m also thinking of doing other crazy shapes, and I’ll definitely share them with you and post them here…that is, if the shapes don’t collapse on me!