Autumn · Uncategorized

For Starters

Hello, out there!

Months, perhaps years, of culminating inspiration has led me to create this blog.  For those of you who do not yet know me, my name is Wren.  I have hopes that this blog will chronicle my creative growth as I share with you my explorations in what inspires me recently — whether that may be in the kitchen, garden, or somewhere else in my little nest!  You can also expect posts about music, books, and my lovely family.

Now, with the formalities out of the way, I’d like to share with you what I’ve been up to recently!

About a month ago I finished reading Michael Pollan’s book Cooked and absolutely loved it.  He writes about the transformative nature of cooking food through four different methods which just so happen to correlate with the classic elements: fire, water, air, and earth.  I won’t reveal too much here, as I know some of you may want to read the book for yourselves, but I will say that every section was fascinating, with my favorites being air and earth — in which he discusses baking and in the latter, wild fermentation.  All of this to say that Pollan has rekindled my nerdy fascination in yeast and sourdough starter.

About two years ago, I decided to cultivate my own wild yeast so I could bake bread without using the commercial variety.  Without knowing at all what I was getting into, I did my best with some instructions from the net.  I fermented raisins in one jar, and in another, I used pineapple juice and flour.  Well, my bread was edible.  But, without knowing how to properly care for my starters, my baking endeavors went down hill within a couple of months.  I’m happy that I lasted that long, though! Also, I should mention here another great book that I read at that time–Six Thousand Years of Bread by H.E. Jacob.  That book, in addition to Thoreau’s Walden; or, Life in the Woods, were the impetuses to my first DIY sourdough adventures.

Long story short, I have a sweet little Tupperware of starter bubbling on the kitchen countertop right now.  Tonight I’ll make a leaven per Pollan’s instructions in the back of Cooked.  The second attempt at baking bread in the past few weeks.  My first loaf turned out surprisingly well! I was not expecting much, because, well, I did not want to be disappointed.  However, the sourdough was yeasty enough; that beautiful airy transformation! A well rounded loaf, with a nice rise and perhaps the best surprise — a nice crumb, with holes and everything! It may seem obvious to you that there would be holes in a nicely risen loaf of sourdough bread, but I was still in awe that I was able to facilitate their presence.  I hope tomorrow’s loaf is as nice, if not better.  Though, I must admit, I enjoy the process best of all.

OK.  You’ll hear more about bread another time.  Let me give you a quick note about some other things on my mind, hopefully not nearly as long winded.

We keep a garden.  My husband, daughter, and I enjoy working in it and, especially in my daughter’s case, playing in it!  Right now we have kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, oak leaf lettuce, carrots, calabasa, pumpkin, broccoli, peppers, and herbs in various stages of growth.  We have recently eaten some red bell peppers, purple/black peppers, cucumbers, and herbs from our little garden.  While I love the entire space, I do immensely enjoy the herb garden.  We have had a lot of success with herbs & they are so easy to maintain.  Also, while not an herb, we grow green and bunching onions there & have eaten from them plenty, especially while making stir-fried rice.  Currently, our oregano is the most hearty. I’ll let you know how we end up using the bulk of it! Of course, we will end up drying some…

Well, I feel as though I could go on forever, and yet, I must save some things to share at another time.  I will close by saying that I am grateful for having such a supportive husband that has let me spend the greater part of an hour writing!

More to come, I promise.


17 thoughts on “For Starters

  1. Remember that time where we sat on your front porch at the Nut House (cute name) and chatted about Walden? And then you pulled out a notebook where you had written down your favorite quotes from the book? That was such a peaceful moment, listening to you read those Walden snippets when the weather was so nice outside and the neighborhood peaceful. One of those rare Lakeland days.

    I’m so happy that you’ve started a blog. I’ve been waiting for a chance to enojy your writing and see you cultivate some great stories 🙂 I’m really intrigued about the four elements coming into play with cooking. Since my sign is air, I’m naturally intrigued with that aspect, haha.

    Wow, I can’t believe that you’re growing so many veggies! Take pictures next time 😀 And keep writing! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Kim! I remember that morning… so peaceful! I still have the notebook, too. Hey, maybe I can bring you some veggies if we have any still the next time I see you.

      1. That would be awesome. Everything you make (and now grow!) tastes great. I feel like I’m treated to a chef’s meal whenever I get to visit 😀 I’m still dreaming of the sweet potato salad, haha.

      2. Oh, I have to get that recipe to you! It was a Moroccan sweet potato salad with black olives — I returned the book to the library but I’ll try my best to remember the title. Or, if I come across it on Google I’ll link you right away. Thanks for the compliments, that’s so sweet! I feel the same when I go to you & your family’s home 🙂

  2. What a great blog.. The way you express yourself Is delightful! Want to learn more.. Keep it going!
    I’m glad my wonderful bro told me about you!

  3. I love your writing. You are are talented. You really have a way with words to bring your reader into your world. I will definetely keep up with reading this, and can’t wait for more!

  4. You made me wanna start up a new garden too!
    I just got my mother’s special Georgian bread recipe for you, I will write it for you in Skype! 🙂

  5. Isn’t it nice the way we can try to encourage and/or inspire others and just when you feel your efforts have come to naught… the nicest veganette I know gives birth to a 2nd beautiful baby, sweet and insightful on the inside and out !!!

  6. Glad to read you About-For starters page! I used to have a garden, now I don’t anymore, it’s such a deep satisfaction indeed. Thank you for the follow too! Please be aware that my blog is a bilingual one.
    So you may get links to some poems in English as well as to some in Italian…
    I’m trying to keep the posting balanced between the two languages.

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