When I sit down with a mug of tea, I usually have a plate of food on my right and a good book resting in my lap. As a writer, I take reading very seriously. I try to consume at least one new novel each week. Over the holidays, I consumed two. As my thumb and fingers touch those printed pages, my lips rub against ceramic and my tongue appreciates the earthy warmth of each sip. Precocious young girls are often the stars of my reads, and I imagine them doing the same...coming home after a long day of living an extraordinary life and settling in with a cup of tea, a plate of food, and a book of their own.
A few books worth recommending:
The Secret History
As for that plate sitting to your right? These lemon and walnut rolls are fit companions to your afternoon pleasures. They are slightly sweet, airy and moist. As you tear off a piece of bread, you can see the delicate pockets of air that gave these loafs their rise. Ryan and I enjoyed these at dinner and at breakfast. They cross meal lines (sweet enough for a thick slathering of butter and jam...hearty enough to accompany a big bowl of soup).
So bake some rolls, brew some tea, and sit down with a good book. Tell me what you're reading. I'm always in the mood for a trip to the bookstore.
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
1 package of active dry yeast
2 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest from one lemon
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter (softened to room temperature)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1. In a small bowl, activate your yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water and 1 tsp of sugar. Wait until yeast is foamy (about 10 minutes).
2. In a bowl attached to a standing mixer, combine your milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, egg, sugar, butter and yeast mixture. Stir until mixed. Gradually add in flour and walnuts, and knead (with dough hook or by hand) for 8 minutes, or until a smooth and elastic dough forms. If needed, add more flour or water. Your dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick slightly to the bottom of your bowl.
3. Place you dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour.
4. Punch down dough, divide into sixteen equal pieces, shape into rolls and allow to rise again on a parchment lined cookie sheet (about 40 minutes).
5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until just lightly golden. Remove to rack to cool slightly before serving.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores