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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Want to know what my dream house looks like? Well, this would be it. It would be on some moor somewhere, perhaps on a cliff overlooking the sea, a solitary structure, remote and bucolic... but with electricity and indoor plumbing, of course.

I would spend my days kneading dough and baking bread. From morning till night, that would be all that I did in my little house on the moor by the sea equipped with electric power and running water. Knead, knead, knead, bake, bake, bake...

Isn't that starting to sound like torture and punishment?

As much as I love making bread and as lovely as the premises and environs may be where I dream to be cloistered, I had a nightmare in which I couldn't make enough flour tortillas and bread rolls for Crazy Juliet, the little sandwich business I run with Veggie Chick, now into its fourth week (we only serve on Mondays). I am surrounded by dough in various stages of proofing, my hands caked with the hardened stuff and a mushroom cloud of flour lingering over my head.

* * *
Well, it wasn't torture, after all. Every week I panic, and every week I get down to the task and complete it. It brings in hardly any income and with all our effort, we're practically giving away sandwiches. It's not going to get me my dream house but for now, it's fun to do and I'm teaching myself about the food business from scratch.

These are the filled mushroom pockets proofing. Just before they go into the oven, they get brushed with a light salt solution and sprinkled with sesame seeds. As you can see, they don't look homogeneous. They have the same amount of dough ­­– believe me, I weighed each portion ­­– and the same amount of filling ­­– mixed mushrooms (oyster, shiitake and enoki) and baby spinach on a bed of potatoes ­­– but these were shaped by my hands, not a machine. I think that's the nice part about the sandwiches actually.

The other sandwich I'm making is a Mexican Chicken Wrap. This is the picture I have on our menu.

The one I am making looks similar but instead of lettuce, the greens are a tangy shredded cabbage relish. The chicken is stir-fried with green bell peppers and onions in a taco seasoning. The flour tortillas are homemade, and that's where I have a small problem ­­– "small" being the operative word, actually.

From past experiments, I need to make 11-inch tortillas so they'll be big enough to make a nice substantial envelope for the filling. However, the largest pan I have is just over 9 inches wide. I actually tried making the bigger tortillas in a wok but with gravity wreaking havoc, the edges kept sliding down and pleating, and the middle was too crusty. I'll figure something out...

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