Parsnip and semolina flatbreads

Parsnip rosemary flatbread

Parsnip rosemary flatbread

It’s been a heavy sort of a week. Everything feels a little more dangerous and uncertain than it generally does in our part of the world. It would be easy to fall into an anxious frame of mind, and hide under the covers all day. I’ve got all sorts of heavy thoughts in my head, because I’m that kind of person, and all sorts of serious things to talk about. But the thoughts that keep rising to the surface are much lighter, brighter thoughts. They’re about a cartoon. We have a fairly strict NO TV BEFORE SCHOOL policy in our house. But, like all our fairly strict policies, it’s made to be broken. Lately we’ve been watching one 11-minute episode of Adventure Time each morning, and I can’t tell you how much it’s grown on me! It’s the story of Jake the Dog and Finn the Human, they live together (without parental supervision!) in a giant rambling tree house. They go on adventures. They wander their strange world looking for evil to fight and people to save–they’re self-proclaimed heroes. The beautiful thing about them is that they’re like children–they’re like my children–they’re silly and they make dumb fart jokes, they don’t fully understand the adult world around them, but they wade through it anyway. They don’t fully understand their own emotions, but they try. They’re cheerful, they’re pranksters, they’re good friends, they’re up for anything. They seem fearless, and in many episodes it’s their fearlessness that saves them. Because in the cartoon, as in life, oftentimes the evildoers’ only real power is to cause fear and manipulate people based on their fear. But they’re not fearless. In my favorite episode, Finn confronts his fear of the ocean, using Jake’s five-step method (which includes rhyming couplets!). I’m scared of the ocean! It was bizarrely comforting to learn that Finn is too. And he never overcomes that fear, he learns to embrace it, because all heroes have a flaw. Finn and Jake live in the land of Ooo, which is a very strange place. But while all the strange situations feel so familiar, and the characters feel so human–flawed and morally complicated, petty and generous, brave and foolish. There’s a childlike logic to the show that makes it feel so perfect–that makes it comforting and inspiring in the way that talking to Malcolm and Isaac is comforting and inspiring. The way they look at the world is so rationally nonsensical and hopeful. I like to walk to school with Isaac humming the end credits theme song in my head. “We can wander through the forest and do so as we please.” That’s what we do! We wander through the forest together. And it’s a little easier to face a heavy scary world if you do so as heroes, looking for adventure, trying to be righteous, trying to muddle through.

These flatbreads contain some pureed parsnip, which makes them nice and soft and flavorful. And they have rosemary and semolina, which makes them even nicer and more flavorful. Malcolm loved them and asked if he could have one for his lunch the next day, but the dog ate the leftover flatbreads right off the table! Bad girl!!

Here’s the ending theme of Adventure Time.

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Rosemary bread

rosemary bread

I bought a huge bunch of fresh rosemary, and I dried most of it in the oven, but I wanted to do something with a small amount while it was fresh. Cold and miserable weather (snow in October!) always inspires me to make something that takes a lot of time, but not a lot of attention–bread! I decided to make a brioche-type of dough, playing on the secret sweetness of rosemary. And I added green peppercorns and a bit of lemon zest, two other flavors that seem to span the salty/sweet divide. The result is a rich, finely-crumbed bread with a very subtle flavor. Nice the first day with soup, and very good toasted with salted butter the next day. It would probably make a good grilled cheese sandwich with some mild and salty cheese, but there’s none left to try it out on!

Here’s some wise advice from Justin Hinds…Save a Bread to listen to while you wait for your dough to rise.

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