As I had suspected, a little foray into the city was just what I needed to reawaken my muse. I feel rejuvenated and relaxed at the same time (if not a tad underslept—but I’ll make up for that soon enough).
Our plans to lay low on Friday night fell through and after a fun evening at Ole, Kyle and I weren’t really up for catching the Saturday morning bus at 9:30. Instead, we decided to drive to the city—and by ‘we,’ I mean Kyle drove and I was a happy passenger:
I finished the first sleeve of my cardigan and about half of the second one. I probably would have finished both but I passed out slept on the way back. Driving (er, being driven) is a much more pleasant way to commute to the city. We rolled down the windows, soaked in some sunshine, and stopped for snacks whenever we felt like it. The only downside is that Kyle thinks this is music…and I beg to differ.
Let’s just say that Saturday night was one of those epic nights in the city. Kyle and I wandered around in the warm weather and got pre-dinner drinks at an outdoors bar, then met up with my college friends at Angon. There’s nothing like a reunion.
I took a few random pictures here and there, but mainly I was having too much of a good time to stop and shoot every two seconds. However, for some reason, I did snag a picture of this glorious pizza which I inhaled at the wee hours of Sunday morning (at this point, I can’t explain how I was deciding what was and was not worth recording but I have an interesting collection of images from this final stretch of the night):
There’s nothing like NYC pizza, especially when it’s consumed at ungodly hours after a long night in the city. It has to be done.
Several hours before this, I do recall eating lots of good Indian food—naan, in particular. Though our waiter kindly informed us that one bread basket would be more than enough for the table, we ordered 3 or 4 more throughout the course of the evening. Naturally, this awakened the interest of my inner bread baker.
Another perk to driving to the city is that Kyle is a very ‘efficient’ driver, so we were back in Boston with enough time for me to take a leisurely bike ride to the grocery store where I bought the makings for homemade naan (I needed whole milk yogurt which was surprisingly difficult to find!) I followed this recipe quite closely, but added minced garlic to the dough and brushed homemade garlic and oregano butter over each piece as soon as it came out of the oven.
Nearly every time I try out a new bread recipe, I have a moment of doubt where I’m convinced that I’ve messed something up. Bread is a little finicky, after all. Usually, at some point during the process, I announce to Kyle that “this might not work.” He’s used to my yeast-related insecurities and every time he dutifully replies, “of course it will.” (This time, I panicked a bit when the recipe started calling for “baker’s peels” and “quarry tiles,” and when I realized I don’t own a rolling pin! But I improvised.)
Truth is, I haven’t had any major inedible disasters, and my bread baking always ‘works’ but some attempts are far more successful than others and I’ve made my fair share of mediocre loaves. Well, to be perfectly honest, I can easily say that this is one of my most successful bread-baking endeavors thus far—perhaps the most successful. Maybe it was the addition of yogurt, or the way each piece is baked individually (of course, I used Le Creuset), but this bread was soft, fluffy, moist…heaven:
I’m a whole wheat fiend, but I have to admit that getting a nice moist bread using only whole wheat flour can be challenging. For some reason, this one just worked. And, of course, you can never have too much garlic.
I only made one mistake. Since I have an aversion to excess leftovers and hate wasting food (and since homemade bread seems to go bad more quickly than most), I halved the recipe so that I only had three 6″ x 10″ rectangles. Never again. I gave Kyle a pre-dinner taste test and he quickly informed that I should only make naan from now on. He then announced that he would like an entire rectangle with his meal. I started with half of one, but let’s just say that by the end of the night, we only had one rectangle left 😦 Don’t worry, we did get our far share of healthy (and beautifully colorful!) produce as well with this lovely vegetable stir fry (steak was added post-photo but it looked prettier with just the veggies):
Even though we had freshly-baked bread, Kyle does not believe in stir fry without rice, so we got our far share of carbs last night, but after an evening of shenanigans in the city, nothing feels better in your belly.
Not only I am thrilled to have found a new favorite bread recipe, but I’m also pleased to announce that my sewing inspiration has returned. Of course, it returned on Friday afternoon when I had precious little time to respond. I was stitching up until when we departed on Saturday, and literally left my project in this state:
Not only does it feel good to be sewing again, it feels good to want to be sewing again. Last night was more of a pajamas-and-TV kind of night, but I’m looking forward to my nearly plan-free week and many hours of evening stitching. What am I making exactly? Well, it’s not quite like anything I’ve done before. You’ll have to wait and see.