Too Much Stuff!!

I think most of us feel we have too much stuff.  I know we can never move again because in the five years we’ve been here, our garage has gone from empty to overflowing – not in a hoarder kind of way… but we have utilized the rafters, three of the four walls are covered with hanging sports gear, lawn and garden tools, chainsaw, hedge trimmers and a hundred other tools, car stuff, pool stuff, camping stuff, grilling stuff,  a couple ladders, we’ve got a lawnmower, a ride-on mower, a four wheeler with plow and dump cart attachments… and miscellaneous scrap building materials that we hold on to just in case.

Today we helped both my mother and my brother move into their new places.  My mom has been packed and waiting amidst her boxes for two months now.  She has some stuff, no doubt, but she was organized and we completed her entire move in 3 hours.  My brother & his wife, on the other hand, have a different method – it’s more of a “pack as you are moving” method.  They have three kids and perhaps 10X more stuff than my mother.  We were told they planned it this way and that we just needed to help with the big stuff.  PHEW.  They have been moving their stuff for a few days now, and then my brother helped a friend move yesterday and my mom move today, and they definitely have a few days ahead of them before they are fully moved out of their old place.  I feel bad that there wasn’t more stuff we could move for them…  BUT, that has been their plan since they learned of the move two months ago.  I love you bud – and I wish you a speedy schlep of your remaining stuff.

P.S. – My brother and I scored on my first dumpster dive!  Backstory – The Adirondack chairs at the top of my property, that I sit on every morning, finally bit the dust so we tossed them.  My mom called a couple weeks ago to say she scored a chair for me from the dumpster in her apt. complex.  And then, while we were moving my mom, my brother and I saw two more of the same color Adirondack chairs in a different dumpster in her complex.  What are the chances??  We stopped the truck, ran to the dumpster and said “these are good… go GO GO!!”  It felt like a heist – very thrilling!!

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I woke up at 4:30 AM today, so I baked a few house-warming gifts before we left the house at 8:00 AM:

Black Raspberry Crisp for my mother.

A Peasant Loaf for my brother:
Sourdough Boule
The dough will naturally pick up a nice sourdough tang if you allow it to sit for a few days in the fridge.  For this Peasant Loaf, I substituted some rye and wheat flours for the some of the all purpose flour and baked it the same day for a denser, less airy bread.

This recipe makes 4 round boules:
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 Tbs. granulated yeast
1 1/2 Tbs. kosher salt
6 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Mix salt and yeast with water in a 5 QT or bigger lidded plastic container.  Mix in the flour with a wooden spoon or clean hands (you can substitute some wheat or buckwheat or rye for some of the white flour… you can also add seeds/nuts/dried fruits).  You don’t need to knead it.  Cover but don’t seal and allow to rise at room temp for a few hours.  You can then leave container in the fridge for a few days or continue with the process right here.  Divide dough into 4 equal pieces, still no kneading, but turn each piece out onto a floured surface, sprinkle flour over the dough and form a ball by pulling the dough around to the bottom, turn a 1/4 turn and repeat – this creates the gluten cloak.  Allow to rise until ready to bake.  If at home, 30 minutes on a stone in a 450 oven.  In the community oven, the bread is done when the crust is amber, it sounds hollow when you knock on it and it’s not soft when you squeeze the center.

And Rosemary Shortbread for everyone to taste.  Really unique and delicious from Boston’s Flour Bakery & Cafe. (buy the cookbook Flour – it’s wonderful!)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg yok
1 tsp. rosemary, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Cream the butter for 5 minutes with a handheld mixer, medium speed.  Add the sugar and continue to beat 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.  Stop the mixer a few times and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.  On low speed, add the egg yolk and rosemary and beat for 1 minute until well combined.

In a small bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, salt and baking powder and slowly add to the butter mixture, low speed just until totally incorporated.  Stop the mixer a few times and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and wrap up, pressing down on the dough to form an 8″ disk about 1″ thick.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325° F and position a rack in the center of the oven.

On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12″ x 10″ rectangle, 1/4″ thick.  Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 12-15 uniform pieces, arrange on a baking sheet about 2″ apart.  Bake 18-20 minutes until medium golden brown.  Cool on baking sheet 15-20 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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