Sunday, January 2, 2011
Last Day of Vacation :(
Ugh, I'm so bummed it's my last day before returning to work! Why can't adults have breaks like kids do? Rarely can we take more than a week off at a time, and most people can't even afford the luxury of a full week. Thankfully the company I work for lumps both sick and vacation time into one bucket so that all that time is available to you. It's perfect for those who don't get sick- more vacation time! And to start, we get FOUR weeks- who does that anymore? The last place I worked at, I only got 5 days my first year, and I couldn't even use them until I'd been there 6 months.
Right now I've got a Spinach & Cheese Strata in the oven in an attempt to use up the last of the bread I baked on Monday (Tuesday? SUNDAY?). I've stored it in a giant ziploc all week and it's neither stale, dry, or moldy. Amazing since there aren't any preservatives in it. It's made excellent french toast for a few days now.
As for two of the experiments I had going on yesterday...well...they didn't turn out quite like I expected. Aided by a brand new candy thermometer, I was able to get my caramels to turn color AND achieve the consistency I was looking for. The problem? They taste burnt. Not sure what went wrong, but it's possible when adding the cream/butter mixture the heat may have increased above where it needed to be. The last two recipes I tried only had me heat the sugar/corn syrup mixture to 248, but this new recipe said 310. I'll definitely be trying this specific recipe again, but I think I won't heat the sugar as high.
After the LOOONG wait yesterday plus time spent chilling in the fridge, I was eager to try my homemade yogurt this morning. I used 2% milk (from local Snowville Creamery) and Fage Greek yogurt as my starter. I followed the directions...but the end result was grainy. Yuck! All that time (and milk wasted) and not the finished product I wanted. Speaking to another girl today that makes her own yogurt (without a machine!) and consulting Google has me thinking that the milk was cooked too long/high...even though I followed the directions. I'm going to have to try this one again, too. Maybe I should try the dried starter that came with it this next time or order a dried Greek yogurt starter. I will prevail!
A perk of volunteering on Mondays means you get your own market bag of goodies. I had scored some cider, brussels sprouts, apples, grapefruits, blood oranges, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. A generous offering that I hadn't expected at all- if more people knew about that, they'd prolly be flooded with volunteers!
Today I discovered something equally awesome: the Employee Bin! It's filled with fruit and veggies that didn't meet standards to hit the sales floor or may be past their prime. Sure, they're slightly bruised and not perfect (although some items seemed fine to me!), but you don't need perfect veggies to make delicious stock. Hopefully I'll get lucky next week, too! I had already made some purchases, so I only took one giant potato, some green apples, clover sprouts, a cuke, and a bag of cherries.
Mmm...I can smell the strata now, which I hope means it's going to be tasty! I'm off to enjoy the last few hours of vacation...which unfortunately include putting away laundry. :)