Victoria: January 2007 Archives

This weekend, I went to my first Latin dance class, attended Mike's photo exhibition with most of his family and most of Pop5, played the Wii, and got sick. I also made bread with my newest kitchen toy, a bread machine.

Bread Machine

My mom got me one for Christmas, but it was late arriving, so I didn't get it until this weekend. And yesterday, I tried it out for the first time.

I ended up having to make two batches, because I seriously messed up the first batch. After reading all about the delicate ratio of ingredients needed to make the bread perfect, I figured I would increase my chances of success by weighing my ingredients with my little kitchen scale. So I weighed out three cups of flour - since one cup is the equivalent of eight ounces, I measured out 24 ounces. When I went to check the dough, it was much too dry, and I ended up adding a lot of water. I started to suspect I had done something wrong, so I looked on the internet at the King Arthur flour site, where I found that the flour ratios are of course in volume not weight - a cup should only be approximately four ounces. So not only had I put not enough yeast to match my flour and water parts, but I had put in almost double the dough my bread machine could handle. So I stopped the cycle and tossed the dough.

Bad Dough
Dough, dead and wrapped in plastic. I threw it into the garbage, where it proceeded to rise and take over my kitchen, until I was able to beat it back with a wooden spoon.

So for the next batch, I didn't try any new innovations, but used the classic spoon and level method of measuring out my flour. And I checked it at the specified point, to make sure.

Now, I have never made bread before, but, as has been the case many times in culinary efforts, I benefited from having seen my mother do it many times. So when I saw this in my bread pan -

Wet Dough

- I knew that was not the sticky ball of dough I was supposed to see. The problem this time - too little flour. So I added and adjusted until I saw what I wanted to see. This:

Good Dough

My instincts proved good, and before long, I had this:

Bread

Bread

Bread
That's Mike presenting, by the way.

This is a simple white bread recipe, on the Basic setting, with a medium crust. The crust was really yummy and crunchy on the ends, but not too hard, kind of like the perfect dinner roll texture. The middle of the bread was softer, and it was perfectly baked all the way through. I couldn't wait very long to cut into it, and it was hard to cut because it was so soft. If I waited longer for it to cool, it might be easier. But it smelled wonderful while baking, and it tasted that way, too.

Finished Bread

Slice

I've already started looking for recipes to try out, and I am looking for a good one for cheese bread. I am stating now for the record that if I find a really good recipe for cheese bread, I may never again leave the house. Except to buy more ingredients for cheese bread.

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Some photos from our recent travels north. These were shot with my Canon AE-1 - I am afraid the meter might be going, because they came back a little overexposed. It was a very sunny day. I fixed it a little in Photoshop.

Buildings
This is downtown Providence. The far building looked like it was shimmering - you can kind of see it in the picture.

The Custom House
A bar/pub? I don't know, it wasn't open.

Black & White Photo Studio
This was a black and white photo studio that was completely empty on the inside. Apparently black and white photography is not that profitable.

Sign
This was near the Rhode Island School of Design.

Drawbridge
The drawbridge in Mystic, CT.

Boat
A boat in Mystic, CT.

ali%20liston.bmp
Unofrtunately, I cannot claim to have taken this photo. In fact, I stole it from Gizmodo. I liked their additions, though. It is a commentary on the upcoming Vista as compared to OSX.

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So I was having trouble coming up with a good present for Mike for Christmas this year. I asked him if he wanted a Nintendo Wii and he demurred. He wasn't interested in another gaming system. He wanted something practical, books on design and typography.

But he and Buddy one night decided they wanted to rent the Wii from WOW! Video just to see what it was like. And I think you all know where this story is going.

Buddy Boxing
Buddy Wii-Boxing

Well, it took them at least an hour to just create the avatars. And although I have several grounds for not wanting actual photos of me up here on this site, I won't hold my objections against my Wii avatar. I will mention, however, that it is entirely Mike and Buddy's doing, which may account for its permanent scowl.

Wii Victoria
Wii Victoria

Wii Mike
Wiii Mike looks like he is wearing eyeliner. Oh well, he is a fan of The Cure.

Wii Buddy
Wii Buddy is the only one of us who's natural state is smiling.

They also made a Wii Rob, but when Real Rob stopped by later, he totally redid himself. And there was a Wii Rama, who promptly started talking to all of the girl Wiis in the Wii room. This is not even a lie. Also, I won at bowling. Over the course of the rental period, the guys got better and eventually beat my high score, but I refused to play again, so as far as I am concerned, I am totally undefeated.

Of course, Mike changed his mind and now he wants a Wii. Of course there are still absolutely none to be had. So maybe for Valentine's Day, instead.

UPDATE
Both Buddy and I were able to purchase Wii's the day after I posted this. Which means countdown to the repetitive stress symptoms caused by Wii Bowling.

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!!!

So I just bought the Toast, and now do I need to buy this too?

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So this week has been a busy one, what with the starting of new classes (ugh) and the traveling (but no photos yet). On Saturday, Mike and I met some of his friends in NYC, and we headed out to the Brooklyn Museum, which is hosting special exhibitions by Annie Leibovitz and Ron Mueck. Everyone probably knows who Annie Leibovitz is; Ron Mueck is a sculptor who builds larger (sometimes smaller) than life sculptures of people. Verdict: CREEPY. High points of this NYC visit: figuring out how to get there by train from the Hamilton station (very easy, cheap, and convenient); dinner in Little Italy; and finally going to Brooklyn, which I have never done, even though I lived in NYC for three years. Low points: now, I have a tendency to exaggerate, but it is no lie that there were at least a million people in the museum that night. On the first Saturday of every month, Target hosts extended hours at the museum, until 11pm, and free admission, and it was so crowded in the special exhibition section that we were brought to a standstill for minutes at a time, surrounded. The exhibits were interesting (except CREEPY), but I definitely think I need to go back to see them, and the rest of the museum. There were just too many damn people.

Then, Monday night, Mike and I headed to Providence, Rhode Island, to visit the Rhode Island School of Design, which I know mainly as the alma mater of the Talking Heads. Everything about this short trip was good: Providence is a beautiful little city, we stopped in Mystic, CT on the way back, where we took photos and ate a nice lunch, and we timed it perfectly so the trip back on 95 through Connecticut, past NYC, and down the Jersey Turnpike took just the amount of time it should take, with no standstills and accidents.

And when I got back to work this morning, there was news of the new iPhone (the Apple iPhone, that is), a brand new Toast with Mac-enabled Tivo-to-Go (which I will download when I get home), and the Official Favorite Band of 12-Year-Old Boys will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I am very afraid that this will prompt Mike to play their music loudly to celebrate.

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Special guest Evan joins us for Podcasts 7 and 8!