Sunday, March 23, 2014

Jim Williams of Seven Stars Bakery

What’s your favorite thing to bake?
Bread, for sure. I like bread. There’s something about bread. If I never mix another muffin again, I am very content with that. But bread is totally different. And bread is a funny thing, people that are really into bread get it, people that aren’t, don’t. It’s a great thing.

What is there to get about bread?
There’s something about it. The whole process, the fermentation process, the way you can manipulate it. There’s a ton of science behind but you don’t necessarily need to know it. If you know how to make bread you don’t really need to know the why. I don’t know a ton about the science of it. What I know is what I see and feel. The more you learn, the more there is to learn. You never stop learning how to make bread. Maybe that’s what I like about it, it’s simple yet complex at the same time.

What are some of the basics behind the baking?
We don’t use any bread flour here; we use all-purpose flour. The big difference is that bread flour is super strong. For really wet, long fermented breads, like we do, we wouldn’t get the same kind of texture, hole structure and volume that we’re looking for. Whereas bread flour would be better for bagels and really fast breads. If you are really fermenting for long periods of time you really need a low protein flour.

Why would you ferment for a long time?
That is where you get flavor. The flavor of the bread is from the fermentation. We use very little honey or sugar. We rely on the fermentation for the flavor. Most of our breads are flour, water and salt. That’s it.

Can you explain the difference between using a yeast versus having a naturally leavened (risen) bread?
Some of our breads have yeast in them. Others are naturally leavened. They kind of do the same thing, they ferment a dough. The difference though is that the sourdough is perpetuated over time. With a commercial yeast, which you buy in a block and it looks like a brick, you just weigh out what you need. The sourdough (or natural) yeast starts with flour and water; we mix them together, let it sit for awhile and it starts to naturally ferment. So, we keep building on it. So now, every day, we take a piece of it, and we add more flour and water to it, and then tomorrow we’ll make bread with that. Then the next day we’ll pull a piece off of that and we just keep going.

So, you’ve used the same sourdough strain all these years?
Yes, and it sounds crazier than what it really is. You hear about these 100-year old yeasts but it doesn’t mean anything because it really becomes your environment. Once you have it established you just want to keep it alive.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Is it Lonely?

This morning I got up with Bill at 4:00 AM. I started the coffee pot and by four fifty I walked over to the community kitchen. At 5:00 AM I arrived and began shaping the refrigerated dough into braids. By six fifteen the loaves were shaped and now the oven was preheating to 450. At 6:30 I baked the 13 braided loaves. Three were smaller than the others. When they were done I put them in two big baskets, cleaned up turned off the lights and went home to Lily. I loaded the washing machine with my dirty clothes and apron, took a shower, put on nice clothes and here I am. I asked myself, is it lonely to bake during the predawn hours? Maybe, but maybe not since I had a million microorganisms keeping me company.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I Bake Therefore I Am

I am making granola and prepping the sourdough batter for LOAVES of LOVE to be served at the the Tuesday night community supper. I am loving this cold sunny Sunday where morning seems to last all day. It has been a busy time. Everyone is grouchy about the cold weather but I love it! When the weather warms up I will be in allergy agony from the mold and pollen. The Spring light is back and the sun is warm even though the air is still cold. This is perfect!

Wild and Friendly Yeast

The more you bake bread the more alive your kitchen becomes.
The amount of yeast you use in your bread dough has a significant bearing on how quickly it’ll rise, and thus on your own schedule. By reducing the yeast, you ensure a long, slow rise, one more likely to produce a strong dough able to withstand the rigors of baking.

The more yeast in a recipe initially, the quicker it produces CO2, alcohol, and organic acids. Alcohol, being acidic, weakens the gluten in the dough, and eventually the dough becomes “porous,” and won’t rise; or won’t rise very well.

By starting with a smaller amount of yeast, you slow down the amount of CO2, alcohol, and organic acids being released into the dough, thus ensuring the gluten remains strong and the bread rises well—from its initial rise in the bowl, to its final rise in the oven.

Remember that this slow rise extends to the shaped loaf, as well as dough in the bowl. Once you’ve shaped your loaf, covered it, and set it aside to rise again, it may take 2 hours or more, rather than the usual 1 to 1 1/2, to rise fully and be ready for the oven.

Keep in mind, also, the characteristics of your own kitchen. If you bake bread all the time, your kitchen is full of wild yeast, and any dough you make there will rise vigorously. If you seldom bake bread, or are just beginning, your kitchen will be quite “sterile;” your dough won’t be aided by wild yeast, and will rise more slowly than it would in a more “active” kitchen.

Here are some guidelines to get you started. If you're an occasional bread baker, cut back the usual 2 to 2 ½ teaspoons of instant yeast to 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, depending on how long you want to let the dough ferment before the final shape-rise-bake process. 1/2 teaspoon would give you lots of flexibility, such as letting the dough “rest” for 16 to 20 hours; 1 teaspoon would be a good amount for an all-day or overnight rise (10 hours or so, at cool room temperature).

If you're using active dry yeast, which isn't as vigorous as instant yeast, we'd up the range to 3/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons.

We've found that here in our King Arthur kitchen, where we bake bread every day, we can cut the yeast all the way back to 1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon in a 3-cup-of-flour recipe, and get a good overnight or all-day rise.

Use your judgment in rating your own kitchen as to “yeast friendliness.”

Sourdough Supreme

I think I made one of my best breads to date this week. Now I will try to do it again for Tuesday's soup kitchen supper. The secret was time, time, time, and sourdough starter. I set it up Tuesday punched it down a few times kept it refrigerated, and baked it Friday. Bread is always an adventure and always a mystery. This is what keeps me baking twice a week for decades. If I could have a bakery and not cut back on the incubation flavor developing time I could bake for the whole city. We could put Woonsocket on the map like Lionel Poilane did in France. Read about him in Smithsonian Magazine issue from 1995. I reread it yesterday and it is still amazing!
Recipe here.

Difference between French and Italian bread?

What is the difference between French bread and Italian bread?
Barry H answered
There are many differences and many similarities.

Traditional "French" bread, the baguette, is made with a dough of about 60-62% hydration -- the liquid weighs 60-62% as much as the flour weighs. It is shaped into long loaves and baked at around 425-440F with water vapor or steam in the oven.

Traditional "Italian" bread is made with a dough that has a bit more liquid, possibly some of it milk, and is shaped into large rounds and baked at about the same temperature, usually without water or steam it the oven.

The breads you bought were likely made from the same ingredients, although Italian bread may have a bit of fat, milk or sugar in it.

By law, French baguettes must be made from water, flour, yeast and salt, with a very small amount of dough improver allowed.

However, as you will see from the links below, there are endless variations in both countries, but both countries bakers make the full range of breads, from small rolls to large enriched holiday breads and just about everything in between.

There are so many regional variations within each country, from east to west and north to south that it's hard to define the differences between "French" bread and "Italian" bread. However, there are a few differences that seem to carry through.

French bakers make more rye breads than Italian bakers, since France borders Germany and the climate is a bit colder than Italy's climate.

Italian bakers use semolina flour (not meal) in quite a few breads.

My impression, and it's just that, is that Italian bakers tend to work with wetter doughs than French bakers and to bake at higher temperatures. Neither of these are scientific fact.

Below are a few links to web sites and the names of some interesting bread books to look at if you are interested in baking these breads.
Carol Field, "The Italian Baker"
Bernard Clayton, Jr., "The Breads of France"
Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter, "TheVCook's Guide to Bread"
Joe Ortiz, "The Village Baker"
Franco Galli, "The Il Fornaio Baking Book"
Peter Reinhart, "The Bread Baker's Apprentice"

Vanessa Valliere

Start the day out right with these clips starring our friend Vanessa Valliere:



Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cedar Juniper Elm Poplar Aspen Cottonwood

Some of us are feeling the pollen from these trees. I am grateful for the antihistamine, generic Excedrin and decongestants. I am happiest when the ground is frozen. Spring is painful!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Hummingbird Cake

I had never heard of a hummingbird cake before today when Francine gave us some. It is so good and I normally do not have a sweet tooth. It is a traditionally Southern recipe.
Recipe here. or here.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Overflowing Gifts

I have been broke so long
It is like living on another planet.
I don't have a penny
This is why I bake at the soup kitchen.
I bake a dozen loaves each week
I walk for miles with my dog
I write,
I dance,
I paint,
I play my accordion and my saxophone
I don't like to feel impoverished.
When I have overflowing gifts.

Home Made Mozzarella

Glenda sent me instructions on making home made mozzarella and we plan to try it. Directions here. I have made yogurt cheese for years but I have always wanted to try making my own mozzarella.

Henrik Ibsen

from Ghosts, Act 2

I almost think we're all of us Ghosts ... It's not only what we have invited from our father and mother that walks in us. It's all sorts of dead ideas, and lifeless old beliefs, and so forth. They have no vitality, but they cling to us all the same, and we can't get rid of them. Whenever I take up a newspaper, I seem to see Ghosts gliding between the lines. There must be Ghosts all the country over, as thick as the sand of the sea. And then we are, one and all, so pitifully afraid of the light.
- Henrik Ibsen


The executive in his long black wool coat
brushes snow off his car
we are all equal in the snow, water and ice.
when we sneeze and when we laugh
and when we lay in the dirt
6 feet under

woke with a sweat
palms and soles burning
the cedar juniper and elm pollen visits me
each year at this time
asleep at 9PM,
I woke at 2:30 AM
Then ice and snow rolled off the roof
sounded like gravel dumped
over our heads
we were in bed in the dark
with the dog

I realized a poem is trying to wake me
and pollen is trying to lift me
I took Lily downstairs three flights into the snowy yard
Yesterday there were bloody wings in the snow.
The hawks are hungry, and so are the cats.
the humans want flowers to grow. I want more winter ice and snow
I love when the earth is frozen, and trees are bare, black ink branches on gray skies

black and white photographs are so much richer
we marveled at our first color TV
black and white newspapers were my preference
who needs circulars with pink hams and rump roasts of beef with yellow and green Easter eggs?
our only source of color was our lives
and then technicolor movies and Kodachrome and Polaroids

I imagined all coats were dark and gray in Russia. And sepia in Grandma's childhood.
Photo of grandma as a girl sitting on a city pony
Brooklyn cobblestones.

Tiny Blueberries

150 thousand blueberries rich
she spent the summer picking the tiny berries
while counting them, in Colbrook New Hampshire
She came home in November and gave me some berries to freeze.
Two weeks ago I knocked the bag over accidentally.
192 frozen blueberries on my kitchen floor
rolled in cat and dog hair
a winter of dirt sand salt grit
I could not throw out my friends hard labor.
Days of work in the hot sun, harvesting.
I swept them up into my black metal dustpan and rinsed them fifty times in the copper colander
my patient husband took out every dog and cat hair.
they sat in a Mason jar in the fridge until yesterday
I buzzed the berries with an over ripe banana and orange juice and yogurt in the blender
delicious purple
we will have super immunity
from drinking the floor

Tracy K. Smith

When your own sweet father died
You woke before first light
And ate half a plate of eggs and grits,
And drank a glass of milk.
After you’d left, I sat in your place
And finished the toast bits with jam
And the cold eggs, the thick bacon
Flanged in fat, savoring the taste.

- Tracy K. Smith, from Life on Mars, Graywolf Press

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Eggs Scrambled and baked in Muffin Tins

Beat eggs add veggies or cheese or meat favorites: I used frozen corn, frozen peas, chopped red onion, Adobo, milk. I baked them in nonstick greased muffin tins at 350 until done. I did not pre-heat I threw them into cold oven. Good with tiny roasted potatoes.

Bob Hicok

A Wedding Night

by Bob Hicok

A groom goes out with a pillow to where the sheep
are white bushes across the hill. Dirty white

bushes across the hill and places his pillow
at the top, just before the top, a few inches

from the top for his head so he can see, almost, yes,
he can see the curve of the earth, out

where there is only water. But there is a ship
on the only water, on the curve of water

to his left and right, as the dirty white bushes
move, as the ship moves to the east

along the curve, and he thinks of how his pillow
will smell in his bed, beside his bride,

of grass and seasalt and the curve of the earth
and coming home, she will breathe all of these

when she leans over him, drapes his face
with the night of her hair, the curve of her

falling to all sides, from a center, from a moon,
from an asking, from a giving, from now on.

Bob Hicok, from Iron Horse Literary Review

Sonia Sanchez

c'mon man hold me
touch me before time love me
from behind your eyes

-Sonia Sanchez

Rainer Maria Rilke


Understand, I'll slip quietly
away from the noisy crowd
when I see the pale
stars rising, blooming, over the oaks.

I'll pursue solitary pathways
through the pale twilit meadows,
with only this one dream:
You come too.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

Billy Collins


You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine...
-Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.

-Billy Collins


Carol Ann Duffy

I like pouring your tea, lifting
the heavy pot, and tipping it up,
so the fragrant liquid streams in your china cup.

Or when you’re away, or at work,
I like to think of your cupped hands as you sip,
as you sip, of the faint half-smile of your lips.

I like the questions – sugar? – milk? –
and the answers I don’t know by heart, yet,
for I see your soul in your eyes, and I forget.

Jasmine, Gunpowder, Assam, Earl Grey, Ceylon,
I love tea’s names. Which tea would you like? I say
but it’s any tea for you, please, any time of day,

as the women harvest the slopes
for the sweetest leaves, on Mount Wu-Yi,
and I am your lover, smitten, straining your tea.

- Carol Ann Duffy from Rapture, Picador, 2005

Chinese Envy

My Jewish grandparents ate Chinese food on Brighton Beach Avenue every night. I always say I have Chinese envy. I lived in Chinatown briefly in high school. My friend Lisa Chune taught me how to cook Chinese food. She grew up learning how to cook from her parents who ran a Chinese restaurant in Queens.

I love the fast and simple vegetable-heavy meals. They are friendly! Last night I made spicy garlic Chinese broccoli with almonds and bites of chicken for Bill. The only thing missing was water chestnuts.

Lisa taught me how to make dumplings years ago when she visited us. I showed her how to make bread and yogurt.

Monday, March 10, 2014

New Favorite: Raw or Cooked

Chopped napa cabbage, chopped red onions, peanut butter, vinegar, rooster sauce, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce.

Tuna Balsamic Surprise

I opened a can of tuna and sprinkled balsamic vinegar on top. I opened the fridge and took the leftover chick peas, corn and peas in tomato puree and added it to the tuna. It was spectacular! My husband agreed. Next time we will make this on purpose.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Spring is Here!

I just made 4 braided loaves of sourdough wheat bread and a vat of tomato sauce and ten pounds of whole wheat pasta for the community supper tonight. I had the whole gigantic kitchen to myself. I loved it.

My 85 year old student Betty, showed up for a half hour with her brother Bill. That was perfect, and she brought new pot holders. She read my mind. I was just thinking that we needed some.

On the way home I said hello to Cyndi at the new diner. The place was packed!

Spring is here!

The robins are out and they are sooooo fat!

Leftover Queen

I am convinced leftovers taste better than the original. For me it is also true because I get as excited as my dog when I am cooking for a friend and my appetite flies out the window until I can calm down.

Waffle ingenuity.

Bun of fries!

I make this!

If you have a waffle iron and leftovers try this.

Yesterday I had my leftover baked potato wedges in with my leftover meat loaf, for breakfast! Last week leftover potato wedges on baby spin salad.

Sending out for pizza is like hiring a prostitute. Make your own pizza at home!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Apples Tomatoes and Potatoes

At the end of Autumn I had processed many gallons of applesauce. If I grew tomatoes I would do the same with them, since these are the staples that we never tire of. Potatoes too!

Insomniacs Kitchen

When we first moved in I was afraid I would never do my work because my kitchen was so close by. I did become an insomniac and would go into my studio to read and write, and then to my kitchen, and bake through dawn. I finally settled down and realized that sleeping was crucial to my work, my happiness, and my sanity.

Max Folger

We buy our coffee for a bargain at Price Rite and we blend Maxwell House and Folger's. We call it Max Folger!


But as all admirers of things sour know, French bread is traditionally untraditional. The bread tastes different from one day to the next, depending on the weather. On warm days, like San Francisco's Indian summer, the dough rises faster. On foggy, humid days, it is slower to rise, producing varieties in taste. "Every day is different," said master baker Fernando Padilla.

In addition, the bread is shaped and scored -- given the ridges that mark the crust -- by hand.

That means no two loaves are the same, each with a slightly different crust and texture. "They are all beautiful," said Strain, "but in their own way."

Good bread, like a good newspaper, is always made at night so it will be fresh in the morning. Neither news nor French bread contains preservatives.


Sensitive Constitution


You don't drink. Have you tried any consciousness-expanding drugs?


No. Even tea (because of caffeine) is too strong for me. I must have been born with a rather sensitive constitution.


The Science of Justice

I think it's time we broke for lunch…
Court rulings depend partly on when the judge last had a snack

AROUND the world, courthouses are adorned with a statue of a blindfolded woman holding a set of scales and a sword: Justice personified. Her sword stands for the power of the court, her scales for the competing claims of the petitioners. The blindfold (a 15th-century innovation) represents the principle that justice should be blind. The law should be applied without fear or favour, with only cold reason and the facts of the case determining what happens to the accused. Lawyers, though, have long suspected that such lofty ideals are not always achieved in practice, even in well run judicial systems free from political meddling. Justice, say the cynics, is what the judge had for breakfast. Now they have proof.


Private Eye

I got the job as a PI because I was dating the head of the agency. He trained me and then I got my license. Those were fun days (or rather, nights). Lots of stakeouts - and donuts! I gained a ton of weight on that job. I also wrote a script during the many hours sitting in my car. It was about a woman who outsmarts her cheating husband by becoming an amateur detective.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lester Esser a Personal Chef

Powdered Gold, a true story by Lester Esser

I recently ran into a friend, who mentioned a story that I posted on my facebook page when I was just starting up my personal chef business. I have fun making things seem darker than they really are.

Powdered Gold

It’s hard to believe, I’m nearly 50 years old and I’m in The Legacy Mall parking lot’s looking for my connection. A woman friend I’ve learned to trust over the years. It all seems too sleazy like I’m playing a younger man’s game. I know the stuff she has is the highest quality. After all I am unemployed and need something to occupy my time other than red wine. I do get by with a little help from my friends.

Several cell phone calls back and forth. I find her. It’s all too cute, her child in the back seat of the Volvo. She says she’ll drive me back to my car, you don’t want to carry the stuff through the parking lot and you did order 16 lbs. I hop in; I pull the cash out of my pocket and hand it to her. “We good?” I ask. She smiles and nods her head. I point her in the direction of my vehicle. Driving home the excitement is almost too much, I smile happy to have in my possession, the powdered gold, 16lbs of high quality, organic, baker’s ground whole wheat bread flour.



Frank Norris

The novelist “of all men cannot think only of himself or for himself. And when the last page is written and the ink crusts on the pen-point . . . he will be able to say: ‘I never truckled, I never took off the hat to Fashion and held it out for pennies. By God, I told them the truth. They liked it or they didn’t like it. What had that to do with me? I told them the truth; I knew it for the truth then, and I know it for the truth now.’”

—Frank Norris
World’s Work, October 1901

Stay Connected

Social support is key to health and can even help you live longer. It is one of the first pieces of advice women share.
At this stage, women need other women -- friends with a rich life experience and wisdom to share.
I measure my success in terms of the richness and closeness of my connections with good people.

Calcium Rich Foods


3AM March 5th

The pain was so severe I had to go to bed at seven
I dreamed of dusting skinny white vertical Venetian blinds at City Hall
I held on to my anchor hoping to return to sleep
My dog heard me thinking, I was wide awake, so we both got up and went downstairs
I fed her and the cat who was surprised, he had been asleep on a pile of sweaters in a box next to the boiler.
I turned on the light and the classical music radio station in my office and started hunting for poems to match my mood

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Poem in your Pocket

Save the date: Poem in Your Pocket Day 2014 will be held on Thursday, April 24.

On Poem in Your Pocket Day, people throughout the United States select a poem, carry it with them, and share it with others throughout the day.

You can also share your poem selection on Twitter by using the hashtag #pocketpoem.

Poems from pockets are unfolded throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores. Create your own Poem in Your Pocket Day event using ideas below or share your creative ideas with us by emailing

Favorite Lunch at 10:30 AM

My new favorite lunch is a salad made of spinach, black olives, freshly chopped mushrooms, red onion slices, with sprinkles of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, Adobo, and raisins and if possible toasted almonds sprinkled on top. When we have leftover roasted potatoes I warm them up and add them too with a squirt of ketchup. I have sourdough wheat toast on the side.

Two 'I Love Woonsocket' Stories

Friday I met sweet patrolman Anthony when he was standing guard over the rotorooterish truck cleaning the storm drains on our street. He was surprised when I said that I loved the city. I told him "Let me count the ways." After listening carefully he smiled in agreement and said, "I have a new friend."

After my MIRACLE SOUP cooking class Father Dennis came in to the kitchen and I offered him my freshly made corn chowder and a slice of warm braided wheat bread, and he loved it! We chatted about the neighborhood. "The police are excellent in this city," I ventured. "I agree," he said, "although I am not inclined to like the police after living in New York." I nodded, I understood. He told me a story. "One night I was standing here at my window on the third floor, holding my cat. When I looked out I saw a body in the street below. I reached for my cell phone," he said, tapping his thigh pocket. "When the police drove up, I watched them very closely," he said, "and they were very good with her. I was impressed. The woman was very drunk and I guess she had decided to take a nap in the street." He smiled.

Flour Power

World peace through bread!

Last night I scooped 6 cups of medium grind whole wheat flour and teaspoon of Fleishmann's Instant Active Dry yeast, some of my sourdough starter goop, and a Tablespoon of Kosher salt into a big bowl and added about 3 cups of wrist temperature (warm) water to moisten. I stirred it and set it out to rise overnight in the bowl covered with a wooden cutting board. In the morning the dough had risen to the top of the bowl. I shaped the dough into 4 grapefruit sized balls and fit them snugly in my pre-greased dutch oven. I covered it and let it proof in my warm oven while I took a shower and then baked it at 450 until done. (about 50 minutes) The dough rose beautifully and has segments from the 4 risen dough balls. The dough remembers!

No Accidents

Last night a friend told me this story. Her brother asked her if he could store his gun at her home. Only if you take it apart the weapon in as many tiny pieces as possible and place one piece in the attic, one piece in the cellar, one piece in the garage, and one piece in the tool shed, and no ammunition whatsoever in my house, and you can't tell me where you hid the bits. Then I'll let you, she said. You're crazy! He said, but he complied.

A Spontaneous Pot of Meatloaf

I often don't know where I'm going when I cook. I just begin with my hunger. It is just like how I write or make a painting!

Last night, I was outdoors in the damp and biting cold walking Lily. I ran into a friend who was also walking her dog, we walked together telling stories. Then I came home and read. Then suddenly I was HUNGRY, and I remembered the frozen beef! I took two frozen beefcakes (two muffin size blobs of chuck) and threw them in my cast iron dutch oven on high and stirred the frozen blobs while tossing in freshly chopped onions. The meat defrosted as I kept stirring and adding things; chopped carrots + celery, Worcestershire sauce, a dash of ketchup, Adobo, Cholula, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, sourdough slices cubed. I added canned crushed tomatoes, I taste tested, (yum) and added more tomato and more bread. Then I placed it in the oven at (350) to bake a bit, but mostly keep warm until Bill got home 20 minutes later. It was excellent! I will do this again on purpose next time.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Migraine Article
Migraine Food Triggers
Abdominal Migraines

I Dreamed

I dreamed I was wading in the Blackstone River when a huge red black and white head of a snake came swimming by making a drumming sound. It was a python and I had been forewarned. I should have jumped into the canoe but I didn't move and it swam away. I called to my friends "He didn't get me," but he circled back and bit me in the ball of my left thumb. I knew this was it. "I am left handed, I am an artist, I am going to die," I said to anyone who would listen. On the way to the doctor's office my car door fell off its hinges. It was a door like an old 1950's Philco refrigerator door. Bill wanted to try to fix it but we kept going anyway, we were close. "I am going to die" I said to everyone in the waiting room. "I was bitten by a python in Pawtucket." Someone in the waiting room told me the medicine will kill you anyway. My breathing became labored, my body was beginning to tingle and go numb. Then Bill woke me up to tell me he made coffee and he was on his way to school. I am alive and my thumb is fine. And I was not bitten by a python in Pawtucket.


I hitched a lift down the street in the back of a Ryder box truck with a friend. There were people packed inside with furniture piled up around them in a chaotic mess. An infant, a nude black baby, rolled out between two pieces of blond furniture and fell into my arms. "Keep him, he's yours," a man said, staring at me. This has happened before, people trying to give me their children, I thought. I handed the baby back to the man. "This is not a thing, this is a human being," I said to him. "Are you going to live your life like a nun?" the man said, angrily. He seemed to know that I didn't have any kids. "Let's get out here," I said to my friend traveling with me and we jumped out before the light. I turned the corner. I was walking down East School Street and the parking lot was flooded. It was an urban pond. Then I saw a dead man in the water facing up, smiling. I recognized him as one of the locals. I ran inside my house and frantically looked for the police phone number. When they answered I said "Are you sitting down, this is gruesome, a dead man is in the water."

80 Hour Sourdough

I made an 80 hour sourdough. Once the dough came alive, and I used starter and Fleishmann's Active Dry Instant Yeast, I refrigerated it for days. I baked it Friday. It is fabulous, and full of sexy European style air bubbles.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Keeping Track by Melody Moezzi

For about a year now, I've been using a bound paper planner. I still do most of my scheduling online, but my paper "planner" is special. I don't actually use it to plan anything. Rather, I use it to keep track of things that significantly affect my life.

It all started with a neurologist who suggested I keep a migraine diary to keep track of events (eating cheese or smelling coffee, for example) that preceded a migraine. The diary helped and got me thinking that if such documentation could identify migraine triggers, maybe it could do the same for mood. Keeping track of my sleep and excercise--as well as positive experiences, blessings and accomplishments has helped me enormously with mood regulation. So today I thought I'd share some of the things I track every day in my "planner" in the hopes that some of you might find this practice as useful as I have.

* Sleep: When did you fall asleep last night? When did you wake up this morning? Any naps?
* Mood: How would you rank your mood today? [Create your own scale.]
* Exercise: Did you exercise today? If so, what did you do and for how long?
* Pain: Were you in pain today? What kind and for how long?
* Medication: What medications (including dosages) did you take today, especially new or as-needed (PRN) medications?
* Spiritual Practice: Did you pray or meditate or engage in any other centering activity today?
* Gratitude: What are at least five things for which you are grateful today?
* Accomplishments: What did you accomplish today? Nothing is too small.

It's entirely possible to keep track of all of this in a regular weekly planner. It takes only a few minutes a day and can truly improve your life. And if that's not enough incentive to at least try it, most 2014 planners ought to be on sale by now.

Juliet Macur

The mad scientist conjured up what he called “weird concoctions” of substances like ephedrine, nicotine, highly concentrated caffeine, drugs that widen blood vessels, blood thinners and testosterone, often trying to find creative ways to give a rider an extra physical boost during a race. He’d pour the mix into tiny bottles and hand them to riders at the starting line. Other times, he’d inject them with it. He wasn’t alone in this endeavor. Soigneurs all across Europe made homemade blends of potentially dangerous mixes and first drank or injected those potions into themselves. They were their own lab rats.

Spinach Salad + Roasted Potatoes

I took my leftover roasted potatoes and warmed them in the microwave. They were very good sliced smaller and sprinkled on a bed of fresh spinach with fresh slices of mushroom black olives sliced, and slices of raw onions. A quick dressing: Hellman's mayo and balsamic vinegar mixed with a fork. A few blobs on top does it.

Pay me in Spinach

You could pay me in spinach! I love spinach mushrooms, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and onions this much.

I love corn and pumpkin too. I love oats! I love wheat and barley and rye.

When I learned how to cook I didn't realize that I was really learning how to live. My window into cooking was through making simple wholesome things. I made applesauce in nursery school, granola and blueberry and apple pies when I was in junior high, and breads and soups when I was a freshman in high school. I lived on my home made onion soup and popcorn and home made yogurt in college. Then I learned a lot of things working as a prep chef in a restaurant. More recently I started introducing meat as a spice into my repertoire, making Chinese dumplings. I still love vegetables more than anything. You really could pay me in spinach . . . . and black olives!

The Bread Monk


Bread Guru

Any way you slice it, a Poilane loaf is real French bread - Smithsonian

‎Very early in his career, Lionel Poilane, the owner of the world-famous Poilane
bakery on Rue du Cherche-Midi in Paris, discovered that there was plenty of ...