One of my neighbors teases me about my "stress baking." When I feel upset or overwhelmed, I often head to the kitchen.
Baking forces me to slow down and concentrate as I measure, pour and follow directions. A lot of my cooking is done improvisationally, but when I bake I carefully follow the recipe.
My stand mixer (AKA the Mighty Mixer) is really loud, and drowns out all other background noise. It could probably wake napping children in the next block if I turned it up all the way.
And there's nothing more therapeutic than getting your hands in some dough and beating up on it.
Yesterday I headed to the kitchen for several hours of nostalgia baking, punctuated by a visit from the 2-year-old Cutie Pie who lives over the back fence, and a quick run to take Middle Sister to a sleepover party. I made lots of comfort food.
I started my Baking Frenzy with a batch of Black and White Cookies (yes, the ones that Seinfeld rhapsodized about.) I've been trying recipe after recipe and I finally think I found the one I'm after--but I'll dial down the amount of lemon juice in the frosting next time, just a bit.
After that I put in two pans of Salt Sticks. I remember eating these at my Granma's house on Sunday mornings. They're a delicious soft breadstick with salt and caraway seeds.
For dinner, I made a pie crust and then filled it for a shrimp quiche (got this recipe from my mom).
1 pie crust, unbaked
3/4 cup cooked salad shrimp, peeled
1/4 cup scallion, chopped
1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
Put shrimp, cheese, scallions into bottom of pie shell. Mix remaining ingredients. Pour into pie shell.
Bake at 400 for 40 minutes, then at 350 for 10 minutes.
Quiche will be VERY brown on top.
Serves 6 as an appetizer or 3 as an entree.
Finally, I had seen this irresistible-looking recipe for Cinnamon-Raisin Rolls in Rachael Ray's new magazine. The recipe's not on that site yet, and we haven't tried the rolls since they're a rise-in-the-refrigerator-overnight thing. But I heard Big Brother bragging to his friends about how I'm baking him some homemade cinnamon rolls.
When the rolls were underway I frosted those Black and Whites and had a taste-test. Yummy!
Baking is definitely good for the soul.