We have a mirror on the wall.
In our bathroom.
Now, many of you may not find this in the least bit extraordinary, but you haven't been living in the house of Vlad, the Impaler (aka: Count Dracula) for the past 4 1/2 months.
We had no mirrors.
Mon mari shaved without looking at his face for 4 1/2 months.
I got ready to brave the world with looking at my face for 4 1/2 months.
(Okay, I did have a little mirror…. I'm not that much of a martyr.)
Now we have a proper, big mirror in the bathroom with lots and lots of lights.
As I gazed at my reflection this morning, for the first time since September, I realized a few things:
I really need to pluck my eyebrows.
I have a rather long hair on my chin and I have no idea how long it's been there. Sigh….
I was looking at a very, very Bad Bread Baking Babe.
Bake My Day, I Like to Cook, Living on Bread and Water, Lucullian Delights, My Kitchen in Half Cups, Grain Doe, Notitie van Lien, The Sour Dough, Cookie Baker Lynn
invited me to join their Bitchin' Bakin' Babelicious selves a year ago and I have done nothing but give excuse after excuse on why I can't bake this or that bread.
Really, they ought to haul me off and pelt me with whole grains.
Smear me with butter.
Douse me in red wine.
Ooooh, I'm kind of getting into this….
Dip me in chocolate.
When Tanna (bless her kind heart) first approached me, I hesitated.
I said we were moving.
It might be hard for me to participate.
Little did I know that my oven would stay in it's box for this long….
It's been a year, now. The Bread Baking Babes just celebrated their first anniversary.
It's been a wonderful year: getting to know some Babes for the first time, and getting to know some much better.
It's been a sad year: we lost Sher, of What Did You Eat, who passed away last summer, and Glenna, her close friend, who needed time to recover quietly.
Now we are starting a new year and we have two new Babes!
Gretchen of Canela and Comino and Natashya of Living In the Kitchen With Puppies are the brave souls who are going to join this Bunch of Babes.
A big Welcome to the new Babes and a big Happy Anniversary to the old original other Babes!
And go look at all the lovely "5-Grain Bread with Walnuts" everybody but me made this month!
Now I have to go find the box that has the tweezers in it….
But first: As long as we're talking whole grains….
I use quick-cooking barley… Yes, I know, not as healthy as the slow variety, but still good! This is based on a recipe from the book 'Whole Grains' by Lorna Sass.
Stir Fried Chicken and Broccoli with Barley
2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
2 cloves garlic
2 ribs celery
1/2 head of broccoli
3 slices ginger, peeled
1/3 cup (3oz, 90ml) sherry
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp sesame seed oil
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup (4oz, 125ml) chicken stock
1 tbs cornstarch (maizena, corn flour)
1 tbs sesame seeds, toasted
The prep: In a small bowl mix the sherry, soy sauce, vinegar, mustard and sugar.
Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Add to the bowl with the sauce, stir to coat.
Cut the broccoli into small florets with a bit of stem. Vertically slice the onion. Cut celery into 1/4 inch slices. Mince the garlic and the ginger.
Dissolve the cornstarch in the chicken stock and set aside.
To cook: In a large skillet or wok heat half of both oils over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion, and stir fry 3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, broccoli and stir-fry 2 minutes more. Transfer vegetables to a plate. Add the rest of the oils to the skillet. Remove chicken from sauce, reserving sauce, and stir fry 3 minutes. Return the vegetables to the pan and add the reserved sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 3 – 5 minutes longer, until the broccoli is just tender, but not over done. Give the cornstarch/stock a stir to recombine and add it to the pan, stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in sesame seeds. Serve over barley.
2/3 cup barley
1 1/3 cup chicken stock
Cook barley in chicken stock, covered, over medium-low heat until done.
To toast sesame seeds: Put them into a dry, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Toss or stir them about in the pan until lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
Oh, I have no idea what surprises mon mari saw when he first looked in the mirror… Some things should just remain private…