Don’t you love those days when you feel like you are accomplishing a lot? Nothing I’ve done this morning has been overly complicated; however, I think the end result will be extraordinarily satisfying.
I didn’t plan on having such a productive morning. However, when Ralph woke me up at 7:30 (by gnawing on my hand – attractive habit), I felt fully rested and didn’t feel like going back to sleep. Instead, Ralph and I headed down to the kitchen and brewed up a pot of coffee in the French press and began to contemplate the day ahead of us (well, I contemplated the day ahead of us – Ralph contemplated a paper bag).
The French press coffee proved to be inspirational. I’ve been lazy lately, relying on the Keurig for a quick cup at home and fueling up on Zingerman’s lethally addictive brew at work. Today proved different – I opened a bag of locally-roasted beans from Roo’s Roast in Ann Arbor that my cousin Katie (a most excellent artist, by the way) had given me as a wedding shower gift. The beans smelled amazing and had a beautiful, oily sheen. I knew in that instant that I was not hauling out my drip coffee pot. I ground them coarsely and put them in the French press with some not-quite-to-a-boil hot water from the tea kettle. Five minutes or so later, I had a serious cup of coffee that set the tone for my morning.
I started with dinner. Noe had purchased some country-style ribs, so I decided to throw them in the crockpot and let them cook all day. Noe and I have a specific method for crockpot ribs that we were turned on to by Brad Torreano – no liquid in the crockpot with the meat. The ribs exude plenty of liquid while cooking. Not adding liquid helps avoid that “boiled” flavor that crockpot ribs sometimes have. (We then finish the ribs in the oven later.)
Before putting the ribs in the pot, I rub them down with our spice rub. It usually ends up being a little different every time, but almost always consists of cumin, sweet paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, fresh-ground black pepper, sometimes some sage or oregano, and a little pinch of cayenne pepper – play around with these spices; almost any combination is a winner.
Once the ribs were in the pot, I started thinking about bread. I’d been anxious to try a new recipe from the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day cookbook, and I’d been itching to use my dough hook ever since I got my KitchenAid mixer. (Full disclosure: I have totally held the hook in my hand and pulled my sleeve over the base and walked around speaking in a pirate voice – other people do not find this as amusing as it may initially seem.) I decided to make the white sandwich loaf – though I enjoy the crustier “peasant” breads, Noe has been requesting something softer.
With the bread dough mixed and set aside, there was nothing else to do but skim through Martha Stewart’s Holiday Cookies magazine…where I happened upon a recipe for tiramisu cookies! The shopping list has been made, and I am about to set out (armed with my Whole Foods gift cards – another incredibly awesome wedding present, courtesy of Aunt Susan and Tom and Brad and Alison) to procure the necessary ingredients. I’ll post an update later to let you know how they turn out.
All this, thanks to a cup of good coffee. Inspiration comes in many forms, doesn’t it?