Monday, December 26, 2005

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

Aren't they beautiful! This is one of the Christmas presents I got from my husband.

His obsession with making the best baguette started 4 years ago. Baguettes 0-10 were "interesting", 10-20 were quite good, 20-30 were great, and 30+ were amazing. For the past year, I've been trying to sing praises to his baguettes and encourage him to try other breads. "Only when I bake a perfect baguette..." is all he said. Realizing that the quest for the perfect baguette might never end, I accepted my fate of never seeing a ciabatta or focaccia come out of our oven. But hey, I wasn't complaining. Who can complain about getting freshly baked baguettes on most weekends?

Imagine my surprise when I got kicked out of the kitchen on Christmas eve during the shaping stage of yet another baguette. But what really gave it away, was the "Where is our balsamic vinegar?" question. What could it be? My mind was racing through Reinhart’s book trying to remember what breads used balsamic vinegar (probably in caramelized onions).

Once the breads were in the oven, I was allowed back in the kitchen, as long as I didn't peek. I occupied myself with making bouillabaisse in my other Christmas present -- a new Sitram pot (yes, that's the one on the stove -- I'll post about it soon). But not even that 7-quart knight in shining armor could distract me from the yeasty, sweet aroma. Finally, the oven door opened and two beautiful loaves dotted with caramelized onions and dusted with snowy flour emerged. Caramelized onion ciabatta -- just for me! Waiting to taste them was just torture. I mean who can resist digging right into the freshly baked bread! If you haven't noticed yet, I am married to a very patient man. He didn't mind waiting 4 years to make his first ciabatta, so do you think he wouldn't wait another hour to let it cool to the optimal temperature? More waiting...

Finally, the moment of truth has arrived and we got to cut the bread. It was crusty and bubbly with a swirl of sweet onions that were so jammy and tasty, I got weak in the knees. How many presents can a girl get that take 4 years and 50 tries to perfect!


paz said...

Beautiful indeed, and I think worth waiting for.


Tim said...

Looks and sounds amazing! Is he willing to part with the recipe? :)

Helen said...

Hi Tim,

For Jason's recipes, check out his bread blog