I should first make note that this is my 200th post. Woo-hoo!
I am alone tonight. Josh is on one of his overnight shifts. I usually like to get settled for the evening with a cajun chicken breast made in the grill and a movie to make myself so tired I wont have a problem sleeping alone. Alas! We have been through the mid-winter blahs and the many DVDs mom and dad have been so kind to send us (as well as the ones Sam and Peter loaned us) were watched long ago. And Anne of Green Gables is on loan. *sigh* I guess I will have to READ or something. :)
Another thing I am making tradition on these solo nights is I try to bake at least one thing. Last week I baked chocolate muffins with dried cherries. Good fresh out of the oven, but a wee bit too dry after they cool. The week before I baked rye bread. I'll just say the weather was so nice the next day that we went to feed the duck. :) Tonight I tried my hand (for the second time) at pretzles. OH! I didn't tell you about the first time!
So I made the dough and everything. Realised immediately (well, after I mixed all of the ingredients) that the recipe called for instant yeast. I have not even seen instant yeast here. Since it didn't say in the instructions, I did not allow time for the yeast to become active in warm water. I didn't want to waste the ingredients, so I let it rise for a very LOOOOONG time. It did rise, but not amazingly well.
I then had to divide the dough and roll the bits to make ropes and fashion them into pretzles. Here is when I realised an even graver mistake than the yeast. I was to put 3 TBS baking soda in a skillet of water to boil (par boil?) the pretzles before baking them. I put it in the pretzles! And I doubled the recipe, so there was 6 TBS of baking soda in the pretzle dough!!
Again, I did not want to waste the dough and rolling the dough was such hard work (especially since it didn't rise much) so I went ahead and made them just to see how they would turn out. They looked pretty good and they smelled wonderful!
I had to pop onto my American Expats forum to see if I would die from so much baking soda. They know everything there! :) The initial bite was good, but after the first few seconds it tasted extremely salty and had a very bad aftertaste. I went ahead with it and when Josh came home I told him what happened and thought that if I made some nacho cheese it would mask the taste. So we popped in a movie and had our little snack. Well, the cheese was good. The rest are still sitting in the freezer as Josh swears he will eat them one day.
So here is my second attempt. I remembered this time to save the baking soda for the water. :) I must say, they are (as they say here) FAB! I went weak in the knees when I took my first bite. Oh! How I missed thee! I have only been able to enjoy soft pretzles at the German Market during the holidays. I am going to have a hard time saving some for Josh!
My back is doing better now. It still hurts and I know I have to be careful, but at least I am more mobile. Yesterday I asked Josh if he wouldn't mind cleaning the tub for me before he went to work so I could take a hot bath. He said, "Only if you don't get stuck in the tub while I'm at work!" The bath definately helped and I sat on a heating pad all day.
I should add that Josh recieved his unconditional acceptance to the University of Edinburgh. I don't think we really feared that he wouldn't be accepted, but it is nice to have. Josh is happy about the unconditional part. He wont have to read Latin or French to a board before he is accepted. :) Now we just wait on Oxford and see if he gets any funding. This should all happen in April.