This morning I am shindigging and James Brown-sliding in socks across the kitchen floor. Celebrate! Finished up another shelf exam yesterday afternoon! As I dance, the instrumental percussion through my speakers is being audibly supplemented by none other than my cervical and thoracic vertebrae—clicking and hissing after having been locked tight in study-mode. This week I’ve sung myself hoarse, three gigs! Last night finished off with some tunes at the Redwood Room. Had the strange experience of singing the gospel ballad God Bless the Child (“who’s got his own”) to Steve Barlow—one of the richest dudes in Rochester, owner of Barlow Plaza. Then I was paid in whisky (which is rather ghetto—probably last time I sing there.)
I was most handsomely paid last Sunday afternoon, when a six year old came to meet me on stage at a break. She did not ask for autograph, she said, “Do you guys have anything I can play?” What a great attitude. She’ll never be a groupie—that six year old is a natural diva. I found her an egg shaker and welcomed her on stage for the opening of the next set. Hilarious. She then delivered the following thank you note before her parents whisked her away. I love the way she drew my knee popping out sultrily—and, of course, my ample curves.
Let’s see, I have big plans for baking adventures this weekend. Seriously, so much culinary energy is pent up inside. We’ll start with what I made last night for dinner. A surprisingly good pocket bread from China. If you are impatient, this is the bread for you. The boiling water cooks the starch in the flour and makes it elastic (without waiting for the eon-ic natural history of gluten to soften with kneading, etc.)
Xichuan Garlic Pepper Bread
Adapted from Flatbreads and Flavors
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup plus 5 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sunflower oil
6 teaspoon garlic (chopped fine or minced)
Sprinkle of Xichuan pepper (I didn’t have any, so used white pepper)
1 cup finely chopped scallions (white and tender green parts) or 1 cup finely chopped garlic chives
Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and mix well. Pour the boiling water onto the flour, then add the cold water and stir until the mixture forms a shaggy ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead briefly, then cover with plastic wrap and wait 15 minutes.
Sprinkle about 2 tbsp scallions, a tsp of minced garlic (which is a lot, but I love garlic—temper as you wish) and a pinch of pepper over the dough, and then roll up like a small Xichuan dough carpet.
You probably are supposed to reconstitute the round shape, but I like the little sleeping bag bread pockets. Throw them on a medium-heat heavy skillet that is oiled and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until browned. James browned, if you’re really feeling good.