Tag Archives: french

Spring Modge-Podge DIY with ANYTHING (and a Drawer Set)

No, but really. Anything. This particular drawer set could be used as a nightstand, an office organizer or an end table for a couch, but the basic method could be applied to just about any old piece of furniture that you find.

I originally found this photo on Pinterest, and followed it all the way back to the original DIY post. The key materials are super simple, super cheap, and (seemingly) super fun. Check out the whole how-to here at Fussy Monkey Business!

My Great-Grammy’s Cuban Bread Recipe

(Photos by me.)

Happy Monday, everyone! Here’s a yummy (and easy) recipe to start your week off with.

My French-Canadian grandmother somehow got her hands on this “Cuban” bread recipe while living in Concord, NM in the 1920’s. Her husband owned a motorcycle shop, and while he was playing with his bikes all day she would paint folk scenes, play the organ, and bake bread. Pity, I never asked her what makes a loaf of bread “Cuban”.

Something about this recipe makes it super-duper easy. If my mom (bless her and her lack of baking genes) can make perfect crusty loaves every time, I promise you that you can too.

THE WHAT:

1 packet (2 1/2 tsp.) yeast

2 cups warm water

1 1/2 tb. salt

1 tb. sugar

6-9 cups flour

Corn starch

THE HOW:

1. Start by dissolving the yeast in the hot water. Mix in sugar and salt.

2. Add flour, one cup at a time until dough is smooth.

3. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until dough is double the size.

4.While dough is rising, sprinkle corn starch on a baking sheet. Fill a teapot full with water, and get a large casserole dish ready and waiting.

5. When dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured surface into two long loaves. (I found that this dough did not need as much kneading as I am used to. Play with it, see what results work well for you.)

6. Place loaves on the corn-starch-sprinkled baking sheet. Turn on the kettle to get the water boiling, and let the loaves rise for five more minutes.

7. When the loaves have risen, serrate the loaves on their tops with a knife, 4-6 slices per loaf. Brush with water.

8. Pour the boiling water in the casserole dish, and place (carefully!!!) on the lower rack in the oven. This will keep your loaves moist while they’re baking. Put the bread on the other rack, and, starting from the cold oven, turn the heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 degrees Celsius).

9. Bake loaves for about 40 minutes or until outsides are crusty.

Some Notes and Tips:

I used all whole-wheat flour for these loaves, and they didn’t rise as much as I would like. Next time I’m going to try cutting half whole wheat, half white flour, and see how that goes. If you use all-white flour, you should have absolutely no trouble getting these puppies to rise.

Shakespeare and Company Bookstore, Paris

(Disclaimer: Today I felt like doing a little reminiscing. Forgive the indulgence.)

In all my travels, one of the places that remains nearest and dearest to my heart is the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore in Paris. Situated on the left bank directly across the street from the Seine, this bookshop has been a literary haven for Anglophones in France since before my generation was born.

I stayed for less than two weeks, but somehow, it made an almost physical impression on me. And it certainly did nothing to diminish my overly-romanticized understanding of Paris.

We did the whole shebang: red wine by the Seine, late-night city walks, riding around on a moped through the crazy Parisian roads, eating a baguette and cheese for breakfast, chess games on the cobblestones, bathing only once or twice a week, watching buskers at the foot of the Notre Dame, and reading and writing and reading and writing all the damn day.

The shop and its owner, George Whitman, both have an impressive and fascinating history. But that aside, this place simply feels CHARGED, if you know what I mean. Like anything is possible, everyone is a genius, and everything, including tragedy, is beautiful.

37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris. Next time you’re in town, go there. I urge you.

(Images from the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore website.)