Why was I taking a driving tour of San Diego’s highways at 1 in the morning last night?  It began with a simple enough task:  pick up arriving family at the airport who were coming in on a late flight. The flight was delayed, naturally, because it originated from those sticky humid southern states where storms and crocs on the runway tend to delay things.  The first sign of trouble:  leaving the airport to get back on the highway, the access road was blocked by bright lights, cones, and backhoes lifting up chunks of roadway like they were brownies from a pan.  Good thing, says me, that I know the streets so well!  A quick detour and we were speeding up the highway.  Then the ramp to the eastbound interstate was closed.  Funny, that.  Here’s the main east-west artery connecting southern California with the rest of the country, and from its terminus at the Pacific Ocean, you can’t go east.

I said a four-letter word as we sped up the westbound ramp towards the beach.  It was not ‘darn’.  Ten minutes later we’re heading East again and the highway is shut going east.  Ever see those have-a-heart animal traps?  Go in and get the peanut butter and the one-way door shut behinds you.  Well, I’ll bet the raccoon didn’t have to get up at six the next morning and his fuel light wasn’t on.

I oughtn’t complain.  I drive this highway almost every day and rarely fall into ditches or flip my car over bumps and potholes.  So I’m glad they do road maintenance.  [biting fist]

Anyhoo, to while away the latenight hours before going to the airport, I made the drunken apple ciabatta last night.  Lord help me, I love this ciabatta.  I tasted it this morning and it’s not nearly appley enough.  But the texture of the apple chunks is just right and there’s a vague hint of sweetness and nuttiness.  Here ‘tis:


Since I used a fair amount of my apple/pear moonshine, I made up a new batch and sealed it up in a couple Nalgene bottles with more water and sugar.  Now comes the patience game:  more days in the bottle means stronger hard cider.  The adult in me says, “Wait for your reward.”  The kid in me says, “I’m dizzy!”  If you see me stumbling around blind with apple on my breath, you’ll know why. 

I also made a double batch of sourdough last night.  One will be for in-house consumption, the other is for a Kalamata rustic olive bread.  I started it out in the mixer but it quickly climbed up the hook like a cat from a bathtub.  I relented and switched to hand-kneading and I’m glad I did.  Sourdough dough feels so good in your hands—it has an incredible satiny and elastic touch that begs for more kneading.  Just like a nice thigh.  See, bread-baking IS sexy!

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Writer, architect, father, husband.

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3 comments on “In-frustr-ructure
  1. SusannahB says:

    That bread, and the moonshine, sound absolutely wonderful. What recipe do you use for that liquor? I made limoncello a couple years ago, and it was just delightful. (As was the process, really, complete with people asking why there was a giant jar of yellow liquid continually mellowing on my counter… but that's neither here nor there…)

  2. psoutowood says:

    Hi Susannah, not much of a recipe. I probably had ten parts apples/pears, 3 parts water and 1 part sugar. There must be a more scientific way to do it, but I'm drunk on moonshine so I don't bother wif details!

  3. SusannahB says:

    Ahhhh…. so you're starting from scratch. I, on the other hand, elicited stares from liquor store clerks who asked if I REALLY wanted the big bottle of Everclear.

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