Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Family Connections

People are a product of their family and make sense once you see them within the context of their family i.e. how they behave, how they choose to spend their free time, how they interact with others etc. I love meeting the family members of friends… place them within a bigger context and making sense of it. This past weekend, I saw my brother, who I haven’t seen in two years. Before that, it had been seven years. In comparison to my sisters, with whom I am extremely close, my brother is a stranger. Being ten years older than I am, he left home for good while I was still developing as a person. Afterwards, any contact was sporadic and minimal. Despite this, I am always shocked when I spend time with him, how well he fits in to the family……how his presence just makes sense. Of course one would expect the superficial likeness…..after all, we share they same gene pool. But I am not talking about this. I am talking about personality characteristics. Such as how we all seem to prefer our own company or the company of a few select friends; we spend our spare time reading and will not be found on vacation without a book; we like to eat, and like to eat well; we are music aficionados; and we hold very strong opinions and tend to believe our views superior to others.

It is comforting to know that you are not crazy…….that you share your craziness with your family.

It was great to be with all my siblings again. We ventured into Philadelphia….only to have everything that we wanted to see be closed. The city of love was being definitely stingy. Yet, there were some good moments…..namely M. and C. having a riot at the fountain. We had to intervene on numerous occasions with C.’s attempt to fling herself into the pool of water. We also enjoyed a photo slide show of N.’s trips to Butan and Patagonia. Her photographs look like something straight out of National Geographic. Amazing…..and when it came to the leaches…..gross. We also enjoyed a little picnic and hike outdoors to some falls with the wee bairns. All in all, a very enjoyable gathering. And what would be a Lady Susan family gathering without food? In a gesture of good faith and love, I made some cinnamon rolls to bring with me. I enjoyed these to no end. I warmed one for breakfast each morning, dabbing it a little with butter before popping the little taste of heaven into my mouth.

Adapted from:

Cinnamon Buns

by Peter Reinhart

For the dough:

6 ½ Tbs. granulated sugar

1 tsp salt

5 ½ Tbs. butter, at room temperature

1 large egg

1 tsp lemon extract or lemon zest

3 ½ cups unbleached bread flour

2 tsp instant yeast

1 1/8 cups buttermilk, at room temperature

1 Tbsp. melted butter for brushing the dough

For the filling:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

Make the dough: Cream together the butter, sugar, and salt. Whip in the egg and lemon or vanilla extract until smooth. Mix in the flour, yeast, and milk, and stir until the dough starts to form a ball. Knead for 10-15 minutes, until the dough is supple, tacky but not sticky. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, flipping it around to cover it entirely with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it to rise for about two hours, or until it doubles in size.

To form the rolls: Lightly mist oil over your work surface and sprinkle flour on top of the dough so that the rolling pin won’t stick. Roll out the dough to a 12″x14″ rectangle. It should be about 2/3″ thick; you don’t want to roll the dough out too thin. Brush the dough with the melted butter leaving a 1/2 inch border around all sides. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar filling evenly over the top of the dough and press lightly with your fingertips to make it adhere. Working with the long side facing you, roll up the dough tightly until you have a log with a spiral of filling inside, pinch the seam carefully to seal. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 12 even pieces. Lay the buns on top of some parchment papger on a cookie sheet spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to proof at room temperature for 90 minutes or until the buns have grown into each other and nearly doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 350° and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

1 comment:

yola said...

Oh I'm glad you had such a great time with your family! And that photo is FANtastic...

I love spending time with my siblings. Sometimes I think maybe we spend too much time together, but we really can't help ourselves. When we go two weeks without seeing each other (like if someone misses both Family Night and church), then we all go through this withdrawal. And it's funny, if my brother and I did not work in the same building for the past 6 years, I doubt he and I would have the same relationship that we do...but somehow we rebonded during our lunchtime walks together. Unfortunately we haven't done that since I started school, but I really think building my relationship with him was probably the best thing I've gotten out of my job. ;)


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