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Rachael's Favorite Things (No, You Don't Get A Car)May 1, 2009

I am so excited about two things that I HAVE to share them. HAVE to. You have GOT to know.

1. Pandora.com

Are you listening yet? I've waxed poetic about it before, but I'll do it again. It's internet radio that you create by entering a favorite artist or song. The music genome project (what drives your iTunes Genius) then plays all sorts of songs that share similar characteristics with what you entered, and you hear songs that you practically automatically love. (Oh, God. Except for what just happened right now on one of my stations. Warning: If you make a station based on Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love", you might get a death metal song. Huh. Every once in a while you get a dud, and you just thumb it down, and it doesn't happen again.)

It's free. They don't spam. Commercials are almost nonexistent (although they have little 10 second bits every once in a while that I don't seem to notice).

AND THE BEST PART?  They came out with a Blackberry app this week. That means when I get in my car after work, I open that app on my phone. I plug my cassette-tape adapter (HIGH TECH, YO!) into my phone and listen blissfully to music that agrees with whatever mood I find myself in. (And then I answer the phone when my sister calls and get completely freaked out to find her voice coming out on my car stereo, booming around me. But that's another story.)

If you want to sample it, go to my favorite station right now, FOUND HERE. I warn you, when I play it, Lala rolls her eyes and says "Your music is making me ovulate," so of course, I call it Ovulation Station. But driving home last night, it played Dar Williams's "Iowa" and Iron and Wine's "Naked as We Came," so you can already tell it's perfect. But you can make your perfect station, too. Go sign up. Come on.

I'm not associated with Pandora, except for a reader who works there (Hi, Lucia!). LOVE PANDORA.


Bread, dude.

Okay, I haven't really been eating bread lately. Good for me. Less headaches. Less weight. Yadda yadda. But I had a craving the other day and I saw the most amazing article in the New York Times. You know a few years ago, the no-knead bread recipe that took like a whole night of rising but no kneading?

The response to Mr. Bittman’s article was so fervid you would have thought he’d revealed a foolproof way to pick winning lottery numbers. It was a sign of how desperately people want to bake at home, and how painfully aware they are of their limitations.

The method he wrote about, though, looks like molecular gastronomy next to the one developed by Jeff Hertzberg, a physician from Minneapolis. His technique is more or less as streamlined as this: Mix flour, salt, yeast and water. Let it sit a bit, refrigerate it, take some out and let it rise, then bake it.

The crusty, full-flavored loaf that results may be the world’s easiest yeast bread.

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

Seriously. I made bread yesterday, while I was dying from a migraine. And it took less than five minutes of actual work (with rising, from ingredients to table in less than 3.5 hours).

Basically, you get out some flour, some yeast, some salt. Then you blow on the ingredients (okay, smoosh them around in a bowl with some water), and then POOF, you have bread. Good bread. Perfect bread. I'll eventually buy the book for all the different variations, but for now, we're going to subsist on the free recipe that makes like four loaves (over two weeks! Refrigerated dough).

Delightful article HERE.

Recipe HERE.

Not affiliated with those folks, either. But wouldn't I like to be? Hello, BREAD! Hot, buttery, bread. Yum. Luckily, I have more dough waiting to be cooked in the fridge.


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love pandora. thanks for the new station! and yeah though ive known about that bread recipe i have never been motivated to make any until NOW! thanks for the inspiration and tunes!

After I make bread I am amazed that I don't do it more often. Then 5 years go by and I do it again. I am at the 6 year mark now but I am menopausal so it all makes sense.

What a great coincidence! One of my favourite Icelandic chefs was blogging about very enthusiasticly about this kind of bread few days ago!

I LOVE that book, but it should be subtitled: How to Gain 10 Pounds in Five Minutes a Day. You've been warned.

Thanks for the links! I've been waiting for months for the library copy of Artisan bread!

Pandora.com is great!

mmm, Pandora AND bread! that almost made waking up to work this morning worth it ;)I am going to try that recipe for sure!

thanks for the info on pandora.com - i am trying it out right now - and I LOVE it! so great!

I LOVE Pandora! I just got my iPhone a week ago, but I've been streaming it every day at work. Took a few thumbs up and thumbs down but I think its finally figured out my wacky tastes.

Dude, I bought the ABin5 book recently, OMG it really has changed my life. FANTASTIC.

Can't get Pandora. They don't do outside the US. Shame, sounds great. I'll just have to stick to last.fm instead.

I use a breadmaker. It goes on overnight, and we wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread. Got to be happy with that!

that same bread dough does pizza, foccicia (which I never spell right), pita, calzone (how fun to put what you like in it - yum)

the sandwich (or white bread can't remember the name) is exactly like my MIL's old recipe that everyone loved :D

I saved that bread recipe when it first came out in the NYT but I am "afraid" to try it. I know that I will eat the whole four loaves in a day or two. Maybe if I get some dance music on Pandora and burn the calories off...

1. Dance me to the end of love.....swoon! but HOW does that get you Death Metal? Not. Genius.
2. Bread. I can smell it from here.

Yeah, I love Pandora too. Play it work all the time; it's fun to see what they come up with. It's making me sorry I have satellite radio to tell you the truth.

I have the book; the bread is great. But I have to say that I got really annoyed by all the comments in the book about how HARD making bread the 'traditional' way is, because really, it isn't -- it's just more time consuming. But if you've never made bread the traditional way, and read this book, you'll think that rising dough has to be watched constantly, and timed to the second, which, of course, isn't true. It annoyed me enough that I didn't make anything from it for about a month after I got the book!

Oh.My.Gawd! I am a Pandora junkie now! We spent all evening making and listening to radio stations and playing board games (double HeHu influence there!).

That brad is the best bread I`ve ever made. I've made it for barbeque parties and I got asked over and over where I bought that heavenly bread!

Pandora rocks! It was one of the first apps I got and I love it. LOVE. IT.

Bread rocks, also. I just developed a gluten-free French bread recipe that tastes good and I'm so excited! Also, congrats on finishing the book (I'm a Twitter follower!)!!

No-Knead Bread: best. recipe. ever. Welcome to the revolution!

Oh Rachel, I REALLY didn't need to know about that bread website. Yum!

Re Ovulation Station, I'm with Lala. Re Pandora, to quote a friend, "I lurve it".

Ooh, Pandora! Last time you suggested it, I went and found out how great it is. Thank you :-)

I listen to it more on my iPod now than on my computer but I didn't know about the BB app. When I upgrade my BB (mine doesn't do the apps), I'll definitely use that.

It's definitely an estrogen-enriched station - :) but I love it!

Pandora on the iphone is a slice of heaven on the BART. Glad your phone let's you share in my joy.

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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