i’m the oldest of six kids, so ever since i was little, i’ve thrived in chaotic, bustling environments. my siblings are my best friends & it’s awesome because anywhere we go, we make our own fun. moving to madison was a challenge not only because i was suddenly an 8-hour drive away from my soulmates, but also because it was my first time living alone. when you grow up in a house that’s literally never quiet, then live among your crazy college friends for four years, suddenly finding yourself in a new town where you don’t know a soul can be a bit of an adjustment. much to my surprise, i actually grew to love the solitude. i fell into my own little routine my first year of law school–i spent 95% of my day at school, stopped at my yoga studio for a class on my way home, made myself dinner & sometimes took a bath before crawling into bed.
fast forward to now, a little over a year later, & things are a little different. my dog now lives with me, a certain friend is always curled up on my couch eating leftovers & nathan’s here almost every weekend since he now lives in milwaukee. i rarely get that sense of peace & self-sufficiency that comes from going a couple days without saying a word out loud to someone else–not that i miss it that much. in fact, tonight i was faced with the prospect of a few days of solitude & felt a little discombobulated.
leftover-loving friend went home for the weekend & for the first thursday in weeks i’m not celebrating the end of the school week curled up on the couch with her & a bottle of vino, watching a movie. nathan’s got exams coming up, so he’s not here to unwind with me, either. i had to find my own way to honor the end of this week, which was, in all honesty, quite good in comparison to what a typical week of law school can look like. as i sat in my last class, hungry as usual, i decided to make breadsticks to go with some leftover caprese spaghetti i was plotting to eat for dinner. oh, these breadsticks were everything i’ve ever wished for in a breadstick–they were hot, soft, flavorful & super easy to make. i called nathan partly to brag about how good they were & partly to induce a visit on his part–it sort of worked. he said he’d think about coming to madison tomorrow. fingers crossed!
-4 1/2 cups flour
-2 tbsp sugar
-1 envelope yeast
-1 tbsp salt
-1 1/2 cups warm water
– 2 tbsp melted butter
-12 tbsp melted butter
-2 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp salt
-1/4 to 1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes (optional, depending on your tastes)
– several grinds of italian seasoning (optional)
-1/4 cup of parmesan for sprinkling (optional)
1) combine sugar, yeast & warm water in a small bowl. cover & set aside for 10 minutes.
2) meanwhile, combine flour & salt in a large bowl. add in yeast after the 10 minutes is up (mixture should be frothy).
3) add melted butter. combine & then knead using your hands until flour is incorporated & a big ball of dough has formed (takes 5-10 minutes).
4) leaving dough in the large bowl, cover it & place it in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
5) meanwhile, do your dishes if you haven’t done them all week (ahem) & then prepare the butter sauce by just combining all the ingredients. don’t do this too far in advance or the butter will solidify by the time you need it.
6) when dough has doubled in size, preheat your oven to 400 degrees & grease a large baking sheet.
7) rip off fist-sized chunks of dough & roll into 8-inch logs.
8) bake for 6 minutes, brush with half the butter mixture, then stick back in the oven for another 6 minutes.
9) after removing them from the oven a second time, you can either brush them with the remaining butter or use the remaining butter as a dipping sauce. or completely forget about the remaining butter like i did. yes, that’s how good these are. enjoy!
*this recipe is adapted from here & makes about 12 8-inch long breadsticks. active time is about 20 minutes, total time is about an hour & 2o minutes.