Wednesday, August 28, 2013

nothing to do with baking

Just listened, riveted, to the President's speech.  What a knockout!  My eyes are quite red; I cried almost throughout the speech.  Some of this may be attributable to the fact that I just read, at Eloise's recommendation, "Five Smooth Stones."  A book that somehow escaped my attention until now--yet uncannily apropos.  My eyes were quite red throughout the 750 pages of this quite remarkable book.  Despite bits where the plot was a little thin and/or contrived, for the most part, it is impossible not to feel like the main characters are personally known to the reader; impossible not to love them and feel (forgive the cliche) their pain.  A few weeks back, the president made some remarks which included his comment that no black man, himself included, hadn't known what it is to be followed in a department store.  The experience of reading Five Smooth Stones brings that home in a frightening real way.  To then see the crowds reassemble before the Lincoln Memorial and to hear the President pay tribute to what has been accomplished in the ensuing 50 years and call upon us all to do what still remains to be done--it all cuts close to the bone.  A hopeful moment preceding the imminent return of our do-nothing legislators...

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5

Took some samples to the new restaurant--cheddar biscuits with green chilies, cheddar coins, and molasses cookies for the ice cream sandwiches.  Happily, they loved 'em.  Ate 'em like hungry children.  Took tastes to Zu--Kristin loved them and so did Doug, who now wants to do a breakfast biscuit around them.

My new problem--how to pull off this volume of production.

Need to do the apple pie dessert and work up prices.

In the meanwhile, lots to do for Zu.  I am about to become a baking machine.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November 4

Staving off a cold by sleeping/napping though I should be baking and doing paperwork.

I did make scones--apple raisin scones and blueberry scones.  I made the dough for cheddar coins and did prep for more.  I'll have to do some intense baking in the early hours before I need to leave for work.

In the meanwhile, did anyone notice the extra hour we had today?  I must say I did not feel particularly better rested.  And since the clocks in the house all adjust themselves (magical!!), there wasn't even the psychological boost that comes from physically turning back the clock.  It passed unnoticed like those ripples at sea that miles later hit the shore in the form of a tsunami.  Not a good analogy I guess---because the real effect is not all that earth shaking---just a little less darkness in the early morning.

I loved the e-mail from Kiosk (in NYC) -- a lovely Joycean riff about Storm Sandy and about the necessity of voting for President Obama.  Nate Silver says the electoral college numbers look good--from his column to God's ears.

I am entranced by the idea of cajeta -- dulce de leche sin canned milk.  Canned milk is just sort of creepy, so the notion of making the real thing, just using milk and sugar and baking soda is rather cool.
Could it fill sandwich cookies?  Could almond butter made at home with the addition of some cream and butter and sugar also be a filling?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November 3
We were having drinks and someone mentioned baguettes and where to find the best available here.  The best isn't bad but neither is it very good.  The conversation went on to a proposed trip a friend is taking to Oregon and mention was made of a bakery in Portland, name unknown.
Afterwards, at home, I remembered the Saveur bread edition.  I found it and the name of the bakery (Ken's Artisan) and happened upon a recipe for a four hour baguette.  It was a less fussy, simplified version of a traditional autolyse method baguette I learned in school.  All of this, of course, combined to make me crave a good baguette....

The recipe, with good instructions and several somewhat helpful photos is to be found on page 52 of the May, 2012 issue (#147) of Saveur.

It's been a while since I made bread entirely by hand.  I had forgotten what a pleasure it can be to eschew the stand mixer and mix and knead by hand.  The house smelled wonderful; few smells in life are as good as the aroma of baking bread.  On reflection, it probably could have baked a bit longer, but it was really delicious.  A nice crunch of crust, a nice chew, pretty laciness inside, and a surprisingly good flavor for such a simple bread.  And it really was ready in 4 hours...

Friday, November 2, 2012

November 2
A search for southern comfort desserts.
The current plan:
     Cheddar Coins
     Biscuits--plain, w/cheese, with chilis??
     Molasses/Ginger cookies (for ice cream sandwiches)
     Bourbon Pecan Apple Pie
     Almond Cakes from Fernan Adria

Also Blueberry, Bran and Banana Muffins; two or three kinds of scones; blueberry Banana Bread for zu in the morning

A nice discovery:  Jacobsen salt.  Flaky pure sea salt, hand harvested in Oregon--first salt harvested there since Lewis and Clark.  My friend will be in Oregon next week and will be shopping for some for us.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 1

A new month.  All sorts of new opportunities.  Desserts for a new restaurant.  Possibility of a new kitchen.  And a blog challenge--to post everyday in November---it would be a good exercise for me I think.

A new muffin that is becoming a staple:  Pumpkin Apple Muffins, adapted from a recipe on The Pioneer Woman's blog.   Hers called for evaporated milk and raisins.  I don't like evaporated milk, so I use cream (half and half) and lots of chopped apples (a combination of Macintosh and Granny Smith) and spiced up the spices with the addition of some ground cloves.   Lovely, soft and super moist muffins.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy 100th, Julia!

Julia Child would be 100 years old today.  It's amazing to think what a difference she made (and continues to make) in the world--at least in this part of it (tho I suspect she has fans and followers all over the place).  I know I owe her a lot, not the least of which is introducing me to Nancy Silverton's Brioche recipe, on TV and in "Baking with Julia."  I've been making it now for years--though mostly just for special occasions.  It's the richest brioche I know.  And the Pecan Sticky Buns are an extraordinary extravagance--Julia at her buttery best.

I made the brioche dough to celebrate her centennial.  I started the dough yesterday afternoon and took the finished products out of the oven early this morning.

I made small tetes, several small loaves and then a full batch of the amazing Pecan Sticky Buns.

I was lucky to get in a picture before they disappeared.

We'll be doing more Julia-celebrating later today.