Thursday, September 18, 2014

TWD/BWJ: Classic French Bread

Tuesdays With Dorie, you are a bad influence!

Good grief, this is either the best bread in the history of mankind, or I haven't had bread in so long it only seems that way.

After a bit of a search, I found fresh yeast. If you're in the Atlanta area, you can get it at the Buford Highway International Farmer's Market - in the refrigerated area of the Eastern European section. Don't know why I've never been there before, but it was a pretty great place to explore. The aisles are marked with different country names, and you can literally walk around the world.

Let's get to some pictures:

Aerating my flour with a whisk.
Learned it in a Montessori classroom.
Recently discovered that Dorie refers to this
in the "flour" section of the book on page 13.
I feel so validated. And so far behind on reading
what's in the book. Really, there's lots more than recipes.

That yeast cake crumbled up nicely.
But it smelled a little... skanky...

Not the best scale for measuring .6 of an ounce

All that kneading caused Katie to throw a screw,
but as usual she performed beautifully, loose screw or not.

Genius suggestion by Sharron to let the shaped dough rise
on parchment paper cradled between rolled up towels.
Baked them right on the paper.
One question: Where can I get a single-edged razor blade?
My knives just aren't cutting it. <groan>

Meanwhile, outside, the feeder is almost empty.
They've sucked down a gallon this year!
Can hummingbirds get fat? My husband thinks so.

See what I mean about being a

Check out the links of the other Tuesdays With Dorie participants here. And the original video of Julia with Danielle Forestier (who contributed this recipe) is here.

For your entertainment.
This came in my CSA box yesterday.

 Finally, a shoe. This one seems appropriately French. It's not every day that you see an upright high heel in the road!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

TWD/BWJ: Poppy Seed Torte

I tried.
I expected greatness.
But no. Just no.

This one didn't do it for us.
My husband said, "It tastes liquid-y and strange."
That about covers it.

But I did learn some things:

1) Real apricots have pits. And it's easy to over-poach them. Yes, I've led a sheltered life.

OK, they were "plumcots".
But I'm guessing that's pretty close.

2) "Cleaning out" the coffee grinder by running a piece of bread through it is not such a good idea. Gummed it up pretty quickly.

3) Hungry young men will eat anything with a big bowl of ice cream. "It's an acquired taste," my son said. "The first couple of bites were odd, but it's growing on me." (Remember, there was ice cream involved.) 

Feel free to laugh!
Everyone else's torte was so lovely. Mine was just sad.
4) Penzeys Spices is an incredible place. If you have one of these stores near you, please go there. Just for a visit. Personally, I think the website leaves something to be desired (not enough pictures) but if you can go there in person you will be forever changed. All these years I've heard people rave about fresh spices and thought they were just being overly perfectionist. I mean, really, if I had a bottle of something purchased from the grocery 5 years ago, no way I was going to go buy another one. They found spices in the pyramids, for goodness sake! But Penzeys is spice wonderland. There's a store over on the other side of town, and a friend from church was always handing things off to me in little Penzeys bags. The store was on my route to a quilt workshop, so I stopped. Actually I was in search of a spice mix called "Sunny Paris" that someone mentioned in a chicken recipe. I'd forgotten all about the poppy seeds until I saw bags of them. Which is why I took on the Torte. It didn't work out, but the Penzeys experience more than makes up for it.

Very few of the Tuesdays With Dorie bakers seem to have made the Poppy Seed Torte. Probably because of the quantity of seeds required (2 cups!). But some made it and liked it. You can see their links here

Finally, a shoe. Hitching a ride on the back of a truck.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

TWD/BWJ: Baking Powder Biscuits

Biscuit challenge

Baking Powder Biscuits from Baking With Julia
Low-carb Breakfast Biscuits from Up Late Anyway

Let the chips fall where they may.
Looky what I found on the windowsill - 2" biscuit cutter.
Those antique cooking utensils have come in handy lately.

The low-carb ones baked first.
Spread more than I expected.
Next time - muffin tin.

Light and fluffy. And yummy.

OK, let's be honest here. Nothing is going to beat a good old-fashioned made-from-scratch biscuit. Of course they were excellent. I was forced to try one for verification purposes. It wasn't really a fair fight. The low-carb biscuits weren't bad, especially when paired with a great little spaghetti squash casserole. I even found Mr Picky nibbling a second one the next day (though he refused the spaghetti squash). 

To each his own. They both have a place in the world. Speaking of the world, we've been out in it this summer. Another road trip through the Carolinas, Tennessee, the Virginias, and DC. 

Jumping on the...

The Biltmore

America On Parade
at Shenandoah Caverns

Our nation's capitol.
I love the national mall at night.

The National Zoo

And we lost our sweet Sallie, who outlived her sister Rachel by 8 months. Now they're back together again, chasing squirrels and running the green fields of doggie heaven, pain-free at last. But it's hard. The house is still filled with dog beds and unused dishes. I can't bear to part with them. And our one remaining dog, Lady, is lonely.

Here's a shoe. A VERY interesting place to eat in Hendersonville, NC. I was almost out of the lot when my boy spotted it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

TWD/BWJ: Phylloccine Ice Cream Sandwiches

What the heck is Phylloccine you ask?
It's phyllo that's been cut into strips resembling fettuccine.
So now we're making up our own words.

The recipe called for lots of extra goodies that I didn't bother with. Brown-sugar-sweetened whipped cream, a special raspberry/blueberry/mint mixture, and a fancy skewer threaded with berries. No doubt it would have been fabulous that way, but I took the easy way out and I can't imagine anything better than what I just put in my mouth. 

The little phyllo nests take almost no effort. If you're reading this and haven't done it yet, please pull a roll of phyllo out of the freezer, slice some up, drizzle with butter and sugar, and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. That's it. Layer with any ice cream you like and/or fruit and/or whipped cream. Or how about lemon curd? Or chocolate pudding? There are so many possibilities!

This time I used Blue Bell Pistachio Almond ice cream (run and get some now), drizzled with Hershey syrup (don't judge), and topped with a couple of pieces of frozen banana (in the freezer for green smoothies). It was like eating a little piece of heaven. And effortless heaven is pretty darn appreciated around this house.

If you'd like to see the fancy version made by the other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers, their links are here.

To "top it off", a shoe!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

TWD/BWJ: Tropical Napoleons

This is gonna be quick.
Totally lost my mojo for blogging.
But I don't care.

I didn't actually use the Baking With Julia recipe for the meringues. Instead I tried to go low-carb with this recipe. It was OK, but considering that there are still meringues in a storage container over a week later, it's doubtful that I'll make them again. I'll try the real recipe next time. Here are the experiences of people who did it right this time.

made my form out of a paper plate
we used the extra meringue to make some fun shapes

On another note, there was much excitement last week when B3 flew from the nest for the first time (it's called fledging). B3 is an eaglet that I've been watching (via nest cam) since she emerged from the egg 3 months ago at Berry College. The live feed is here. Following this drama has given me a whole new appreciation for the cycle of life. When I saw that she'd fledged on Thursday morning, I jumped in the car and drove up to Rome, Georgia to see B3 in real life. It was a magical day. And I did get to see her fly. Felt as proud as could be. When I think of all that little eagle family has been through - the snow and storms, the burial of the unhatched egg, the day of the intruder, the time mom went missing, the endless stream of meals - what a joy to see it culminate so beautifully.
I was not the only spectator...
There she goes!

Safely back to the nest

Mom and Dad in a nearby tree. He is smaller and sitting
on the branch to the right near the trunk.

This is threatening to get long but I do want to recommend the film "Fed Up!" if you can find it in your area. Here's a list of theatres where it's showing.

And finally, a shoe. Summer has officially begun in the States so here's a shoe from Memorial Day weekend at the lake. My daughter spotted it on an abandoned dock at the back of the cove. It was only there for a few minutes. Long enough for me to get a picture. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

TWD/BWJ: Cantuccini

Full of carbohydrates.
That pretty much says it all.
It's April 15th. Tax day. Tuesday of Holy Week. And chemo day. Not to mention the morning after a "blood moon" and a COLD, rainy, windy day here in Atlanta. It's supposed to drop down to freezing tonight. Things can only get better. 

See how I cleverly pre-shaped the ends?
Biscotti by any other name is still biscotti. They were fine. I tried one or two. Would have been better dipped in chocolate. I mean, there aren't many things that wouldn't be improved by a little chocolate. OK, maybe asparagus. To save myself the torture of not eating them, I sent most of these home with our boy who was here to do his taxes. It only took 2 hours to come up with $0 and $0 on his forms. Turbo Tax asks every question in the universe. Except maybe the important ones, like "how do you plan to make the world a better place?" Or "why do people litter?"

I have other pictures but don't seem to be able to add them anywhere except at the top of this page. I'm tired of trying so let's move on. The other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers are here.

And a shoe. Happy Easter. Or Passover. Or whatever the week may hold for you.