Tuesday, December 3, 2013

TWD/BWJ: Challah

"Oh no, it's burned," I thought. 
And then I cracked it open. 
And slathered it with butter. 
And swooned. 
Good grief, this bread is amazing! 

Do you see it? I now own a wooden spoon!

I would like to suggest to my future self to either 1) make half a recipe and bake it in the CENTER of the oven, or 2) Put one of the loaves on a pan small enough to fit in the small oven and bake both in the CENTER of different ovens. The important word here is ... do I need to say it again?

Oh my goodness, handling that luscious dough
was heavenly. 

Unfortunately, we have yet to acquire the super-oven of my dreams. Forced to make do with the "vintage" version, one must make some adjustments. For this recipe, there is no way to bake both loaves at the same time. The available rack levels just don't work. The bottom of the loaf burns on the lower rack, and the top burns on the upper rack. It's possible that an airbake sheet under the lower one and a piece of foil (added BEFORE the loaf gets too dark) on the upper will work. Maybe I'll try that next week. Because I certainly will be making this again soon. :-)

It was also turkey pot pie-making day.
Had to do something with those
legs I discovered hiding in the fridge.
Serious comfort food

The other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers have Challah blog links here

And now for a shoe, and a story. I passed this shoe several times but couldn't stop for the picture. It was always after chemo and the patient needed to get home. The shoe was an athletic shoe and it was in the street in front of the Atlanta Athletic Club! It stayed there for weeks. So finally one day I drove out there just to get the picture and couldn't believe it was gone. I walked up and down the road looking, but nothing. (Backstory - this is one of the fanciest clubs in the Atlanta area. The PGA Championships were held there last year.) Had parked in a gravel area across from the club while looking for the shoe, finally gave up, circled to get out, and what did I see? A shoe! Not the one I was looking for, but maybe even more interesting. I mean, Sponge Bob?!? Taught me to open my eyes and be willing to find something other than what I'm seeking. Love a good surprise.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

TWD/BWJ: Double Chocolate Cookies

These cookies came along just in time. I needed chocolate. And they delivered.

Don, Rachel, and Sallie in 1997.
He quickly lost the size advantage.
I remember it well. The day Michael opened the front door, tossed two small black puppies inside, and quickly ran back toward the garage announcing over his shoulder that "one of them puked in the car!" Wait. What? TWO of them? I distinctly remember saying that I'd take ONE. They'd been found together in a ditch in Gwinnett County. Sisters. I don't know who abandoned them there, but I do know that our lives were changed by that act. It was August of 1997. Our dogs have always had human names. (We used to name them after sleazy politicians, but that's another story.) The kids picked the names for these two, and so they became Sallie and Rachel. They joined Don, our little black shar pei mix, who was the leader of the pack until he died at the ripe old age of 18 years. A few years ago, a weimaraner named Lady joined our family.

Now Sallie and Rachel are parted for the first time in 16 years. Our dear sweet Rachel had a neurological disorder that caused her to lose the use of her back legs. It started over a year ago when she began to drag her right foot. Eventually she could barely walk, and this past weekend we knew it was time to let her go. When I called my daughter at school to let her know, she said "I think I'll come home." And when I called my son, he showed up here too. Dr. Dani has known and loved Rachel for years. She's a mobile vet, comes to our house, so we were all gathered around Rachel as her spirit left her poor broken body. It's the hardest thing to do, to let a loved one go.

My heart hurts. I've been going through the motions since Saturday. Didn't even know it was Tuesdays With Dorie day until the email arrived. But thankfully there was chocolate involved. This one's for Rachel.

And since they were such a pair for 16 years, this seems like an appropriate picture.

Friday, November 8, 2013

TWD/BWJ: Pumpernickel Loaves

Thank goodness we're making bread again! Didn't realize how much I missed the lovely aroma. This one even smelled good before baking. It looked daunting with that page-long list of ingredients, and 3 pages of instructions, but watching the video gave me renewed confidence. I even did the kneading by hand. I needed that (no pun intented, LOL!). Hands-on time with bread dough is so comforting.

Here are the pictures:
I would never have guessed there was chocolate in pumpernickel.
And of course I couldn't fine prune lekvar at the grocery,
so made it myself.
Note to self: next time don't use the shortening directly out
of the freezer, and remember to let the yogurt warm a bit.
Mixture was too cold so I had to gently warm it on the
stove before adding the yeast. Thank goodness for
metal bowls.
And a TRUE CONFESSION: I don't own a wooden spoon!
Except for this little art project in my pantry.
"Spirit Beads" from an Artist's Way group.
Heating pad helped with the rise.
I wasn't about to cut holes in my towels,
but big clips worked great. We usually
use them to close chip bags.
The loaves in their little slings looked so cute!
Didn't have sesame seeds, but I did add some salt
that we brought back from Hawaii
 With cream cheese, a smear of the leftover lekvar,
and a sprinkle of walnuts! Yum!
Links to the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers are here. And the recipe is here.

This week's shoe - a man's dress shoe in the middle of the Buford Highway ramp. I must admit that yesterday one of my facebook friends posted a comment about seeing a shoe in the road (no picture) and I almost blew my cover. Still flying under the radar, nobody in my real world knows I'm here. One day, I'll have to come clean.

Monday, October 21, 2013

TWD/BWJ: Cookies and a Braid

X Cookies

Playing catch-up again for October. I've done the baking, but the blogging - not so much. 

The X Cookies were like a upscale fig newton, but with a pastry-like crust instead of the soft cake-y thing that you buy at the store. They were pretty good, but there are only so many you can eat and this made a huge quantity. In the end, my boy took them to a party. Would you guess that college kids would eat fig cookies? I don't know, but they didn't come back home...
Cool powdered sugar stencil left on the counter!

And then there was the Danish Braid. 
Houston, we have a problem...
I have created a monster!

I obviously have an issue with reading directions!

If only I had read ahead.

If only I had read completely.

The first surprise was the "chill at least 24 hours".

And now I have discovered, in the reading of other blogs, that there was supposed to be folding of the dough! How did I miss that?!? No wonder the darn thing spread. All that butter...

Oh well, at least the other half of the dough is still in the freezer. I can give it another try.

Ahh, but this is all a consequence, a reflection, of my life at the moment. There have been more exciting things to take care of during the waning summer days.

A girls weekend with college friends, a couple of days on Jekyll Island, a trip to see old friends in St Augustine, a day with the Dalai Lama, and even a little online class at Quilting University (didn't know there was such a thing, did you?).

And a shoe...

Saturday, September 7, 2013

TWD/BWJ: Catching Up! Cobbler, Crostada, and Muffins

Johnnycake Peach Cobbler
Peach-Raspberry Crostada

Blueberry Muffins

I've been baking, but sorry to say, have lost my motivation to post. Who cares if I participate? And none of these recipes were particularly successful in my book. Here we go:

1) Johnnycake Peach Cobbler - Uh, no. We were totally unimpressed. Don't really care for cornbread on top of our peaches, thank you. 

2) Peach-Raspberry Crostada - Not bad. I served a piece to my neighbor who deemed it "the best thing she'd ever eaten", but that seems a bit much. The crust had an interesting flavor, and heck, I'll eat anything warm with ice cream. Oh yeah, maybe I would have preferred figs instead of peaches, but I was too lazy to walk out back and harvest figs off the tree. And already had peaches in the fridge that needed to be used. I know, I know - I feel guilty. Also, this recipe called for too much equipment. I'm pretty sure that the dough could've been finished in the food processor instead of hauling out and dirtying up the mixer too. 

3) Blueberry Muffins - Again, not bad. But waaaaay too much time and effort making a batter so light that it wouldn't stand up to a massive quantity of blueberries. Basically turned into a huge pool of blueberry goop in the bottom of the muffin. My son called them the "fruit on the bottom" version. Not that they weren't tasty - but I'm glad I used paper liners. I shudder to think how they would've come out otherwise. Think I'll stick with a normal muffin recipe in the future. 

I give up! Can't move this picture any further down the page.
Clearly, it wants to live here.
So that's it. It's been a busy but fun month. Let's see - Bruno Mars concert, trip to the beach, a 21st birthday (my BABY is an adult!), 2 quilt workshops, 3 weekend trips to the college (4 hours away), a couple of trips to the lake, a couple of chemo treatments, and normal life. Just for kicks, here are a few pictures.

There have been many shoes in the road. Here's one that I spotted near my daughter's apartment. Whoever lost it also lost a pair of colorful sunglasses that were nearby in the gutter. College kids...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

TWD/BWJ: Eastern Mediterranean Pizza

Tuesdays with Dorie is introducing me to so many new things. Should I admit it? I've never purchased lamb before. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever eaten lamb before, unless that's what's in a gyro. But a package of ground lamb presented itself to me in the meat section of the grocery store, so I decided to go ahead and give it a try. And we liked it. Didn't hurt that we had plenty of freshly-picked garden tomatoes. And after watching the original Baking With Julia video, I topped it off with some fresh mint (pilfered from my neighbor's yard) and a little chopped cucumber. This one gets a thumbs up.

I've seen so many shoes in the road lately - don't know what's going on out there, but shoes are everywhere these days! It's an avalanche of lost soles. Heck, I can't pick just one, so how about 3 this week?