Monday, March 31, 2014

Marie, the baguettes!

The PPK started a conversation about bread, and someone posted a link to this recipe for 4-Hour Baguettes, and I knew I was gonna have to give it a shot.
I really need to change my tablecloth.

I love making bread, and every weekend I will make either bagels or rolls or pizza dough or something involving yeast.  It's like therapy - I can feel all the stress from the work week oozing out of me as I knead the dough.

This dough was really lovely - it had a wonderful texture and bounciness.  I'm not an expert bread maker by any stretch of the imagination, but I wonder if it was due in particular to the 20 minute rest period, which the recipe said was to make sure the flour was well-hydrated?  I might have to try this with all my doughs.

In any case, as one person noted on the PPK discussion, it's not as if the making of the dough itself is particularly different from any other yeasted bread recipe - it's the baking and crustiness and chewiness that make baguettes special.  Verdict?  These were delicious, and had a pretty good crust, although I would say they leaned more to chewy than crunchy-crusty.  I was a little disappointed in the airiness/bubbliness of the inside, although it was soft and tasty.  A little too salty for my liking - I wasn't sure what "diamond crystal" kosher salt was exactly?  I had kosher salt, so I used 4 tsp. as instructed.  I think I will cut back to 2-3 tsp. next time.  In any case, not as good as a French bakery - but delicious and a great homemade version.  Plus, putting the ice cubes into the hot skillet was fun.  I will definitely make these again!

Ready to bake! Slits cut with kitchen shears.

I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

And here's a bonus shot for you of some totally fabulous Spumoni whoopie pies I made.  These were a riff off of Kittee's Papa Tofu recipe.  I will post my Spumoni variation tweaks next time.  Cheers!

One side chocolate, one side cherry, and pistachio buttercream filling! OMG.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Too busy to blog, and other lame excuses

Oy vey!  It's been a rough winter so far.  Too much snow, too much limping.  Remember how I told you in early December I had surgery on my in-grown toenails?  Yeah, well it didn't take on one toe, and I had to have it re-done.  And O.M.G. it hurt SO MUCH MORE the second time around.  My podiatrist really had to get in deep to get to where the toenail was growing back. Plus, we've had major snowfalls for the past two months, and I've had to wear my sandals with socks, 'cause regular shoes were too painful.  So, here's your big spoiler:  there's a really disgustingly gross photo of my toe at the end of this post.  Scroll to the end at your own discretion.

I kept myself busy, though, by re-covering my couch pillows. They were getting all ratty and gross, so I had myself some fun:

And of course, there's been plenty of cooking!  I got Isa Does It! for Christmas, and I think it is her best cookbook yet!  Just about every recipe I've tried has been awesome.  I've made the Orange-Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake three times already.  Here's some pics of stuff from IDI:

Cheesy Broccoli Soup and Olive Oil Bread for Soup

Chandra Malai Kofta over brown rice and homemade naan

Peachy-Raspberry Cobbler for breakfast!

Sticky Orange Chicky with brown rice
I've also made: both chewy granola bar recipes, Chai Snickerdoodles, Just Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Zucchini Cake (Yeah, yeah, I think I'm almost through the dessert chapter!), Kitchen Sink Cookies, Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies, Marbled Banana Bread, the spaghetti & meatballs recipe (I can't remember what she calls that), Glam Chowder, Curry Garlic Fries, White Wine Risotto, the Pizza Bowl, the Curry-Peanut whatever Bowl.... and more!  Holy shit, get this book.  I'm not kidding!

It's starting to warm up down here, and my foot is better (we even went hiking yesterday!), so I hope to bring you a recipe soon.  Here's the family selfie from our hiking trip at Shakertown yesterday, and the dreaded toe picture follows.  Cheers!

We're naturally obnoxious.

Silver nitrate is a horrible, horrible thing.