Saturday, February 27, 2010

Can I Get a Wheat Wheat?

Hiya Fireants!

So... you HAD to know there was going to be more bread! I made two loaves today, out of one recipe. Yup... just like Jesus.

After fairly successfully baking one loaf from the NYT recipe yesterday, I guess I fancied myself a bit of a masterbaker... ahem: master. baker.

Last recipe was 100% white flour, as called for by Bittman, and which I enjoyed greatly... but let's face it: what self respecting Prevention reader can live on white bread? None of us, that's who! Definitely needed to cut down/out the white flour and turn Paris (last loaf's name) into more of a Tyra (equally flaky... but darker, denser and low GI rating {Tyra's low GI number is based on my "Good Interview" scale... the bread, obviously, is not}).

So being the proven Master Baker (don't worry, even I'm stifling my snicker) that I am, I decided to make my own recipe... wing it, go rogue, bake out on a limb!

Basically, Tyra and twin are the same as Paris... but the recipe is doubled and the flour is half whole wheat and half white all purpose. This is the gorgeous result:

Ain't she grand? She's ready for her close up...
If you look closely, you can see the bottom portion looks like it's still a wee bit moist and the bubbles get weighed down and the bread is denser. I'm not sure why that is... but I can't complain considering I abandoned the original recipe.
I was really happy with the results, especially knowing I was just being an arrogant little wench thinking I could alter the recipe and have it turn out! I know that baking is a much more precious endeavour than cooking, but I think my bread knows I love her and she pulls through for me!
Also, even though I doubled the recipe and swapped out half of the flour... I would consider these alterations fairly forgiving in the chemical formula scheme of things.
I'd like to find a multi-grain or whole grain or gluten free recipe next... I really like the process of baking the bread, but I am quite sure I can't keep eating my little prizes if they aren't as nutritionally dense as I can make them! I want to get my loaves darker, more wholesome and really substantial! The flow chart looks like this:
So, again- that was the bulk of my day... That and watching knitting videos on YouTube, trying to avoid paying for lessons. My basic stitch is almost ninja-quick... pearl stitch is OK too... everything else I'm having problems with and I can't read or follow a pattern to save my life!
My cable is out and will be until TUESDAY apparently! I'm trying to view this as a positive opportunity to do some severely procrastinated jobs... but I'll be honest: I'm scared. I've already gone through all of my PVR recordings and finished my library books.
TvShack, here I come.
This was another boring dinner of leftovers at work...
Last of the cabbage strata w/ spag squash a la diavolo.
Have you or do you make bread regularly? Do you switch up your recipes to add herbs or veggies or extra nutrients? Any tips?
Long run tomorrow night as my "Monday"... perhaps Suz sabotaged my cable to force my hand?
Or is my television situation the universe giving me a message?
To Whomever is in Charge of the Universe: I would have preferred a video installment for this lesson.

p.s. I am STILL having spacing issues with this f*&king wordpress... sorry if it's leading you to believe I don't take a breath between thoughts or that I have a barbituate habit.
I space... they suck .

Introducing Baby Paris...

Hiya Monkfish!

I have given birth to a Bread Baby... And her name is Paris. Beautiful and delightfully airy!

After watching this video last night, I decided I'd like to make some bread!

I just can't wait anymore.. I have to show her off!

This is the first time I made bread- and it is the most rewarding experience! I'd like to think I have TWO post Apocalypse skills now...

Here's the dough during the rising...

Here she is after the first rising and after being dusted with wheat bran:

Here is the beautiful bouncing girl out of the oven and ready for some hot knife action...

Honest to goodness, I got NO sleep today because I kept waking up to check on her to see if she was rising. A strange attachment, I'll admit.
I don't think she was as poofed as was experienced by Jim Lahey, but I rushed things very much along as I couldn't contain myself to wait for the process. Mandated time to allow to rise in bowl: 12-18 hours... I waited for 9. Mandated time to allow to rise after forming into ball and dusted: 2 hours... I waited 45 mins. I was SO fracking antsy for this golden goddess.
It WAS delicious- so tasty in fact, that I tossed some butter and some chives into the food processor and made myself some Keg-style whipped butter. As can only be expected, I ate half the loaf in this fashion.

A bit of a denouement.... here's dinner, same as yesterday.
Which I barely got to eat... work was CRAZY busy, and we were down a few bodies. As a result of this... I must fly pumpkins.

Will be making more bread today, I think we have yet another fleeting hobby!

Watch the video and try it yourself! Super easy... and if bread isn't up your Kirstie Alley, then maybe another one of Bittman's recipes will catch your eye. He's an awesome cook and a fabulous author (I also think he may be Gwyneth Paltrow's Apple's Daddy... another story).

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Well... Food is on track at least...

Hiya Rosebuds!

It's been a little while possums, and I don't even have too much to say for myself other than after taking a hiatus to facilitate the DTs from the fags, I am ACTUALLY glad to be eating well again!

This is not the first time I've tried Champix (the smoking cessation aid), but it is, by far, the LEAST effective trial. The doctor assured me the drug DOES NOT lose it's efficacy with repeated use, but ALAS... tears were shed and things were thrown. I was pretty sure I might hurt someone... even Schmeicel stayed out of the way. I can only imagine he felt like Christina Crawford... without the budget.

Anyway- today is my official 21 day mark (you know that habit forming/breaking benchmark everyone talks about)- so no more excuses... before I go making sloth and gluttony two UNWANTED habits; let's hold on to the good changes and slough the transitional allowances made!

To back track a wee bit... a thank you to send out.

This was my lovely Valentine's Day gift! Woke up to these lovelies, with a thoughtful card on my kitchen table!

MWAH! Thank you!
A few days after that I had Kiki and Puddin' over for their anniversary dinner after meeting with my Auntie Rachel for lunch (finally got to gift the Tal Ronnen book, can't wait for some recipe tips!)... Inspired by my new FAVE show Come Dine With Me, I made: Tartiflette of caramelized onion, goat cheese and pear topped with a balsamic glaze AND Asparagus/ Summer Pea Risotto. This was accompanied by a steak for my Da and some Ice Cream with Goldshlager that was never to be. I had a great time! I loved cooking for them (I know they'll eat anything with a smile) and finally had a chance to use some of my new dishes (thanks Loulou) and glassware.

So that's pretty much the highlight reel of things that happened between sulking and sleeping. I finally realize why people sleep so much on Celebrity Rehab... it's easier than being a grumpy mare!
There's more to fill in I'm sure... will get to it as it comes up.
On to today! After such shyte for a couple of weeks... it was time for a FIBRE FIX!
Tried to make a Cabbage Strata.
Oven preheated to 350 degrees- square Pyrex or baking dish greased up for some love!
First, blanch 10-12 savoy cabbage leaves for 5-7 mins then drain and dry.

Toast 3 tbsp of pine nuts- reserve until assembly
You will need approx 1 1/4 c of drained ricotta. Cheesecloth (most aptly named) is great for straining or draining ricotta, yogurt or cottage cheese- as is a clean J-Cloth. Because I like to keep my strata a little ghetto... I just put the cheese into a coffee filter with a can of corn on top and let it sit in a colander while preparing the rest of the recipe!
Next, saute 3 small leeks with some garlic and olive oil and add about 3/4 cup of veggie stock- let that simmer for approx 25 mins

When that's done, reserve the leeks and add 3/4 can of crushed or diced tomatoes to the same pan. I added more garlic at this point, but it wasn't called for. The tomatoes will need to reduce for about 15 mins, so this is a good time to get the ricotta out of it's draining medium and ready to assemble.

Just like a lasagna- layer your baking vessel's bottom with 2 or 3 leaves of cabbage (whatever completely covers the area), then about 1/3 of the tomato reduction- then some leeks (about 1/3 of the reserved amount). Next dollop about a third of the pressed out ricotta and top with approx 1 tbsp of pine nuts.

Bingo Bango Bongo- three repeats of this (or whatever- I ran out of filling, but had leftover cabbage- so cut it up and topped the casserole) and you should be out of ingredients and oven rarin' to go. You'll want to make sure you save some saucy bits showing (oh no she didn't) so they can crisp up and the liquids will evaporate a bit.

Uncovered, this goes in on the middle rack for about 25 mins (I ended up leaving mine in for 40 mins- because I only have one kitchen timer and I set it for spaghetti squash... oops)

The time bandit...

Here's one last close up before it went in...

And the finished Cabbage Strata!

All in all... it was pretty good. It's not knocking my socks off... but was relatively filling and other than the ricotta- pretty clean. You COULD use a cashew cheese in here, but I think you'd need to heavily salt this if that was your dairy replacement.
So after tonight's shift (and pretty icky weather), I have vowed that I will go home- get 7 hours of sleep (shouldn't be a problem at all), get up and GO TO THE GYM! It's been a bit... and I know that the horse and I never have any problems, I just assume he's mad when I fling myself from him! (Makes sense in my head...)
I'm also going to give no-knead bread a try if I can find a recipe for which I have all ingredients!
Til tomorrow...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

And She's Back!

Sorry Dolls....

Needed some time off to be a total homicidal maniac whilst finally kicking the cigs!

They are all out of my system.... but gosh darn it if I haven't let EVERYTHING else in! I gave myself a bit of a let, as the crying jags and tantrums needed SOME sort of reward... but alas, these days must done.

Heading to the gym tonight... and out for dins. Will take pics and be back to regular, tar- free, happy MOI!

Thanks for being SO patient!

A HUGE WELCOME to wee Gavin Atherley! I'll be glad to visit you soon as your downward dog Mum has been incredibly loyal and patient these past weeks..... Congrats to Miss Emma, her surgery is finally scheduled for March 10th!

Talk to you tomorrow pets! Love you all!

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Camel Just Passed Through the Eye of a Needle

Hiya Birdkids...

Just wanted to share a quickie with you before I hit the sack... (that's what she said).

My Auntie Rachel (smile) often sends me motivational and inspiring messages and little pearls of wisdom she gets along the way. One will be discussed at greater length in another post, but here's a quickie for the start of what promises to be an awesome month!

Steve Jobs' Three Rules of Life ...

1. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.

2. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice.

3. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition - they somehow already know what you truly want to become.

It might seem a wee bit hokey... but I was thinking about how silly I felt about taking pics of the treadmill at the gym- and this totally validated what I forced myself to think! It's all about me (or you- to you). But really- I think if we do what comes naturally to us, without worrying about judgement, we might all be a little happier.

That is, unless you are Lex Luther. Lex, please disregard this post.

G'night dolls... Thanks Loulou.